Monday, May 11, 2009

House, "Both Sides Now": You put your left hand in

Spoilers for the "House" fifth season finale coming up just as soon as I squawk...
"So, this is the story you made up about who you are. It's a nice one." -Amber
"Too bad it isn't true." -Kutner
I have no interest in letting my Twitter account overtake my blogging or column-writing -- I have trouble expressing an opinion in 140 words, let alone 140 characters -- and yet I'm half-tempted to just copy and paste what I Tweeted immediately after watching this episode, which was "David Shore and company need to lay off the M. Night Shyamalan marathons."

You get the point. It's not that I necessarily object to surprise twists -- it's that I object to the same kind of surprise twist, told over and over, by the same storyteller. Piling one hallucination on top of House's previous hallucination, on a show that already did a season finale where the main character was unwittingly hallucinating (and then did a season finale last year where he was having visions but was aware of it), well... that's too much. Sorry. When you go to that well multiple times, it stops being a cool trick and becomes just a trick.

Now, we all pointed out the phoniness of House's instant detox and clean-up last week, and the Hollywood improbability of Cuddy being willing to kiss and have sex with a guy she'd just seen puke and reach into toilets. So it doesn't feel like a cheat that that would be phony. But I don't think having House enter rehab after this hallucination feels any more powerful than if he'd done it when Amber wouldn't go away. It just feels like Shore and the other writers (in this case, Doris Egan) are just scratching for new games they can play with the audience, and I'm tired of it. Just tell the damn story, tell it straightforward, and trust that you have one of the best actors on television to make it interesting.

And yet, for all of the many problems I've had with this season, and for all the cursing and grumbling I did after House had his epiphany in Cuddy's office, I still find myself looking forward to next season. Some of that's obviously on Hugh Laurie -- the guy's brilliant enough that the show would have to fall much, much further for me to want to stop watching him in it -- but some of it's on where this conceivably takes House.

I complain a lot about Shore's reluctance to follow through, and to restore the status quo whenever possible. But there was a finality to the look on House's face when he looked back at Wilson while entering the rehab hospital(*), that, coupled with all the build-up of the last few episodes, suggests this isn't something Shore intends to scrap like the Ketamine cure or many of the other "Nothing will ever be the same again!" cliffhangers. Maybe he's just fooling me again (though, in fairness to Shore, he never did re-assemble the original team like I thought he was going to do, however much that enrages the Cameron/Chase fans), but if he's not, I look forward to seeing what the show's like when House isn't a junkie.

(*) And boy am I glad I still had "24" buffered when I got to the end of my "House" recording and found that it cut off before the end. For those of you in a similar situation, all that happened after 9:00 was Cameron and Chase walking back down the aisle as a married couple, and House looking back at Wilson as he was being checked into rehab.

And before we got to the dumb "Sixth Sense" twist, there were a number of strong moments, from the patient's rogue left hand stroking his girlfriend's face with affection, to House being human for once and realizing that Carl Reiner(**) really needed someone to be with him as he dealt with the news of his cancer. So even when the show's doing straight-up Patient of the Week scenes, it can still get it done.

(**) I said it after seeing "Ocean's Eleven," and I'll say it again here: who woulda thunk that Reiner would be such an effective dramatic actor?

I'm not giving up on "House," no matter how much I grumble. But if we discover that the admission to rehab was another hallucination, well... that's a dealbreaker, ladies.

What did everybody else think?

72 comments:

Karen said...

Awwww, Alan--you've got a catchphrase!

amysusanne said...

Good: Carl Reiner, Maria Thayer, POTW in general, Taub's almost Barney Stinson-like need to be up in Cameron and Chase's business, Chase finally getting it.

Bad: Yet another "it was all a hallucination".

Yet, Not Bad: I was against hallucinating and thought that having it all be a hallucination was a total cheat from having to do something new, but the idea I was against was that nothing really happened. But, things *did* happen. That's what saved it for me. Things did happen and things didn't happen and I'm not *entirely* sure what was what. It was better than it should have been and the actors totally sold me on it. I'm clearly not going anywhere even if the show turns into absolute crap because I'm a Hugh Laurie fan and five years later it's still exciting that he's such a big tv star here now. But, I actually *am* looking forward to it coming back next year and I the last handful of episodes made up for what has been a pretty unmemorable season.

And thanks to them for working to put Anne and Kal in the closing credits so as not to spoil a very good moment.

Anonymous said...

i don't think hes going to rehab, the sign above the door was for a psychiatric hospital. i think they're going with the house is crazy angle

moog said...

Yeah he's going to a mental hospital not rehab.He was hallucinating because he's losing it mentalliy not the drugs.

Josh said...

This is one of those episodes where I, 100%, completely forgot about all of the other hallucinatory storylines until I read the blog, simply because Hugh Laurie, Robert Sean Leonard, and Lisa Edelstein blinded me to the repetition the writers love. Despite that, the episode was great, even as I wondered throughout the first 50 minutes if Fox had lied about the twist or if something was going on. I'm curious to see where this goes, but I enjoyed the finale.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Either way, whether it's a mental hospital or rehab, it promises a significant change for next season.

At least, I hope it does.

christy said...

That's funny, I used the words "Sixth Sense" when talking about it with my sister. During the first Cuddy/House scene, I noticed the camera work was REALLY wobbly. Then I couldn't stop thinking about it. I thought maybe this is indicating that House is totally out of it. Then I started keeping an eye out for whether Cuddy was actually acknowledging what happened, like you start looking for signs that Bruce Willis is talking to anyone other than Hayley Joel Osment.

