It's never a good sign when a show starts forcing conflicts without adequate justification. Drama should come naturally from established character interactions--external forces obviously come into play, but at its core, conflict is all about people bashing into people, and that only works if the bashing makes some kind of sense. There's a lot of things wrong with House these days, and the randomness is part of that. In tonight's episode, "Teamwork," Cameron tells Chase she wants to leave Plainsboro, and House responds by trying to get the old-new team back. It's not as arbitrary as if he took a gun to the roof, but there's no build-up and release to it. We have no investment in their return, because there's no status quo that's in danger of being lost.
Also--dammit, I used to like Cameron. I used to like the way her decency and boundless optimism about human nature contrasted against House's cynicism. Tonight, she was a judgmental prude, lecturing a porn star on the consequences of his life style choices, and informing House that he and Chase were "ruined" by House's approach to medicine. Balancing House's intellectual games and logic with a sense of responsibility towards individuals? That's cool, and it's a battle that drove the show in its better years. Flat out stating he's a monster, and then playing all kinds of sappy music like this is some kind of powerful dramatic moment, that doesn't work so good. If prudery was the natural impulse of Cameron's development, I could see making a case for this. But instead, her moral grandstanding comes across as a desperate attempt at depth, as well as a reaction motivated entirely by the writers' need to explain her exit from the show, and give some sort of consequence to the Dibala debacle.
Oh, and there was a pornstar patient of the week this time, Hank Hardwick. He had worms, which they cured, and that made him worse. Clean living was apparently the cause of everything, so I guess there's some metaphoring going on, but having Chase actually tell the PotW, "You don't get to make your own rules or morals," with apparently no conscious sense of irony or understanding was just cheap. I mean, the Dibala murder has been the most important thing in his life since it happened. Wouldn't there be some small part of his brain thinking, "Wait, maybe I should rephrase this blanket statement, because if I don't, I'm being a huge hypocritical ass?" Unless he was sucking up to Cameron, in which case... ah, screw it. The real problem here isn't Chase's apparent inability to listen to the words coming out of his mouth, or his desperate attempt to curry favor with his wife by lecturing a patient. The real problem is, does anybody really care that they're breaking up? They don't even seem like people anymore. Hardly anyone on the show does.
I will say, it's nice to see Taub again. The handful of scenes between him and House were the best part of the episode, for me, and the fact that he returns to the team at the end gives me at least some comfort. He's smart, he's funny, and he's largely angst-free; even his problems with his wife aren't too over-stated. Having 13 back, well, I guess that was inevitable. Watching Foreman try and re-connect with her is a chilling reminder of scenes past and a hint of what's to come. Olivia Wilde is, as always, very pretty. But her and Foreman continue to share zero chemistry (again, I apologize for ever thinking they were a good idea together), and it's hard to appreciate her character beyond that.
Speaking of zero chemistry--the Lucas and Cuddy scene was just squirm-inducing. She's basically just a reactive presence, defined by whoever happens to be standing nearest to her when the camera turns on, and his once charming chatter seems to be the sort of thing you'd expect from a robot trying to ape befuddled charm. They actually make less sense as couple than 13 and Foreman do. At least in the latter case, they seem like equals. With Cuddy and Lucas, I keep expecting Cuddy's college aged son to come home and get really upset that his roommate is boffing Mom.
So, huzzah for the return of Taub, and as clumsily as the whole thing was structured, it was cool having House messing with his employees heads again. (Hey, he's got his license back. Wow, that terribly dramatic period when Foreman was in charge is over! Wait, did that happen?) Everything else, from the relative disinterest in the PotW (a porn star! Why isn't House all over this stuff?) and the relationship junk that just keeps on going no matter how much I yell at the screen--which I don't do. Definitely not. Anyway, it wasn't good.
- Writing tip: if you're working on a script, and you type "Is this about me and Lucas?", you should delete that. Maybe take a break, go for a jog, actually have a conversation with a person. Also, delete all those General Hospital episodes from your DVR, because friend, they ain't helping.
- Foreman's non-plussed, "Uh... We'll miss you," was funny, at least.
- Jolene Blalock, the token hot chick from Enterprise (hot Vulcan, no less), played Hank Hardwick's loving, also-a-porn-star wife. So that probably made somebody out there happy, at least.