HOUSE: Instant Karma - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

HOUSE: Instant Karma

October 14, 2009 by  

On the eve of the 1992 Presidential election, political strategist James Carville shared a simple message with the Clinton campaign staff assembled in Little Rock:

“There’s a simple doctrine. Outside of a person’s love, the most sacred thing they can give is their labor…and anytime that you can combine labor with love, you have a merger.”

If we are lucky, the workplace can bring us a second family. People who accept us for our shortcomings and help celebrate our successes. Corporations spend millions of dollars trying to manufacture this type of camaraderie. Sadly, there is no magic formula. We have to be in the right place at the right time.

The staff at Princeton Plainsboro has rarely been mistaken for a Norman Rockwell painting. Their world is driven by competition, petty jealousies, and oneupsmanship. Since House’s return from Mayfield Psychiatric Hospital, however, the first signs of togetherness have emerged. Against the backdrop of a father’s uphill battle to save his son, the diagnostic department took their first steps toward a true merger.

Hugh Laurie was able to add a new responsibility to House’s resume this week, that of protector. Though the caustic wit and subtle charm remains, I feel that we are seeing the “House 2.0″ version that was foreshadowed in the standout season premiere. By nurturing Foreman on how to become a better leader, stepping in when Thirteen was attempting to throw her life away, and saving Chase from the consequences of his actions, House was taking care of his family. I am thrilled to see this forward momentum. There’s even a chance I might not mind seeing House and Cuddy move toward an adult relationship, considering the new energy Laurie has brought to the character.

There is trouble brewing for Chase and Cameron, and we have James Earl Jones to blame. If you are regular readers of TV gossip sites or entertainment magazines, then you may know where this is headed. Since I try to keep my recaps and comments spoiler-free, I will say this: Jennifer Morrison and Jesse Spencer have been outstanding this season. Marriages on TV rarely deal with issues of honesty or trust without involving a sexy third party or a hacky “secret from the past” that destroys a relationship. Kudos to the writing team, particularly Thomas L. Moran’s work in this episode, for turning the DiBala storyline into a meaningful arc, rather than a simple stunt.

Lee Tergesen is a fixture on high quality dramas, most notably Oz, HBO’s unrelenting prison drama. As Tobias Beecher, a man stripped of his family and professional dignity by circumstance, Tergesen was the show’s emotional core. Surrounded by monsters and miscreants, Tobias remained the inmate who the audience rooted for to be freed.

As billionaire Roy Randall, Tergesen was once again surrounded by sharks. Instead of state-issued linens, Randall’s enemies were adorned in upscale suits and alligator shoes. I am rarely moved by the patients’ personal stories on House, but Tergesen’s performance roped me in. Many people claim that they would give up everything for their family. How many of them would truly throw away thirty billion dollars to prove it? While we are asking questions, is it asking too much to see Lee Tergesen in a starring role again? Please?

This episode featured the promise of what Season 6 can be about. Beyond the weekly medical mysteries, all of these characters can break new ground. The big questions will be answered in future installments. The people of Princeton Plainsboro all appear to have choices to make. Fortunately, they appear to now have each other to lean on.

What did you think of the episode? Did you connect with the patient’s story? Will House continue serving as a protector to his staff? Are you curious where Thirteen will end up? How great was Lee Tergesen as the patient’s father?

Erik’s summer was wasted with marathons of The Next Food Network Star and MTV’s 16 & Pregnant. After weeks of comparing risotto dishes and dishonest baby daddies, he is thrilled to be writing about House and Parks & Recreation for GMMR again!


7 Responses to “HOUSE: Instant Karma”

  1. gbbg on October 14th, 2009 5:11 pm

    While Wilson serving in as House’s ‘out-of-the-blue-solution’ for medical mystery yet again, might be a continuous theme, this episode showed what House has in store for season 6.
    The last line by Chase of House being in charge or not, was probably the best of episode.
    Though the sudden ‘instant karma’ disturbed me a bit, it was surreal to see the father rather much happy with the scenario than worrying about the 30 bil he threw away, for an incorrect diagnosis.

    I still, though, didn’t understand why Chase would leave Cameron alone whilst he was at the M&M.. he could have simply told her so?

  2. Kate on October 14th, 2009 7:09 pm

    The real story in this episode was Chase’s. It’s a good arc, and I’m glad Jesse Spencer is finally being able to do some serious acting after two years in the sidelines.

