Tuesday, October 13, 2009

House, "Instant Karma": King Midas in reverse

Quick spoilers for last night's "House" coming up just as soon as I offend a cabbie...

Aside from the usual silly Thirteen obsession that House and his writers share, "Instant Karma" was the strongest of the post-"Broken" episodes to date. House was more involved with the case, while still trying his best to be a better man, Lee Tergesen was his usually strong self as the wealthy dad, and Jesse Spencer did a good job playing Chase's angst about being found out. Chase is probably my favorite fellow, original or new recipe, and my main issue with last week's "The Tyrant" was that House wasn't present enough in that story because of the shenanigans with his neighbor's phantom limb pain. "Instant Karma" offered a much better balance between House and his sidekicks.

Hoping Thirteen stays in Thailand, but I know that ain't happening.

What did everybody else think?


Anonymous said...

I liked the episode, but thought the karma aspect of giving away his billions was really stupid. It did not have enough build up to be significant when it happened. Plus there seemed to be a red herring about the mother, but maybe I missed some explanation about that.

I also don't get why 13 was even in the episode. I liked Taub and kinda miss him, but like most I am not missing 13.

Maya said...

I love 13 she's the only stable member of his team, although now I think she should hook up with Wilson they'd be hot together

Anonymous said...

I can't stand 13 either, but I didn't think her appearance was that bad last night. She's tolerable when she's kind of on her own like she was; its the 13-Foreman drama that's just sucks. Maybe Taub will show up while she's overseas?

ps said...

I kind of wish they had done a rotating fellow thing (like on Bones), but I think 13 will be back. I found trying-to-be functional House to be much more compelling than last season's extreme House.
This past weekend, I had watched a couple shows from season 3 (when Foreman was also temporarily in charge for a few weeks), and last night felt like a throwback to that in a wonderful way. There had been some growth (Foreman didn't let House get to him as much; he knew his position this time. Also, Cameron wasn't as whiny.) which was good to see.

Love your blog!

Sandra said...

I hope Thirteen stays in Thailand too, can't stand her. Can we have Cameron back instead, please?! It was so good to see House and the old team back in action, I love them! The case was great too. Almost felt like we were back in the times of the most brilliant seasons 1 to 3.

Rain said...

With the writers' obsession with Thirteen they will move Diagnostics to Thailand if that's all it takes to get a big dose of Thirteen on our TV screens week after week

Mrglass said...

Maybe I missed something, but what is the rationale for Chase (now a surgeon) and Cameron (now head of ER?) to go back to their old, low-level jobs? Wasn't last week just a one-time thing?

I imagined that House would be furious about having one of his colleagues murder (or let die) a patient. He may often look down on silly society rules, but what Chase did was something else entirely. Maybe House just lacks self-confidence at the moment, otherwise he may not have tolerated it.

Danny said...


I am surprised you didn’t mention your hatred with the writers sloppily bringing everything back to normal after an episode or two with a neat little bow. I liked the Chase storyline, and I knew all along that he wasn’t going to end up found for murder, but they could of had him or Foreman request old records. Instead of making House out to be not only a genius but an expert psychologist and superb reader of body language.

I guess you can chalk it up to House knowing that Chase and Foreman were obviously bothered by reviewing it, so he reviewed there work and found the cholesterol anomaly. But I found that to be more of the same, making House out to be a superhuman.

Overall though I love where this season is going so far. I just get a horrible feeling in my stomach that once House returns, then so will Taub and Thirteen. I am of the camp that the original team was the best for the show. Season 4 was great with the suvivor games, but I think a return to the basics would be great. Even if Chase and Cameron left for different positions, it seems Cuddy puts the Diagnostician department on a pedestal, so I am sure she would match pay. Also working under House can land you your own gig down the line a la season 4 Foreman.

Bobman said...

I don't know that it's the writer's obsession with 13 so much as the fact that Olivia Wilde is a beautiful / sexy woman who they're trying to use to get viewers. Not that House needs help getting / keeping viewers but... sex sells, it's one of the more basic rules of television, right?

belinda said...

I was waiting for House and Chase to have a talk from last episode, so it was satisfying to see it here, and compare it how House dealt with that incident with Chase in the past.

I just hope we get to see more of the interaction between House and his original minions (and none of the stupid 13 crap. Who buys Wilson's "You're different coz you challenge him" crap?), and especially Chase - since it seems that relationship had evolved the most (and the most organic) out of his minions, and I'm still quite uncertain as to how/what they even think of each other as. It'll be great to watch this unfold. If the writers could just give up trying to forefully (like this ep) forge a relationship between House and 13. I wonder how different things would have been if CTB (who had a natural chemistry with House AND the original three) was the one who stayed with the gang instead.

dez said...

