House, “The Fix”

UGH.

I have no problem with House going to extremes at the end of its seventh season. This is a series that likes to pull out “big” moments and twists during the final few episodes every season, so I expected season seven to try to accomplish those same goals. It’s part of the series’ storyteling DNA at this point. Sometimes those big reveals don’t really work, but I find myself liking them nonetheless. What I do have a problem with is the series trying to develop big moments out of story elements we haven’t seen all season. After spending the entire season on House and Cuddy’s relationship and House’s subsequent mental state after the break-up, “The Fix” presents us a version of the story where House’s leg has been hurting and now he’s taking experimental medication to fix it. WAIT, WHAT?

Listen, I know that in theory, House’s leg always hurts. It has to, just look at it. And I also know that he would do anything to make all that pain go away. But this story, at least how it is presented in this episode, has very little connection to the previous 20 episodes that came before it, which means I don’t really care. In the previews for this episode, it appeared that it was going to be revealed that House was doing heroin. Although this is a really odd thing to say, I’d almost rather have had that come to pass. At least if House started doing heroin it would fit directly into the story of the last half-dozen episodes. He’s been engaged in a pattern of self-destructive behavior that has gotten progressively worse. Last week, he was taking more pills. Following that line of thinking, it would make some sense that House would randomly (and stupidly, mind you) decide to start shooting heroin. He’s been making horrible decisions and he’s tried horribly dangerous drugs in the past, so as sad it sounds, heroin fits right into his personality and what he’s been going through recently. It would even make nice thematic sense: He kicked his addiction, only to fall off the horse and start doing even worse things to his body. IT ALL MAKES SENSE.

You know what doesn’t make sense? The writers randomly deciding that there’s an experimental drug out there on the market that could help save House’s ailing leg. Oh, and although that drug works at first, it eventually kills those who use it. I guess we can assume that the reason House was taking more pills last week is because his leg hurt more than usual. And I know that the writers have tried to convince us that House’s leg pain comes on when he’s particularly weak mentally, so that also makes some sense. But I still don’t understand the need to come up with some false stakes by introducing the drug and its possible effects. If the quick preview of next week’s episode is any indication, this is all so House can do SOME CRAZY STUFF that Cuddy may or may not talk him out of (and thus bring forward their personal issues), but it seems like the season was heading that way on its own, without the miracle/death drug. Why not just have House’s insane behavior continue to such an extreme level? Why add the additional plot device? It just seems lazy and a bit manufactured to me.

What’s worse is all that only took up a few minutes of “The Fix,” which is unfortunately one of the worst episodes of the season. It’s always fun when House randomly latches on to someone who doesn’t appear to be sick, but I couldn’t really get behind the story with the boxer. Wilson’s speech to Foreman about how this was in the “normal House crazy zone” instead of the more recent “insane House crazy zone” was well-done and logical, but for the most part, it felt like the episode didn’t bring the story with the boxer and House’s personal developments together well enough. Moreover, my Twitter buddy Justin Fowler point out on Twitter that the episode was making the tension between the character drama and case of the week super-textual and he’s right. Never has the series been so obvious in letting the underlings talk about House and his personal state, it was just odd.

The case itself was miserably boring, despite the fact that the team literally ran out of ideas somewhere between six and 11 different times. I’ve thought that some of the patients-of-the-week have been better this season than they have been in the previous two seasons, but this was not one of them. She had no personality and was never developed past the introductory teaser scene and first little info-dump at the beginning of the episode. Awful.

I wish I had more to say about this episode, but I can’t think of it. The series was just renewed for an eighth and final season, so hopefully the final two episodes provide a nice spring-board into a satisfying conclusion to this story. But more than likely, it will involve House cutting a tumor out of his leg in his own bathtub while Cuddy watches shocked. So there’s that.

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