HOUSE Recap: Bombshells - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

HOUSE Recap: Bombshells

March 8, 2011 by  

My viewing companions for this week’s HOUSE were three slices of mushroom pizza, delivered from a local trattoria that has never served me wrong. As the hour progressed, I was tempted to call back for a list of ingredients, in order to be certain that the toppings I consumed were not intended to help me hallucinate. Dream sequences cut from vintage television and film? A full-scale dance number choreographed by Mia Michaels from SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE? A closing sequence that rendered two years of storylines moot? Had it not been for the opening credits, I would have guessed that Charlie Sheen directed this episode.

Co-writer Sara Hess, who crafted this script with Liz Friedman for Greg Yaitanes to direct, warned fans via Twitter that their story would fall squarely into love or hate territory for the audience.

There is no denying the ambitious effort that the creative team made to make “Bombshells” one of HOUSE’s most memorable episodes. Their hard work backfired, however, as this hour gave millions of viewers permission to turn away from their televisions for the rest of Season 7.

I have written about HOUSE for three seasons, and my criticisms of the show have always been tempered with one caveat: any show starring Hugh Laurie is worth watching, even on the bad weeks. Unfortunately, this “Nightmare on Cuddy Street” story was cringe-worthy in its lack of cohesion and unsatisfying conclusion.

Ultimately, HOUSE exists as a medical procedural with dollops of personal storylines to satisfy our sweet tooth for drama. It is the new LAW & ORDER, destined to be broadcast on a basic cable loop for decades to come. The most satisfying emotional moments on the show, in my opinion those shared by Hugh Laurie & Robert Sean Leonard, have usually served the patient story of the week. The show must be as consumable, and ultimately disposable, as a morning cup of coffee.

For fans with a more discerning eye, however, relationships DO matter, and forward progress is essential in maintaining the program’s zealous following.

Season 7, for better or worse, was promoted as the season of Huddy, a payoff for loyal shippers who kept their fingers crossed and an opportunity for the writing team to take the road less traveled. Could Gregory House exist as a character who evolves, takes his recovery seriously, and engages in new depths of interpersonal relationships? Despite protests from anti-Huddy voices whose personal feelings about their storyline clouded their judgment of individual episodes, the path House had begun was creatively satisfying.

Following Cuddy’s decision to end her relationship with House, and his subsequent return to the dark underbelly of addiction, do viewers really want to watch this downward spiral all over again? Would it be too much to ask to leave this story to A&E’s INTERVENTION and try something new?

Lisa Edelstein’s one-note take on Cuddy this season has been a disappointment. The only upside of her story arc has been a new drinking game I created. Any time you see Cuddy in yoga pants or gratuitiously flaunting her Pilates-infused physique, take a shot. You will be hopelessly hammered before the first American Idol promo runs at the 20 minute mark.

We have already seen Hugh Laurie’s acting treatise on addiction, the classic Season 6 premiere, “Broken.” There was no reason to send House back down a path that has already been confronted with such a distinct performance. The power of Laurie’s performance is diluted by the frequency of House’s relapses. This was not the time to pull the old rabbit out of the hat. Not this soon, not again…

There is more to say, including legitimate praise for Peter Jacobson’s delicate handling of the patient story. For now, however, I am eager to read your feedback to a perplexing episode. I look forward to responding to your comments and continuing the discussion before next week’s episode.

Are you in the “love” or “hate” camp on this episode? What did you think of the dream sequences? Did they inform the story? Without House & Cuddy together, what trajectory will this season take? Are you satisfied that the show is trying new things, or relying on old tricks? This was quite the polarizing hour of TV, so your opinions are needed more than ever!

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28 Responses to “HOUSE Recap: Bombshells”

  1. Liz on March 8th, 2011 11:08 am

    Love. Definitely. The ending at least. I’m just happy that Huddy is over for good. And I take DS by his word, “once they’ll break up, it will be done.” Huddy was a mistake, and it’s not worth repeating it. Sorry, my opinion and nothing can change that. As for the rest of the season, it’s time to re-focus on House, there was way too much focus on Cuddy, the most secondary character in this show (as I said, my opinion, I don’t force anyone to share it). I’m looking forward to it now. Thanks, DS!