But even though I thought that having it be yet another hallucination was really lame, I have to admit the execution was pretty great. It was creepy and had this growing sense of dread and uneasiness. I'm just always so taken by Hugh Laurie, Robert Sean Leonard and Lisa Edelstein that even the lameness of the repetition of the stories and story elements on this show pale in comparison to the weight of the performances of those three actors.

Same deal with the Chase and Cameron storyline--not that their performances come close to the main three, but that the quality of the execution really made a very stupid storyline much more palatable. As much as I love the line "I have my husband's sperm," not disposing of a dead person's sperm HAS to be the stupidest reason to consider calling off a wedding that I ever heard. First off, OF COURSE it's because it'd be like throwing away the last existing part of him. Duh. Two, insisting she dispose of it to prove she's sure is totally unreasonable and THAT would be grounds for HER to call off the wedding, not the other way round.

However. There was something really effective about how they unfolded the resolution, especially the scene where as soon as he said the real reason she burst into tears. I thought it worked, in spite of myself.

I think though that it will be nice to have a break and come back to the show fresh in the fall, for myself and I hope for the writers as well. Let's see something new, folks!

Mike said...

I made the mistake of watching the preview that aired immediately after last week's episode, which promised the MOST SHOCKING FINALE YET. Stupid FOX. I wasn't expecting anything Earth-shattering (e.g. another death or even a departure) but doing another finale based on hallucination wasn't even close to SHOCKING. Not even close.

I am looking forward to next season, as I always do, because of Hugh Laurie and this excellent show.

srpad said...

I know House is set in NJ but is it filmed in NJ at all? I ask because the hospital at the end looked an awful lot like Greystone.

Kate said...

Either way, whether it's a mental hospital or rehab, it promises a significant change for next season. You forget, nothing changes on this show. Each season ends with a cliff-hanger -- House shot, House having to work with his ex, House losing his team, Amber dying -- and it all gets taken care of and gone within the first few episodes of the next season. Creatively, House has been dead for quite a while now.

I've been unhappy with the show since the end of season 3 but I've been hanging in through the ridiculous House/Cuddy games, through the boring new team and the constant perils of Thirteen and the reduction of Wilson to a Huddy pimp, because I had hope it would go back to being as good as it was in previous years and because I liked Cameron and wanted her back on the show again.

None of the patient storylines of this season have interested me and even less the bad soap opera that comprises most of the show. And now having seen what they did to Cameron in these last episodes, which Katie Jacobs said was "a really cool way to bring Chase and Cameron back", I've realized that the Cameron who kept me watching will never be back. This bimbo who keeps her dead husband's sperm and goes to House for love advice bears no relationship to the character that I used to watch for. My last reason for watching the show just went.

I was hoping that the House/Cuddy sex was real and the Cameron/Chase wedding a hallucination because Cameron finally figured out she'd been programmed by the Dollhouse in season 3.

Lately, if I want to predict what's going to happen on the show, I imagine the most obvious scenario with the most banal writing and I'm usually right. I completely called that the last montage would be the wedding cut with House going into some sort of psychiatric hospital. This show is now so predictable it's not even fun to play any more.

RIP House. It was a slow and painful death but I think you're really gone now.

Anonymous said...

Chase and Cameron make a commitment while House is being committed.

::rimshot::

Jordan said...

I liked this a lot more than most people did, because it legitimately surprised me (although maybe I'm misreading it). When the flashes started happening, I gasped. "It's not the drugs." If you remember back, House gave Wilson a list of things it could be, the further down, the less he wanted it to be it. Next to bottom was Vicodin, bottom was schitzophrenia. I don't know where this will lead, but I'm interested again.

Manu said...

That was some serious borderline offensive mindfuck. I agree with every single point, Alan, for the first time in months.

David Shore is so sadistic that he made the ENTIRE House/Cuddy interaction an hallucination. If only it was just the sex. There is no doubt in my mind he is going to string fans along until the end of this show. For that I feel... used, cheated, stomped on.

If it wasn't for the fact that I'm so invested in these characters and amazing actors such as Hugh Laurie, Lisa Edelstein and Robert Sean Leonard, I would have jumped 'ship' a while ago. It is time for a change already. Let's hope season 6 brings it.

Will Cuddy ever find out about House's feelings for her? I guess not.

olucy said...

Twist!

Not.

Agree with everything Alan says, including the reason that I still watch this show (and would have bailed on it long ago were it not for Laurie).

I thought everyone who believed *last week* that it was a hallucination made pretty good arguments, so I was expecting it. But it was confirmed when House woke up with a clean face but had a lipstick-smudged face when he looked in the bathroom mirror. I thought they tipped their hand way too early. Well, as amysusanne says, at least hey didn't have Dudek and Penn in the credits.

Diane said...

I think it's an important distinction that it was a mental hospital instead of rehab (unless the mental hospital houses a detox facility). It makes either this episode or last episode a cheat, and makes the twist not hold up for me. Either he was wrong to rule out psychosis, or we have to un-accept the idea that he'll find a way to sabotage detox, so even the non-hallucinatory aspects of last week's episode might as well not have happened.

Plus Jordan is wrong in saying House's list of possibilities for the hallucinations had Vicodin and then schizophrenia. Actually the written list did not have Vicodin at all, but when House said what it could be, he said "we're down to infection, trauma, MS, schizophrenia, pills." The concept that he was going through the list in order of the "nicer" ideas is therefore gone if the answer is psychosis instead of Vicodin.