So who actually cancelled 13's plane reservations? I completely lost interest in that storyline and missed the explanation. Thanks!

Rest of the ep was great, though. Lee Tergesen needs to be a regular on my TV again. There has to be a show that could use his talents!

Anonymous said...

who doesnt know the writers obsession with 13? they really dig olivia wilde even if shes a terrible actress

Anonymous said...

The last few episodes with the original team have been SO much better than almost the entire previous season. I wasn't really that upset when they changed teams as I generally felt most of the team members were ciphers, but the show works SO much better with the originals. I don't really get, though, why the James Earl Jones storyline is the way they're choosing to write off Cameron, when it makes more sense for Chase to leave as a result. Personally, I wish Taub and 13 would stay away for good and Cameron and Chase would return permanently.

Mrglass said...

dez, the person who canceled 13's reservation was either one of 'House' producers, or Olivia Wilde's agent. Because they all agree we need more pointless, annoying subplots involving 13.

(actually, it was House, for reasons I already forgot)

Jenn said...

I don't know that it's the writer's obsession with 13 so much as the fact that Olivia Wilde is a beautiful / sexy woman who they're trying to use to get viewers.

Are they trying to get more 14 year old boys as viewers?

I think Thirteen would work as lobby art but she's not an interesting person and Olivia Wilde doesn't have Hugh Laurie's ability to make an unpleasant character compelling.

As a professional woman of Cuddy's age, Thirteen and the House/Cuddy relationship are the two biggest turn-offs on the show for me.

Epiphany said...

Alan, glad to see that you're sticking with your House summaries. What can I say about the Thirteen situation that hasn't been said by most posters (and your good self) already?

I'm not even convinced that Olivia Wilde's a ratings-winner because numbers dropped during season 13/Boreteen (season 5 to you and me). I don't understand the House PTB's obsession with her, I never will.

As far as the episode itself is concerned, it was pretty solid overall - it felt like a natural progression from seasons 1-3... until it got to anything to do with Thirteen. To pen Wilson arguing that House needs her felt like a last resort to validate the character. Guess what? It didn't work.

dez said...

Thanks, Mrglass! Since my Mondays are full up at 8 p.m. right now, House is the show I choose to watch first-run while I DVR my other shows. Since I'm not watching it via the DVR, I can't rewind when I lose a plot thread (usually involving the vortex of suckitude that is 13) to see what I missed. :-)

eddie willers said...

I imagined that House would be furious about having one of his colleagues murder (or let die) a patient.

House said something to the effect, "Better a murder than a misdiagnosis"

olucy said...

(actually, it was House, for reasons I already forgot)

Wait....huh? I thought Wilson cancelled her reservation because he thinks she needs to come back to House's team because she's good for him (or some other BS reason). Thirteen said she asked Cuddy to get the IT guy to trace who had accessed her computer.

Danny said...

@ olucy

That did happen, but then when Wilson went into Houses office. House called him a bad liar, or something to effect, and took credit for it. Wilson thought if 13 heard it from him insteaf of House, it would be more convincing

Anonymous said...

Thirteen said she asked Cuddy to get the IT guy to trace who had accessed her computer.
No, the IT guy traced the IP address of the person doing the hacking - i.e. Wilson's. Except House & Wilson are living together, therefore House has access to Wilson's computer & Wilson later admited he was lying for House.

But honestly, I don't really give a f#$% about 13, so I found the whole sorry episode stupid in the extreme. Shore has really misjudged how fascinating this isn't.

fgmerchant said...

I like 13 but I hate Foreman. If I had my way, they would kill off Foreman (not an open ended one where he might come back) just get rid of him and bring back Thirteen. Then just forget that crap about her disease and pull a normal TV thing where they just never mention her disease and pretend it never happened! Then the show would be back to it's full awesomeness!

Anonymous said...

I see no reason for Taub to return.
I wish 13 would go away!
Love all the scenes between House and Wilson.
Not too crazy about Huddy.
Would rather have Stacy back.
House really, really loved her.

JMRM said...

House was furious when that guy from season 4 poisoned a patient to "cure polio", but he forgives Chase after committing murder...
I get it, he's a lot closer to Chase, but he should at least be dissapointed.

JMRM said...

Mrglass: Maybe now they'll get payed more (considering they have a lot more experience).

Danny: You don't have to be a genius to notice something was up between Foreman and Chase. That plus the conference... I mean, it wasn't that big a mistery.

spanky lollerson said...

Dear Allegedly Heterosexual Males Who Whine And Complain When Thirteen Gets A Whopping 90 Seconds of Screentime,

Some of us like 13 just fine. Every moment her face is on the screen is a moment of rhapsodic televisual beauty—and besides, she gives a lot of material for House to riff with. Their exchange about "best thing I've ever eaten—yes, including what you're thinking" was the funniest line of the season thus far. It's not like she's an atrocious actress or something. The wildly popular House might have problems as a show, but Olivia Wilde is not one of them.

