Monday, May 19, 2008

House, "Wilson's Heart": Gotta save Ambuh!

Brief "House" season four finale spoilers coming up just as soon as I wipe my sleeve...

Like Amber, I've had healthier days. Unlike Amber, it's not hard to diagnose what's wrong with me (hint: it involves the little germ factory I send my daughter to every day), but it still means my judgment's a bit impaired. (For that reason, and my need to sleep, the "HIMYM" review will likely have to wait until morning.)

I'm still not sure all the hallucinations/flashbacks/dreams in this two-parter were an necessary stylistic flourish, but Anne Dudek and Robert Sean Leonard acted the hell out of Wilson and Amber's goodbye. There's stage crying, and then there's raw, unfiltered emotion, and they gave us buckets full of the latter.

I'm also glad they didn't try to end the season on a House-in-jeopardy cliffhanger. Not only did they do that at the end of season two, but endangering the life of your main character is the most bogus kind of cliffhanger. I mean, we don't know for sure that House will be completely unimpaired, but the final scene seemed to be much less about the state of House's brain than it was about the shattered state of his friendship with Wilson.

Also, good on the writers for making House's sin relatively minor, but still the type that Wilson would have a hard time forgiving. Had House slept with Amber, it might have been more dramatically interesting at first, but it's the kind of development that they could never plausibly undo, and the House/Wilson friendship, whenever it's restored, is one of the strongest (and often funniest) parts of the series.

Speaking of things that can or can't be undone, we end the season with the status quo for the new team, which means the writers didn't try to backslide the way I think we all assumed when House lost his whole team last year. Yes, Foreman's back, but there's no sign that Thirteen, Kutner and Taub (whose hug of his sleeping wife was one of the episode's nicest little touches) are going anywhere, nor that Chase and Cameron want back in. That's not great news for fans of those characters -- or for people who could take or leave, say, Thirteen -- but at least the writers have made the ramifications of last year's finale last a lot longer than House's newfound ability to run from the start of season three.

Don't have a brain injury, but still need sleep. What did everybody else think?


Mac said...

It got a little dusty here, that's for sure. On several occasions, notably Amber's note. I'll miss her.

Despite that, one of my favorite moments was Kuttner watching TV, eating cereal. Life goes on.

Anonymous said...

I think this episode will hurt the show long term. Wilson and House can never go back to the witty friendship they had and when they do, it will ring false. They lost a lot of the comedy forever and thats too bad.

Anonymous said...

Oh, it got more than a little dusty for me. They have to let one die once in a while, but I sure didn't think it was gonna be Amber. I'll really miss Anne Dudek - she has just gotten more interesting as this has gone on.

Of course, Amber's note is not only a tear-jerker, but more proof that they all screwed up her case (not that it mattered much). They didn't find a note on her bed when searching her apartment? Could have saved House a big ol' lightening bolt to the brain.

In the end, I suspect Wilson will come around because House risked his life for her, which Wilson may have thought at the time meant that House was in love with her, but he now knows it was because of his love for Wilson, if that makes sense.

I, too, loved all the reactions at the end, especially Chase and Cameron meeting up with Foreman. I like that those three can now be friends in a way they really couldn't be when they were working together.

Well done all around.

Myles said...

I was fine emotionally until the note - then it was watery eyes.

Count Screwloose said...

Well, that was brutal. It was hard watching a show where everyone was in such pain and had such little hope of redemption.

The talking-to-someone-who's-already-technically-dead business reminded me of Torchwood and the classic "Subway" ep of Homicide, but I think I found it most affecting the was it was done here. Heartbreaking.

I don't see how the House/Wilson friendship can be plausibly repaired either. Sure, it was a random event, but it happened because of the selfish behavior of someone with a fairly unrepentant history of assholery who thinks it's a given that everyone should indulge and take care of him.

That being said, I loved it.


Anonymous said...

Really liked these last two; I thought this was a pretty enjoyable finale with excellent emotional stakes. Fantastic acting all around; Leonard and Dudek especially.

Feels like a good full circle for the season as well, as House goes from the guy who pushed everyone away at the end of last season and was happy about it to the guy who actually admitting that he needs people, at least in the form of Wilson (and Cuddy too, depending on how you want to read the hand-holding) and that he doesn't want to be miserable anymore. Here's hoping the writers actually move him (slowly) in that direction - based on this season I have some hope that they're willing to significantly change things up.

I agree that the dreams and timejumps may not have been necessary here, but I still thought they were interesting and a fun way to tell the story. And I'll second Taub's hug of his wife as an excellent bit, moreso because it was almost a tackle of her. The unrestrained part of the action made it heartwarming, and Jacobson's stature made it just a little bit funny ; ) Kutner's reaction of business as usual at the end was good too. Just felt true that not everybody would go to pieces.


