The Wife:

The final four episodes of this season of House almost made up for Kutner’s random-ass suicide in their inventiveness. Almost. I thoroughly enjoyed the return of Amber as House’s ghostly hallucination and his three-episode quest to discern exactly what’s wrong with him, either way knowing that if he’s crazy, he can’t practice medicine, and if he’s experiencing side effects from his Vicodin addiction, he can’t practice medicine because once he’s clean he’ll be in too much pain. Anne Dudek was delightful has his subconscious manifestation throughout this arc, especially the moment in which she reappears after House thinks he has staved her off by OD’ing on insulin, singing old jazz standards over the microphone at his bar, echoing her first appearance beside his piano. But nothing, really, was more chilling than the final episode, when House realizes he’d hallucinated the entire night he spend kicking Vicodin with Cuddy, ending in the two of them sleeping together. Reliving all of the moments we saw of him flipping coins or examining a tube of lipstick are replayed with Vicodin bottles replacing those objects, suggesting a very powerful drug addiction that has completely taken over House’s life, was pretty brilliant. Frankly, I’d prefer more arcs like this, rather than so many one-off episodes. But what else are you going to do with a 24-episode season? So while everyone else attends Cameron and Chase’s wedding (they spent these past few episodes almost not getting married because a. Cameron kind of got cold feet b. House nearly killed Chase with a stripper covered in strawberry body butter . . . that apparently was made with actual strawberry extract and c. Chase was being a dick to Cameron about keeping her dead husband’s sperm on ice because he took it to mean that she thought they weren’t going to work out, rather than, you know, being the last thing she has to hold on to of her fucking husband), House checks himself in to a mental institution . . . which he will inevitably check himself out of at the beginning of next season because you can do that kind of thing with you are voluntarily committed.

I should have known this was too good to be true . . .

I should have known this was too good to be true . . .

As far as the patients were concerned, I’m often irritated by how precious the conceits are in which every patient is a metaphor for someone on the team, etc. So I totally get why the guy with split brain whose hand was not his hand was necessary for the metaphor of the finale, it was also perhaps added just a tad too much levity, despite how much Thirteen et all tried to tell me it was creepy. The only patient that really got to me out of this bunch was the ballerina who lost her skin. A lot of my research deals with holes in the surface of the body, mitigations of that surface or the abjecta beneath the surface, but I found her skinlessness to actually be quite frightening. Perhaps its because I’ve had skin cancer that I find the idea of losing that much skin so terrifying (which, for the record, makes no sense, because the removal of skin cancers just leaves some awesome scars), but its more likely the fact that, without the mitigation of the surface, the inside is all that much more frightening. We forget that our skin is the largest organ on our bodies, and so it is vital that we take care of it. Losing a little bit when you scrape your elbow or knee is fine, and hardly horrifying, but losing so much that we are exposed so wholly to the world is truly unsettling. And deadly. I shuddered for that poor girl. She’s just damn lucky that Princeton-Plainsboro has so many fresh cadavers from which to harvest grafts. I know the episode wanted us to sympathize more with the possibility that she, a dancer, would have to have her gangrenous hands and feet removed in order to live (Taub managed to revive the tissue, somehow), but the loss of her flesh was something I couldn’t get out of my head. And I doubt I will.

So, damn you, House, you actually got me. Good for you.

Considering how poorly I did at keeping up with House this year, I don’t think I’ll write about it next year. I’ll still be watching, though, storing up dozens of episodes on my DVR to marathon whenever I get a break from my book learnin’.

The Husband:

And so the month of season finales involving hallucinations continue, and between this, Bones, and Grey’s Anatomy, I wonder what else have I not come across? I know how the US version of Life on Mars ends (but since neither my wife nor I have finished watching the second half of the season, I’ll refrain from saying what it is), but what about the shows I’m behind on?

Smallville, of course, always has at least a couple hallucination episodes a season – and more now that they’ve been struggling to find stories in Metropolis, a task that doesn’t actually sound very hard – but will Prison Break get all wonky during its final five-episode run that’s sitting on my DVR? (Michael does have major brain shenanigans last time I checked, so this has potential.)

Does Lie to Me, which we’ve DVRed but haven’t touched yet, turn everything on its head by revealing that Tim Roth is just a figment of our imagination? (Considering he’s been both a futuristic ape and Abomination in The Incredible Hulk, this could be a possibility.)

Is Reaper going to turn out to be an extremely vivid dream concocted by Sock during a very long nap at the Work Bench? Will that explain Andi losing her personality this season?

Is that missing episode of Sit Down, Shut Up an apology to the idiots who didn’t find it funny and complained about the intentionally awkward animation-on-top-of-real-backgrounds?

Motherfucker! Ugly Betty ended in a hallucination, too! What happened here? Is this a veiled backlash against Obama? Did all the showrunners stop taking their medication?

The only time I can remember even the slightest bit of consistency across certain shows during season finales was May, 1996 (I had to check Wikipedia for the year, but remember everything else about the following without any aid.) For some reason, three major shows in my life decided to kind of lose their minds and go way too dark for my young teenage brain. With Seinfeld, it was Susan, George’s fiancée, dying as a result of toxic envelope glue, and when the main cast stopped by the hospital, they pretty much felt nothing and went to go get some coffee. On Roseanne, Dan breaks his diet and he and Roseanne get into one of the foulest shouting matches I’ve ever seen on a family sitcom, devolving into back-and-forth screams of “Fatty! Fatty! Fatty!” (Let’s not even mention the final season, which was all a dream.) And, finally, Mad About You challenged Paul and Jamie’s marriage when she kissed the man she was campaigning for and Paul lusted after another woman but didn’t do anything, leading to a quiet, disturbing fight.

It just seemed like, for no discernable reason, sitcoms ended that year wanting us to feel like absolute shit. So I ask, does anybody have an explanation for this madness in dear old 2009?

Don’t get me wrong, I thought everything with Dudek was some of the most compelling minutes House has ever had, and even without her, the final mindfuck, while hard to avoid in the press after the fact, was still eerily effective, thanks in no small part to Hugh Laurie’s continued brilliance on this show. Does he still not have an Emmy? (Now that Boston Legal is gone, Spader’s absence in the category will help considerably. That is, if Jon Hamm’s John Ham doesn’t take it, which would not be a bad thing per se.)

On another note, do any of you out there seriously care about Chase and Cameron? At all? Boooooooring. How about hiring another intern. I’m fine with that. Anything to get away from the dour blondes.

The Wife:

The Dollhouse season/series finale (and I’m betting it’s the latter) was certainly some of the series’ finest work, confirming my Dr. Saunders-is-a-doll theory and engaging in some interesting cyberpunk conceits. As a finale, I think this episode admirably wrapped up the season and, since the central arc was essentially completed, could serve to wrap up the series, as well. But, as any good season finale-that-might-be-a-series-finale should be, there are open doors through which to proceed should FOX get Dollhouse a greenlight for 12 more episodes. (Or 13. Depending.)

When Alpha abducted Echo from the Dollhouse, he stole all of her former imprints, and destroyed the backup copy of her original “Caroline” personality. Topher struggles to find out which of her imprints he would have uploaded into her before absconding, and discovers that it was never one of Echo’s imprints at all, but one of Whiskey’s.

A tall glass of Whiskey.

A tall glass of Whiskey.

Three or so years ago, Whiskey and Alpha were sent out on a paired engagement, basically playing Mickey and Mallory from Natural Born Killers in some dude’s totally weird torture/porn fantasy. Alpha, programmed with a personality prone to paranoid delusions, started to take things too far, which in turn called in the handlers to break things up, but not, of course, until after the reveal that the silhouetted woman he was working with wasn’t Echo at all, but Whiskey . . . and after Whiskey and Alpha proceeded to have some totally hot foreplay with their captive. (This is, I guess, the only reason one should ever want to be kidnapped by Mickey and Mallory, because otherwise that’s a pretty fucking terrible idea!)