Random Internet Jerkwad

Danny said...

@ Pepe

I meant that they already wrote out to be a genius and thats fine. I just didnt like that they couldnt figure this out themselves and they needed to tie House back into it. Your right, all the scenes were awkward and Cameron and House clearly saw something eating away at Chase. I guess after all the show is called House.

Unknown said...

I've said that I hate 13. I don't dislike Olivia Wilde at all, I just don't think that her plot line with Foreman has/is going anywhere, and that they have a whiny/annoying relationship that detracts from every script that it's in. And I dread the day that her disease pops up again, and the writer's give her a long, lingering, melodramatic send-off, with her looking more beautiful as she dies, a la Ali McGraw in Love Story.

Aside from that, "Instant Karma" was the best episode in a couple of seasons -- focusing mostly on a a genuine medical mystery and moral dilemma. And the original ducklings rock.

Matter-Eater Lad said...

Random Internet Jerkwad,

Bless you.

Anonymous said...

Dear Random Internet Jerkward,

I'm quite sure that there are many heterosexual males (like yourself) who enjoy watching Olivia Wilde, particularly when she takes her clothes off or goes bi for sweeps. I'm sure that you also enjoy Lisa Edelstein's boobs falling out all over the place, as they did yet again in this episode. Problem is, I (female) don't enjoy watching David Shore's jerk off fantasies which is pretty much what both these characters have been reduced to on screen. The writers managed to waste a quarter of this episode on the burning issue of whether or not 13 goes to Thailand to what dramatic purpose? Oh, that's right none, other that giving you a pretty face to look at. And in the meantime, the ratings continue to slide.

Jenn said...

Dear Random Internet Jerkwad:

If they can keep Thirteen to 90 seconds of screentime each episode to deliver lines like that, I'm okay with keeping her on the show.

But I resent her taking up large amounts of screentime, even more so now that the clock is ticking down on something else. It's pointless trying to get us to worry that she's never going to be back because we know already. She will. Cockroaches are easier to get rid of than Thirteen. Nor am I so stupid as to believe that House needs her because she's 'the only one who doesn't get sucked into the vortex' because I have been watching this show for 5 seasons now, apparently unlike the writers, and Thirteen gets sucked in as much as Chase or Cameron or Foreman.

OW does do a good job with sexy one-liners but for intelligent banter, I prefer House's interactions with Wilson, Cameron and Chase.

Ariadne said...

I find it hard to take an episode of House on its own merits these days. They switch things around so much, retcon instead of writing from where they are, promise and don't deliver, start a storyline and drop it, and go back and reset, that I don't trust what the show is trying to sell me any more.

The most obvious is Thirteen leaving. If only I could believe she's gone for good! But Shore seems to have a huge blind spot with her as he does with Foreman and nothing will remove either of them from the show no matter how much they drag the show down.

Likewise, for all his time in Mayfield and the shrink's therapy, House is back to lying about trying to keep Thirteen on the job and messing with her reservations. Sadly, he still isn't able to be honest about his actions and admit when he's messing with other people's lives.

And Wilson is back again to lying to save House from the consequences of his own actions so hello again enabling.

At the moment, the House and Cuddy interactions are tolerable because they are both acting like adults. Is it a co-incidence that it's because the show has stepped back from shipping them? Sadly, it's a certainty that the shipping will start up again very soon and they will act immature because that is the only way the writers know how to write those two without ending the relationship (is that why they ended House's UST with Cameron, because she wouldn't have behaved like that?) and then I'll have to start fast-forwarding through their scenes again.

I'd like to think that House grew and became somewhat emotionally healthier and more mature because I'm tired of the childish House but it's starting to look like this will be gone by the first sweeps period.

The best part of the episode was Chase's moral dilemma. If they could limit the childishness and cut the dead weight (Foreman can stay but only if he only shares scenes with Chase; Thirteen has to go and so does the juvenile part of Huddy)

Caemron was sadly under-used and out-of-character because the original Cameron was never this milquetoast. It's as if the writers are are trying to suck the life out of her character so we'll all accept Thirteen and Huddy. All if does is make me want to rewatch the early seasons of House again.

J.J. said...

I hope Thirteen brings back a nasty disease of some kind that makes her the Patient Of The Week and quickly kills her.

This way, the writers' room can compose a beautiful love-letter of a script that showcases her amazing acting abilities... and makes it so that we never have to bother with her anymore.

KrisMrsBBradley said...


They should at least make Chase take off his shirt to us equal time.