  2. jonathan on March 8th, 2011 11:15 am

    i agree with the person above. while i didn’t expect Huddy to end this soon, i did see a Vicodin relapse, that was predictable. there was way too much focus on Cuddy so far. so hopefully less focus will allow her character to rebuild back to a somewhat better one. now hopefully as well the House/Wilson relationship can be rebuilt as well, now that Wilson won;t be a Huddy cheerleader/therapist anymore. i had given up on house completely, but after this ep. i might have to reconsider…

  3. John on March 8th, 2011 12:51 pm

    I agree with the two prior posters. I never understood Huddy to begin with. And even after getting over his drug addiction, he never really changed in his personal life. He still treated people he supposedly loved, and who definitely cared for him, like crap.

    House (the character) is first and foremost about House (the character). He is really the only person he really cares about. Now this behavior can make for interesting TV, but not for a good personal relationship.

    And I really liked Taub’s story line this episode.

  4. Emily on March 8th, 2011 1:05 pm

    I haven’t watched it yet – and probably won’t be able to for a week or so – but hearing that the obnoxious Huddy may be over gives me hope for the rest of the season. I only watched a few previous episodes I was so disgusted with ‘Huddy’ that it ruined the show. Maybe now I can watch.

  5. Molly on March 8th, 2011 1:11 pm

    “Their hard work backfired, however, as this hour gave millions of viewers permission to turn away from their televisions for the rest of Season 7.”

    Whoa there, Erik. Millions? Do you think there are that many fans of this pairing? (I hope you are not basing this belief on those silly fan-driven polls where House and Cuddy always win for Best Couple. You do realize that the same fans vote over and over again, don’t you?) I think the “millions” had already turned away because of the absurdities of the last two seasons. At least now those lost viewers have “permission” to return. Maybe now this show can go back to its roots and Cuddy can go back to being a kick-ass administrator again, rather than a pathetic pain-in-the-ass.

    I was beginning to worry that the writers and execs over at House had completely lost their minds. Now I’m beginning to see a glimmer of hope that they are finding their way back to sanity.

  6. Taanja on March 8th, 2011 1:55 pm

    I loved it. Very raw and emotional!
    I have liked his season better than past seasons. I like Huddy! I like the new girl–Masters. I’ve liked everything I’ve seen so far.
    Can’t wait to see how it all plays out!

  7. Chris on March 8th, 2011 3:10 pm

    I liked the Huddy ship. Not so much for the romance, so I am ok if they broke up.
    I liked how House was changing and making his baby steps towards opening his bruised heart and personality but remaining his true self.
    I completely agree with this review: I have already seen seasons (plural!) of House addicted and spiralling down.
    The creator in an interview was saying all proud that they are taking now the charachter to a new place where has never been before. But that’s not true. They are taking him back exactly where has been for 5 seasons.
    So, the show is over for me. Not so much because they sank the ship, but because they are taking the show back exactly to where it was before.
    Many fans appreciate it, I am bored ( I was already bored a couple of seasons ago). This season was something new, and I loved it because of that.
    Rewatching the same old things, yawn.
    And last but not least, I am appalled by the lack of creativity, new ideas and courage by all these writers too scared to try something new. Do they seriously realize that now all the shows follow exactly the same dynamics?
    Jeez, call them predictable!

  8. David on March 8th, 2011 3:38 pm

    “Whoa there, Erik. Millions? Do you think there are that many fans of this pairing?”
    Yes, because people who disliked the episode MUST be “Huddy shippers”. How naive of you. I, for one, agree with Erik, here. Sending House back to Vicodin and literally pressing the reset button was the cheapest move they have ever made on this show. I’m tired of seeing these characters having no real chance of character development. It’s season 7, afterall.

    I’m done.