AndyW said...

Nice performances, but if I followed the medical mumbo-jumbo correctly, the pills Amber took only killed her because her kidneys were damaged in the crash. Despite his amnesia, House remembered there was somebody in dire need of medical attention just before the crash. So... how did he know her kidneys were damaged? The cottages didn't even have a clue until they saw the jaundice. Or did House see some post-crash symptom I don't recall from last week?

Of course, the note was a much more direct logical fallacy.

In any case, although it was emotional, it felt manipulative. They reintroduced Amber just to off her and introduce a dramatic element for next season. It's really just more navel-gazing from House since everything is literally about him.

Sara Ann said...

Well, I cried buckets. I can't believe they killed Amber! But RSL and Anne Dudek were devastating, and that moment when Wilson asked House to risk his life to save Amber's, and House, after processing Wilson's priorities, just said yes--wow. And can I just say how much I appreciate House suffering an actual consequence for his selfish actions? And not even one of his worse actions--a minor infraction! Here's hoping this hasn't all blown over by the time next season rolls around.

Byron Hauck said...

I lost it a little bit during Wilson and Amber's goodbye, but I lost it a whole lot when Taub couldn't hold his estranged wife close enough.

afoglia said...

Cutthroat bitch, I'm going to miss you.

The episode was okay, but I felt the Wilson-Amber relationship seemed very, very strong for people who've only been dating four or five months. It might have been more emotionally powerful if they paced out the Wilson-Amber stuff and put this at the end of the year, before Christmas break, or at the end of next season.

What was Foreman saying about Amber dying when her heart gave out in the van? Does that mean they might have been able to save her if her heart didn't go out? Because what House said about the toxin binding to her didn't make it sound like that was even a possibility.

Agnes B said...

Did I miss you cutting Bones? I can't find mention of that in the archives, but maybe I didn't go back far enough.

Anonymous said...

I didn't care for Cutthroat Bitch, but I kind of liked Amber and her death made me cry. Kudos to AD and RSL for their top-notch acting in that scene.

I think House and Wilson will be friends again, but it will take a long time. A looong time. Preferably a great part of the next season.

Anonymous said...

I had the same question as andyw. Wasn't her life only in danger AFTER the crash and not before?

Anyway, I don't think the Wilson/House friendship is as damaged as everyone else seems to think. But I did love that Amber told House "you can't always get what you want," which was a nice little shout out to the pilot and the first season finale.

Also, wasn't this two-parter originally intended to be the Super Bowl episode? If that's the case does that mean the strike caused us to get more episodes with Amber before she got killed off? Because I'm not really sure the episode would have worked had it aired sooner and we hadn't gotten several episodes of the Amber/Wilson relationship.

Anonymous said...

my impression was that the symptom that house noticed before the crash was amber ODing on the pills. it wasn't clear to me whether anything could be done immediately afterwards to prevent the chemical from binding with her proteins or whatever made it impossible for dialysis to cleanse her blood, but that the crash itself - whether by destroying her kidneys or causing so much trauma that no one noticed the poisoning until it was too late to do anything about it - sealed amber's fate.

also, i disagree that house committed even a minor infraction. he called a friend because he was too drunk to get home. i think more people than not have found themselves doing this. granted house exploits everyone around him as a matter of course, but this particular phone call strikes me as an eminently reasonable favor to ask.

i've been pleasantly surprised by how well this season shook off the rust that had been accumulating on the show all of last season. hopefully, the powers that be will continue to change things up a bit, perhaps even by - *gasp* - letting house grow up emotionally...

Anonymous said...

and just to add to josh's point, house didn't want amber to come. he asked for wilson specifically. perhaps i'm picking nits given that amber is dead, but there is a difference. wilson will be mad, but it isn't houses' fault.

also, don't y'all forget: 13 has huntingtons.

Anonymous said...

The writers made it seem as if House risking his life with the deep-brain stimulation was a big deal, signifying his love for Wilson and/or his love of/guilt over Amber. But wasn't that exactly the kind of stunt he might have pulled for any undiagnosed patient? In fact, I'm surprised he hasn't tried it before.

I agree that the acting in this episode was superb. One thing this show does far better than most is make cast changes for good dramatic reasons, rather than firing or losing actors and then finding plot reasons for them to go as an afterthought. So if Amber had to go, this was the way to do it. Though I think they could have still done more with her -- we saw a lot of her sweetness lately, but it would have been interesting if everyone had had to deal with her cutthroat side coming back out again, too. And when we saw her as more-or-less an angel in the end, it would have been funny if she had already been plotting to reach the top in the afterlife.