And here’s where I take a moment to thank Joss Whedon for giving us Amy Acker in stripper clothes. She’s so much more beautiful and has so much more range than Eliza Dushku that I’d rather watch a spin-off prequel about her character. I mean, really, Dushku has basically only been Faith for most of this series, whereas Acker has been someone completely different than Fred. And we already know she’s a great actress. Let’s all take a moment to shudder in remembrance of the Ilyria arc on Angel.

But as to the Mickey-and-Mallory imprints, it seems Alpha chose them in part because his Mickey personality was dominant at the time, and in part because it was the most convenient way to go on a kidnapping spree. He and Echo-as-Mallory, only minutes out of the Dollhouse, kidnap a young girl named Wendy and drag her back to Alpha’s lair. He was astute enough to call in a bomb threat to the building and lock everyone else inside the Dollhouse so they’d have greater difficulty finding him, and Paul Ballard (who also doesn’t have a whole lot of range or characterization, thanks to Tahmoh Penikett) puts himself in charge of reconstructing what happened on the day Alpha went rogue.

It seems Alpha was obsessed with Echo from the day Caroline strode into the Dollhouse for her pre-Activation tour. Caroline makes a comment about how the Dolls all seem like zombies waiting for tasty brains, which I thought was a pretty cute, sly nod to her Hulu commercial, as well as an accurate assessment of living without a personality. Per the Mickey-and-Mallory flashback, it seems Alpha was routinely paired with Whiskey on engagements, as she was, at the time, the Dollhouse’s most requested Active. And because of his fascination with Echo, he one day took a pair of scissors to Whiskey’s face during art class, eerily demanding, “Whiskey, let Echo be number one.” And so Whiskey was broken, and Alpha was to be given a full diagnostic, wiped and then sent to the Attic (despite his protestations that “I was making art”). During the diagnostic, though, he resists, creating that famous composite event where all of his former imprints uploaded into his brain, causing him to not have multiple personalities, but to be multiple personalities, as other brains shifted, randomly, into his own consciousness at any given moment. And so that killing spree occurred, in which he preserved the one person he thought was different and special: Echo.

At his power plant lair, Alpha uploads Caroline’s brain into poor unsuspecting Wendy with his own version of Topher’s chair, and forces “Caroline” to confront her own body. This was absolutely my favorite part of the series so far, as I felt it finally engaged in some commentary on theories of consciousness and embodiment rather than just bringing something up through a moral lense (such as the show’s constant dialogue about slavery and freedom, which also is brought up in the most eye-rolling way possible during this otherwise great scene). Alpha shows “Caroline” her body and chastises her for abandoning it, making a strange bid to privilege the corporeal and temporal over permanent, ethereal cyber-consciousness. I found this bid to punish Caroline’s mind for abandoning her body especially strange in light of Alpha’s next assertion that, if he makes Echo like him, they can be supreme beings, gods or supermen (or, literally, the Alpha and Omega), because they are not one person with multiple personalities, but one body comprised of many people, able to shift in and out of consciousnesses at any minute.

To make her into Omega, Alpha uploads all of Echo’s imprints into her, hoping that she will do as he did when he emerged from his composite event and destroy her original consciousness. In this case, to kill “Caroline.” But Echo as Omega seems to have a slightly better grip on reality and juggling multiple consciousnesses than Alpha does, and realizes it’s pretty insane to destroy one’s primary consciousness, so she instead swings at him. She disagrees with his theories on the übermensch, because even though they may be everybody, in the sense that they are many people, they still aren’t someone without their original personalities.

That notion of being “someone,” I think, is what Alpha’s addled brain is rallying against by destroying his own original brain and asking Echo to destroy hers. To Alpha, a body with just one brain in it, one consciousness, is to be “someone,” which is to be less than “everyone,” privileging a multiple consciousness, an ever-shifting collective over the singular, individual consciousness. I really like this conceit as it subverts the notion of what it means to be an “everyman” in narratives. This whole time, we’ve looked at the Dolls as “everymen,” capable of having attributes projected onto them, but now we’re asked to read Alpha and Omega’s composite personalities as “everymen” in a literal sense, which renders them godlike, in Alpha’s conception, and, therefore, utterly singular. Uniqueness here is achieved by subverting the traditional notion of an “everyman,” and that’s pretty clever.

Barring that reading, I would find it very odd for Alpha to spend time punishing Caroline’s brain for abandoning her body, when he went on to destroy his own. Especially when he utters the most cyperpunk line in the entire series as he uploads Caroline into Wendy: “A body’s just a body. They’re all pretty much the same.” And he’s right: bodies aren’t special, but consciousness is. This show’s entire conceit has privileged the consciousness over the corporeal, uploading new people into blanked out bodies and sending them off to do the extraordinary or the ordinary. A body is only meat and flesh and organs, something that can be marked, scarred, broken or destroyed while the consciousness, especially the kind that is downloaded or uploaded at will, that lives on. And I couldn’t be happier that Dollhouse finally made it to a point where it engaged in its own conceits. (Props to you, Tim Minear!)

Thus ends our brief, poorly-executed literary theory section of this post. I promise only summary/brief commentary from now on.

While Alpha, Wendy/Caroline and Echo/Omega are having theoretical fun in his lair of doom, Ballard manages to get the bomb threat called off so he and others can go hunt down Alpha and their missing Doll. Sierra and November are imprinted as thieves, for some reason, in the one plot thread that never actually goes anywhere, which I think was added just to make Ballard uncomfortable at seeing the woman he kind of cared for uploaded with a new personality. He also discovers that Alpha and some of the other original dolls were taken from a prison population, and that, as a convict, Carl Craft (later known as Alpha) was also prone to carving up people’s faces and kidnapping. (So perhaps one never leaves one’s original consciousness behind, even when erased?)

Meanwhile Dr. Saunders tends to Victor, whose lovely face will now be scarred worse than her own. She’s actually not very kind to him, reminding him that he will never, ever be able to be his best again, that he’ll basically suffer the fate she suffered: being uploaded with a new personality for the remainder of his contract with the Dollhouse and working on the inside, as a Doll with scars is a broken Doll. (I’ll spare you more theory/analysis on bodily marking, abjecta and the horrific powers of scars, even though I assure you I really, really, really want to say something about it.) You see, once Whiskey was broken by Alpha, and he killed the original Dr. Saunders (who was an old dude who liked lollipops), they made her useful by uploading his skillset and temperament into her body. I feel so badly for Victor, whose life will never be normal again. He won’t notice it now, but when his contract is up, he will. Maybe Topher can make one of the Dolls into a plastic surgeon and fix most of Victor’s scars. He’s almost too valuable to lose as a Doll.

Why couldn't she climb to the top of the ratings? She can do practically everything else.

Why couldn't she climb to the top of the ratings? She can do practically everything else.

Back in the power plant, Echo agrees that she won’t kill her own consciousness (after the world’s most eye-rollingly on-the-nose speech about how she has 37 different brains in her head and not a one of them thinks you can sign a contract to be a slave, especially when there’s a black president), Alpha threatens to break Wendy’s personality so that she can never have it back, revealing his plan to basically live out his days kidnapping people, and putting Echo’s consciousness into them so that she can repeatedly kill herself (and yet never kill herself . . . which is where his argument descends into crazyville). She chases him outside to save Wendy’s consciousness and literally goes out on a limb for the girl, crawling on a construction beam to get to the wedge. Conveniently, Boyd and Ballard have figured out where Alpha’s lair is by this point and Ballard manages to position himself right under Echo, catching the wedge as it falls and saving the girl. Alpha escapes (thus setting up the chase to continue should there be a next season).