  9. novicodin on March 8th, 2011 3:43 pm

    Haven’t watched HOUSE for many seasons. Even Hugh Laurie’s great performances haven’t made me watch every week, though I have seen a few episodes from most seasons. I basically stopped watching when the first big “change” (old team/new team) happened.
    Huddy is ok, I’d say. Though I’ve only seen last season finale with them, know nothing about the rest, so I don’t really know how it played out on screen.

    But IF this is true that they are making House relapse again, and go back on Vicodin, and all that, then I must say: another example of a show that is like a dog that never learns new tricks. If I were a regular viewer, I wouldn’t want to watch anymore. It’s been done too many times already.
    I’m glad I don’t watch any popular shows, because as soon as a show becomes a hit, the story lines become… boring, predictable, or plain weird. But that’s just my opinion.

  10. tanya on March 8th, 2011 3:55 pm

    i really hate it!!! it was a ridiculous way to end huddy relation ship the writers really suck this time i don’t know why they build the relation ship and then end it this way

  11. Ale on March 8th, 2011 4:07 pm

    I hated it !

  12. Tony on March 8th, 2011 4:10 pm

    I think that this whole relapse thing is an big mistake because, frankly, the druggy House was boring. It was always the same: he gets high, then searches for drugs and gets into trouble which Wilson and Cuddy have to solve, after that he usually slips into a crisys (withdrawl) that lasts for a couple of episodes and then all over again. At least when Huddy was alive (yes, I agree, Cuddy was a bit of a pain in the ass, but then again, isn’t she supposed to?) the character was evolving, being funny, smart and Houseadelic all along but without the pill-popping routine which bored me even around season 3. I think that this relapse thing is just another way of milking the House-cash-cow even more than it already is. I hope that it all turns back to (new) normal soon…

  13. Molly on March 8th, 2011 5:19 pm

    “Yes, because people who disliked the episode MUST be “Huddy shippers”. How naive of you.”

    Not naive at all, David. I took my clues directly from the context of Erik’s review. He says, “relationships do matter,” and uses the dreaded “Huddy” term several times. I’ve read his past reviews and he seems to like House and Cuddy together, and I’m not criticizing that at all. But let’s be honest here. If you read the many reviews and comments from viewers about this episode, many of them LOVED it until the last two or three minutes, and for some, the opposite was true. The AV Club reviewer loved it BECAUSE of the last two or three minutes. It pretty much depends on whether you can stomach the House/Cuddy relationship and/or whether you believe House could stay off Vicodin. I imagine Erik meant both of those things, but his emphasis in his review was about House’s relationship with Cuddy. Read it again and you’ll see what I mean.

    I never – for one minute – thought House would stay off Vicodin. We’ve already been told time and time again by Hugh Laurie and David Shore that House basically will not change. The man’s a drug addict, and Cuddy’s magical vagina wasn’t enough to cure him permanently. It was a huge stretch to see this relationship come to fruition for me; seeing him take Vicodin again was a relief. The idea that ibuprofen could make House’s pain practically insignificant rang so falsely with me that I was sure the writers were getting their ideas from a teenage girl’s “Huddy” fanfic.

    Erik also says, “Despite protests from anti-Huddy voices whose personal feelings about their storyline clouded their judgment of individual episodes, the path House had began was creatively satisfying,” in his review, which is probably referring to voices like mine, of course. But doesn’t the reverse hold true as well, as evidenced by this review? Do personal feelings about a storyline (in this case the end of Cuddy/House) affect a person’s judgment?

    I don’t have a problem with a negative review of this episode or the last few minutes. My problem is the implication that the last two or three minutes would cause “millions of viewers” to pass on the rest of the season. After last week’s infamous declaration by House that Cuddy’s vagina was more important to him than being a good doctor, I can assure you that quite a few people were ready to throw in the towel, rather than be subjected to this blasphemy again. It goes against EVERYTHING we have ever known about House. The reset button HAD to be reset after that piece of crap. In my opinion, of course.

  14. gladys on March 8th, 2011 5:36 pm

    you forgot an other possibility: i was bored with it! bored with how predictable they are, bored that it is going back to the same thing again, bored that there is no character development at all. i am not a huddy or a non huddy. could not care less about it. i want well written episodes, and that i am not getting. the dreams were ludicrous. if i wanted to see house on drugs, i would go to the beginning.
    it is time to look for some other show to watch on monday nights. any recommendations?

