HOUSE: Known Unknowns - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

HOUSE: Known Unknowns

November 11, 2009 by  

House returned to Fox’s primetime lineup this week after a baseball-induced hiatus, a delay that grew even more tiresome as the New York Yankees celebrated their 27th world championship. (Go Red Sox!) Despite my enthusiasm for new adventures in the world of Princeton Plainsboro, I spent the first half of the episode wondering if it was being shown out of order. No progress on Chase & Cameron? Wilson coaching House on how to get the “woman of his dreams?” I simply could not place this episode in the context of Season Six.

All was forgiven, however, when P.I. Lucas Douglas showed up as Cuddy’s secret admirer/babysitter. Veteran viewers will remember Lucas from his four episode arc early in Season Five, contracted by House to investigate friends and foes alike. Actor Michael Weston gave Lucas a lovable dash of honesty and forthrightness, filling the friendship void left by Wilson’s resignation following Amber’s death. Lucas Douglas was a hard working, yet quirky guy, fascinated by the machinations in House’s head. It was fair to say that Lucas was equally intrigued by House’s boss, a detail left stranded until this week’s payoff.

As the credits rolled in “Known Unknowns,” I jotted down the writers and director as reference points, completely missing Weston’s name. As a consequence, I literally slid off my couch when Lucas was revealed in Cuddy’s room. By paying off the flirtation between Lucas & Cuddy in Season Five, the writers of House demonstrated a sense of continuity that this show often lacks. True to form, the sensitive P.I. immediately showed deference to House’s feelings, and made no attempt to flaunt his conquest to the good doctor. With all due respect to this week’s mystery patient, who served no other use to me, it appeared that Lucas was showing the effects of a truth serum. In his case, the dosage is natural and long lasting.

I am thrilled to have Lucas back, no matter the length of his reappearance. Michael Weston injected life into Hugh Laurie onscreen last season, and it will be fascinating to see House’s reaction to Cuddy’s choice of a guy “who will be there everyday for her.” Unlike previous suitors, House appears to like Lucas enough to back off. If/when that happens, I hope the casting director can find another strong female for House to joust with.

There is another silver lining to Lucas’ return. It should save the audience from dreadfully awkward, out of place scenes like the 80’s dance attended by House and Cuddy. I never went to film school. Those who did may be better equipped to explain my reaction to that sequence, but here goes. The entire scene felt like a dream sequence from a flash forward edition of “Saved by the Bell.” Horrible hairdos, not-so-subtle sight gags, and a conversation that should have been significant, yet fell flat. For the first time I can remember, House and Cuddy reminisced about their interwoven past and I did not care.

We are past the question of “Will they or won’t they?” with these two. In this season’s amazing premiere, we saw House open up to a new woman in his life. It’s time for him to follow Cuddy’s lead. I could also have done without the exhaustive shots of Lisa Edelstein’s cleavage back at the hospital. They were gratuitous and perverted, and even House would have found them tacky and unartistic. There are hosts of interesting directions to go with Cuddy’s character, none of which point directly down the front of her blouse. Eyes up!

I apologize for the Huddy-centric content of my recap, as it seemed to overwhelm any other significant plot movement this week. There was little else of substance happening, outside of Wilson’s mid-life crisis over the nature of doctor/patient care. Robert Sean Leonard was solid, but the entire story came out of left field and I cannot wrap my head around such a haphazard piece of character development.

As for Chase’s confession, I am confident that we will hear much more about it in the next two weeks. The wheels of change are rolling, and it will be interesting to see the consequences of Chase’s actions on his marriage.

Thanks for indulging my rants this week. I think the creative team behind House is at a fork in the road. The opportunity to forge new ground in upcoming episodes is unlimited. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that we enjoy the ride!

Share your comments and thoughts below! Were you surprised by Lucas’ reappearance? How will our favorite P.I. change the Huddy dynamic? Did House do the right thing by protecting Wilson from himself? Are you missing Thirteen or Taub at all? Who is looking forward to the fallout from Chase’s confession to Cameron? I can’t wait to read your feedback!

Aside from writing about House and Parks & Recreation, Erik has become addicted to Top Chef, The Next Iron Chef, and most other shows with the word “Chef” in the title. Please forward any recipes for Chef Boyardee to his Twitter handle (@FreelanceErik).


14 Responses to “HOUSE: Known Unknowns”

  1. Bonnie on November 11th, 2009 11:36 am

    Great recap, Erik! The whole cleavage scene was odd. It was as if the director was House himself. I LOVED the twist with the PI being in Cuddy’s room, and it explains her leaving suddenly during the dance scene. I liked that scene only because it’s been FOREVER since a reference was made about their knowing each other before the hospital.

