House, Season 7, Episode 14. Recession Proof takes us right back to our favourite House motif – “Everybody Lies”. And it does so via a broke realtor who’s pretending to his wife that nothing’s wrong. Except that he’s now cleaning crime scenes for a living.
Of course, the first few moments of the episode set it up to look like we were watching a [[Dexter (TV Series)|Dexter]] copycat – furniture covered in plastic, guy scrubbing blood in coveralls and pretending to be in a meeting when his wife called. Nice touches all.
Of course, with all the exposure to chemical cleaning products (and fungal spores and blood from the sites he cleaned), diagnosing the patient was never going to be straightforward. And of course there was the small matter of his lying to his wife about going out of business. Masters (Amber Tamblyn) continues to get schooled in why lying to the patient is sometimes preferable to always telling them the brutal truth. And after a few weeks working with House, the mousey med student seems to be more receptive to bending the truth.
House himself is splitting his time between the case of the week and setting up a fitting ‘tribute’ to Cuddy for a banquet they’re attending. If the last five minutes of the episode seemed oddly out of place to you, consider how much effort House was putting into auditioning a Mariachi band for the event. Consider that Wilson suspected House of sabotage, but it turned out that Cuddy was a fan of Mariachi bands and it was a Mexican-flavoured romantic gesture. Also consider that Taub and Foreman both got food poisoning and House barely registered it.
The two storylines collide when House finally makes the right diagnosis…but too late to save their patient. Who by now we knew was about to become a father. I loved how Wilson was concerned that the death of a patient would send House spiralling into a depression. And he was right to some extent – House skips the banquet and Wilson finds him drunk in a bar later. But not strictly because of the patient. Because he feels that being in love with Cuddy has dulled his razor-sharp medical instincts.
It’s a theme that came up a couple of weeks back when Cuddy’s mother was being treated and House was being held back by her ethics. This time, House was distracted from the case because he wanted to create a perfect moment for Cuddy at the banquet.
And so the episode ends with House declaring that if he had to choose between medicine and Cuddy, he’d choose Cuddy. Yikes! But Cuddy – who he abandoned at the banquet and then opened the door to a drunk Dr. House – seemed less than thrilled at the prospect. It’ll be interesting to see what the fallout from this episode is. Could this be the death of Huddy?
Elsewhere, there’s much discussion about relationship dysfunction – Chase’s inability to develop a deep relationship beyond numerous one-night stands. Masters’ wondering how she can have an effective bedside manner if she can’t strike up friendships in her personal life. Even Wilson gets in on the act wondering if he’s becoming bitter and cynical after his latest relationship breakdown. Foreman and Taub are off rocking the ‘Bert & Ernie’ analogy albeit with food poisoning.
Not exactly the sharpest episode of [[House (TV Series)|House]]. The last five minutes did seem a tad rushed and disproportionate to what had come before. But then, the death of a patient tends to hit House quite hard – it’s a reminder that even he is fallible from time to time. It also feels like any time a married couple turn up in Princeton Plainsboro that the medical team take that as a cue to start analyising their love lives. But after seven seasons, you’ve got to expect certain themes top repeat themselves!