House: Out of the Chute

by Za’chary Westbrook

5 out of 5

OUT OF THE CHUTE

Make no mistake, I really hope this is the last season of House. The medical cases have become so predictable that even the writers don’t care anymore. We’ve exhausted the relationship interest in Taub, Foreman and Chase. The House/Cuddy relationship is running the course we all kind of knew it had to, but desperately didn’t want it to. No relationship could possibly be as dynamically engrossing as House/Cuddy in this series. Yes, they’re bringing back Olivia Wilde (who has had zero screen time this season and is still billed above Amber Tamblyn), but that’s going to be fun for maybe three episodes. And Masters isn’t a strong enough character to carry any kind of an arc.

That’s why it needs to end. What they are doing right now is dredging up the last story fuel they can scrape from the bottom of the barrel. However, that doesn’t change the fact that they are nailing it! Last week gave us the single most amazing musical number we’ve seen on any series in the last year. Possibly longer. Cuddy’s anesthetic induced vision of Come On Get Happy brilliantly choreographed, gorgeously shot and straight-up visually spectacular. When you realize that all of the other cheesy movie-trope scenes earlier were a build-up to this… SO WORTH IT!

This week, a bull-rider has a bunch of vanishing symptoms or something, but really, no one in the production actually cares what’s wrong with this guy. Meanwhile, House is recovering from his recent break-up by hitting the vicodin again, boozing it up and funding a long string of the most attractive hookers, ever. Also, Masters (that’s the girl) kind of has a thing for the bull-rider, which is cute.

There’s nothing surprising here, but much of it really is inspired. The use of music has always been a strong suit for House and this week was in top form with Blacklab’s This Night awesomely foreshadowing the tone of the whole episode and Peter Gabriel’s cover of My Body is a Cage taking us home. Two brilliantly moody pieces with a dignified calm, earning their crescendo. Just like the episode.

The thrust, of course, is House trying to cope with Cuddy’s rejection, which begins with pampering himself and escalates from there. He gets the concierge to track down a hooker who plays the hurdy-gurdy (fans of BT’s score to Monster smile smugly), then has some fun with a bow and arrow, yet nothing satisfies. House is legitimately depressed and everything that should make him happy is failing to do so. Again, this is nothing new, but they so artfully build him a quiet desperation for a thrill that it’s much more engrossing than it’s been in a while.

Masters’ crush on the patient is genuinely cute and very funny. She’s finally getting some dimension, now that the writers are tired of Taub. Knowing these guys, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a little something between her and 13. The bookish nerd fussing over the hillbilly jock is a good lightness against the density of House’s coping. Also working as a good reversal. While House can’t find any of his old thrills, Masters is just discovering the primal ones for herself.

This is a dull story, but it is told incredibly well. It’s a pattern we might see hold out until the end of the season, but there’s no way they’ll be able to keep it going for an entire season.

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