With “Words and Deeds” we see everything that is great about House and everything that is not so great about House all in one episode.
The biggest problem with House lies in it’s a procedural drama, but instead of solving crimes, House is diagnosising illnesses. The formula is pretty standard with House and company coming up with a bevy of wrong hypthothesises in the first three acts only to find the ultimate solution the final act. Along the way, we may get some character background or development, but it’s never anything that is supposed to change things so that if you miss an episode or two you’ll be lost.
But every once in a while, House tries to have some kind of nod to continuity–and it is pretty much hit or miss. The thing with all of these continuity and on-going soap-opera style backstories is they start out strong but end with a thud becuase they don’t really have any long term impact. At the end of the day, House is still acerbic, rude and drug-addict. Not much changes the status quo.
The latest evidence in this is the Tritter arc. Ever since season one, House has tried to come up with a nemesis for House that could go toe to toe with him. The problem with this is inherintely the same one Star Trek faced back when they first created the Borg–create the nemesis too powerful and strong and there’s no good way to resolve the arc without making the opponent come off as weak and ineffectual. And just like the “sleep” command from Best of Both Worlds, Part 2, so did the writers of House find a pretty lame way to get out of the Tritter arc.
Tritter was shown as unrelented, uncaring and obsessed with bringing down House. His motto was the same as House’s: Everybody lies. Tritter went after House as surgically as House goes after the diseases and conditions he fights every week. And while we did see the noose tighten week after week, I think we all knew deep down that it wouldn’t end with House in jail. Instead the writers took the only way out–having Cuddy lie for House and forge documents that he had received a placebo instead of the drugs he stole in the last episode. Now, I can see why Cuddy did this as a hospital administrator and a friend to House, but it still rang of desparate writing.
Add to it that the show teased us, making us think House had turned a corner. He checks himself into rehab and is actually taking to the program. I should have known that House regained his faculties too quickly as a major clue he had a trick up his sleeve, but yet I was still fooled by his apology to Wilson and his appareance as having turned a corner. In the end, we learn House is bogarting drugs through the program, having his nurse replace them with Vicadin. I have to ask myself–just how much of a charmer is House when he wants his fix? He must be pretty good to get everyone he comes into contact with to bend the rules for him.
And that may be why Tritter was doomed. He wouldn’t bend the rules for House but in the end, everyone else would–including the legal system. Of course, it wouldn’t be much of a show if House were in jail for the next season or so.
Meanwhile, this week’s case of the week is a firefighter who is admitted for feeling cold. A variety of diagnosises are brought up and then disproven before we find out it’s some kind of tumor that is keeping blood from flowing to his brain properly. The tragedy of this our heroes only figure this out AFTER they’ve done a risky procedure to erase the guy’s memory. Seems the firefighter had feelings for his co-worker but had made the false memory of her being with brother. Ooops…not true. And so he loses his life. Tragic, really.
But not quite as tragic as how poorly the whole Tritter arc wraped up.