It's Relationship Night on House, so strap in. Oh sure, there's a patient who literally gets crucified yearly in order to keep a contract with God. You'd think that would be interesting enough. But no, "Small Sacrifices" isn't content with half-measures. Not only do we get Sort Of Jesus, whose powers include vomiting blood and smiling when he's blue (or in incredible pain), we also get House, Wilson, Taub, and briefly Foreman, struggling to make a positive impression on the women in their lives. (Okay, Foreman just struggles to make any impression at all.) Surprisingly, only House manages this successfully, which is some small compensation for failing to convince Mr. Nail-Me-To-A-Tree that "God is dead" isn't just a line in an Elton John song.
"Sacrifices" was a bit stronger than last week, at least in terms of the patient. The show has pitted House against the devoutly religious multiple times before, but at least this PotW had a personality, even if that personality was entirely faith-based. Really, the patients on the show are the most interesting when they have some drive that puts them at odds with House's brutally unsparing world-view. Originality would be great, but at this point, I'm just hoping to see some sparks, and there were a few here. Admittedly, I'm not sure arguing questions of divinity with a man who, again, willingly crucifies himself every year (okay, so it's not a full out crucifixion; the nails go through his palms, not his wrists, and he doesn't stay up on the pole until he dies; but still) is ever going to yield the kind of results House seemed to expect. Either the PotW's convictions are so deeply felt that he'll be able to twist any outcome to conform with them, or else he's crazy, in which case, see previous. I appreciated House's willingness to lie to get the patient to accept the proper treatment, but the slide show with X-rays at the end … I dunno, I wasn't feeling it.
Still, all of this was better than the relationship plotlines. The mystery was half-hearted, but I fell for House's lie, and I continue to enjoy how Martha has been integrated into the team. She's still the only female character on the show right now worth giving a damn about. Case in point: Taub's wife. Why in the hell are these two still married? He cheated on her, he's trying to make up for it, he still wants to cheat. OK, he's a creep. But now she's having an "emotional affair" with some guy she met on the Internet, and Taub's going through her e-mails, and … seriously, what is the point of this relationship? I can't tell if we're supposed to be rooting for them to make it work or if this is all some subtle criticism on people who stay together for no real reason but to punish each other and themselves. Either way, it's ridiculous and a major drag, and Taub's wife isn't really a person. She's just a machine that dispenses disappointment.
Sam is a little better, mostly because Cynthia Watros is a better actress. But after spending so much time last week on Sam's issues with children, to have her and Wilson break up because Wilson can't keep his gosh-darn mouth shut … ah well. I guess it makes sense; the show has always been honest about Wilson being as messed up in his own way as House is in his, and while House has been making changes, Wilson doesn't really seem all that different. I'm not sure exactly what drives Sam to leave. Maybe it's that Wilson's commitment to being a good person is just as destructive as House's commitment to being honest all the time. Whatever the exact reason, when he proposes to Sam, he tells her he loves her more because he knows she lied about radiation treatments for terminal patients, and she gets mad, and then it's suitcase time. Maybe she'll be back, but her exit seemed pretty definitive.
And then there's House, who keeps trying to trick Cuddy into a lie in order to get himself off the hook. It's idiotic, and I'm not even sure if it's the kind of idiotic that House should be engaging in. Be that as it may, Cuddy's demand that they keep their work and personal relationships separate rings more than a little hollow when the main reason she's mad at him on both fronts is a personal reason based on a professional misdeed. If she's pissed as a boss because he lied to her, well, she should try and take some sort of disciplinary action. But no, it's all confusing, and that's kind of the message of this show when it comes to love. House ultimately lies to make peace, and I guess we're supposed to learn that, when it comes to being close to someone, sometimes it's better to just lie until you can understand what's happening, if you ever do. That's not terrible advice. It's just that, in this context, it seems like the women don't ever really make sense and the only way guys can get by is to ignore that. Because of, y'know, sex and stuff. Sigh.
- I don't have any problem with Taub struggling to make his marriage work. I just wish they'd let us in on why he bothers. (And yeah, I realize that lot of marriages stay together even when they have no good reason to do so. This one just seems comically awful. If it was more realistically written, if his wife wasn't just a joy-killing sponge, this would be unbearable to watch. As is, it's just boring.)
- Ha ha ha, Chase had a threesome, and Foreman went home alone. Funny how, out of everybody, Chase seems to be the only one enjoying himself.
- I wish I had never realized how ridiculous Cuddy's work outfits are. I'm not even pleasantly distracted by the cleavage anymore.