Back at the Dollhouse, Ballard agrees to contract for DeWitt to help track down Alpha, but only if November’s contract is voided and she gets to return to her own life, which was pretty sweet and unexpected of Ballard to do, and proves that, in some small way, he did care about Mellie, even though she was never real. And Echo? She gets wiped clean, at least for the foreseeable future.

I’d be surprised if Fox gives Dollhouse a second season, but with such a strong sweep (save for “Haunted”) heading into the finale, they’d be remiss not to. It’s not the smartest show on TV, but it tries hard enough to be. And I’d rather watch something with which I can engage than something that doesn’t ask me to at all.

The Husband:

Hell, I can ignore about half of the Dollhouse episodes and still be confident enough with the other half, especially the last two and the Rashomon episode, to demand a second season. Just like Buffy and Angel, it took its time to get its intelligence and cleverness past the network and finally become a true Whedon show, one of big ideas, big laughs and big action. While I felt the first handful of episodes really talked down to its viewers (something that FOX surprisingly does not do very often with its dramas, and far less so than the #1 network, CBS), it finally started asking us to put the pieces together, and play along with the show as it progressed through its actual mytharc.

As I didn’t really give a crap about this show for a few weeks, I was surprised at how emotional I felt during this finale, especially during the Alpha flashbacks. This may have a great deal to do with how much I have grown to love Amy Acker over the last nine months while I watched Angel, but also my extreme amount of respect for Alan Tudyk as an actor ever since I saw him in A Knight’s Tale. (It took me another three years to discover that he wasn’t British.) The moment he slashed up Whiskey’s face was probably the series’ best moment, one of both great despair and, in a really fucked up way, love. I’m so glad I called the fact that Whiskey only became Dr. Saunders after she was slashed up, and that she wasn’t necessarily the second Doll, and that it in turn gave me a reason as to why Dr. Saunders would be afraid of Alpha, even if she wouldn’t have remembered him as an activated active and not as Whiskey.

While my wife geeks out on cyberpunk, I’m more interested in the broader concept of a soul, or in this case, how despite being a superpersonality, Alpha original form, Carl Craft, tends to dominate and thus fucks up the rest of the Dollhouse by basically being Jack the Ripper. It explains away some of the contradictions in Alpha’s “quest” versus his own killer instinct, the highbrow and lowbrow of what’s going down in that fried brizzain.

Ballard still sucks, though, but now that he’s in cahoots with the Dollhouse, maybe he can redeem himself as a character if the show gets renewed.

Which brings me to the renewal question. I wholeheartedly think that had FOX not dumped it on Friday nights, pairing it with the sinking second season of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, it would have definitely earned a second season. Can you imagine how Fringe would do on such a shitty night with such a shitty pairing? Why not put Dollhouse on Mondays after either House or Bones (the ever-shifting hits of different proportions)? I think going up against Heroes, which some might consider stupid, would actually be a great concept. Heroes is hemorrhaging viewers each week, viewers who’d do better with the similar-but-better Dollhouse, so FOX could easily snag those viewers away, viewers who’d perhaps prefer something a bit more rewarding. And at 9, it could basically take all of those viewers who love Chuck at 8 but ignore Heroes (…as I raise my hand…), because Chuck was designed for Whedonites, the smart nerdy crowd who’d follow Adam Baldwin anywhere. It’s a dirty tactic, sure, but it’s not a new concept.

Come on. Even if many great shows have failed ratings-wise this season, at least they were given a second chance after the WGA strike. Money is money, so wouldn’t you love to capture the intelligent 18-34 bracket who are smart enough to have a disposable income? Because those people are called Whedonites.

The Husband:

Ding dong, Edie is finally fucking dead. Thank whatever lord you have, because her constant story repetitions that serve no purpose other than to act as a cheap plot device for other, better plots have finally come to a close. No longer do we have to put her in all the promos as if she were one of the “housewives” despite contributing nothing to the series other than a plastic shell. Hell, she didn’t even feel like a housewife when she was, in all actuality, a wife this season to Creepy Dave.

Clearly, no one is all that moved by Edies death.

Clearly, no one is all that moved by Edie's death.

But the show isn’t done with her yet, at least not in this week’s episode, because for the first (and hopefully last) time, she takes over the Mary Alice role and became the narrator. As long as her mannish voice is gone next week, then I accept that this, an episode based solely on the housewives (plus Mrs. McClusky) reminiscing about Edie Britt. But if she sticks around in the ether, then I’ll be fucking pissed.

As the rest of the stories have been put completely on hold for the long van ride to Edie’s son’s boarding school, there isn’t really a whole lot to talk about. (Nope, no mention of Creepy Dave’s story, which directly caused Edie’s death.) Basically, Gaby and Edie had a very special night on the town that turned into a tender moment fueled by jealousy that Gaby got more free drinks at a bar than Edie did, Susan called out the new-to-the-neighborhood Edie for sleeping with a married man until Edie turned around and informed Susan of the terrible truth of Susan’s husband’s infidelity with another woman, Lynnette learned to battle cancer when Edie takes her to a biker bar (huh?), and Mrs. McClusky had a drink-fueled heart-to-heart with Edie about what it means to lose a child as opposed to giving one up.

The only memory I really and truly appreciated was Bree’s, which dealt with the years between last season and this season as it pertained to Orson’s incarceration. After being basically forced out of Wisteria Lane, Edie had taken to visiting Orson every so often in prison, not for sex but just because the prison was nearby and she needed a friend, and Bree was certainly not coming as often as she should…being Orson’s wife and all. The story filled in a couple emotional holes that seemed to positively gape when this flash-forward season started, so I’m glad that the writers took the time to at least address some Van De Kamp/Hodge drama.

There only five episodes left, so they’d better be nice and juicy.

…I can’t believe I just wrote “nice and juicy.” This is not good.

Over on Brothers & Sisters, everybody has sex on the brain (look at the episode’s title if you need help with that one), save for most of the children (thankfully offscreen) and the on-the-lam Tommy. (Although, technically, he is stranded in Mexico, so who’s to say Balthazar Getty is not getting some south-of-the-border va-hi-na or participating in a Double Indemnity-inspired murder plot concocted by Patricia Arquette twins.)

Let’s split this up into two sections.

Getting Laid

  • The newly reappointed-to-Ojai-Foods Sarah, who shares a quick office tryst with Cal the accountant/volunteer firefighter (Christián de la Fuente from Dancing with the Stars and…other stuff I don’t watch), only to find out the next day that he was a temp and she bought and wore that too-tight red dress for nothing.
  • …actually, she was the only one getting laid.

Not Getting Laid But Certainly Thinking About It

  • Kevin and Scotty, who are propositioned by Kevin’s closeted former lover Chad (Jason Lewis) to have a threesome with him, only to reject his very forward suggestion but still be hot-and-bothered enough to have a shirtless make-out session, only to be interrupted by the just-banged-by-a-temp Sarah. (Jason Lewis, after playing a model/actor on Sex and the City and a soap opera actor on House, stretches his performance abilities to play…an actor.)
  • Ryan The Missing Walker continuing to lust after Rebecca, despite making it so obvious in mixed company that Rebecca’s estranged father warns her of this creepy boy’s total creep factor.
  • Nora, who is suddenly revisited by architect Roger Grant, who has informed her that his open relationship with his London-based wife (a set-up that turned Nora off) has turned into no marriage at all, so now he only has eyes for her.
  • Kitty, who is watching her marriage completely fall apart (despite Robert’s affidavit, signed by his doctor, that his heart is finally okay enough to survive a bout of passionate lurrrrrvin’), is starting to really feel fondness for Alec the single father, who brings her treats at the playground their children use every day. Watch out, Kitty – his brother is a lawyer who can see the future via musical numbers (or however one is to describe Eli Stone’s “powers”).
  • Justin, who is trying to either find a way to restart his relationship with Rebecca or at least find closure, neither or which really happens.

