Tuesday, October 20, 2009

House, "Brave Heart": Night of the dead living

Quick spoilers for last night's "House" coming up just as soon as I whisper in my sleep...

What an odd episode. The random parkour opening made me assume they were going to reveal that some action movie was being filmed somewhere in the vicinity of Princeton-Plainsboro, only it was real. Then Jon Seda (who, despite playing a cop, thankfully didn't give me too many flashbacks to his awful role as Falsone on "Homicide") comes back from the dead, and his condition in the end turns out to be... psychosomatic? I think? Usually, I can keep up with the medical cases, but here, even as House was trying to spell things out, I completely lost the thread.

My larger concern, though, is that House is already starting to backslide into the prankster bully he was trying so hard to stop being in the season's earlier episodes. By far the most interesting part of this season has been seeing House try to balance his natural instincts with his desire to be a better person and make tighter emotional connections with people. For the most part here - particularly with Cuddy - he was edging back towards his old persona.

What did everybody else think?


Ari said...

Dito on the medicine, I kind of didn't understand the resolution.

Also, the patient coming back to life was really obvious. It was too early in the episode to be a "patient is dead but House is just in for the riddle anyway"-episode.

Kate said...

He had a brain aneurysm. it grew and grew and was pressing on the brain bits that controlled, among other things, heart function. Apparently it can be hereditary? Who knew?

Overall, though, not the best episode. There was a patient they shouldn't have been treating (even if he did end up being sick in a way they could treat), the deathly boring Cameron/Chase stuff, and too little Hugh Laurie.

Michael said...

It wasn't psychosomatic. As i read it, he had somehow inherited an aneurism (or, presumably something that CAUSED the aneurism) in his spinal cord which grew and grew until, around the 40th birthday, it cuts off a nerve which caused the heart to stop.

It was an interesting episode, but The Office has made it impossible for me to see a parkour sequence without yelling "PARKOUR!" the whole time.

Sarah said...

Best part of the episode, the old team working together for a third week in a row and no Thirteen. Worst part of the episode, I'm tired of House's pranks too, and how many times do we need to hear from a random person how much House and Cuddy belong together? Please, give me a break.

Anonymous said...

any idea if fox is repeating this anytime soon? i dvr'd it, which obviously didn't go well.

David J. Loehr said...

I also couldn't help calling out PARKOUR! And at the end, as he lay there, the quiet "parkour..." of Andy in the box.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Also, the patient coming back to life was really obvious. It was too early in the episode to be a "patient is dead but House is just in for the riddle anyway"-episode.

I briefly thought that the focus would then turn to the team trying to use Seda's corpse to cure his illegitimate son, but then he started screaming from the bone saw, and it went in another direction.

Mac said...

See, I was able to enjoy the episode by pretending that Seda was Falsone, and that he broke an arm and a leg, seemingly died, got his chest sawed open, pulled out his own tooth without anesthesia, crapped his pants, and had brain surgery. Which is still less painful than what he did to the last two years of "Homicide".

belinda said...

Even though it was a completey cliche arc, I think it was still a very good effort by Jesse Spencer as Chase trying to resolve his issues, and I continue to enjoy the interaction between Chase and House.

But I can't understand why Wilson would stick House in a room filled with pics of Amber (which, kind of weird, considering Wilson and Amber went out for like what? a few months. I guess he must like taking pics), when he knew crazy House hallucinated her on multiple occasions. I mean, all Wilson had to was to take the pics down and put it in a drawer (or in his own room).

Other than that, yay, no 13!

Mrglass said...

The random parkour opening made me assume they were going to reveal that some action movie was being filmed

Exactly! What was the deal with that strange building jumper? It felt like an ad for Nike.

Between that weird opening scene, House hearing voices and the absurd behavior of Chase, the whole episode seemed unreal. Too bad it wasn't another of House's hallucinations.

As much as I like the show, I have to admit that having Chase commit a murder was a mistake, if they didn't plan to have him arrested or fired soon. It is hard to believe that both Foreman (risk-averse and careerist) and House (who always puts the patient's life first) would cover up a murder and hold his hand as he keeps screwing things up. Sad to see one my favorite characters destroyed by bad writing for shock value.

J said...