Still, I am curious where they'll take this, maybe more so than if it were another detox story. Even if they've done the hallucination thing a few times, this is a different direction.

Pamela Jaye said...

I'm not sure what your catchphrase is, but the What The Hell was That??? headers I saw after I finally finished the ep seemed appropriate.

In fact, watching this (after all the others that messed with my head) suddenly makes me very happy with Shonda Rhimes. How many hallucinations has she given us in 5 seasons? How many false realities? Only that one.
I thought it was stupid. But compared to House, which ought to be much less silly...

I'll continue to watch. It's a doctor show. I like Cameron and Wilson. The rest of the main cast is bearable. I signed on for Lisa. But you're right - enough already.

Hey, though, at least they got over the 13 fetish.

(and did you notice all the asterisks you've had to do lately? not a problem, just something I've noticed. I've been doing it too.)

Pamela Jaye said...

Either way, whether it's a mental hospital or rehab, it promises a significant change for next season. hmm

yeah, sure, right. with this show, who knows? The only thing that ever *really* changed was "the team"

dez said...

I kind of liked it. And I'll be back next season because I want to see what kind of mental illness they come up with for House. Wilson looked so sad to be leaving him at the psych hospital.

Oaktown Girl said...

Shore, he never did re-assemble the original team like I thought he was going to do, however much that enrages the Cameron/Chase fans),I object to the implication that the only reason people don't like the new format is because they are Cameron/Chase fans. Not true. I simply preferred the immediacy and intensity of having a small team. (Like chamber music vs. symphonic music). The new format is too scattered, we were force fed Thirteen for weeks on end, they killed off the best one anyway (Cut Throat), and the second best new player after her, Kutner, was wasted - figuratively and literally. In addition, I don't like the way Foreman's character has received progressively less and less to do and has been demoted to permanent figure head status.

So can you please recognize that it's not all about Cameron and Chase?

Heather said...

Grumble grumble moan. I agree at how cheap this "twist" is, but I also agree that I am kind of looking hopeful to House in a mental hospital. Knowing this is House, he'll probably be back in Princeton within two episodes, at most. Still, it sets up an intersting premise.

Was anyone else a little weirded out seeing Chase and Cameron get married when their real-life counterparts, well, didn't?

Anonymous said...

I'm a total sucker for visions, hallucinations, and dreams in my television, so I didn't really mind the way they were used here.

The existence of the hallucination/dream doesn't even really matter in and of itself - what counted for me was the absolute devastation on Hugh Laurie's face as House realized his past day or so was built on a happy dream he'd constructed, and his prized rationality had completely abandoned him because the hard reality of his past year was too much to take.

House is always interrogating himself and his beliefs one way or another; to have that shown onscreen through dreams doesn't seem like a schticky device so much as a pretty natural outgrowth of the show. But again, I like that sort of thing.

The last ten minutes or so were beautifully directed and acted, IMO, and thankfully explained the weirdness at the end of "Under My Skin". And the body of the episode gave us a little glimpse of House's dream life - friends with Wilson, romantically involved with Cuddy, working away at PPTH, still limping but relatively pain free. He just doesn't think he's worthy of that small measure of happiness, let alone capable of attaining it, because if Imaginary Amber established anything it was how much he hates himself.

Yes, he'll probably be out of the mental hospital within the first three episodes of next season, if not before the premiere. But I don't feel like nothing's changed, not when he's broken down and asked for help twice in two episodes.

BigTed said...

Um... okay, I'm still confused. Did House detox from the pills and then start taking them again? Or did he hallucinate the detox (in which case he also hallucinated getting rid of his other hallucinations)? And did he have sex with Cuddy, or did he hallucinate that (in which case he must have also hallucinated the discussion they had the next day)? And did he also hallucinate Wilson's awful-as-usual advice to "make her angry," or was that part real?

Also, does he still think the hallucinations were caused by the pills, or because he's crazy? Either way, why is he trusting the diagnosis to some scary-looking mental facility? (Even if he doesn't trust his own mind anymore, surely he knows who the second-best diagnostician is.)

I'm no big fan of M. Night, but at least when he gives you the big twist at the end, he manages to clarify everything that went on before. This episode, not so much.

Mrglass said...

Hum, why do so many people get angry because the show doesn't have much character development or real game-changer?

"People don't change". That's the motto of House, both the character and the series. Next year I expect House to quickly go back to his normal miserable, addicted but functioning self.

And I also expect to love the next season, because after 5 years we still get excellent episodes such as this one (although it's true, too similar to the finale of season 2).

Loved the Carl Reiner story shifting very quickly from comic relief to tragedy. That's life.

Bruce Reid said...

BigTed: "Did House detox from the pills and then start taking them again? Or did he hallucinate the detox (in which case he also hallucinated getting rid of his other hallucinations)?"

The latter. As Amber and Kutner inform him, the hallucination was a wish-fulfillment fantasy of who he wants to be--cleaned up, loved, engaged in a romantic tete a tete as intellectually convoluted as you'd expect--and all a lie.

"And did he have sex with Cuddy, or did he hallucinate that (in which case he must have also hallucinated the discussion they had the next day)?"

He hallucinated everything that happened last episode after he made the vicious snap about Cuddy running home to her whelp. Their conversation the next day wasn't Cuddy trying to tamp down their one-time fling but her attempting to warn him, with professional detachment, that he'd crossed a line with what he'd said.

