Episode 1.4 - "Birthmarks"
I think this is the first time I have written about House this year, which is a shame. As I have stated previously (and it's yet to change), HOUSE is my very favorite show on TV right now. The reason is pure selfishness: Greg House is the character most like me of anyone on Television. The fact that HOUSE also happens to be one of the best shows on TV is a comfort to me. Favorites are favorites, but it's nice when Favorite and Best coincide.
At the beginning of this fifth season House and Wilson broke up their friendship, ramifications of last season's amazing Amber storyline. You knew it wouldn't last forever, but I thought the time they spent apart was good for the show, and both characters. (Although: I am totally going to miss the detective. I hope they bring him back recurringly.)
The House/Wilson dynamic is one of the best on television, a testament to the writing, the characters and the two actors playing the parts. Wilson is the only person who ever seems to "get" House. Others are in awe of him, in love with him, or maybe both, but Wilson sees House for what he is, for better or worse.
The reason House and Wilson had to spend time together in this episode was the death of House's father. With a character like House, you just know there had to be a strange dynamic growing up. We don't know much about House's dad (other than House despises him), and we don't really learn that much more about him (outside of House's prejudiced lens), but in some ways, that tells us more about House than if we had a big complicated backstory. In so many ways House the man defies being slipped into categories, but he is human, and all humans are affected by the death of a parent, even if it's not in ways we expect.
Even though HOUSE is my favorite show, I am the first to admit that not all plot directions have worked out. I didn't care for the Chi McBride arc in Season 1, and the David Morse cop thing didn't work for me too well, either. (I loved Loved LOVED the Stacy arc, and wish they could find a way to bring her back, if only for an episode or two.)
The most controversial arc is of course the newbies, brought in last season. I have nothing bad to say about all the actors and the plots. I thought they were inventive, took the show in new directions, and gave House a different dynamic to work with.
The problem is that Cameron and Chase didn't leave the show. (Forman rejoined the Team after striking out on his own, courtesy of the reputation he earned as House's protege.) I love Cameron and Chase, but in some ways, if they were going to go in a new direction (with Taub, Kutner and 13), they probably should have just gotten rid of the old team. Watching the creators come up with reasons to shoe-horn each character into an episode for 30 seconds was less than desirable, because it reminded you of how awesome those characters used to be.
I mention this because, with House on the road with Wilson for dad's funeral, we got to see more Chase/Cameron/Forman action. Loved that. I sense Chase and Cameron are going to integrate more into the flow of things, but who knows? Again, even if it's not the wisest choice, or my preference, the fact that HOUSE remains compelling even with huge changes is a testament to how good the show's fundamentals are.
Back to Wilson/House for one minute. I loved learning (obliquely) how the two met, and what really runs their relationship. When Wilson left the hospital several weeks ago, and told House off, he spoke some real truths. At the same time, you knew that wasn't the whole story, and House's "truths" back to Wilson in this episode were just as true.
My brother told me once that after a certain age, Friends are like Family: you don't get to pick them. Maybe he's right, and if so, House and Wilson truly do belong together.