All the whispering just made me miss LOST.

jackie said...

Yes, as mentioned, it was a tendency to a brain aneurysm that grew slowly and eventually shut off blood flow to the heart, but could also affect other systems.

I'm really enjoying House trying to keep himself on the emotional path he started on at Mayfield but finding it hard. Backsliding is inevitable--but his relationships with both Wilson and Cuddy are not exactly the same. There is more reaching out and honesty. Wilson told House he was there to talk to him if he wanted and House did the same when he found out Wilson was talking to Amber. The scene with House and Cuddy asking each other how they are was very sweet.

I also think Chase is batting his story out of the park. Beautifully done--he's always been a subtle actor who plays well off Hugh Laurie. Don't care about Cameron, though. I think the mix of Chase, Taub, Thirteen and Foreman will be an interesting team. Taub and Thirteen work well together, Chase and Foreman work well, and I think Chase and Taub particularly will be fun. That's what I'm pulling for.

Mac said...

Also, Alan, I've had that same problem with Fox glitching on a Comcast DVR -- almost always on Monday nights, for some reason. I've taken to making sure that the recorder is tuned to Fox so I can hopefully catch it if the main recording is off.

Epiphany said...

Although the medical case wasn't the strongest, for me it's the most memorable so far this season.

It gave us the autopsy (Foreman screaming like a girl - I jumped then laughed my head off!) and the tooth extraction - ouch!

House and Wilson might as well change their names to Oscar and Felix. Just when I think their living arrangement can't get funnier - up pops the morning glory. Heh, heh.

Alan, the point you made about House trying to be a better person but, particularly with Cuddy, "edging back towards his old persona" - I still see him walking that tightrope.

For the most part, he's kinda managing to hold on (just look at what he's done for Chase and then there was sorting out Wilson's tyrant neighbour a couple of episodes back). However, what was very apparent (and hilarious) in Brave Heart is that House's libido was up to 11 - Cuddy just brought out the horny devil in him.

Personally, I loved this episode. I experienced a gamut of emotions: from hilarity to sadness (for Wilson and Chase) and then - orgasmic ecstasy due to the absence of Thirteen. Not even a mention of her. Bliss.

Matter-Eater Lad said...

The Chase and Cameron bits of the episode bored me to tears, in part because the characters and actors are so stunningly bland, and in part because their presence seems like such a backslide for the show and the characters. The only interesting thing they ever did was stop working for House. Foreman and Thirteen emptying the dishwasher would be more interesting than those two.

Pamela Jaye said...

I believe USA runs the eps about 10 or 11 days after Fox does and that Fox has them on their website.

I guess I miss the old cast. I'm still enjoying this season. Last two or three seasons were increasingly boring.
I read Polite Dissent before I got here and it is unbelievable that the aneurysm woyld be in the same place for three or 4 generations (and can you fix an aneurysm that hasn't ..um.. expanded yet?)

I like seeing Cameron & Chase married. I'm sensing a theme. It's nice to see couples couple and stay coupled. If the writer pull on Izzie on Cameron, I'm going to be annoyed.

And I don't know if I want to know but, are Olivia and the guy who plays Taub still on the show? I don't think I'd cry if they weren't.

The wife of Polite Dissent suggests that house just walk around and have conversations with people till he hits on the Eureka moment, which I and the brother used to call "Calluses!"* before he got a season and a half behind.

*based on a MADtv sketch.

btw, hard as it is, thanks for the rules especially on Mad Men. I've been reading GosselinsWithoutPity and the same question are asked and answered over and over. (of course some of the threads there run to 1200 comments)
Last night at midnight I watched Kate Gosselin chased by little girls holding big bugs. That was fun.

Anonymous said...

I don't really follow why what's going on with Chase is absurd to the point that he's being "destroyed". It's a predictable storyline full of cliches, yeah, but I think Jesse Spencer's doing a good job with it and I disagree that House or Foreman are acting OOC at this point in time. Foreman's worried about Foreman and by covering it up he covered his own ass. He agonized over it for about a minute, tried to make Chase feel guilty about what it was doing to *Foreman* for an episode and hit the point where not supporting Chase would only hurt himself so it is what it is. House, otoh, has always been one to explore both sides and in spite of doing what he can to make sure that *his* way is the way that things go, has on many occasion taught a lesson (whether to the fellows or a patient) that it's not always black and white. Throw in the fact that House is not season one House, he's season six House and he actually has a relationship with these people, however weird it might get on occasion, and it doesn't seem OOC at all that House would prop him up and kick his ass. Especially since, unless I blinked and missed something, he hasn't been "screwing things up". House is actually working to make sure that he doesn't start screwing things up by forcing him to confront things and get his head back in the game.