"And did he also hallucinate Wilson's awful-as-usual advice to "make her angry," or was that part real?"

Wilson believed that House had slept with Cuddy, and uncharacteristically had decided to keep quiet about it. His advice to House was real.

Karamel said...

I LOVED this episode!!
HUGH LAURIE is an AMAZING talent!
I feel SO lucky to be able to enjoy it. I kind of figured something was up last week when I read in the previews that Cuddy makes House do clinic duty. Knowing that House was as bad off as he was, I don't think Cuddy would try to push clinic duty on House at all. I also found it weird in this episode when Cuddy left her lipstick in House's bathroom. I just don't think women do this. Carl Reiner was funny and then it was sad. He did a great job. I was in my glory with all the Wilson/House banter. (Thank you, Doris!) But oh the scene in the car...Wilson driving House to the hospital...neither saying a word. Wilson watches House till he gets inside. House looks at Wilson as the door closes. House looks so scared and Wilson looks so sad.
The only part of House I ever hated was the Tritter Arc, so I will be back for season 6. Who am I kidding? I will be back as long as HUGH LAURIE is back. :)

mrsb said...

Despite the fact that the hallucination plot had been done (and done and done) before, I still really enjoyed this episode. The POTW was fascinating, the Reiner subplot had a sad twist at the end, and House, Wilson and Cuddy were all just spot on. And I'm not a huge fan of Cameron, or the stupid sperm story line, but the scene when she bursts out crying was sad and sweet.

I'm looking forward to next season. I hope it's not a disappointment.

Matter-Eater Lad said...

"Was anyone else a little weirded out seeing Chase and Cameron get married when their real-life counterparts, well, didn't?"

It made me wonder how they'd gotten the writing staff to hate them enough to put them through that particular hell, so if that counts as "weirded out," yes.

I have to say I love all of the complaints about "what's been done" to Cameron, who spent the first three seasons as an uptight prig obsessed with House for the wrong reasons, then took ecstacy and slept with a colleague because she may have been exposed to HIV, and then wound up reciprocating the same colleague's borderline-stalking of her because she decided it was really, really SWEET borderline-stalking. Yep, that's a real great character for ya right there.

amysusanne said...

People keep making the distinction between it being rehab and it being a psychiatric hospital, but regardless the first hurdle will be genuine detox. Not fake "I don't want to go to jail" detox or "I'm going to win a bet" detox, but the real thing. House's fear was that he was going crazy, while Wilson's best guess was that the drugs were finally taking a very real toll. Get off the drugs, find out what the problem is. It's important and a very big deal that he chose to check into a psychiatric hospital, but the drugs and the pain are still the most important part right now. That's the one part of Shore's "nothing ever changes" that I actually like. I don't like there never being resolution or the seeming lack of growth, but I do like that they tend to go back to basics. I just wish they didn't feel they had to use the same gimmick so much, no matter how well they do it.

Also, someone mentioned above that it looked like Greystone in Jersey. It was. They shot on location for a day a few weeks back.

Anonymous said...

Boo! On the one hand, I'm glad that the detox was fake because it was so ridiculous, but having the sex be a hallucination after hyping it ALL SEASON was lame. If that had been kept quiet I think I would have been ok with the episode. Hugh Laurie really knocked these last two episodes out of the park though.

K J Gillenwater said...

"During the first Cuddy/House scene, I noticed the camera work was REALLY wobbly. Then I couldn't stop thinking about it. I thought maybe this is indicating that House is totally out of it."

That was exactly my thoughts as I watched...the camera work seemed different to me. I really was leaning in the direction that they would make most of last week's Cuddy/House action an hallucination, so I didn't mind it at all when that turned out to be true.

What I enjoyed was seeing Kutner enter the picture as part of the hallucination. Loved it.

Now I'm hoping for some really interesting episodes where House is in the psych facility but still trying to do his job somehow. By making phone calls from some pay phone inside or just general House shenanigans while under doctor's supervision. Should be a GREAT shake-up for a show I still love watching.

erin said...

I only started watching this show when Anne Dudek showed up again, because I was curious about the House/Cuddy pairing, but I must admit, knowing little backstory (but enough to know what's going on and who's who)--I really enjoyed the last 3 episodes I watched. I will definitely be turning in next fall. It might seem like a repeat to all of you, but for a newcomer, I was pleasantly surprised by the hallucination head fake. And I was really touched at the end. I teared up a little when House looked so beaten down when Cuddy walked him into Wilson's office. Hugh Laurie really does amazing things with the character.

So, with no frame of reference, I enjoyed it quite a bit. Maybe that's what it takes to appreciate the finale--skipping the 4.5 seasons that came before it!

Kevin said...

Just seems kind of hacky to me. If the sex only happened in House's imagination, why the hell wouldn't Cuddy call him a liar after he announces to the lobby? Or ask him what the hell he was talking about when he said the line about the horse having his face between her boobs for an hour and a half?

At least when M. Night did the same trick, you could go back and see where Bruce Willis wasn't really interacting with his wife at dinner or with the kid's mom.

M.A.Peel said...

Wow. How chilling. I didn't see the Cuddy thing as repetitive, in terms of story device, but a natural building of the Amber hallucination.

I thought the lipstick/pill bottle reveal was an elegant touch.

House's happiness on the day after dream sex made the reality reveal that much sadder. The coloring at the end, of House's cold gray world versus the beauty and warmth of the wedding was also very well done.