    I think Wilson knocked it out of the park this week.

  2. Ines on November 11th, 2009 3:13 pm

    I HATED that Cuddy told Lucas about House’s hallucination.

  3. gbbg on November 12th, 2009 11:34 pm

    Disappointing episode, after two weeks of eager waiting.. they delivered a dud!

    The sentimentality was overbearing. Somehow, this episode was very predictable, especially the scene at the end with Chase and Cameron, House and Wilson where House drugs Wilson.

    @Ines, am sure she must have told Lucas about it (if he was around at that time) out of sheer exasperation at House’s calling out her in front of everybody.

    I miss Taub, but without Kutner, he was on the sidelines anyway, but is that the end of him in House? If it was, it was quite abrupt.

  4. Kate on November 14th, 2009 11:01 pm

    Erik, I think the writers are past the fork in the road, and they took the wrong path for me. This episode spent a lot of time on the House/Cuddy adolescent soap opera rather than the realistic adult drama that was Chase and Cameron’s story. And the House/Cuddy story was sloppily written and full of holes.

    Doris Egan, one of the best of the House writers wrote not only an episode full of continuity errors, but one which she continues to try to explain on her blog what she meant when viewers point out the continuity problems. This is something I expect from bad fanfic, not from professional writers.

    The conference was bad enough, a three page hand-out when real conferences have a small phonebook and papers have to be accepted months in advance and handed out so he couldn’t just substitute one paper for another. The timeline was far worse.

    In season 2, we learned that House was kicked out of Hopkins. Egan wanted him kicked out of Michigan too, to justify why he didn’t call Cuddy back (I guess they hadn’t invented letters much less telephones yet) so she had him kicked out of Michigan. When posters asked about this, she said he was kicked out of both schools and his father pulled strings to get him accepted into Hopkins (impressive pull for a Navy pilot). Then House got kicked out again and yet he found a third medical school to accept him, finished his remaining years and graduated, all within 3 years. House may be an incredible writer but this story is impossible.

    I remember when House was an unrepentent anti-hero. Now they whitewash his actions and so the reason he didn’t call Cuddy was because he was kicked out of med school so that he can be excuse for not calling her back for 10 years.

    I’m pretty sure Lucas is only there temporarily to put yet another stall into House’s realtionship with Cuddy. Cuddy will break up with him and he will be gone by early in the new year and then they will find another aritificial stall to House getting together with Cuddy.

    The real problem with the House/Cuddy relationship is that while it’s very clear they want each other sexually, there is very little communication or adult interaction between them. House makes comments about Cuddy’s body but they never talk about anything, there are no conversations about medicine or ideas or even abortion as he had with Cameron. Not only does House still try to undermine her at work, make rude comments about her to his cooking partner, and can’t tell Cuddy how he feels even though they are supposed to be best of friends, but Cuddy can’t ask him to her baby’s naming ceremony or tell him that she’s dating Lucas now. Even now she lies to him that she’s got Rachel in daycare instead of being honest and saying she called Lucas to come up and babysit and reveals his hallucination fantasies to her new lover. They can show all the shots they want of House looking at Cuddy’s breasts and ass but without some deeper connection, it’s just completely phony. Cameron’s crush on House in season 1 and his inability to respond may have been cringe-worthy but at least it was real. This is bad fanfic.

    I understand why your review was so Huddy-centric because the writers made Huddy the important thing in the show. I think the real adult dilemma was in Chase’s guilt over Dibala and how that was affecting his marriage but the writers treated that like the ‘C’ plot, something throw-away to justify getting rid of Cameron rather than a story that merited serious exploration.

    Sorry to be so rant-y but I’ve never been so disappointed in a House episode before.

  5. Kate on November 14th, 2009 11:03 pm

    gbbg, both Taub and Thirteen will be back in the next episode. The only one who is leaving permanently is Cameron.

  6. bertas on November 16th, 2009 9:46 am

    I totally agree with gbbg – what a complete dud of an episode. And I also agree with Kate – writers are way pass the fork in the road. Like you Erik I kept thinking that second episode was going to be a tricky one and for the most part it was a let down. And I kept telling myself surely in the next episode they’ll cover something new, take a new direction, something, anything. Sadly apart from the first episode every single one after that was bad in my opinion.
    I kept making excuses because I have watched House since the very beginning and I genuinely enjoyed it. Not anymore. This is the first episode ever I actually fast forwarded bits because I couldn’t care to watch.

