(Warning for spoilers for "No Reason" and "Half-Wit"?)
What I was going to post about last Wednesday before the whole fandom scandal was that I'd watched "No Reason" with my mom the night before—she'd been working her way through Season One and Season Two, having really gotten into the show this season (finally)—and I found myself not hating it
. Maybe it was because I was relaxed at the time, or because I've been feeling more distant from the show during the hiatus and that allowed for better perspective, or because I was watching it with someone who hadn't seen it before, or because repeated viewings had beaten the frustration out of me; but for whatever reason(s), for the first time, I was able to sit back and—well, if not enjoy
, then at least appreciate the episode for what it was, rather than what it could have been or what I wanted it to be.
I noticed some new things, such as how Elias-whom-we'll-call-Moriarty's wife is the first thing you see after the scene in which he mentions her. Instead of moaning about how you can't deduce which parts are hallucination
and which are reality because the show doesn't always achieve verisimilitude on a good day, I admired how they played a little with the medium they're working with, using the artificial scene cut we accept in television and suddenly twisting it into a real-within-canon cut where the character can't remember how he got to be where he is. It's cheating, because we the viewers weren't clued in that the cut was anything but a cut, and it's nothing groundbreaking as far as breaking the fourth wall on mainstream TV goes, but it's still kind of clever. I'd noticed it before, but it didn't stand out what with all the other problems towering over it on all sides.
Another new facet of the episode for me was a series of comparisons to Rodney McKay in Stargate: Atlantis
—a show I hadn't watched before the last time I saw "No Reason"—particularly, to McKay in "Grace Under Pressure," when he's trapped in the jumper underwater talking to a hallucinated manifestation of a part of his mind. (There are plenty of ways in which McKay's like House, of course, but there were some things I hadn't thought about before watching this particular episode again.) McKay conjured up Carter as a sounding board because he loves her and believes she's "almost" as smart as he is; House may have chosen Moriarty because he'd proven himself worthy as an opponent by taking House completely by surprise and saying something ("Who'd want to hurt you?") that got House thinking about himself, and/or because House was subconsciously looking for a way to acknowledge the guilt he sometimes feels when he screws up people's lives in the process of saving them. Anyway, comparison. You have Carter admitting straight off that she's not real, and Moriarty calling himself a hallucination; Carter teasing McKay about how he's arguing with himself, and Moriarty remarking over fish tacos that he's really only House conversing with himself; Carter working with McKay to get him out of the jumper, and Moriarty working with House to differentiate reality from hallucination; Carter and Moriarty psychoanalyzing the men hallucinating them, which translates to McKay and House taking a serious look at themselves, and facing, challenging and ultimately accepting something about themselves they weren't willing to at the beginning; and Carter and Moriarty convincing McKay and House to trust their teams to save them when they alone couldn't save the day for a change. House saying, "This is how I think," tossing ideas around in his head, debating, considering, rejecting, deducing, intuiting, holding entire conversations in his mind in mere seconds, much as I imagine McKay's genius brain works. House scribbling equations on a wall like a mad physicist, frustrated when it "does not
make sense," and saying, "Numbers don't lie." I wonder if that comforts McKay when his social skills fail him; people may be idiots, may be maddening and incomprehensible, but there is always the ease and purity of math.
So there was that, too. I still don't like the episode, but I like more about it than I did before, so I guess that's something. I just don't like having to watch an episode half a dozen times in order to stop wanting to tear my hair out in frustration.
The difficulty I've had in liking the David Shore-written and -directed "No Reason" feeds into my growing concern about whether House
will ultimately satisfy me, if what I want from the series is not what its executive producers are interested in pursuing, or rather if what the executive producers want to explore is not something I'm interested in—or am not interested in anymore, if they've beaten it to death already. (See also: addict/chronic pain sufferer debate and House's circular and occasionally nonsensical existential crisis.) With the exception of his three first-season episodes (the pilot, "Three Stories" and "Babies and Bathwater"), I have not liked most of the episodes David Shore has written (e.g. "No Reason," "Meaning," "One Day, One Room," "Euphoria"). It makes me sad to think that the House
series finale will disappoint because what fascinates me about the show is not in line with what they want, or what they want me to want.
Which leads to the concept of watching a show in the "right way," but I'm too tired to get started on that one right now.
Oh but before I go. I was listening to Shore's and Katie Jacobs' commentary on "Half-Wit" over the weekend, wherein, sadly, they once again thought they were being much more clever than they actually were, and despite having all of one to two episodes a year to talk about, were repeating things they brought up in the first season, such as pointing out that they try to have two things going on in every scene, but when the scene towards the end of the episode came up where Wilson comes in to House's office and does that little bow while saying it would be a grand idea for House to come over and have pizza once in a while, they actually said something thought-provoking: that what that scene showed was Wilson realizing that House at least wants
happiness. I don't know about you guys, but I was so busy with the "awww"s and the subsequent outrage
when House chose to dine with the fellows rather than his lonely, depressed and otherwise neglected friend that it didn't occur to me just how significant that conversation had been. Because it's true: Wilson knew House was miserable and had thought he wanted
to be miserable, but in "Half-Wit" House proved he wanted to feel better, even if he went about it absolutely ass-backwards and ended up hurting (even if temporarily) the people who could have supported him to such an extent that he might not have needed or wanted the experimental procedure.
And that is all. Bedtime now.