I'm definitely looking forward to next season.

amysusanne said...

I'm not sure what it would have accomplished if Cuddy has screamed back "Nah ah!!!" when he made the announcement. Besides, I don't see her behavior as being that different from how she normally reacts to House. From her perspective, aside from being meaner than usual, nothing that he was doing was that much different. His sexual comments are par for the course. His embarassing her in front of staff is nothing new. He's loudly told strangers and staff that he's had sex with her in the past. Her reaction this time was to ignore him as usual, but with an added layer of zen. Being that she doesn't usually take the latter approach with him (opting instead for banter) when she reached her breaking point she got emotional. For all of the problems I had with "reformatting" the hallucination gimmick, I didn't see any problem with the way Cuddy was behaving wrt none of it having happened. I think you could easily go back and play it Sixth Sense style and it would be business as usual.

And I remain baffled by the idea that anyone, anywhere is punishing Jesse Spencer or Jennifer Morrison which really seems to be more of an implication of them being weak and unprofessional than it does for the writers being sadists. They're actors. They broke up ages ago and it would seem that they've not only moved on, but are in serious relationships with other people. Maybe it's a little icky for their significant others to watch, but they're grownups who got involved with one another and broke up while their characters were still in a relationship. Sucks for them, but in the same way that people think it's mean to carry on with the storyline in spite of their breakup, it's kind of stupid to think that the writers should bend their story to the will of the actors just because their romantic relationship is over.

Anonymous said...

I think House going to a mental hospital and not to rehab is fairly significant. I happened to catch a rerun the other day where a patient was seeing and having conversations with her dead mother. They made a point of explaining that while her seeing her mother was a hallucination, her believing that her mother was actually really there was a delusion. I think a similar thing happened here. House knew when he was hallucinating with Amber, but his delusional belief that he'd actually detoxed and slept with Cuddy is a lot more serious. Ironically, the same episode had House showing up at Cuddy's door to disrupt her date. I haven't really been buying the Huddy relationship as we've seen it unfold this season, but their interaction in that old episode actually had me seeing the seeds of a potential relationship.

jackie said...

I don't know, Alan, it seems to me all your fears about the Kutner storyline and dropped stories in general were very much not realised and that the writers and actors kept you hooked, so I'm not sure where the episode failed. Shore has signalled all the way along that dream motifs will be important to this show--it's woven into the fabric of the series all the way along, so I think we have to accept them the way Lost fans accept time travel. House's view of reality is the basic exploration we're following, and playing with that is going to continue.

I loved this episode. I loved House finally opening up the way he's refused to do for the entire series, only to find that he couldn't really ask for help or show he needed Cuddy, and the desire to do so was the final straw in his mental collapse. His very need for self-control so he could be a credible lover led to his complete lack of control, because once his usual coping mechanism of repressing his issues broke, he had no other to put in its place. So sad.

The writers have picked up the Tritter storyline and now have House actually committed--in every sense of the word--to rehab. The doctor with the amazing intuition that lets him be the best no longer trusts the intuitive side of his brain. How will he recover his trust in his own medical process?

As Katie Jacobs said, the show is not a sprint, it's a marathon. We keep getting payoff after payoff, just not when we're expecting them. I don't think that's poor writing.

And Hugh Laurie is just amazing.

Kevin said...

I'm not sure what it would have accomplished if Cuddy has screamed back "Nah ah!!!" when he made the announcement. Besides, I don't see her behavior as being that different from how she normally reacts to House.Cuddy reams House out in a hallway with other staff present, and never once mentions that he's a liar? Not buying it.

Also have trouble buying that Wilson, who is usually so perceptive on all things House, would just accept that he's completely off the vidodin based only on House's claim.

The whole episode felt like a cheat to me.

dez said...

@amysusanne, what you said about Jennifer and Jesse. I, too, am baffled by all the hand-wringing over their real life vs. their acting life. In fact, if it's torture for them to play those scenes, then I commend them on their stellar acting capabilities becuase they sure looked happy in those wedding scenes :-)

mrsb said...

I also wanted to note that many psychiatric hospitals do rehab as well. A mix of "get you off the drugs" and therapy. Just because House went into a psych hospital doesn't really mean it's the crazies. It just might mean that that place offers a really good, serious rehab program.

Can't really see House going to Promises and shacking up with Lindsay, can you?

mrsb said...

And yes, Greystone "played" Mayfield according to NJ.com:
http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2009/04/tv_show_house_to_film_at_greys.html

amysusanne said...

@Kevin. She's done it before. I can't recall for sure, but I don't think she's ever corrected his public claims of Huddy sex, whether they were true or not. The only difference this time was that she was suppressing what was really upsetting her and that behavior sent her over the edge. It's was pretty in character for both the professional Cuddy and the 12 year old Cuddy that lives inside of her.

Any Number said...

To all the people asking why Cuddy didn't deny having sex. House never said "I had sex with her last night", he just claimed to have had sex with her, which as far as I know, is true. It's mentioned numerous times. In one episode, he says something along the lines of "You gave me everything I wanted because one night I gave you everything".

Kevin said...

Come on, they showed that it was a psych hospital to show that he's crazy, not on drugs. To say that he's only there for rehab would be another writer's cheat on top of the ones they've already forced on us.

Also, didn't Wilson tell House when he was having the Amber hallucinations that if he was crazy, he'd never be allowed to practice medicine again?

Somehow, they'll brush this little problem under the rug by the third episode next year.

amysusanne said...