  15. H. on March 8th, 2011 5:39 pm

    I’m completely mixed, but I actually think that’s probably how someone should feel afterwards. At the end of last weeks episode, with House drunk and admitting he’d pick Cuddy over anything… you saw on Cuddy’s face the beginnings of this whole situation. The break-up, though inevitable, was spot on (though a bit early, imo)…it wasn’t because they fell out of love – or that they will ever fall out of love with eachother – it was basically that their relationship couldn’t work. Even with Cuddy, House popped pills for ’emotional’ pain. The episode was great, imo. I mean, I think we were supposed to feel the way we felt at the end of it. I know there’s a lot of people who are currently dusting off their respective Hilson shrines, and poking pins into their Cuddy voodoo dolls, and I get that, but really? Why does every episode have to be judged on how much Cuddy there was? Can’t you just focus on what you do like in the show, and if that’s nothing any more, then don’t watch. Some fans adore the House/Cuddy aspect of the show, some fans adore the medical aspect of the show, some fans enjoy anything Wilson does in the show – why are you a lesser person for enjoying a certain character/characters relationship than someone who watching for the medical side of it? This season has been one of House’s best because they traveled a road they actually haven’t before – lets just exclude the House relapse into Vicodin because really zzzzz – As a part time fan of House/Cuddy, I’m left saddened but excited for what’s to come. That’s just me though. [/rant]

  16. Joan O on March 8th, 2011 5:56 pm

    I love House. I loved House and Cuddy together. I liked how David Shore put two extremely smart, older characters together who had loved and lost a lot and played out the their fears and insecurities. In my opinion, if you’re watching a tv show and the writers and actors have moments of silence, moments of just listening…and you know what’s going through the character’s mind…that is brilliant work.
    Hugh Laurie is the master of conveying thought and feeling without saying a word. He plays a character who we should hate on paper, but in reality Laurie gives us a thousand reasons we are compelled to love House…and therefore you understand why the few friends in his life, and Cuddy do love him.
    House’s character is complex and I agree with what’s already been posted. We’ve already been through rehab with House and I don’t know of a way they can improve on that stellar work. Although in reality, it’s likely someone like House would relapse. I just hope the writers allow the strong, smart characters of House and Cuddy to find each other again. I didn’t feel they lost anything by getting together. It’s one of the few tv relationships that stayed interesting as House navigated his “new normal.” The preschool episode was priceless. I’ll be watching. I hope Cuddy has the guts to let House find his way to being the guy she wants.

  17. Tayara on March 8th, 2011 6:35 pm


    Concordo plenamente com você totalmente…faço suas as minhas palavras. Acredito que eles ainda vão se encontrar de novo, afinal foi um tanto deslocado esse término!!!

  18. Mary on March 8th, 2011 7:18 pm

    First of all I liked that the writers gave us something new as the structure of the episode. I really enjoy watching Cudd’s & House’s dreams, it was.. different. Although, i really love ” Huddy” and I didn’t want them to break up, I still have hope that they may solve their problems, maybe not next week but after the end of this season. =(

    Six seasons wanting to see them together and it has to end so quickly?? pleaseee.. at least.. not this way. House is being , or trying to be honest!!.. ONCE!! From my point of view she is being unjust.

    One thing you said is the pure true!, they are using the same old tricks. It’s time they innovate a little.

    For the future I want to know a bit more about Wilson’s story, what will happen with him now on?.. well.. i still want to see a little more about Huddy!! if not, I really would like something about Master’s and Chase, they are so different .. that makes their relationship even better..

    i don’t know if I really liked this episode, what I do know it is that i believed Greg and the final scene astonished me, I couldn’t keep my mouth shut!!

    Thank you for your recap post!! it is great!


