Ha! We got bluffed by the [[House (TV Series)|House]] producers. Did you assume, like me, that a season finale with a title like “Help Me” would be about House descending into psychological turmoil once again? After he stormed out of Dr Nolan’s office in last week’s “Baggage” episode, I thought that by shrugging off his therapy, House would end up backsliding.
But no. The events of the season six finale center around a building collapse/crane accident. The “Help me” is a cry from a woman trapped under tons of rubble. Let’s call her Hannah. Hannah’s leg is trapped under concrete, posing the problem that by lifting the beam, they risk destabilising the structure and killing everyone inside. The other alternative is to amputate.
This puts House directly where he never wants to be: in direct contact with his patient. Not only does Hannah bond with House emotionally, she panics when he says he has to leave. And after a while, House starts to identify with his patient. Remember last week when Dr Nolan suggested that House might choose his patients based on some connection to his own life and problems? Well, what more appropriate to House than a woman facing permanent damage to her leg?
Of course, after a while they stop pretending that it’s about Hannah. Clearly House is trying to save her leg when he couldn’t save his own. However, after a couple of hours have passed, and a stern talking-to from Cuddy (see the quotes section below), he accepts that he can’t save the woman’s leg.
It must be said, Hugh Laurie acts his socks off in this episode. I think this is one of the few times another human being has seen House at his most vulnerable. He develops an attachment to Hannah, and I think a lot hinges on his ability to save her. In a series where House has virtually phoned in his diagnoses, here he is with his sleeves rolled up amputating a woman’s leg. And still he can’t save her. And Hugh Laurie had sheer desperation in his eyes throughout those scenes which actually connected with me as a viewer.
In fact, it might have connected with me too much. I whited out slightly after the amputation – which was grizzly and harrowing to watch. The sounds of the surgical saw and the sight of Hannah arching her back in agony really got to me.
House luvs Cuddy?
So there we have this amazing, dark episode with House trying valiantly to save a patient and failing. Of course, he falls into a worrying depression and heads home – did anyone else think Foreman was a coward for not stopping him? He rips a mirror off the wall, exposing a nice little stash of Vicodin and spends a few minutes contemplating whether to take them.
Then Cuddy walks in.
This will be the single most controversial thing to happen in this entire season of House. Most of us felt that House had moved beyond toying with Cuddy and that he was only interfering with her relationship because he’s a jerk. Like he does with Wilson. So Cuddy walks in and professes she’s dumped Lucas and tells House she loves him.
I don’t like it. Sorry, but it felt like a reward to balance out the massive psychological hit House just took with the death of Hannah. And it raises the question: would House have had the courage to leave the drugs alone if Cuddy hadn’t come in when she did? Will she end up being a crutch to him?
Instead of making the cliffhanger House’s moral dilemma to take the drugs or not, now we have to worry what we’re going to walk into in Season 7. Are House and Cuddy going to be shacked up and loved up? Ugh…
Quotes from “Help Me”
- Wilson: “Having fun down there?” House: “Lots. Every time Cuddy leans over a patient it’s another opportunity for a down blouse nip slip.”
- House: “That was stupid of me.” Hannah: “It was nice.” House: “I don’t see that as a contradiction.”
- House: “Suddenly I’m the only one here who knows what a leg is worth.”
- Cuddy: “What are you clinging to House? You’re gonna risk her life just to save her leg? really worked out well for you, didn’t it? What do you have in your life, honestly? Tell me. I’m moving on, Wilson’s moving on and you, you’ve got nothing House. Nothing.”
- House eventually tells Hannah how he wishes he hadn’t saved his leg. “Left me with this mutilated, useless thing. I’m in pain, every day. And it changed me. Made me a harder person, a worse person.”