I thought they were going to off Seda and shift the story to saving the kid too, but I was kind of glad that they didn't because this is the one and only time that I've *ever* really liked Seda or a character that he's played. Plus, a wacky "back from the dead" moment works for me if it results in Foreman and House screaming like little girls.

Jenn said...

So right about the show backsliding into the old formula. Last week Wilson started enabling House again. This week it's Cuddy, who signed off on his clinic hours without him doing them. By November sweeps, it will be right back to the formula of season 5 with Huddy and Thirteen front and center.

The Good: the patient story was front and center again instead of the soap opera. Chase's moral dilemma continues and we can see how it's affecting his relationship with Cameron.

The Mediocre: At this point, I am completely over House's angst because it's all the same and I'm tired of the formula. They've even managed to make me not care about his relationship with Wilson. Why would House have to do 120 clinic hours when he lost his license over a mental issue? Why is Cuddy lying for him and letting him off the hook yet again? They haven't shown me enough of Chase and Cameron's marriage to do the dissolution story justice.

Someone Make It Stop: yet another random person anvils House/Cuddy. "That's not hate, that's foreplay." If the actors can't sell it in their scenes, then stop trying to force it. Lie To Me had Lightman taken hostage last night and Tim Roth and Kelly Williams completely made me believe these two care about each other without a SWAT guy telling the audience she looooves him.

I didn't miss Thirteen at all. That was good too. Long may she stay away.

Mrglass said...

Re: the opening scene.

I bet a 'House' producer saw one of those videos and became a fan:


Not fans: the NJ police who send 10 cops drawing their guns at one unarmed guy in sneakers and shirt.

Pamela Jaye said...

that was "if the writers pull an Izzie on Cameron"

Anonymous said...

@Jenn: Unless I missed a big chunck of House and Cuddy's conversation, House isn't having to do clinic hours, he's having to do rounds, work with doctors and interact with patients. He's having to actually work, which in spite of the fact that, if he's to be believed, he doesn't actually have to do that in order to get his license back, is a little more than writing prescriptions for antibiotics and wiping runny noses, which is pretty much what he thinks of clinic duty.

Mrglass said...

Why would House have to do 120 clinic hours when he lost his license over a mental issue?

For no other reason than his hilarious interactions with the doctor and students! I miss House doing his clinic hours and that was a welcome nod to the first seasons.

Yet another anonymous said...

I may be damning with faint praise, but at least so far I'm enjoying this season more than the last.

I also can't believe I'm saying this, because he wasn't my favorite character by far at the outset, but I really enjoy Chase a lot, and can see opportunities with his relationship with House, especially, given the recent actions.

Hatfield said...

Seeing Alan's tweet about his three favorite cottages, it's interesting that two of them are dead (and of course Amber never quite officially made it). For what it's worth, though, I agree. Jennifer Morrison is beautiful (if a bit thinner than I go for), but Cameron has always been frustrating, and her lame move of immediately guilting the ex-girlfriend into telling Seda about his son was the most predictable thing ever.

I liked the episode though, and while he reverted to his pain in the ass mode, House is still different, and obviously trying. I worry that they'll revert completely, but for now I don't think it's a problem.

If Taub is really gone, can we think of a less remarkable exit for a main character? Quitting in the middle of an episode, never to be seen again? Weird.

Unknown said...

"My larger concern, though, is that House is already starting to backslide into the prankster bully he was trying so hard to stop being in the season's earlier episodes."

Can't agree with this. He's always been a prankster who bends the rules, and I'd hate to see that taken away. But that statement above ignores the final scene with House speaking to his dead father, telling him that he'd been "concentrating on the wrong stuff," and that there had been good times too. That's a significant moment of growth for a character who had defined so much of himself by his hatred of his father and his father being a bastard, etc. He's expanding his worldview, and focusing on some of his key issues, not regressing. Of course being followed by yelling at Wilson that it was stupid was also classic House.