  19. novicodin on March 9th, 2011 1:34 am

    One more thing I forgot to add.
    This all fits the “People don’t change. We like to believe they do, but they don’t” (quote, line from the series) thing.
    But that, too, was too obvious, from the start (that that’d be the theme of the show, til the end), and you’d think they would wanna go another route. I guess not. (the only question here is – will he change in the series finale, and that’d be the “amazing end of the story”, or will his own words be his destiny. There is no other mystery here.)

  20. Mary on March 9th, 2011 12:03 pm

    You’re right! and he is right.. People don’t change!!.. BUT.. if Cuddy started dating House.. I think she always knew whom she was dating. She is being a Coward, AND maybe House has not changed she is right, she gave a chance on him SO SHE CAN’T QUIT NOW!
    Perhaps i’m making this personal.. relationships are about coping with the other person, you can’t ask them to change. You knew, so now you have the consequences!!!

    Although, I LOVE HUDDY!! I WANT MORE!!, more of House & Rachael (L) NOT NOW!!! PLEASEE Reconciliation 🙂


  21. tw111 on March 9th, 2011 6:18 pm

    Well, people DO change, sometimes, and there’s still hope, I guess, that House will jerk himself back up onto the bank of sobriety without succumbing completely to a submerge in Vicodin Pond.
    I just don’t have another rehab for House in me… fix it quick, or fuhgeddabouddit.
    Of course, this ( relapse) could just be another dream sequence……. right?

  22. Mary on March 9th, 2011 8:15 pm

    hey tw111, that final idea could be great =( but I don’t think so! , i wish i could have some hope.. in the scenes of the next episode they show Wilson going to Cuddy’s house to talk about what happened. IT IS TRUE =(-

    I really think people don’t change.. don’t change at all.. from my point of view House HAS changed a lot, but always being himself. He tried to be what Cuddy expected from him.
    THERE is where I think he is wrong AND Cuddy.. you can’t ask someone to change in order to be with him!! it is unfair!! totally unfair..
    Although, I don’t think that House will ruin himself again, He showed us that his feelings for Cuddy were true. If not he wouldn’t have taken the Vicodin, he took it because he couldn’t cope with the idea of letting down Cuddy.

    I think that from now on, we can expect that YES.. for a few moments he will be succumbing to Vicodin i think, but THEN i see him trying to convince Cuddy that she made a mistake.
    We all saw Cuddy crying beacuse of what she’s done!! And we all saw House (that scene was nice!) sat down in the floor of his bath, looking at the door as the first scene of the season, cheking if Cuddy was not entering to stop him as she has done before. For my that scene told us a lot about his feelings and why he took Vicodin again!!

    Thank u for reading me!, I make it long, sorry.. but this episode really shocked me 😐


  23. longforgottenMEDICALshow on March 9th, 2011 9:00 pm

    prediction: wilson and cuddy start a relationship
    Wishes: house (addict house) goes back to kicking serious medical ass. Hopefully they don’t make a big deal about him relapsing. He has always been at his best when he’s been on the v’s. I too wish they would quit all the lovey dovey main A storylines and have the B storylines be the sick patients. I want to see some new interesting rare diseases and house figure them out while he’s high. But that’s just me.

  24. gbbg on March 9th, 2011 11:50 pm

    it’s a story. watch it develop. go along with it. or quit it.

    I was thrown off with the zombies and weird settings but.. heck I couldn’t understand the whole pill-popping pain-hating House. I mean this guy went back to pills cos he couldn’t bear to see her go? Why does she have to hate him for that? Am I missing something?

  25. Stephi on March 10th, 2011 9:18 am

    Make fun all you want but I am a huge fan of the Huddy relationship. Let’s be realistic though, I had a gut feeling it would not last long. However, I do think they ended that storyline a little early. During that period of their dating life, they developed both House and Cuddy and show that House can be more than just a sarcastic doctor who is addicted to drugs and Cuddy can be more than a new-mommy/control freak. Anyway, I for one was a fan of the episode until the end and here is my main reason for that:

    Cuddy knew what she was getting into dating House. She KNEW that House was a pill-popper yet she continued to date him and hoped that he would change (which nobody does). Therefore, she should have expected a relapse. IF she truly loved him, she would try to help him. If you ask me, I think Cuddy is JUST AS SELFISH as House is. Her addiction is power rather than pills. Once she found out she could not control House, she left him.