I'm pretty sure that by showing it was a psych hospital, they were adding more "well, which is it?" to the argument of whether it's the drugs or a more serious psych issue, per House and Wilson's earlier discussions. They didn't close a door on everything but psychiatric problems. And of course they aren't going to sweep it under the rug because there's nothing to "forget" yet. They didn't diagnose House with a medical problem that will keep him from practicing medicine, they showed a scared and broken down House entering a facility to get help and be diagnosed. It being a psychicatric hospital doesn't eliminate the possibility that his problems stem from his vicodin use.

Mel35 said...

I HATED this season's finale.

As a House/Cuddy fan I feel jerked around by David Shore and it's just CRUEL.

This is what he does to his FANBASE: PISS US OFF.

Worst season's finale EVER!!

Anonymous said...

Well as someone who hates the Huddy pairing and all the attention it gets, I LOVED this finale. The focus of the show is House as a doctor, not some completely absurd romance with his boss. Personally, I was sick of seeing David Shore catering to the Huddy fans all season, so I'm glad it turned out the sex scene was a hallucination.

Splenda said...

At the rate this show is going, we are about a season and a half away from an episode where Chad Allen guest stars as an adult autistic with a vivid imagination....

Diane said...

For me the distinction between psych hospital and detox isn't important for how the show might move forward (except I think it's a more interesting decision to have it be a psych hospital). For me the importance of the distinction is in how it affects what came before. To use the M. Night example, his twists make you look at what came before in a different way. Same with the "No Reason" episode of House. Those stories also work as a whole once you know what the twist is, just in a different way than you originally thought.

"Both Sides Now" didn’t force us to look at the previous episode in a new way, it forced us to negate all events in that episode, even the ones that weren't hallucinations. The entire story of self-diagnoses and treatments was a red herring, if not a hallucination. So it also doesn't matter what was and what was not a hallucination in "Under My Skin" – none of that episode now fits with the events of "Both Sides Now."

It was manipulation for the sake of manipulation instead of in the service of the story. The fact that they've done basically the same idea so much better in No Reason and House's Head/Wilson's Heart, which is a further letdown.

But on a more positive note, I think it's untrue that House hasn't changed nor that he will change – at least somewhat. It would have been unthinkable in the first couple of seasons to have House admit his misery, admit his feelings for Cuddy (even in his subconscious), and admit to his fear and need for help.

Where they go from here could be a mess but like I said, I think it's a braver and more interesting choice for him to voluntary commit himself to a psychiatric hospital, and it's a different direction than the simple detox route which we've seen before and for which we'd have to unaccept the idea presented in "Under My Skin" (and every detox story they've done) that House would find a way to sabotage it.

DK

Eldritch said...

Kevin said...
Also have trouble buying that Wilson, who is usually so perceptive on all things House, would just accept that he's completely off the vidodin based only on House's claim
.

That seems like a good point. In the M. Night Shyamalan recap at the end, we're shown House publicly twiddling the Vicodin bottle, in his hands all day long, instead of the imagined lipstick. That would seem to belie his claims he'd completed detox'ing.

On the other hand, I've worked in hospitals in the past. Doctors are given wide berth. Some of the inappropriate behaviors by doctors which I've heard about -- which were ignored for years -- would curl your toes.

mrsb said...

I think they showed the psych hospital to imply that maybe he's crazy. They can't possibly know until he's off the drugs, which could cause the hallucinations. Which will require rehab services. Either way, he's got to get off the drugs.

And let's be real. They might let a drug addict be a doctor, but they are not going to let a scitsophrenic be a doctor.

It's called "House", not "Nut House".

amysusanne said...

I think Wilson's many, many past experiences with House could easily explain away what might seem like odd Wilson behavior prior to the hallucinations reveal. Wilson's certain experienced House lying to his face (while knowing that Wilson knew he was lying to his face) and he's also shown that he's a House observer. If House is telling him things that contradict what he sees and is behaving in ways that might offer more insight into what's going on then I don't see it being out of character or odd for him to keep tabs on House and see what the next step is. He could hear House's story, be presented with contradictory evidence and take on his standard Wilson fact gathering role. Although I do believe that he thinks Cuddy/House and House happiness would be good things, I don't know that he was buying into things, he was solving his own House puzzle. If he'd never been shown to do that before I might think it was a little effed up that he was all "hey, you detoxed in an hour and a half, had sex with Cuddy and can suddenly fly!!", but knowing what we know and putting it into the nonlinear/questionable story we were given that part does fit.

Edward Copeland said...

I told you all last week that the cut from him and Wilson in the car driving to detox to him standing in Cuddy's office was too abrupt to be real. Sometimes, the show's film editing gives things away so I was sort of waiting for the reveal that it had all been a hallucination.

Alan Sepinwall said...

But Edward, I believe House actually did wind up in Cuddy's office. The encounter just ended differently than he thought it did, with her storming out after he insulted her baby.

J.J. said...

I don't think the psych hospital has to mean as much as some people seem to think.

The guy has been hallucinating for days. Whether it's because of the drugs or not, isn't that exactly where he should be for the moment?

LA said...

This whole season has been spotty for me, so this episode didn't move me one way or the other (other than the always-wonderful Carl Reiner). I am kind of disappointed that House and Cuddy didn't hook up, though.

In the real world, there IS significance to being admitted to a psychiatric hospital versus a rehab facility. IRL, a psych hospital doesn't take patients who aren't mentally ill. So if your only problem is substance abuse, the psych hospital isn't going to admit you. This being television, that distinction is probably meaningless.

