Tonight, Wilson makes a big deal of "seeing through" one of House's traditional mind games. Foreman's jailbird brother, Marcus (Orlando Jones) is getting out of jail, and when Foreman ignores his brother's request for a ride from prison, House steps in and offers Marcus a job. This makes Foreman understandably uncomfortable, which is just how House likes it, but Wilson is convinced there's a deeper play here—he believes House is arranging this, and constantly shoving Marcus in Foreman's face, in order to bring the two men closer together. House is uncomfortable at the suggestion, but Wilson is sure he's on to something big. "Your boss is secretly a very nice man," Wilson tells House's team, and Taub says, "I know."—which, I hope, is pretty much what the whole audience was thinking.
House is a dick—this has been established. But for all his self-centered game playing and arrogance, he isn't actually an evil man. His schemes are nearly always designed to help people. Yes, his entertainment comes first, but the real conflict on the show tends to come from the disparity between what House thinks is better for everyone, and what everyone actually wants. So it's not like him screwing around with Marcus and Foreman is unprecedented, despite Wilson's apparent astonishment. I suppose it's possible that, despite their long friendship, Wilson's just never realized what's truly going on. (And to stress this, I'm not saying House is a saint. It's more that his cynicism and intelligence often give him a clearer understand of other people's problems, and he gets a thrill out of forcing those problems to the surface.) But that doesn't really speak well to Wilson's character. I'm not sure if we're supposed to view this as some new direction in House's life post-sanitarium, or what. But it's old news. Watching Marcus and Foreman square off was reminiscent of most other family conflicts we've seen, and it's resolution was pleasant, but expected.
Also, Foreman's mom died? C'mon. That would've played so much better as a con.
"Moving the Chains" had a struggling football player named Daryl as its PotW, so there was some drama as to whether or not he'd be able to get back on the playing field in time to impress a talent scout. I can't remember ever doing this plot-line before, but since we didn't really get know either Daryl or his mom, I wasn't surprised when he missed his shot, and I didn't much care. There may be some thematic resonance in Daryl's skin cancer being hidden by bruises, that a wealth of surface injuries hid a more serious problem from view, but it didn't resonate. Sometimes House overplays its hand by tying every story together, and sometimes it just seems like a collection of plots juggled together. Tonight leaned toward the latter. There was Marcus and Foreman trying to come together, Daryl's health woes, the prank war that wasn't, and the soldier looking to come in from the cold. You could probably get the prank war with the "surface injuries" theme—Wilson and House are so used to fighting each other they don't sense a larger enemy—but the soldier? I got nothing.
That prank war… I hate Lucas. I really, really do. I don't give a damn about him and Cuddy as a couple, and worse, I get creeped out whenever I see them together because it's all just so phony. Lucas isn't a character, he's a concept, and Cuddy's nearly as bad. Worse, even, because she's been around longer. (Watching a few House reruns recently, she's a very different character, and a much more interesting one. In fact, I'd buy her more as a love interest for House back in season 1 than I do now.) That Lucas gets to walk away unscathed, as though he was behaving righteously, is just dumb. Maybe he'll turned out to be a psychotic by the season finale. Until then, the less we see of him, the better.
The soldier storyline was the most interesting thing going this week, and I'm not sure what to make of the ending. It's almost like House gave the guy a way out of his problem without actually meaning to, and that look between them… I dunno. It was odd, and at this point, I'll take odd over dull or agonizing.
- Taub continues to be the show's most valuable supporting player. Unlike Chase, who barely exists anymore, or 13, who's supposed to be a slightly edgier Cameron, Taub's dynamic with House is still smart, and funny. We need to see more of him. (Although I say that knowing that a Taub-centric episode would most likely end up all grim and mopey and kill what makes him so cool.)
- "You're turning white." "What does that mean?" "It means he doesn't need football to get a good job anymore."
- "You know why you're black?" "'Cause god loves me more than he loves you?"