Other than the knowledge that Tommy, despite having all charges dropped against him, still doesn’t want to come back to his family and relatives in the United States, not a whole lot of story progress was made this week, but it was definitely an entertaining way to come back to the Walker clan after several weeks off the air.

The Wife:

Hey, people who watch Desperate Housewives and stuff! Question! Is “Look Into Their Eyes and You’ll See What They Know” the first DH episode that draws it’s title from Sondheim lyrics rather than song titles? Because that song is “Ladies Who Lunch” from Company. Here! Watch the brilliant Anna Kendrick perform it in Camp!


The Wife:

So, apparently, Kal Penn asked to leave House because he’s taking a position in the Obama administration.

Okay.

That’s cool.

However, how does that explain why the writers never figured out how to use Kutner at all in any episode this season? There were several opportunities where they could have explored his background (chiefly, an episode with an adopted patient, like himself), but they chose not to. Thirteen got a beefy story about her Huntington’s and her relationship with Foreman and the drug trials and all that. Taub’s divorce and the reasons he left plastic surgery are constantly brought up, but all we really know of Lawrence Kutner is that his parents were shot to death in front of him, he’s kind of a manchild and is now dead. I’m sorry, House writers, but even knowing that Kal Penn wanted out, this doesn’t excuse your laziness. I mean, shit, at least the folks on Grey’s are giving Katherine Heigl a worthwhile exit.

I guess, at the very least, I no longer have to gripe about how the show has neglected to find ways in which to use Kutner well. I like Kal Penn a lot, and I hope the Obama administration can make better use of him than the folks on House ever did.

I just thought I’d get that out of the way first so you all don’t have to wait for my reaction.

Three random POW storylines lead up to Kutner’s exit: a patient who lacks a social-appropriateness filter that makes him say all kind of things normal humans wouldn’t, a ripped-from-the-headlines story about Judy Greer and that cat that predicts death, and Mos Def starring in The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.

I have the least to say about the funniest of the three, “The Social Contract,” because other than presenting us with a person who is like House because he says what other people won’t, which is inherently amusing, the episode doesn’t have much substance to it other than that, save to set up a Taub arc for the next episode. It seems that the POW’s constant harping on Taub’s giant schnoz is enough to remind Taub of his insecurities and failures, including those in his stock portfolio, which lead him to get swindled by a guy who pretends to be a high school classmate, currently under investigation for defrauding doctors of investment money in new surgical tools. (I mean, really, it was a very well put together scheme.) Thinking he’d reclaim some of the former glory he had in his days as a plastic surgeon, Taub goes full-in on the investment and quits his job with House.

For the last time, I refuse to audition for bloody Cats!

For the last time, I refuse to audition for bloody Cats!

Other than that, the DeathCat episode wasn’t all that awesome, either, probing further into House Hates God territory by pitting him against a patient who at first fakes her symptoms because the DeathCat sat next to her, just as it does to old folks who are headed off to the great beyond in the nursing home where she works. On DeathCat’s advice, though, it’s good that Judy Greer came in because she did actually have a cancer in her appendix. By fearing the DeathCat, she managed to thwart her demise. But, of course, having faith in a cat that “predicts” death simply by following up on its natural instincts is absurd to House. When people are about to die, they’re either cold because their bodies are slowing down, thus they are covered in blankets, or are feverish. Either way, they’re warm. And cats like things that are warm. Maybe there’s something to House’s chastising Kutner in this episode for giving the DeathCat the benefit of the doubt that might have lead to Kutner’s demise. But, then again, you’d think peeing on a chair would be enough to cure a guy of any ill feelings toward mean things their boss has said.

I do like cats, though, so one great thing about the DeathCat episode was how pretty that cat was. She’s way more attractive than the real DeathCat, Oscar. How very Hollywood. (Oscar is cute in his own fluffy buttkins kind of way, though.)

As for “Locked In,” I found this episode to be rather excruciating. I think they chose an appropriate way to tell the story, i.e. the Mos Def voiceover and the Mos Def eye camera, however, that doesn’t mean I liked it. The episode got significantly better for me when Taub, trying to earn a spot on the team again, hooked Mos Def’s brain up to a computer after he loses the ability to blink so that he could move a cursor with his mind to answer yes/no questions. That stuff was way awesome, but the rest of it I just couldn’t get into. Not the voiceover, not the eye camera, not the mindscapes where House, Mos Def and Mos Def’s children all chat together. I did like the shot where the team goes over the place Mos Def had been hiding from his wife when he said he was out of town, though, and the scene transfers all Michel Gondry-like to the factory where he took work as a janitor to make ends meet. That was pretty cool. I will, however, try to avoid getting rat-urine-infected paper cuts, though, because I would prefer to not experience this episode in actuality.

Stupid . . . fucking . . . rat pee . . .

Stupid . . . fucking . . . rat pee . . .

And then there’s Kutner’s suicide, which totally overshadowed the POW and shouldn’t have, because the POW is fucking MEAT LOAF! First of all, I loved that Mr. Aday’s character in this episode was Eddie. Although, sadly, my favorite (s)ex-delivery boy was not riding Harleys and wondering whatever happened to Saturday night, but bed-ridden and dying of a weakened heart. Only, when his wife suddenly falls ill, he starts getting better. Taub is in change of tending to the couple, as House and the others are busy grieving/trying to find answers as to why Kutner would kill himself. While at first Eddie’s wife was faking her illness so that she could hang on to her husband for just a few more days, it turns out that she’s actually sicker than he is and needs a new liver. Because he’s only got a few days left, House asks Cameron to convince Eddie to give his wife his liver and die on the table. Even when Cameron discovers that Eddie can be saved (he has a lung infection that weakened his heart, not cancer, as doctor’s previously surmised), Eddie is ready to die; he’s already grown accustomed to the idea and would rather that his wife survive. I mean, it’s Meat Loaf, all. That dude would do anything for love. But Taub instead reveals the plan to Eddie’s wife, who won’t let her husband die for her, even though he wants to. And it’s for the best, really, because when he got sick, he couldn’t take her to Rio like he’d always promised he would, so she went with another man and developed the tropical infection that’s now killing her because it went undiagnosed for too long. Still, I am a little haunted by the imagine of Eddie, reaching out his left hand to hold his wife as she dies, knowing that he loves her enough to forgive her for seeking comfort when he couldn’t give her any.

I completely understand the decision to pair this set of POWs with Kutner’s death, coloring the entire episode in a very particular noirish shade of grey, and presenting two different ways of dealing with death (Eddie’s acceptance vs. House’s need for answers), but I wish the loveliness of Meat Loaf’s story could have been allowed to stand on its own. It reminded me very much of Baccus and Philemon, a myth about a couple who strove so hard to please the gods that Zeus allowed them to remain together forever, entwined as trees. As Mary Zimmerman summarizes it in her breathtaking theatre piece Metamorphoses, as the two began to change, you could hear them say, “Let me die at the moment my love dies. Let me not outlive my own capacity to love.”

It wouldn’t wholly surprise me if Eddie, after his wife died, willed himself to stop living, too. It would be a fitting end to their conjoined-twin like symbiosis, and woefully romantic.

