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House: "Knight Fall"

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House

"Knight Fall"

Season 6, Episode 17

Let's see if I get this straight: "Knight Fall" starts with a Renaissance Festival, the PotW is an idiot knight, there's discussion of the wonders of the chivalric code, House even goes to the Ren Fest himself, in costume, and yet not one person mentions Don Quixote. On a show whose hero is committed to slaughtering all cows on the assumption that some of them have to be sacred, nobody brings up the best satire of knighthood ever put to paper? Seems like a missed opportunity. The fact that anyone in this day and age could take a system of beliefs largely designed to keep a bunch of twenty year old morons with sharp objects from raping and stabbing their way through life at face value is absurd. 

Ah, but who am I kidding. While early seasons of House at least pretended that the lifestyle choices of each new PotW were open for debate, these days, we'll get a few half-hearted conversations, some silly speeches, and not much else. House isn't engaged in the discussion, which takes the fun out of it. Remember when he used to get really invested in solving cases? These days he acts like somebody who wants to get the last few boxes of a Sudoku puzzle filled in before finishing his lunch break. So Sir William, the moron whose steroid use and accidental(?) hemlock ingestion nearly gets him killed gets bleats about his lost love, 13 tries to talk some sense into him, and Chase is arbitrarily picked to be the one staff member who actually thinks knights are cool. (Which is perfectly in keeping with him murdering the helpless patient earlier in the season, right? Knights were all about the ends justifying the means.) 

I can't cite examples, because these episodes blur together after a while, but--William is in love with Shannon, but because Shannon is marrying William's friend Miles, William doesn't feel it's his place to speak up. This means we see Shannon pining over William, and William being all stoic, and, like I said I can't cite examples, but all of this is painfully familiar. Apart from the faux-medieval trappings, there's nothing distinctive about any of these people. William's most interesting character trait was his red eyes. The entire conflict could've been excised from this episode without losing anything but running time. I realize House has probably passed its creative peak (ahem), but I'd appreciate it if the plotting of the medical drama wasn't so by-the-numbers that I can actually see digits forming on screen.

These days, it's side information that carries us through the hour, and hey, it's good to get a new recurring guest star. Most people these days will recognize Cynthia Watros (who plays Samantha, Wilson's new girlfriend and first ex-wife) from her time as Libby on Lost, but the first time I ever saw her was on the sitcom Titus, where she played Christopher Titus's girlfriend Erin. She's great in both roles, and she's pretty good here, too. House is determined to split Sam and Wilson up, because of the effect their relationship had on Wilson the first time around, and while I'm not entirely convinced of his motives, the results could at least make for some promising drama down the road. House's transvestite-hooker date was cute, but the most effective moment came when House confessed his intentions to Sam while Wilson was out of the room. It was a moment of refreshing, blunt honesty, and easily the most dramatic in the episode. 

Hell, even Lucas was inoffensive in his cameo appearance, dropping off a folder worth of information on Sam to House's office. (I like that House still uses him as a detective despite his relationship to Cuddy. It gives me hope that maybe we can leave the whole Chuddy situation behind us for good.) Hugh Laurie does fine work, as always, and he mostly sells House's morally sound decision to throw away the folder unopened. I doubt the issue is resolved, though. Right now Sam is definitely too good to be true, and hey, the season finale is fast approaching. Who knows what buses lie in wait around the next corner?

Stray observations:

  • "I said Frodo, not Gollum." 
  • "What kind of knight would steal his best friend's wife?" This has to be ironic, right. (Although the idea that a so-called knight would be stuck in a classic Lancelot-Arthur-Guinevere triangle and not reference it as justification for his decision to stay away is sloppy.)
  • The Necronomicon. From creepy Lovecraftian mythos to banal punchline.