House – The Choice (S06E20) – Episode review

[[House (TV Series)|House]] delivers his punchiest episode in weeks with The Choice. Greg House is at his absolute best when he’s firing out acerbic one liners like a sniper with a machine gun full of sarcasm bullets.

And what’s the best way to do that? Give him a gay patient who’s so far back in the closet, he’s knocking on the front doors of Caer Paravel. Yes, patient of the week is the groom at a wedding, but the team discover that he’s undergone conversion therapy to “zap the fabulous right out of him”. Add to that some wicked moments where House messes with serial adulterer Taub, and Wilson in turn messing with House by setting him up on ‘playdates’ with his staff, and you’ve got one hell of an entertaining episode.

Gayness: Biologically predisposed or a lifestyle choice?

When patient of the week Ted collapses at a wedding, House’s initial diagnosis is cold feet. However, when Ted ends up back in Princeton Plainsboro with the same symptoms, the team are sent off in different directions to investigate. It isn’t long before Thirteen and Taub discover Ted’s old roommate who claims they were gay lovers.

This draws the team to begin investigating in this direction, given that it’s an area of the patient’s history that he lied about. There’s much intelligent musing about the conversion therapy and the patients strenuous denial of his sexuality. It was interesting to see the medics pick up a point made last week about Taub being predisposed to cheat on his wife in the context of this discussion.

Of course, the end diagnosis has precious little to do with the patient’s condition. As House said: “Like so many other things, you were born that way.”

What’s great about House is how they pull people in from all walks of life and strip away the layers of deception that surround them. Whether it’s relevant to the case or not. I thought it was particularly poignant that Ted was in complete denial right up to the end, while both his fiancée and his gay lover had to walk away from him. What may have started out as a simple inability to accept his sexuality was made unfathomably worse by the conversion therapy he opted to take. What a great way of turning the spotlight on something that’s a hideous way of making people repress themselves.

Wilson’s playdate scheme

Wilson notices that House is drinking heavily since his ex-wife came back on the scene. He convinces House’s staff that it would be in their best interests to take him out and keep him entertained. He’s clearly at his most self-destructive when alone.

On the first occasion, he goes out for dinner with Taub, but messes with Taub by inviting his wife to dinner too and telling her that Taub has signed up for a ceramics class. Conveniently, this gives Taub a cover story for his affair, but means that he also has to keep up the pretense of producing sub-standard ceramics.

House’s night at a lesbian bar with Thirteen delivers some great dialogue between the two. I’m really enjoying Thirteen this series. It took a while to get used to her “less dependent on House than Cameron” attitude, but she’s still got warmth and personality. The bit of verbal sparring between the two that ends in her “My self-pity’s optional. What about yours?” resulted in a look of Touche from House.

And for light entertainment, the boy’s night out that gave us Chase’s Midnight Train To Georgia with Foreman and House on backing vocals was hilarious. And a tiny bit too good, but we’ll overlook the pretty-decent harmonies and choreography from two doctors who spend their lives in a hospital! It was a fun moment, and showed that House can relate to his staff. He later tells Wilson that he sobered up and abandoned the idea of being friends with them. Which, I think, cleverly ties into the episode title. How much of House’s attitude is a choice on his part? Even the above quote from Thirteen takes on deeper meaning in this context.

Summing up

This sixth series has suffered a little bit in my estimation. After the season opener showing an institutionalized House, I felt the series was struggling for identity. Last night showed us that the team can hit a home run again. We need more of this.

Of course, subtle hints at House substituting booze for pills, and a poignant moment with Cuddy where he tells her he doesn’t want to be friends. However, we’ve seen very little of Lisa Edelstein this series (especially not that alluring rear view), so to dredge up that old romantic plot seems a little out of place, especially since there’s not really been any overt chemistry between the two. Or am I missing something?

Quotes from this episode

  • House: “I woke up in the wrong bed this morning.” Nurse: “Any bed you’re in is the wrong one.” House: “That’s not what your mama said.”
  • House: “I don’t believe that you called off your open marriage. I believe the your wife called it off and you called off telling her that you weren’t calling it off. A guy doesn’t throw a golden ticket in the trash.”
  • House: “There’s gotta be a better way to call off a wedding. Tweet, for example.”
  • Ted: “I’m not gay.” House: “Sodomy. One of the top ten household accidents.”
  • Ted: “I didn’t hate the thought of admitting I was gay because I was ashamed. I hated the thought because I wasn’t gay. And that was the day I went to get help.”
  • House: “You’re successful, smart and you attract everything that moves. If you want to focus on that fact that you’re not gonna see 50, that’s your choice.”
  • House: “If history is written by the victor, how do we find out what really happened?” Chase: “Talk to the loser.” House: “Call the boyfriend…”
  • House confronts Wilson about the playdates: “Taub asking me out was quirky, but Thirteen doing it is a barking cat.”

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