    The breasts thing – seriously WTF was that about?! To reiterate the point House wants to sleep with Cuddy? Yes thanks I needed a close up of Cuddy’s breasts to get that… *shakes head in disbelief*

    And while I like Lucas as a character and have no problem with him being in the picture again I do not understand this pussy footing around House and Cuddy not being upfront about it. As House said himself – they don’t tell him anything because he might suffer a relapse or something? Given the whole point of rehab was for him to get clean but also isn’t the point of therapy in rehab to teach him new ways of dealing with stuff life throws at him? And in the first episode he showed he was capable of doing things a different way. So instead of utilizing that the writers go with this rubbish? I know it is a strong word but really lets call a spade a spade.

    Chase – Cameron thing – it could have been such a good story line if executed properly.

    I think for any show it gets to a point when they have to shake things up and change things to keep it current. Lost did this after third season because it was obvious they lost the plot (no pun intended 🙂 And I love where they went with it. Supernatural (another show I watched from the very beginning) was formulaic but with every season the writing and story lines got better and better. I love the current season. Love. It! And while it is a completely different genre intended for a completely different audience my point is – I don’t think shows have to necessarily get worse as time goes on.

    With House and opening of this season well they could have done wonders with it. Unfortunately I don’t think writers have utilized on one single thing that was available to them.

  7. Susan Wierzba on November 17th, 2009 12:04 am

    Does anyone know the name of the song at the end of the “House” episode, November 16, 2009? I would really like to know. Thank you!

  8. gbbg on November 17th, 2009 3:45 am

    Waiting for Teamwork recap. I absolutely got lost in it.

  9. Erik on November 17th, 2009 3:50 am

    Bonnie: I appreciate the fact that House & Cuddy were finally put in a position to face their eventful history, even if the setting was ripped from the set of a John Hughes movie. In my opinion, the writers wanted us to assume that courting Cuddy was, in some way, the final step in House’s transformation. I think that was a huge leap in both logic and story. We saw a different House emerge from Mayfield, but I never bought the idea that Cuddy was “his dream woman.” Please check back for my recap of “Teamwork,” which delves more into this topic and the significance of Lucas’ presence.

  10. Erik on November 17th, 2009 3:58 am

    Ines: I think the point of revealing Lucas’ knowledge of House’s problems was to illustrate the intimacy of Cuddy & Lucas’ relationship, a subject that was revisited in this week’s episode, “Teamwork.” (Stay tuned for my recap on Tuesday morning) Outside of a long and tormented history, Cuddy and House have little to rely on from one another. Consequently, they are both more fulfilled with the company of outsiders who will treat them as people, rather than as characters in an overarching saga. Lucas was introduced to Cuddy’s world by House, and was a genuine friend to him during his Season Five arc. It would have been shallow and inconsistent for Cuddy to keep him in the dark about such an uncomfortable experience.

  11. Erik on November 17th, 2009 4:05 am

    gbbg: Your disappointment in the episode was well-founded, as Lucas’ reappearance was the only highlight I can recall just seven days later. Chase & Cameron’s storyline was treated as an afterthought, just as Kate described, and I will have much more on that in the “Teamwork” recap, coming to your laptop, desktop, or workstation on Tuesday. With the benefit of having seen the next chapter in Chase & Cameron’s journey, this episode is even more of a letdown, considering how much story had to be packed into one hour to send Jennifer Morrison off the show. It would seem logical to have spent more time setting up such a significant casting change, but the House team has been prone to hasty decisions before.

  12. Erik on November 17th, 2009 4:15 am

    Kate: In the comic book industry, creative teams at Marvel & DC have made millions of dollars re-imagining the origins of newsstand staples like Spider-Man, Superman, and Batman. The justifications for ignoring long-standing canon usually involve the recruitment of new talent (writers/artists/editors) or to reintroduce those characters to younger audiences, in the hopes of extending their brands far into the future.

    The House/Cuddy relationship has been redefined and reexplained in similar fashion. Unfortunately, there isn’t 50-75 years of history to be rewritten like those superheroes mentioned above. Six seasons of episodic TV should not need so many alternate explanations. It isn’t too much to ask for these two people to co-exist without hitting the audience over the head with their inevitable pairing.

  13. Erik on November 17th, 2009 4:21 am

    Bertas: I will have much more to say about Chase & Cameron in the “Teamwork” recap, so I won’t repeat myself here. Rest assured, I will not be gentle with how poorly paced this storyline has been, particularly Jennifer Morrison’s departure being written in such a haphazard manner.

    Like you, I have been intrigued by the opportunities presented by cast changes and storyline shifts. In previous seasons, the creative team compiled a mixed record when it comes to satisfying the most passionate members of its audience. Despite the occasional missteps, I have had faith in the Powers That Be to embrace new ideas for the show. That streak may have ended tonight, and I’ll have to leave you with that tease until the “Teamwork” recap goes up on the site…

  14. Erik on November 17th, 2009 4:26 am

    Susan: Fox posts the music credits for each episode on their House page at