Like I said, that Meat Loaf, dude will do anything for love.

But I won't do that.

But I won't do that.

The Husband:

Curses, woman! I had to correct your reference to Meat Loaf at least five times! His name isn’t “Meatloaf,” it’s “Meat Loaf,” a nickname (origins debatable) he got because of his first and middle name, “Marvin Lee” (which he randomly changed to “Michael Lee” for no discernable reason.) And she’s not the only one. He just happens to be one of the highest-grossing rock and roll artists of all time!

Nehhhhhh…

As far as the other episodes are concerned (I have nothing to say about Kal Penn’s exit other than it was pretty hasty), I only really had the following thoughts in mind over the run of these middle-of-the-road episodes:

1. It’s good that The Shield veteran Jay Karnes (who played the POW without the politeness filter) wasn’t in the DeathCat episode, or he would have strangled the DeathCat just to get inside the mind of a serial killer.

2. During “Locked In,” my mind wandered for a bit, only to come back into focus minutes later, prompting me to mutter one of the stranger things I’ve said in a good long while: “I’m sorry. What just happened? I was thinking about Sam Shepard.” I have a valid explanation for this train of thought, though, but it would take too long to explain and I have work to do here in the office. But it comes down to the relationship between the Mos Def mindscapes and the second act of Shepard’s play The Late Henry Moss.

3. I wonder what Olivia Wilde is going to look like with her Light Suit on in the upcoming sequel to Tron called Tr2n. (Or as I pronounce it, “Tra-too-en.”)

The Wife:

Oh my . . . so many Bones posts to write . . . why do I do this to myself where I let a procedural pile up and promise myself I’ll do a double post, only to end up with a stack of four of them? With Criminal Minds, I know it s because there are a whole bunch of other great things on Wednesday, so I’ll usually save CM for the weekends, but with Bones, FOX never seems to keep it on consistently enough for me to make a date to watch it. And thus I wind up doing this:

4.13 “The Hero in the Hold”

The Gravedigger returns and captures Booth, locking him inside a submarine that’s about to be demolished. He fights his way out with the help of a spectral form of a cadet who died in his arms back when he was in the military. You know, I recently watched an episode of Angel where the military borrowed Angel to rescue a crew that had captured a Jerry sub, which was filled with vampires because the Germans wanted to engineer an army of them. Between these two episodes, I have decided that the one place I do not like David Boreanaz is on a submarine. Both episodes were terrible. Please, never put David Boreanaz on or around a submarine ever again. I would much rather see him in ladies’ underwear, tied up in Christmas lights being tortured by Alan Cumming.

4.14 “The Princess and the Pear”

How fortunate were the squibs to have Intern-of-the-Week Mr. Colin Fischer when a dead Booth Babe from a sci-fi/fantasy convention turns up? Oh, they were very, very lucky, for, you see, Mr. Colin Fischer loves all kinds of sci-fi fantasy stuff. “I even watch Fringe,” he states, marking the notable exception that he never watched Angel. You wanna know why that’s funny? Because actor Joel David Moore was actually on Angel once, and even though he was in vampire makeup, I spotted him. That vamp had one line before Angel dusted him, and I instantly knew that the long, bony face under all that makeup belong to Moore. One of my chief joys in watching Angel at the moment is finding other actors that Borenaz has worked with turning up on the show. TJ Thyne has a small recurring role during Angel‘s 5th season, and you can’t imagine how cool that is to someone who only knows Thyne as Hodgins.


I really enjoyed this episode, perhaps because I am greatly amused by the kind of fandom that occurs at conventions (in fact, this episode aired during SF’s Wondercon, which I was too lazy to attend, even though the last event was a sing-a-long of “Once More, With Feeling”), and also because, like many great sci-fi/fantasy narratives, the murder of this poor Booth Babe had everything to do with a priceless weapon, an original prop sword used in one of the first fantasy epics to grace the silver screen, Mort D’Arthur. She had it, and someone killed her for it. The first suspect is Miss Valerie Daniels, a dominatrix, who makes Sweets delightfully uncomfortable when he questions her. After which, he realizes that it might be best to set a trap at the auction of said priceless sword to force the killer into revealing himself. Sweets takes up the mantle of the bidder and brings Fischer along as a camera man. Most excellent part of the auction, other than Miss Daniels hooking up with Mr. Colin Fischer? Spotting one of my favorite Amazing Race teams, Goths Kynt and Vyxen, as extras in the auction crowd! (Hi Kynt and Vyxen! I miss you guys!)

Sweets’ plan fails, though, and the highest bid goes to the Arthuria Consortium, the largest collection of Arthurian memorabilia in the world, but he does not go unnoticed by The Black Knight, who eventually runs Sweets and Bones off the road and tries to steal Excalibur from them. Bones bests him with her strong anthropological knowledge of swordplay, although I had hoped she would cut his legs off:


Fischer discovers the murder weapon, the Pear of Anguish, during a discussion of medieval torture implements he has with Miss Daniels post-coitus. The Pear, typically used on heretics and inserted into the organ that caused the sin (vagina, mouth, anus), was placed in the victim’s mouth and cranked open, crushing her jaw from the inside out. Although pleased he has found the murder weapon, Cam is ready to fire Fischer for sleeping with a suspect until Hodgins saves his ass. Judging by the way her assailant used his sword, Bones postulates that the only person who would have had as a thorough a knowledge of swordplay and know how to make authentic chain mail would be the blacksmith. He gave the dead Booth Babe the sword as a gift, but she wanted to sell it for rent money, not realizing its true value as a gift, which, to him, was a betrayal. He killed her, he claims, because he loved her so much.

In retrospect, that psychology doesn’t make any sense, but otherwise, this was a totally delightful, geeky episode.

4.15 “The Bones That Foam”

The hallucination-plagued David Boreanaz-helmed episode of Angel was weird and somewhat unsettling, but certainly filled with odd comedy, and I think with this episode, I’m starting to see a trend in terms of what Boreanaz likes to direct. This was one of Bones‘ lighter mysteries, involving a dead car salesman who works at gimmicky Jungle Jim’s, where all of the sales personnel have to wear safari uniforms and the shop has its own monkey mascot. While back at the lab, they’ve got their own share of comic scenarios when the bones start to foam and the lab gets put on lockdown. The team ends up racing against the clock when they realize that the bones are foaming because they are breaking down and they’ll need to solve the murder before they lose their evidence.

This is how Borenanaz looks when he directs.

This is how Borenanaz looks when he directs.

Once the bones are no longer under lockdown, Hodgins declares King of the Lab when he finds some strawberry lust dust on the victim’s body, indicating that he had been at a strip club before he died, which leads Booth and Bones to visit Miss Strawberry Lust and Bones buys Booth a lap dance so that they can talk to the girl, who, by the way, is a criminology major at Georgetown. Anthropologically speaking, Bones is so impressed with her seduction skills that she asserts that Miss Lust will surely be able to pay off her student loans very quickly. This is all part of Bones’ continued attempt to become better at interrogation and reading people, but she still can’t seem to shake her extremely logical side, completely failing at understanding humor in a later interrogation of one of the victim’s coworkers from the car dealership, who tells them that the victim gave all of his sales to his sick brother two months before he quit to work at another dealership, which brought her up to number one seller by default.

Meanwhile, not all goes well with the bones when Mr. Nigel-Murray finds out that they’re secreting hydrogen after accidentally setting them on fire. The hydrogen reaction is a byproduct of the bones breaking down their own calcium, so Hodgins tries to stop the process by coating them in an antacid, which works . . . until they petrify. From there, it’s up to Angela to digitally recreate the bones, which leads them to the murder weapon: tailor’s shears and, thus, the murderer, Chet’s wife, the seamstress, who killed her husband’s brother so that he wouldn’t blab about her affair with Jungle Jim – her way of helping Chet keep his job.