Hugh Laurie def has his Emmy reel. He was terrific last night and made up for some of his lackluster performances early in the season.

amysusanne said...

He's admitting himself, presumably, because he doesn't know what the cause of the hallucinations are. He's not there strictly to detox, but the detox will come first. He'll get clean and, hopefully, he'll be diagnosed one way or the other. I don't think the hospital is insignificant, but I don't think it's a rubber stamp stating that House's issues right now are one thing or another. It's significant for the moment, but won't necessarily be all that significant when we get to the end of this part of the story.

I agree with JJ: he needs to know why this is happening to him and that's a good place to start.

thefncrow said...

Eldritch, the sequence shows House twirling his pill bottle all day long, yes, but the only person that actually thinks House detoxed is Wilson, and we never saw him messing with the lipstick/pill bottle in front of Wilson.

To those who don't know that House thinks he detoxed, what is different from any other day with House? It's not like he hasn't been doing that for years.

amysusanne, I agree, I think Wilson's behavior is actually perfectly understandable. The reason Wilson's behavior seems so off is just because House's hallucination is the thing that Wilson's been wanting him to do forever.

House even has started to figure it out, that something's seriously wrong, which is the thing with the coffee cup, but Wilson sees it as House trying to find mysteries to solve rather than going about his life, which is what House always does. It just so happens that, this time, that problem solving part of his brain was trying to warn him, and so Wilson dismissing it was bad advice.

Wilson's thought about it, and he's onboard with House's idea about pissing off Cuddy to induce an actual conversation, because having an actual conversation will actually allow the two of them to make progress on their relationship, whatever it is now. Wilson, unfortunately, ends up feeding the delusion by getting House to buy in deeper to it, and to dismiss the "solving puzzles" side of his brain that's trying desperately to show him something's wrong.

Yes, sure, it's an ass thing to do, but it's House, most of what he does fits into that catagory, and we've just seen Wilson embracing that on some level.

Take when Wilson says he's not pissed off about House having the implant put in the deaf kid. It was done in the most unethical and illegal manner possible, but there was some good intent behind it, as opposed to the other sort of House stunts, which are also usually done in the most unethical and illegal manner possible, but done with the purpose of helping House solve his puzzle.

Anonymous said...

As with most House season finale episodes, I think they're great as standalone (or a two parter, depending on the season) episodes, but as a part of the series, it was just all right. As pointed out, I think this has something to do with the resetting we get pretty much at the beginning of each season. (Except for the team change thing. Though I'm not sure if I consider that to be a positive game changer, not because I am a fan of Chase/Cameron, but because I don't see how the 'game changer' changed anything much; The new team isn't too different from the old team, albeit with probably less likeable people on it, and I think I would have preferred it if they really did 'change the show' by actually taking Chase/Cameron - and to an extent, Foreman who only got a storyline after he hooked up with 13 - out of the show immediately after the change, instead of having this limbo they are (and maybe will be for longer) in for almost two seasons, being little more/(less?) than extras.)

But, as a standalone ep, it was powerful even with the standard "Meh. Night" twist and the whole hallucination slight copout. I agree with Alan in that the show would have to do a lot worse for me not to watch Hugh Laurie (and RSL), albeit with some minor quibbles.

I look forward to next season, but man, enough with hallucinations on House and other television shows!

Oh, and this is shallow, but all I could think about during the wedding scene was how pretty Chase and Cameron are. Awkward for the actors - but, hey, they finally get written into the show for the past few episodes for this whole wedding arc, so I bet they didn't mind the awkward as much as their absense to the show - no doubt, but man! So pretty.

sheiladd said...

I believe he DID have sex w/Cuddy.. and he is going to a Mental Hospital..... I may be fooling myself or allowing myself to be fooled but I will watch House as long as it is on.. I love it!

The Bgt said...

Naaahh it's not the Six Sense recipe.
It's the Bobby Ewing dream virus.
Such a waste of an episode time.

well it could be worse...Heroes anyone??

Eldritch said...

thefncrow said,
House even has started to figure it out, that something's seriously wrong, which is the thing with the coffee cup...
.

That seemed to be taking him down the road to doubt his own perceptions, which ultimately took him to his revelation in Cutty's office.

I also think the diagnosis of pancreatic cancer in the wrong patient put him on that road. I believe that shook him. It meant his mind was malfunctioning. And his intellect is the only thing he has that gives his life meaning.

He only has his position as The Brilliant Diagnostician. He hopes for a romantic relationship with Cutty, but doesn't have it yet. Except for Wilson, he's alienated everyone in his world. He's spent all his brownie points so he can enjoy being a curmudgeon.

If he can't rely on his brain to diagnose the correct disease in the correct patient, he'll lose everything. Carl Reiner cued him in to that.

He'd hallucinated before and thought he could handle it, but when he realized his "detox" and love-making with Cutty were out of control hallucinations, he bottomed out, because he knew he couldn't trust his intellect to do medicine anymore. I think that's what convinced him to voluntarily enter drug rehab.

It wasn't emphasized in the episode, but because House misdiagnosed pancreatic cancer in the Alien Hand guy, he was subjected to unnecessary surgery. That means he had to recover from a knife wound to the abdomen ... and even pay for the privilege. The patient wouldn't have found that trivial. Major surgery takes months to recover from. House may as well have attacked that man in a dark alley.

pantone290 said...