Anonymous said...

RE: aneurysms - my mother had successful surgery for an abdominal aortic aneurysm at 81. Her only symptom was lower back pain and the aneurysm showed up in a routine scan. Doctors tell me that if you have a parent or sibling who's had an aneurysm it's important to have it as part of your medical history. It's not strictly hereditary but can run in families....vague info but the symptoms can be vague as well.

Daniel said...

Did not like the ending scene with House exorcising the patient for his flaws. He is backsliding, a run of the mill hypocrite, uninteresting. In fact it's tedious. It's also tedious, the obligatory scene, with him staring off into space as the solution presents itself.

TheEye said...

@anon about your 81 year old mother

It's great to hear the surgery was successful. My Dad died about 10 years ago from a Triple A, and I understand it's a very touchy thing to fix.

As far as House, this might sound kind of odd, but I'm tiring of the medical part of the show. Is it just me, or is it reminiscent of Star Trek? They always seemed to have the same angle of a mystery with an unlikely resolution. I get the feeling sometimes that I'm hearing the same stuff over and over with House. Does an episode go by that they don't check for Cancer or Amloidosis?

House and Wilson keep me watching the show, and that's about it.

Edward Copeland said...

Finally, we get rid of Olivia Wilde and the guest star has to be the actor who ruined Homicide. I just hope when they return in November that Janel Moloney isn't a guest star.

Hatfield said...

Edward Copeland, she's already popped up before, in Season 4 as a mother who supposedly tells her daughter everything
...except of course there's one big secret she's keeping. House shames her but good, so even if you don't like her, at least he makes her cry.

Anonymous said...

@Matter-Eater Lad: No doubt you will soon have your "compelling" storyline with Foreman and Thirteen emptying the dishwasher. We've seen them pick out her shoes together - what could possibly top that? Yep, I really can't wait for that "hot" Thirteen to get back so we can focus on all her problems again.

Poor, boring Chase and Cameron. Worrying about ethics and morality - WHAT are they thinking of to clutter up a medical show with all this talk about whether anyone has the right to take a life?

Anonymous said...

It is hard to believe that both Foreman (risk-averse and careerist) and House (who always puts the patient's life first) would cover up a murder and hold his hand as he keeps screwing things up.

Which is why its perfectly in character for Foreman to protect Chase - its all about protecting himself. And for House, the puzzle's the first thing, not the patient and Chase is just another useful cog to help solve them. House has never had any investment in societal laws or mores, & its completely unrealistic to think he is in anyway concerned about Dibdala or retribution for Chase, as we see.

I thought Jesse Spencer did a phenomenal job yet again, & the cherry on the top was no 13 for once. If only the squeeing student fan girls had been absent - I wish Shore et al would learn that if they have to keep telling me how hot the Huddy is its pretty conclusive evidence that it isn't.

Mrglass said...

It is not true that House only cares about the diagnosis, not the patient's life. In many episodes, he goes out of his way to force the POTW to have a surgery/procedure... against their own wishes, long after the medical mystery has been solved.

If I remember correctly, the fact that he was willing to let a patient die was even a big deal in one episode (although I think he saved him in the end anyway). That was also obvious in 'Three stories' when he refused to have his leg amputated, and Stella pointed out that he would force any of his patients to do so.

Susan said...

Rhoda, thanks for your take on the ending. I had no idea who House was talking to in bed at the end, but his dad makes sense.

Also - didn't House first think he heard whispers in the hospital? The resolution - that he was hearing Wilson whisper to Amber at night - made no sense to me.

amyp3 said...

The House plotlines are just awful and unrealistic.

I’m sooo bored with this show that I was switching back and forth to DWTS even I’m only interested in that for one competitor.

Jenn said...

I found House not interested that 3 generations had all died at the same age to be strange. Anyone as smart as House is reputed to be would have been fascinated and eager to find the link.

They are writing him all over the place these days, whatever makes for the joke or serves to push the current plotline (e.g. Huddy, wanting Thirteen to stay).

I miss House doing his clinic hours and that was a welcome nod to the first seasons.

