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House: "Brave Heart"

Illustration for article titled House: "Brave Heart"
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It's dumb, but the less you have to make your life worth living, the easier it is to live your life. With no significant emotional attachments, you can just glide, not really happy, not really sad, simply coasting from high to low without having to worry about consequences or memories or lingering pain. The only drawback is that sometimes the lows last a very long time, and without any reason to pull through them, life can stop being quite so easy; or else you can come to the end of things and not be able to remember a single moment that had more value than the momentary rush of adrenaline it inspired. In "Brave Heart," we have a cop with every reason to believe he'll be dead by the time he hits his fortieth birthday. So that means no wife, no kid, and no long-term investments. But what happens when a brilliant-but-caustic doctor gets involved in his case, and your terminal diagnosis gets an unexpected extension?

It's a familiar kind of question—I'd say at this point in the series, they're all familiar questions—but it's not a bad one. Especially if we're going to accept that House has to become a more active participant in his own life. "Heart" doesn't directly address the connection between the PotW, and our hero's Great Wall o' Sarcasm, but by the end, both Donny and House are trying to make connections they'd spent a long time resisting. Donny's chat with his son was too predictable to be all that affecting, but having House talk to his dead father was surprising and moving. Our relationships with our parents are never as cut and dry as television and film often portray them, and while I hope the show doesn't completely forget some of the negative things it's suggested about House, Sr.'s parenting skills, I appreciate the compromise between acknowledging the pain of your upbringing and needing to get beyond it.

We're not getting that complexity with Chase's on-going guilt over the Dibala murder, sadly. To be sure, the whole thing reeks of contrivance (actually, so did Donny's sudden waking up during his own autopsy, but since it was a funny moment, I'll give it a pass), and it's hard to really relate to what he's going through in any conventional way. But the scenes of him having visions of Dibala, of being rude to Cameron, of confessing himself to a priest—I dunno, it was all bland and a bit on the ridiculous side. The Cameron/Chase arguments had the benefit of not involving Foreman and Thirteen, and at least you can get the sense of some relationship dying slowly, but I don't really care if Chase ever comes to his senses. I don't even know what that would mean. Jail time? Quitting the hospital? Injecting himself with the same blood he put in Dibala, just 'cause? Here's hoping we get some kind of conclusion, and fast. While House is nowhere near as good as it was in the first couple of seasons, I'm enjoying having the old team back, and Chase's self-torturing guilt really throws off the dynamic.

Also throwing off the dynamic is House's lack of a medical license, another problem I'm glad got resolved this week. The House/Cuddy romance hints were a bore, as always—honestly, at this point, the only reason they're still putting it out there is this is a TV show, and on any long-running TV show, eventually everybody has to start pairing off. Their back and forth is more interesting when there's just a hint of sexual tension, and having two random background characters remark on how hot Cuddy is for the shaved head, ear-jutting former psychotic, is ridiculous.

And the whispering subplot? It was a very minor piece of hand-waving, made immeasurably better by Hugh Laurie and Robert Sean Leonard. The "House is crazy!" card needs to get dropped from the deck, and having Wilson whispering to his dead girlfriend was a little on the odd side. But it lead to House trying to talk to his dad, and then yelling to Wilson that the whole thing was stupid. The episode went out on a strong note, at least. Because talking to dead person is kind of stupid. But hey, sometimes the things you have to do are. You do them anyway, because maybe the reason it's stupid is because it's also scary and embarrassing, and afterwards, you could wind up a better person. Also, occasionally, there's pie. I'd go through a lot of stupid for a good pie.

Stray Observations:

  • Chase: "I've crossed some line and I'm having trouble getting back to the other side." This line only works when it's being said by Darth Vader.
  • Was that criminal in the cold open doing parkour? Sure looked like it.
  • Oh yeah, almost forgot, Donny had a genetic self-destruct button. Which is nice for him.

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