Funny lines from this one:

  • “I’m secreting adrenaline!” – Mr. Nigel-Murray
  • “You should stop using cartoons as a scientific reference.” – Bones
  • “What’s a sensitive way to say ‘murdered?'” – Bones
  • “I think it shows an innate lack of humanity, to push a monkey.” — Jungle Jim


4.16 “The Salt in the Wounds”

Desiccation, teenage pregnancy pacts, rehydrating flesh? This episode was all kinds of uncomfortable, and I once again have to point to this show’s amazing ability to pass very little judgment on controversial matters. While I look at a group of teenage girls who intentionally decided to get pregnant and raise their children together, I see crazy. But Bones? Bones sees a long-standing cultural tradition based in our hunter-gatherer roots where women of about that age often did the same thing. And while, from that perspective she’s correct, she also realizes that in a society where birth control is made very easy, there is something going against the cultural norm when a teenage girl gets pregnant. The most uncomfortable thing, though? Booth’s conversation with the loser stud-muffin who impregnated three of the teenage mothers, as well as the victim. I jumped out of my skin a little bit as Booth drove home a message about paternal responsibility by telling this poor boy that he has three children that he should want to be responsible for, because at any moment, their mothers could take them away from him. And worse? That his son died along with its mother. Fuck, dude, Booth lays it on thick! Which, in retrospect, is exactly the advice I would expect him to give, considering how much he lives for Parker. (This message brought to you by fatherhood.org.)

Not much mystery in this one, but it was cool to watch Cam et al rehydrate the corpse to work with the living tissue, and to see the new Intern-of-the-Week get around Bones need to see the bones without compromising the flesh by making a giant digital X-ray. Also, Roxy breaks up with Angela because, even though Angela wants to get a dog, Roxy thinks she lives too in the moment and can’t sustain a real, long-lasting relationship. Although Bones accuses the new intern, a devout Muslim, of not understanding Angela’s relationship because it’s probably forbidden by his religion (I never expected her to hate religion quite as much as Dr. Gregory House, so that was odd to hear), he actually does something incredibly sweet by making her a break-up mix CD, filled with songs he listens to when he feels heart-broken. I like new intern. He’s very kind.

4.17 “The Doctor in the Den”

As Angela begins her foray into celibacy — a suggestion from Sweets about how to find alternative things to value in her relationships – Cam’s former fiancé turns up dead in a tiger enclosure in the zoo. She goes on a journey I never quite got into as she spends the episode trying to solve the murder and reconnect with the victim’s daughter, who Cam helped raise. Beautiful Dana Davis plays Michelle, but as good of an actress as she is, she doesn’t get much to do in this episode except shun Cam’s attempts to love her, which is perhaps why I found this plot so bland. Monique Coleman had more to do in her brief role in “Salt in the Wounds” as the pregnant best friend of the dead girl, so it was especially disappointing to see Dana Davis so underwritten. Pity. And because I wasn’t invested in Cam’s quest, I wasn’t invested in the mystery, either. In the end, though, Michelle does decide to live with Cam, only after Cam brings her half of the set of antique salt and pepper shakers she gave the girl when she left her father (because he could never love a woman as much as Michelle’s mother and was a habitual cheater, offed by a nurse who couldn’t handle that he saw other women besides her, the fate that always befalls cheaters). I hope to see more Dana Davis in the future on this show, possibly growing interested in forensic science and getting a Jr. Internship at the Jeffersonian? Surely, they’ll write her better then.

The Wife:

I’ve been saving up these House posts for a number of reasons, primarily because there’s so much awesomeness on Monday nights now that House falls by the wayside for us, so there’s no sense posting something within a few days of a new episode. I know this will greatly disappoint Mary, our friend and massive Hugh Laurie lover, but on Mondays, I’ve got Chuck, Secret Life of the American Teenager, Big Bang Theory, Gossip Girl and How I Met Your Mother. I can’t even watch all five of those shows on a good day, so House gets pushed back, resulting in this clusterfuck of a post.

House aired its 100th episode with “The Greater Good,” in which a formerly brilliant cancer researcher (she’s still brilliant, just not researching the ol’ cancer anymore) falls ill during a cooking class. As she lays dying under House and his team’s care, they all wonder why she would give up cancer research – especially when she was so close to finding a cure for a certain cancer I can no longer remember – to live a selfish and self-fulfilling life. Shouldn’t she, as a doctor on the forefront of research in her field, be working towards the greater good? Meanwhile, Thirteen starts to get really sick because irresponsible asshole Foreman switched her onto the trial drug from the placebo. Bad shit goes down, like, losing her vision and developing small brain tumors. Side effects are fun, kids!

Ultimately, when the patient gets a final diagnosis of ectopic endometriosis (which she developed after some of her endometrial cells escaped into her body during her hysterectomy a few years back), everybody realizes that they probably shouldn’t do things for wholly selfish reasons, especially Foreman, who risked his girlfriend’s life because he wanted to keep her around. House and Thirteen, however, don’t get that upset at Foreman and won’t let him “torch his career” because he’ll do a lot more good for other people if he’s still a doctor, he just has to quit the clinical trial and throw out Thirteen’s study results. I get that this ending to the clinical trial mishap fits with the theme. Yes, one more doctor in the world saves the lives of however many people (and Foreman, though an idiot, is a good doctor), but it also doesn’t fairly punishing him for endangering Thirteen’s life, and the fate of that Huntington’s study. Because its TV, that study gets to continue and Tank Girl might have a chance of living for a few more years than she would have, but I think that in the real world, compromised results has a strong chance of removing that particular study from Princeton-Plainsboro altogether, and possibly put on hiatus for a long time, which isn’t helping anyone with Huntington’s.

Frankly, I wasn’t that into “The Greater Good,” especially because the two episodes that followed “Unfaithful” and “The Softer Side” were so much better (although I find the latter to be a little problematic). In “Unfaithful,” House takes a case from Cameron involving a drunken priest who hallucinated a stigmatic Christ. House takes this, hoping to prove that anyone who would put their faith in something unseen has something wrong with them, but as the case continues and the ailing priest and House have a few bedside conversations about the nature of believe and what it’s like to lose one’s faith, House starts to think that the vision of Christ has nothing to do with the rest of the symptoms which, during the priest’s stay, involve loss of gangrenous digits, blindness and numbness to pain.

Where the hell is Meryl Streep when you need her?

Where the hell is Meryl Streep when you need her?

While House has never had any faith at all in a higher power, the priest began to lose his joy in the priesthood after an accusation of molestation moved him from parish to parish, making him a black sheep amongst the members of his various flocks. Though he denies molesting the child, Taub feels he should believe the claim of the victim, especially when the team diagnoses the priest with AIDS, and sets out to find the boy the priest allegedly molested. The boy, Ryan, visits the priest on his deathbed and asks him for forgiveness, which to me says that the allegations made against the priest were false. But that’s just me. Much like Doubt, it’s a situation where you aren’t given the whole truth and should decide for yourself. (In Doubt, by the way, I’ve decided that since we know the little boy had some homosexual tendencies, Father Flynn, who joined the priesthood because he also has homosexual tendencies, merely befriended the boy, without any other ulterior motive.)

Once House rules out the hallucinations, he realizes that the priest doesn’t have AIDS at all, but Wuska-Aldridge, an auto-immune deficiency that acts a lot like AIDS, but his hereditary, non-communicable and non-life threatening.