I do too, the interactions with the patients like the strawberry jelly woman. Seeing House behave like a 6 year old who has an Oppositional Defiant Conduct Disorder to get out of doing his job has got very old for me. Maybe the teenagers watching the show identify with him.

Unless I missed a big chunck of House and Cuddy's conversation, House isn't having to do clinic hours, he's having to do rounds, work with doctors and interact with patients.

My bad. "Supervised hours" is what Cuddy said. In the real medical world (which this bears no resemblance to), he would have to have on-going therapy, not go back to being treated like an intern.

Anyway, he didn't have to do it after all. Cuddy lied for him again. House wins no supervision, Cuddy wins the Worst Parenting Award.

her lame move of immediately guilting the ex-girlfriend into telling Seda about his son was the most predictable thing ever

Isn't that exactly the sort of thing House does regularly? At least for Cameron with having lost her husband, it rang true.

Between that and being the one to want to find out the genetic link, Cameron out-Housed House. I liked it better when House was House and Cameron was Cameron.

Unknown said...

I really liked the feel of this episode, if that makes any sense. The whole thing with House hearing whispers and the dead guy coming back to life made me wonder if it was actually all a dream, because it had sort of a spooky kind of vibe to it. It didn't feel like a normal episode, and that was cool.

I also like that Chase is getting a bit of attention, still. Even though I thought it was kind of out of character and odd for him to kill Dibala after trying to talk Cameron into helping him, I like the way its been handled since. I used to have absolutely no opinion in his character whatsoever, and now I'm actually interested in what happens to him.

I have to agree with whoever said early that the dissolution of his and Cameron's relationship doesn't have very much meaning to me, though, since we never really saw their lives together before this. Yeah, I feel for them as individuals, but I'm not really feeling for their relationship. In any case, I care more about that than I did about Foreman and Thirteen, so that's a step up...

Paula said...

@Matter-Eater LadL

If having a conscience and talking about ethics is backsliding for the show, bring it on! That was the show I fell in love with, not Bore and Boring.

I'd rather be emptying my own dishwasher than have to see Foreman and Thirteen again. And do, when they have a scene together.

dez said...

I can't believe I didn't recognize Jon Seda! Guess he wasn't greasy enough :-D Or quite possibly because I kept jumping back and forth between House and the Dodgers game. Seda wasn't the only one who nearly had an aneurysm that night.

Anyway, I think I liked the ep more than you did, Alan, but with the caveat that I wasn't watching as closely as you because of the aforementioned channel-hopping.

Edward Copeland said...

I haven't watched House from the beginning so there are episodes I've probably missed despite the constant USA marathons and lots of idle time. Thankfully, I haven't run across the Janel Moloney one.

Dmitry Petrov said...

My concern was that he was also hearing voices while in his office.

That means not all of the voices were from Wilson talking...

So, is he hallucinating again?

Heather said...

A lot of same old same old didn't we do this before? I was also confused by the whole action sequence but it was pretty good... and would have been better on say a different show. The only real refreshing thing is Chace's guilt. However, that's even a stretch since it kind of reverts back to Foreman's mess up back in Season 3.

Anonymous said...

@Dmitry Petrov:

He heard voices that he thought weren't there which made him think he was hearing things which caused him to continue hearing things. If that makes sense. He was only hearing things at the hospital because he thought he was hearing things. Now that he knows that the sounds at home were real, problem solved. He wasn't hallucinating, he was just making himself a little crazy by thinking he was backsliding in some way.

Anonymous said...

I am struck by how many people, at this blog and elsewhere, are saying that one of the highlights of the episode was the lack of Thirteen. (For me too.) Alan, can you suggest a name and address to which the fans could write to express that sentiment directly to the appropriate Powers That Be?

It seems clear to me that Olivia Wilde was hired to bring ratings, but if the fans don't LIKE her character -- if in fact we are cheering her absence -- that's not a ratings draw. We should really let TPTB know that, shouldn't we?

Dmitry Petrov said...


Yeah, I guess that does.

Still, it's unusual for the show to have a gap like that. It can be easily misinterpreted.

Anonymous said...

Someone know the name of the song, in the begining of the episode ? thanks

Anonymous said...

Someone know the name of the song, in the begining of the episode ? thanks