Mrglass said...

OK I will try to be brief but I hated hated hated, hated this episode. After a very entertaining season 4 and a superb first half of the finale, they ruin it all with soapy drama and SF-worthy medecine. Amber with a "frozen" heart, before being resurrected for a couple of hours, just so that she can say goodbye and have a good cry with Wilson? What show am I watching?

It is as if a Grey's Anatomy writer had stolen the script from last week's episode, and expanded it to an useless second part with zero original element (House is having visions for no reason now), but a whole lot of cliche. This just didn't feel like 'House'.

Alan-style list of other things I hated:

- House and Amber in the Heaven-bus. Remember when House was an atheist? All that was missing was a halo around Amber's head and angel wings, with House falling on his knees begging God for forgiveness.

- Amber and Wilson have been dating for what, three episodes? All the drama could have possibly worked (with a lot of changes) had that relationship been a bit older.

- The electro-shock device was less believable than the machine House was dreaming about in the season 2 finale. And enough with House in cardiac arrest (or some other near-death experience) already.

- Kumar's dead parents: why reveal it now, in this horrible episode. And shouldn't 13 know about it already after many months working together?

- Speaking of 13, it seems the writers realized this episode was awful and tried to add as many teary moments as they could; like 13 realizing she is sick. Too bad everything fell flat. They should have kept those revelations for later.

- Wilson walking away at the end. Just some artificial tension for next year, since House is in no way responsible for what happened. My guess for how many episodes they will need to become BFFs again: 3.

Pure crap. But kudos to the actors because they alone made it still semi-watchable. I won't say this was the worst episode of House ever, because some filler episodes of season 3 are probably just as bad, but this was definitely the most disappointing.

K J Gillenwater said...

I think last week's episode was stronger on the believability end, but this week's had much more of an emotional impact. Yeah, it was totally soap opera that House undergoes deep brain stimulation...and nobody seems to care or say anything. Like Aussie doc would just say, "Oh, sure, let's do something life-threatening to House. No problem."

Everything happened so quickly that there was no room for reflection or any kind of protestation from those who usually do.

But there was such a great emotional pay off (yes, I also was crying my eyes out over Wilson and Amber at the end) that I was willing to forgive it. Sometimes you just have to let the writers take you there and not care too much about how you got there, if that makes sense.

And to those who say Wilson and Amber hadn't been dating long long *have* they been together? They started dating right around the time House finished picking his final team...there was secret dating time. So they most likely had been dating for months before House figured it out. I mean, they'd moved in together and were picking out mattresses. I don't think this was a 'new' relationship at all.

I'm very curious to see where this will put House and Wilson's relationship next season. They just made things interesting again.

**Oh, and I thought Anne Dudek looked absolutely stunning in the dream sequences.**

Anonymous said...

I liked this episode, for no other reason than it broke out of the pattern of the patient crashing at every act break, then suddenly being fine.

House v. Wilson stretches out until the Christmas episode.

Just my prediction.

Anonymous said...

Didn't House once intentionally kill himself (electrocution or something) just to find out what it was like to be dead? It was after discusing death with a patient. Maybe I'm just remembering something else, but why after all of his hallucinations in such a short time, why would he ask if he was dead? Seems out of character even in his head.

Anonymous said...

Ha! I restarted the episode on my DVR to see if Shonda Rimes was a writer for this episode. Interesting. I think most HOUSE fans love that this show isn't soapy like ER and GREY'S ANATOMY, yet many of them are gushing over what has to be its soapiest episode yet.

I have mixed feelings. I know the writers have to do what they can to keep this show from deteriorating to the type of procedural that is CBS's bread and butter, but the writing (not the acting, the acting is superb) has been more than just a bit hammy post-strike.


KendraWM said...

Geez, time to get a new cleaning lady, my house was especially dusty last night.

I have to say I never really liked CB, but when Wilson was telling Amber just what was wrong with her, the expression on Anne Dudek's face was incredible. The realization from a Doctors stand point just what was happening to her body, she played it so well.

I will admit I could not figure out why Wilson would be mad at House, I thought that this would have happened either way, since her body could not clear out the medicine, I found that a little confusing.

And CB in the dream sequences, man did she look freaking incredible.

Anonymous said...

someone above said "he called a friend because he was too drunk to get home. i think more people than not have found themselves doing this."
This is how Claire died on L&O - Lenny relasped and got very drunk after the death row case, and Claire gave him a ride.

AD looked beautiful in the final dream sequences on the bus.

I also enjoyed the where-are-they sequence at the end. It is a common thing on ER, but not here, so it worked well.