This episode also added a third element to the theme with the organization of Cuddy’s daughter’s naming ceremony, which House refuses to attend based on the principle that anyone who doesn’t practice their religion to the letter is a hypocrite. Thus, because Cuddy doesn’t keep the Sabbath, pretending she’s more religious than she actually is by having a naming ceremony for Rachael is hypocritical. Cuddy doesn’t really want House to go, though, but Wilson fucks it all up by convincing House to at least put in an appearance. In the end, everyone attends the service but House, who stays at home, playing traditional Jewish music on his piano instead. (Know what I love? Hugh Laurie playing piano.)

And then there’s “The Softer Side,” the patient of which my husband noted is like an alternate version of last week’s Private Practice, but fast forwarded 13 years. Much like Anyanka and Sgt. Scream’s baby, the patient of the week is a 13-year-old “boy” with genetic mosaicism. “He” has both male and female DNA, but his parents chose to raise him as boy even though we learned on Private Practice that 70% of genetic mosaics end up identifying as female. Jacksons parents have lied to him for years, socializing him as a boy and pushing him to do masculine things like playing hockey and basketball, even though, like one Billy Elliot, all he’s ever really wanted to do is to dance. He collapses at one of his basketball games with pelvic pain, and his parents immediately demand that House and his team give Jackson an MRI to look for a blind uterus. Strangely, House concedes to this procedure, even though when Thirteen suggests it, Foreman (continuing the lie they established in the last episode that they had broken up) mocks her for the suggestion, because surely every single one of the kids previous doctors had thought of that.

Consenting to the MRI, as well as asking to eat his bagel before doing so, alerts Wilson that something is wrong with House. He thinks maybe Cuddy slept with him, which Cuddy denies, but when both of them go to check up on House, they find him sleeping in his office . . .  and not breathing. Foreman gives House a bitching titty twister to wake him up, and House insists that he just passed out because he took one too many Vicodan.

Shhhh! He's sleeping!

Shhhh! He's sleeping!

Jackson only gets sicker after the team takes him off his “vitamins,” which are testosterone shots, fearing the T might be causing some of his problems, so House sends Foreman and Thirteen to investigate the kid’s house for environmental factors. In his room, which has posters for So You Think You Can Dance, Godspell, Rent, A Chorus Line and The Wizard of Oz, Thirteen finds a poem that she believes is a confession of Jackson’s state of mind, potentially indicating suicide. She brings it to his parents, suggesting that he knows he’s different than other kids and may have developed some suicidal feelings because of it. She tells Jackson that his vitamins aren’t vitamins, and that he should ask his parents about them. This causes the parents to finally tell their son that he’s intersex, and Jackson gets so upset with his parents lies that he refuses to talk to them. Jackson’s mom is furious at Thirteen and wants her off Jackson’s case, but Cuddy intervenes and tells Thirteen that she has to be the person Jackson trusts now.

The bisexual doctor and the intersex boy have a nice heart-to-heart about Jackson’s feelings about his gender identity, wondering if his homosexual feelings towards a friend on his basketball team and his predilection toward dance exist simply because he was meant to be a girl. And that’s where I find this episode to be a little bit problematic. Granted, this is an hour-long show that’s barely skimming the surface of the complexities of gender identity, especially for intersex children, but Jackson’s words here and Thirteen’s lack of correction lead me to question the rigid construction of gender that seems to frame this argument. Knowing what I know about genetic mosaicism, I would argue that Jackson’s parents made the wrong choice in aggressively gendering him as male, but other than not liking basketball, Jackson doesn’t seem to exhibit any other issues with having a male gender identity. No one ever scolded him for wearing his mother’s clothing often because he didn’t do it. He doesn’t express feeling as though he should be developing breasts or otherwise show any signs of a gender identity disorder He feels male and constructs his identity as male. How much of that feeling comes from the fact that his parents aggressively gendered him as such, I don’t know, but he does seem to like being male. He just doesn’t like to play sports. And there’s nothing un-masculine about dance at all, and the fact that his parents assert otherwise just tells me that they’ve a.) never watched So You Think You Can Dance with their son and b.) they need to be punched in the face, repeatedly.

What I’m getting at here is that this entire argument constructs gender identity based on very antiquated terms, and I think Thirteen kind of points to this when she tells Jackson that she was a point guard on her basketball team. No one in their right mind would think their daughter wanted to be a man if she started playing sports, so why on earth would someone think their son wanted to be a girl if he wanted to dance? Baryshnikov gets all the bitches, that’s what I’m saying. The boy, though, is confused at this point, and who can blame him, as he wonders if he actually should have been a girl or if, perhaps, he is meant to be a gay man. (I vote gay man.)

So maybe, Jackson might be alright with the gender identity his parents chose for him, but should they have chosen at all? People have very different feelings about gender identity, and I’m really not for aggressively gendering children. I find that when children begin to socialize with other children, they pick out a gender identity for themselves and the degree to which they want to express that. I have a friend with a two-year-old daughter. My friend tried really hard not to engender her child in anyway, but this little girl, at only two, has expressed a great interest in wearing dresses and trying on mommy’s make-up and dance clothes. Without even encouraging her to do so, her daughter has begun to express a very feminine version of a female gender identity. This example points to the fact that society – the images about our gender that we receive from our peers and from the culture at large – will gender us unconsciously, so that even if we are not aggressively gendered by our parents, we may still choose to exhibit a more normalized gender identity. Of course, we may not. But isn’t it better to let a child choose than to saddle them with something they might not feel suits them, forcing a child to be like Tireseas, first one thing and then the other?

Just . . . I dunno . . . read Middlesex. It’s great. It won the Pulitzer. And it’s far more eloquent about these thoughts than I am, as well as a far better examination of an intersex individual than this episode of House does.

Private Practice-style lesson: You can't lie to your kid about giving him testosterone injections.

Private Practice-style lesson: You can't lie to your kid about giving him testosterone injections.

Back to House, the strangely complacent doctor begins to do more strange things, and now both Wilson and Foreman suspect him of being on heroin, so Wilson invites House to dinner and offers him a shot, knowing full well that if House drinks it, he could stop breathing again. House knows what Wilson’s up to, and defiantly takes the shot and walks out, only to vomit in the parking lot and bark at Wilson for knowingly nearly killing him. Wilson rails at his friend for being on heroin, and House admits that he’s actually on prescription methadone, which makes him feel no pain at all, but could kill him at any moment. Cuddy refuses to let House practice at her hospital under methadone, so he quits, choosing a pain-free existence over his job, only to return when Cuddy agrees to let him come back as long as she can supervise his methadone use.

When he does, he realizes that Jackson is sick because of the MRI contrast dye, which never got filtered out of his system when they took him off his T (something Thirteen figured out in his absence, after another fight with the boy’s mother when she realized his “suicide poem” was just a classroom assignment to write in the style of Sylvia Plath – what the fuck kind of English teacher assigns Plath to 8th graders?). When he first came into House’s care, he was just dehydrated, but House’s allowance of the MRI only made Jackson worse because he kindly gave in to the requests of Jackson’s family. Realizing that being pain-free clouds his judgment, House refuses to accept methadone treatment and returns to being the curmudgeonly Vicodin addict we’ve come to know and love, an end to the softer side of House.

I really liked “The Softer Side,” but I really dislike the implication that exhibiting a female gender identity is somehow soft.

The Husband:

Just as with the end of s2 – at least, I think it was s2 when House started feeling no pain and started skateboarding – I wish that Dr. Gregory House hadn’t been so willing to drop the methadone and go back onto the Vicodin, continuing to live in pain but being a “better doctor.” It was an interesting examination of his personality, and I could have used at least three more episodes on this subject. It’s what made the last episode so great – me, the one who hasn’t really been into any of the personal stories this season, thinks this to be so – and gave me the second episode in a row to actually captivate me and not just spark a small amount of medical curiosity.