    I wish they had been as kind to Jennifer Morrison. While it’s true that the main drama is Chase’s, they’re not using Cameron as other than a prop for him. Cameron is one of my favourite characters on the show and that’s partly because she is so complex and nuanced. They’re wasting her in this storyline, she’s either running tests or used to show Chase’s problems, and she’s barely allowed to interact with House at all. She out of character in letting Foreman and Chase carry the M&M load and she’s not being the caring person she once was. She also used to have a good friendship with Wilson but he’s barely noticed she’s in the hospital any more. Their last scene together was in the first episode of season 5, and now we’re midway through season 6.

    That makes all the time spent on Thirteen even worse. After more than two seasons they have managed to make me care about Thirteen even less than when she first appeared on the show. They haven’t shown me that she’s any better than any of the other fellows and her relationship with Foreman is so lacking empathy and communication on both their parts, it’s better to end it now. Having everyone say how important she is to House and how she is the only one who doesn’t get sucked into the vortex (not true, she has been) seems so false, it’s the show pushing what it wants us to see rather than what we do see.

    Speaking of bad communication and problem relationships, for the second week in a row Cuddy has been a good leader. Could it have anything to do with the fact that the show has stepped back from pushing her relationship with House? Their scenes work best when Cuddy is strong and smart and not longing for a relationship with him.

    Sadly, I have been reading the spoilers and it feels like it’s not only the staff at PPTH but also the show is “driven by competition, petty jealousies, and oneupsmanship.” I’ve been very disappointed by David Shore and Katie Jacob’s lawyer-language press announcements in which they appear to promise one thing while always gauranteeing themselves an escape clause, which they then use to get out following through on what I thought they had promised.

  3. Grace on October 15th, 2009 2:53 am

    I WANT 13 OUT!!! I don’t want Taub to come back!
    I want a lot of House/Wilson and a lot less HUDDY!
    I DON’T want Jennifer Morrison to leave.
    I want more CLINIC DUTY!!!!

    HOUSE would be PERFECT if it was this way.

  4. bertas on October 15th, 2009 1:51 pm

    Oh heavens. I haven’t commented until now because quite frankly after the Epic Fail episode I was certain I would give up on House.
    And I’m still not sure I will not stop watching at some point in near future (although I don’t know where am I supposed to get my weekly Hugh Laurie fix 🙂

    I love the fact we got the old team back – I agree with Kate that it was nice to see Jesse Spencer having a proper story line once again. And Kate I agree with you on Cameron – she is really criminally underused. The one episode last season when she had a proper story line (when she took over for Cuddy) I honestly thought she was brilliant.

    Foreman on the other hand is just beyond me. I know he is driven by ambition etc and I get that – maybe Epps is such a good actor that he grates on my nerves just so 🙂 But I think someone mentioned last week (see? I did read even though I didn’t have anything nice to say so I didn’t want to say anything at all 🙂 that he didn’t really evolve much as a character – his main struggle is the same as it was in the previous seasons – he wants House’s job, he doesn’t want to be like House but he is… same old, same old.

    As for Thirteen and consequently Forteen – Olivia Wilde is very very pretty, I get that. But as an actress – you know if she evoked scorn or dislike from me, I would think she is capable of something, but since I really do not care for her (after what 2 years?) well… and as Kate said Forteen as a couple lack just about everything, I don’t even understand why they got together to begin with.

    I am baffled by some really half arsed writing to be honest. There was the psychiatrist, now he is gone, there was Taub, now he is gone, a lot of it seems just botched up and put together, like they are forced to fill their 45 minutes so we’ll just throw this and that in there and see how it pans out. Things are either not explained well or acted well or in some cases both. Where is the continuity, the depth, the little details that were there once?

    I am not saying this lightly (as someone who watched House for years) and I am obviously in minority but I am disappointed and baffled with how the show is progressing. Hugh has been brilliant, as you say Erik he did bring some new energy to House but unfortunately I don’t know if that is enough to keep me watching.

  5. bertas on October 15th, 2009 1:56 pm

    Oh and if anyone is interested and looking for some Sunday night viewing – Stephen Fry’s show Kingdom is available on Hulu.

    It was very light and fluffy with beautiful landscapes and dotty characters and a perfect antidote to all the gruesome shows I usually watch 🙂 It has been canceled after 3 seasons but it is worth the watch if you like that sort of thing.

  6. gbbg on October 20th, 2009 9:40 pm

    I take back couple of things I said, after watching Braveheart… somehow things don’t seem to fit.

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