Loved it, all of it.

I want to see the outtakes of RSL saying, with a straight face, "poo? and strippers?"

poo. of all the things that people think are non-realistic in the behaviors of any of these characters, Wilson using the word poo and House not ridiculing him for it, that takes the cake for me. I giggled a lot.

Damien said...

Well, I called it last week - the sex with Cuddy and earlier events would all be imaginary, though I didn't pick the start point of the hallucination - I thought it might have been from when he went into the insulin induced coma.


But nevertheless, I was very happy with how things panned out, including the strong performances.


As for next season, I see a lot of potential with the rehab and then the psych sessions. Given a decent psych, there could be some great scenes with House playing mind games with his doctor while being psychoanalyzed. If done well, this could be sustained over several episodes, intermingled perhaps with Wilson and Cuddy visits.


And while all this is going on, a staff shakeup back at the hospital could make things interesting for House's eventual return.

Alex said...

Alan, no need to making excuses. You got fooled, enjoy it. After watching as much TV as I have I rarely get surprised and I did not see this coming.

It isn't a trick because this is the first time House hallucinated and did not know about it. All the other times he figured it out pretty quickly and it was rather obvious. He was really scared by this one because he could not catch it.

I loved the ending with House being miserable while everyone else was being happy. House is probably the most consistently miserable character on TV. Five seasons and we only see him happy for like four episodes, tops.

LA said...

"you're dissing the right hemisphere?" Best line of the night (Foreman).

Ariadne said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ariadne said...

I was a faithful House viewer from the pilot but I'm wondering why I'm even watching now. This episode was the recycled cap on a lack lustre season.

Every season finale, it's the same old thing -- House is in peril, Wilson and Cuddy wring their hands. And then it's all fixed in the fall. At this point, I don't care any more if House makes it or not. The show is all smoke and mirrors and no substance.

Although they do a good job of the smoke and mirrors, HL's acting is very good and the sleight of hand in the scripts (hallucinations, drug-taking) impressive but it's all surface and nothing of substance.

I was hoping the House/Cuddy thing would finally be put out of its misery. I'm disappointed that it's merely been put on hold and will (unfortunately ) resurface next season. House shouldn't be in a relationship and Shore should get the guts to stop shipping him with various women and leave him friends with Wilson. Projecting much?

If the new team were any good, people wouldn't have been calling for Cameron and Chase to come back. Thirteen is annoying, Taub is boring and the combination of House, Foreman, Thirteen and Taub, all four variations on the same cynical self-serving personality, in the diagnostic sessions = Major Boring.

The problem with the Cameron/Chase wedding was not that it forced the actors to go through with a wedding although they had broken up in real life (although that was pretty sadistic of Shore) but that it was completely unnecessary to the show. And counterproductive if Shore wants to retain Cameron fans.

When people called for Cameron and Chase back, they wanted them back as doctors, not in a ridiculous sperm plot that would have been rejected by any self-respecting daytime soap opera. Worse, it made Cameron look like a completely neurotic twit. I thought it was bad in Wilson's Heart last year when Cameron didn't even appear. This assassination of her character is much worse.

If Shore and Jacobs were hoping to retain Cameron fans by this story line, they struck out badly because those who have been hanging in hoping to see her back are now giving up on the show.

As I probably am. As Splenda said, "At the rate this show is going, we are about a season and a half away from an episode where Chad Allen guest stars as an adult autistic with a vivid imagination....". Perfectly put.

Laura said...

Does anyone know who designed Cameron's dress?

Kristi said...

Nothing much more to add than what everyone else said, but I did enjoy the "30 Rock" reference at the end of your post. Oh how I love that show!

Anonymous said...

Is anyone else getting bored with this show? Used to be a favorite but i'm getting tired of the medical mystery format every week. Need to mix it up somehow.

Anonymous said...

it was a great final.

True to the show and very well executed.

Of course you were manipulated : it's real storytelling.

to move you, to interest you, to make feel the character, to use musics, camera moves and lights to make your mood

so, yeah, it's great storytelling.

Very painful and beautiful at the end with Wilson watching his friend.

Rebecca said...

I completely disagree with you, Alan. The storytelling for 'Both Sides Now' was perfectly executed. The use of common House 'tricks' such as the hallucination was actually hugely important as it showed character development in the Houseian framework. House is a procedural, formulaic show at its core, and its true brilliance is in the writers' ability to surprise the audience whilst employing the same tools each episode/season. For House to hallucinate/venture from reality each finale is actually a clever way of showing character development. In season 1, though not the finale, we backtrack through House's history in Three Stories, through House's semi-real, semi-fictional storytelling. In season two, he is able to reason his way out of the make-believe in his mind. Jumping to season 4, he also able to decipher the fiction & tricks his brain plays on him, but at a very large cost (Amber's death) so in season 5 it is both fitting and necessary to reach a point where House finally loses that ability to figure out his own mind. The fact that House couldn't tell reality from fantasy was pivotal.
Furthermore, the Cameron/Chase storyline was essential to juxtapose House's position. Had Cameron and Chase decided it wasn't worth taking the risk and trying to understand each other/sort out their problems, they would have been no different to House, who refused to take the risk with Cuddy in reality. It was also a beautiful play on the 'both sides now' theme, in which we see both sides of loyalty, and both extremes of life & emotion. That last minute that you so quickly dismiss was the great climax. Cameron and Chase entering their new lives together, whilst House must, once again, continue his alone.