Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Alimentary, my dear Wilson

Spoilers for the mind-bending (albeit not as mind-bending as it was intended to be) "House" season finale, after the jump...

First open question: Is there anyone here who hadn't figured out that the entire post-shooting episode was a hallucination long before it occurred to House? Second question: If you figured it out, when? For me, it was as soon as House woke up from his beating of Wilson and Elias Koteas (whose character in the script was named Moriarty, in a nice touch to our hero's inspiration) knew more than he should have been able to observe while lying in a neighboring hospital bed. I probably should have figured it out after House's sidekicks found a way to get him out of his handcuffs and took him out to a Mexican restaurant (and one in a neighborhood that doesn't remotely resemble anything in or around Princeton or Plainsboro), but I suppose I was too impressed by Cameron's sunglasses to notice. (Seriously; those were very cool.)

Once it became obvious that this was all a dream/delusion/holodeck program gone awry, the episode wasn't as much fun as "Three Stories," but there were compensating moments. The exploding eyeball was just about the grossest thing I've seen since... ever. (I've always had a thing about eyeballs, which is one of the reasons I never got contact lenses.) House using the robot surgeon for some foreplay with Cameron was as sexy and as silly as it was intended to be (I laughed and applauded at the end of that scene). And House's mind unconsciously analyzing itself worked as well as "Detox," in that it explained things about the man without fixing them. Which leads me to...

... "Tell Cuddy I want ketamine." On the one hand, I'm a big champion of shows that are willing to shake up the status quo, and I'd be somewhat in awe if the "House" writers took away their hero's raison de cranky. On the other hand, I feel like being without the limp would so fundamentally alter House that either the show wouldn't be as much fun or the writers would feel compelled to have the leg pain return in six or seven episodes. So we'll see. Maybe the line was just a wink at the audience.

What did everybody else think?


Jeremy said...

I thought it was a solid mind@#%^ ep (kinda reminded me of star trek the next generations "frame of mind").

Also read somewhere that Hugh is getting horrible back pains from using the cane during shooting, so maybe this will be a way to help him out with that. (Don't you hate when real life becomes spoilers for a fictional show?)

As you mentioned above, it's crucial that they let the character evolve without changing too much. There is something to be said for giving the audience a peek behind the curtain as to the rationale behind the crankydoc, especially since Mr. Shore had it happen at the same time that House was experiencing it.

I was also quite appreciative that we weren't left with much of a gratuitous cliffhanger... The name of the show is House MD, they can't kill him off.

Looking forward to season 3!

Anonymous said...

I thought about it as soon as the patient crashed and House started bleeding at the same time. I wasn't totally sure one way or the other, but I wasn't worrying about it too much. But once he started playing with the robot, I was pretty certain.

I agree with you about the eyeball, too, and I can sit through most episodes of Nip/Tuck without flinching.

Overall, though, while it was kind of cool (much better than the Angel or Without a Trace versions), it still feels like a waste of time (especially the diagnosing time for a nonexistent patient).

Anonymous said...

You applaud while watching TV?

Alan Sepinwall said...

I laugh, boo, applaud, and even occasionally do the wave, if the situation calls for it. I'm a fully interactive viewer.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Oh, and Jeremy, the back pain thing doesn't surprise me. Laura Innes permanently messed up her hips by hobbling around on that crutch on "ER" all those years (one of the reasons they cured Weaver's condition was to spare Innes further pain). Maybe they could shift the limp to the other leg for a while, or pull a "Pride of the Yankees" and shoot everything backwards so that at least Hugh can balance things out.

Matt said...

Oh god, I'd attempted to repress the "Jack hallucinates his own abduction" episode of Without A Trace. Thanks for reminding me. At least this one didn't have the lead jumping of a building to the strains of "Major Tom."

BF said...

Another "clue" that has me agreeing that the whole thing (up till the end) was a hallucination:

Reality "starts" when House enters the ER and we get the cliche gurney crashes through the ER door. Yet at the beginning, House is already in the hospital. If he was shot, did he leave the hospital only to be brought back in? Wouldn't they just cart him down the hall?

Anonymous said...

The episode was brilliant, plain and simple. Any episode that varies from the "patient of the week" style (e.g. 3 stories) tends to get higher marks in my book.

IMHO of course the entire thing, minus the end on the gurney, was a hallucination. I do not see how you could conclude otherwise. Agree with mf and MA Peel on that one.

Re the back pain thing, in fact I have hard that Mr. Laurie specifcially asked the producers to figure out a way to get him off the cane because of it.

Anonymous said...

Ooo...m.a. peel, I never thought of that! So you're saying that maybe House had someone shoot him so he could get the Ketamine?


I loved this episode, even though I knew pretty early on the whole thing was a hallucination. I always like getting into House's head, and I especially liked the process of him analyzing himself.