  26. Erik on March 10th, 2011 9:35 am

    I must confess, the comments about this episode have been FAR more entertaining than the show was! Thanks to everyone for chiming in with their takes, pro and con, regarding “Bombshells.” Later this evening, I’ll be responding to specific comments and stoking further debate, so keep your eyes peeled…

  27. Mary on March 10th, 2011 10:44 pm

    I totally agree with you Stephi!! Cuddy is being selfish as House.. I’ve totally confessed that i’m PRO HUDDY ^^ , in my opinion this is not the end, they have much more to show us about Cuddy and House mantaining a relationship.
    I realized another thing!!.. I hate Cuddy’s sister! i’m sure that if she wasn’t there House and Cuddy would last a little more HAHA.. don’t you think?

    OK . it’s true that i can’t stop thinking about this episode.. AND I can’t wait till next monday either..

    I’ve watched Bombshells for the third time, and I’m really impressed .. Hugh is very expressive with his look. In the musical he was GREAT, but I’m still thinking in the end .. House staring at the door waiting for Lisa.. WHY SHE WAS NOT THERE!! SELFISH WOMAN, DON’T YOU LOVE HIM?.
    In this ocassion I have to recognize, HE was always selfish and didn’t care about anyone else.. this was not the moment Lisa!! you ruined everything =(

    I can still here House saying: NO NO NO DON’T.. (L)

    have a nice day!
    Mary (from Argentina) ^^

  28. Kate on March 15th, 2011 7:11 pm

    Of all the potential relationships for House they introduced over the course of the show (Cameron, Stacy, Wilson, Lydia, Cate, Cuddy) Cuddy was the only one that must fail because the characters have so little in common in terms of who they are. They are both doctors, age appropriate and find each other sexy but in terms of what they want from life and how they view the world (House wants to solve the puzzle; Cuddy wants a smooth path), they have little in common and while House compromised everything for her including his diagnostic abilities and his sobriety, Cuddy wanted someone like Lucas but with House’s attitude. For all that she said she was okay with House being who he is, Cuddy never really understood him (hence Wilson and Cameron having to interpret him for her over the first 6 seasons). This relationship brought out the worst in both parties and I hope it is over for good. I just wish they hadn’t wasted 4 seasons on it.

    I hope House can go back to what he was in the first 2 seasons, a brilliant doctor who uses vicodin to cope with his pain, both physical and psychological.

    To this episode: I thought it was good, and it wasn’t. It suffers from something the whole show does, an excess of self-indulgence. The smaller fantasy scenes were good, the Get Happy sequence I wish I could scrub from by brain because it was so excessive, the costumes distracted and the singing was far from the good versions I’ve heard of the song. Overindulgence again.

    I know the writers love Cuddy and Sara Hess and Liz Friedman, the writers of this episode, even said Cuddy deserves better than House but the past few seasons have killed my sympathy for Cuddy because she is so self-oriented and she doesn’t appreciate what she’s got or who she’s got, including Wilson who she uses to get House to do what she wants. I really felt for her being scared about the surgery and the biopsy resutls because I’ve been there. But I didn’t have a good friend who would do the tests for me (Wilson), a boyfriend who was willing to go back into addiction so that he could be there for me, a housekeeper to cook and clean when I was too sick to, a sister who came over to make me lunch after the surgery and a mother, albeit irritating, who could come over to take care of me. And I didn’t get a negative biopsy result either. But because nothing is ever good enough for Cuddy, not Lucas when she has her fantasy of House and not the reality of House who seemed like he was willing to give up his whole sense of who he defined himself as being (in No Reason) to be with her. Not to mention her great job and clothing budget. I know it’s just a TV show but just once I wish Cuddy had to deal with the real fall-out of her experiences (like throwing up and having her hair fall out during cancer treatment or Rachel not being the perfect brilliant child but realistically having disabilities from the circumstances of her birth) instead of always getting everything she wants and it never being enough for her.