For those who think this is turning into ER or Grey's A, I don't believe it. At least I hope it doesn't happen!

Anonymous said...

I didn't feel all the emotion everyone else seems to have felt. In fact, I didn't really feel anything - I didn't care enough about Amber. I didn't care enough about Wilson's relationship with Amber. I just didn't. Maybe if I had seen the relationship develop over an entire season or two I would have cared, but I don't.

As for 13 not knowing about Kumar's past - I'm not surprised. It would be rude to ask him, "So, how come your name's Kutner but you're Indian?" And working together closely for a long time doesn't automatically mean she'd be comfortable asking him that.

dark tyler said...

What the hell is going on? House turns Grey's Anatomy, How I Met Your Mother turns Friends... Is this Opposite Monday? Yuck. I want my favorite shows back.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised no one has mentioned the music from last night's episode. I thought the Iron & Wine song was especially great - and the version of Teardrop with lyrics?

I've downloaded them both.

Linda said...

Don't forget the Bon Iver song that played when the rest of the team came in to say goodbye to Amber and as she actually died. Beautiful, beautiful.

Anonymous said...

I'm with the commenters who felt the hand of Shonda Rhimes. This episode had that emotionally manipulative vibe in which Shonda specializes.

I wasn't at all invested in Wilson and Amber's relationship, and I was left wondering why the hospital staff all came in to pay their respects but Amber's family was never contacted. Also, it's a small gripe, but the moment she died was worthy of a daytime soap.

All that said, Hugh Laurie deserves an Emmy for his performance.

Anonymous said...

I just watched the episode....maybe it's me, but why in the world would Wilson be the least bit mad at House? House got drunk, needed a ride, and called for WILSON...and Amber took it upon herself to come get him. A favor, yes, but not what he asked for. In fact, his first words when he saw here were "I asked for Wilson".
And its not like House drove the bus and got it into a crash?
While I believe Wilson is crushed, I don't see ANY reason why he should be mad at was an ACCIDENT, and nothing more.
Someone please try to convince me otherwise.

CarolMR said...

Yes, it was an accident, but still...if House hadn't gotten drunk he wouldn't have needed a ride. Only a saint would not feel some anger toward House.

Anonymous said...

lol i CRIED during an episode of HOUSE. house and wilson will recover. question for ppl who've watched this show more devotedly: is this the first time they've had a version of 'teardrop' play during the actual episode? seems like an obvious card they might play but i can't remember hearing it any other time. also anyone know who did this version? funny i'd assumed from the get-go that they would pare down the new team and find some way to go back to status quo and when they revealed 13 maybe (or now we know definitely) has huntingtons i thought 'there's yr tearjerker finale'. it seems like that's still an avenue they might explore but it's a testament to anne dudek (and the writers) that she took a bit recurring role and ended up damn near defining the season.

Anonymous said...

I can't ever remember hearing another version of TEARDROP being used for the show (of course, the original version has lyrics which just aren't used in the theme song). At another board, I saw someone comment that it was like they used an alternate version of the theme song to underscore how "Un-HOUSE" this episode was. The new version was acoustic and had lyrics and just the kind of thing you'd expect in an episode of Grey's.

afoglia said...

@Kristin said... to those who say Wilson and Amber hadn't been dating long long *have* they been together? They started dating right around the time House finished picking his final team...there was secret dating time. So they most likely had been dating for months before House figured it out.

Not quite. When House found out, he offered to bet Wilson that it wouldn't last a month. Wilson did claim that he and Amber had been dating longer. But then House finds out Wilson was lying. ("You're mad that I lied about a bet you had no intention of paying," was Wilson's reaction.)

But the issue is only partly about how long they've been going out, and partly how long we've seen them going out. It's only been a handful of episodes.

CarolMR said...

How were they able to bring Amber "back" to say goodbye? After all that heart and brain damage? And if the Antamadine(?)binded to her blood, couldn't they just give her a blood transfusion? And shouldn't her eyes have been even more yellow when she came back?

Unknown said...

I agree with Mrglass. I disliked this episode. I think my problem with it was the implausible nature of the medicine. When I don't believe in the medicine, I can't buy into the other aspects of the show. I have no medical knowledge, but that makes it all the worse when the writers can't even think up something that will fool me.

Anonymous said...

Is it odd when I sob over the season finale of House more than of Grey's?

Anonymous said...

Waking her up just to tell her that she has an hour to live is sadistic.

I cried when she said, "I'm dead"; she looked terrified.

Too bad they killed her off. I really liked CTB.

Anonymous said...

Just FYI, when you're looking for a song that has played on TV, you can search at:

It was put up for just this purpose! :)

Right now, for some reason, it isn't loading, but it has worked great for me every other time!