House – Office Politics – Episode review

Amber Tamblyn in House

Probably the most notable thing about tonight’s episode of House was the inclusion of a new character, Martha Masters, played by Amber Tamblyn.

House fans will know the drill by now – he was instructed by Cuddy to find a female member for his team, but passed the responsibility to his team and subsequently fired (or scared away) most of the candidates. So tonight, Cuddy hires Martha for House – a move that Dr Grumpy doesn’t appreciate.

We already knew that Amber Tamblyn was going to be in a multi-episode arc, so it was possible to watch her character knowing that she wasn’t going to be one of the disposable flunkies of the last few weeks. And the character of Martha Masters (based on Tamblyn’s real life medic student friend, fact fans!) was actually an intriguing prospect – a veritable young genius with a strong moral code who stood up to House and Cuddy! Gasp! 

House has had this kind of character before – Cameron comes to mind as a principled woman who held a mirror up to House’s dubious medical strategies like breaking and entering and lying to his patients. However, Masters sucks up House’s trademark nastiness and although she’s hurt by his barbed remarks, she still stands up for her own beliefs. She insists on keeping the patient informed of his choices and their plans for treatment, all of which leaves House bemused.

What was extra funny was this was the week where Taub, Foreman and Chase get arrested for housebreaking, just as House’s morality is being challenged by a med student!

And wasn’t it nice to see Foreman back on form, picking on Taub because of his instant dislike of Masters? Omar Epps got in a couple of great lines including the “brother hotline” gag with House, and it’s good to see them using him again, because Foreman was beginning to blend into the background a little bit. It’s not that Foreman is a likeable character – in fact, it was great watching Taub kick his ass at basketball – but he is a crucial part of the team who’s been cruelly benched for most of the season.

The patient of the week story brought in Jack Coleman as a guest star, but it barely registered for me. It’s nice to see Coleman again, but the patient was really background material for House to parry with Masters. You want proof of that? They locked the rest of the team away, just so House would have to interact with the med student!

Also notable this week was Cuddy making House her bitch – lots of smacking him on the ass and reminding him that she’s the boss. And some deft manipulation of him into taking Masters on. Crucially, House chose to lie to Cuddy in order to approve a risky treatment, a lie she uncovered in the final minutes of the episode. And she doesn’t look too happy about it. After weeks of playing on the separation between their romantic and professional lives, will Cuddy be able to overlook this insubordination from her lover?

Can’t wait to find out!

Quotes from the Sausagefest

  • House: “Black guy campaigning for the opposition? Does Obama know about this?” Foreman: “I tried calling him on the brother hotline. He didn’t pick up.”
  • House: “She’s like the Internet, with breasts. Oh, wait. The Internet has breasts.”
  • House: “So you’ll lie when it doesn’t matter, but you won’t when it does. How did you get so screwed up?”
  • Cuddy: “You will not quit this job (To House) She’s a potential star, and I want her in my hospital.”
  • Taub: “She remembers the twentieth digit of some math constant, but she doesn’t remember a guy she had a one on one meeting with.”
  • House: “Prove yourself to me…no more games. At least, the current game ends. Others may start. You have my deeply flawed word.”
  • House: “Or…I want a front row seat for when you wake up and realise how useless your principles are. I don’t want you to just lie to a patient. I want you to want to lie to a patient.”

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