But man, did I like “Unfaithful” like crazy. Not only was the priest played by the always-cast-as-a-creep Jimmi Simpson (Liam McPoyle on It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia), who I think is pretty underrated as an actor, but I was actually invested in the mystery for once, eager to reach the conclusion of the episode just to know what the hell was going on with his disease and his past. Yes, it was like Doubt 2.0, and I was itching for some answers. The fact that we didn’t get all of them is fine, because for once the P.O.W. was a fully fleshed character and not just a pin cushion with a mouth and an attitude problem.

The Husband:

So, here’s what went down: last Thursday, at some point during the work day, our power went out at our home briefly, coming back on some time during the afternoon. Our living room DVR handled the power failure admirably, getting back up to speed with all of our season passes and the TV grid. Our lower model bedroom DVR, however, I suppose needed to be actually turned on again (even though technically it can record when off), so it really screwed the pooch (oh noes! Pooch-screwing!) when it came to all those shows my wife does not watch. This would include Survivor, as well as ABC’s female-driven block of Ugly Betty, Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice. So that’s why these reviews are going to come late, and perhaps in briefer form.

Sigh…the woes of technology.

But what’s been going down at Seattle Grace?

Cristina gets all responsible-like, even going against the wishes of some of her elders, when she learns of a patient that would have been getting out of the hospital just fine had the hospital’s oldest attending surgeon not made a careless mistake. But who is this surgeon? Why, it’s Faye Dunaway. Where the hell has she been all this time? Judging from her appearance, underground amidst the rock creatures in The Descent. Now, I’m not normally the type of person to really call out somebody’s appearance, but oh man has Faye Dunaway fallen, looking like whatever reanimated zombie the world has been trying to pass off as Peter O’Toole for the last decade. Going back into surgery, Cristina mouths off at Faye and gets tossed, but Cristina is able to present the case to the Chief that Faye is just too old-fashioned, unwilling and unable to use the newest medical technology, to continue working at Seattle Grace, and she’s right. A weird guest appearance that at least gave Cristina less whininess and more chutzpah.

Izzie finds out that the newly fired Sadie may have accidentally mixed up Izzie’s medical reports, giving her the anemia diagnosis and a poor woman a death note of cancer. And so the Izzie mystery continues. Until some real news comes through about Katherine Heigl and whether or not she’s actually leaving the show, I’m going to ignore all that hubbub and just say that while this is-Izzie-sick storyline has been going on for a very long time, I don’t consider it boring by any means. What happens when a talented doctor becomes ill herself, and how does it affect her work? This are good questions to ask, and spending a season dealing with the answers is definitely compelling.

Dr. Bailey continues her interest in pediatrics, and so she spends the entire episode obsessing about letters of recommendation, becoming quite pissed that, when pressed for time, the Chief merely gives Dr. Bailey a form letter, describing her as a “fine doctor.”

“I am Dr. Bailey. I am better than ‘fine.'” — Bailey

When she finally goes head-to-head with the Chief, who is already embroiled with both the Faye Dunaway situation and the scalpel Mexican standoff (more on that later), he admonishes her for not going along with his plans for Dr. Bailey to replace him as Chief somewhere down the line, and asking for his help for her to get a job in a field he does not want for her. Every single bit of Bailey’s story is wonderful and wonderfully acted, and it’s still the biggest crime ever that Katherine Heigl has an Emmy over the outstanding Chandra Wilson.

Seriously, yall, wheres my damn Emmy?

Seriously, ya'll, where's my damn Emmy?

Derek and Sloan get into a fistfight about Lexie-banging.

Okay, so the big three-episode story finishes here, as Jennifer Westfeldt went into seizures last we saw her, mixed with mirror syndrome and her unborn baby’s health and all the stuff that was going wrong in her brain. (I’m just going to say this now. I think losing one’s ability to make sense as far as language is concerned may be the most terrifying thing I can think of to happen to a brain. It may not be the worst, but goddamn is it scary for somebody like me who relies on words.) (The Wife seconds this opinion.) As she is to go into surgery once again, her husband Ben Shenkman gives them very specific instructions to save his wife over his baby.

“We can make another baby. We can’t make another her.”

During the surgery, Westfeldt keeps having small strokes, so Derek has to make the harrowing decision to take out her temporal lobe to keep her alive. When this doesn’t work, he decides that he wants to take out the frontal lobe, too, but Addison (yes, she’s still up in Seattle) says that would be creating a monster and not a human, and that she needs to do an emergency C-section and take out the premature baby right now. Doing this surgery, however, would take away the blood in the body needed to power the brain, which would kill Westfeldt. As Addy and Derek both stand over the body holding scalpels and telling each other to stand down, Karev has to bring the Chief in, who of course goes with Addy’s plan. Westfeldt dead, Shenkman takes his grief out on Derek, calling him a murderer for all he had done, and for the entire staff choosing the baby over his wife. At least the baby is alive, douche.

[catching breath] This show has been getting wilder and more complicated by the week (I didn’t even mention much about Lexie, or Callie’s continued lesbo-confusion), but I will agree that this was one of the best episodes in a long time. Previously I’ve complained that the show hasn’t been honest with us about their three-episode arcs, but that does not mean I don’t like them. I’d just prefer to know when they are happening, so I can prepare by brain for them. It’s frustrating when you think you’re at the end of the story, only to have something drastic happen and the episode ending with a “to be continued…” so I can understand people’s problems with these arcs, but I’ll be damned if they weren’t quite good.

Lesson: Never trust Melissa George.

After all that madness, nothing on Private Practice could even come close to something as gripping down at Oceanside Wellness, so let’s just get through them quickly.

  • Sam accidentally calls his new girlfriend Naomi.
  • Archer, now recovered from his brain parasites, goes back to being a complete man-whore and cheats on Naomi, who is technically his girlfriend. Addison finds out and tells Naomi, and it’s sadness abound.
  • Violet and Sheldon decide to co-run a group therapy session of married couples, and in dealing with all the lunacy of the various couples (with varied success), they grow closer while also learning of some of their major differences, information that will be useful when she gives birth to her own child. No word on whose baby it is yet. Or I missed something. I didn’t, did I?
  • Charlotte is still angry about boyfriend Cooper moving in with Violet to help her take her of her unborn child, and Cooper is still right to support his friend. No progress is made.
  • Anyanka from Buffy and Sgt. Scream from Over There give birth to a baby who is genetically both male and female, and although they are informed that in these cases, only 30% of the children affected by this end up identifying as male, Sgt. Scream’s machismo gets in the way, and he is certain that the baby must become his beloved Matthew that he has been dreaming about for so long. Addy and Naomi argue over this, but Addy makes the final decision, in the OR, to not make the baby male, for it would just be wrong to make the decision so early. Sgt. Scream leaves Oceanside Wellness in a huff, not wanting to deal with a “freak baby,” but Naomi, now pissed and on the warpath after hearing that Archer is cheating on her, goes to his workplace (he’s a cook) and chews him out for being so myopic. Sgt. Scream comes back and loves on the baby as much as he can, for he knows that had he not, he would suffer at the hands of the vengeance demon Anyanka. Had they gone with assigning the child to being a male, just fast-forward 13 years and you have this week’s episode of House.
  • Continuing my plea for ABC to be honest with us viewers, I can’t help but point out that this Private Practice episode was not a crossover, but just a regular episode. So we had more like a 2.5-week crossover, and I can’t help but think that people who were watching PP over the last couple weeks may have been very let down by this episode.

Lesson: All babies need love, even if your stupid male pride is telling you otherwise.