House M.D.: “Baggage” Review/Recap


(fox.com/house)

Well I am throughly bummed that my tivo only taped half of this episode. I had to wait a couple days until someone uploaded it to the web and thankfully I was able to watch it before tonight’s finale.

This episode was I think depending on the finale that airs tonight, will be my favorite episode. “Lockdown” and “The Day in the Life of Cuddy” were excellent, but this episode was diferent for me. Once again,  I love when shows break away from their standard format of making the case the main focal point of the episode. “Baggage” was just the episode to do so.

House returned to Mayfield for his psychiatrist appointment with Dr. Nolan who he has been seeing for a year. Dr. Nolan is concerned that a) House was late b) House didn’t notice the new painting in the waiting room. Something must be troubling him.

Dr. Nolan asks how House was this week and House immediately discusses his amnesia patient. Dr. Nolan of course being a psychiatrist and knowing how House functions, asks why House takes the case with no negotiating or exchange of clinic hours. More importantly what was he doing in the E.R.?

The real answer: House was avoiding Wilson. Sam is moving in with Wilson which means Wilson told House he had to move out.

House returns to his old apartment to find that Juan Alvarez a.k.a Alvy living there. He’s avoiding the immigration agents, but House doesn’t kick him out. He allows Juan Alvarez to stay even though Alvy has sold some of House’s possessions including his coffee table and stack of books so he could repaint House’s apartment.

Alvy has become the Wilson substitute. As House says, aren’t they so similar especially when Wilson starts rapping about the hood?

Dr. Nolan and House examine the case he’s working on. A woman who is a long distance runner has amnesia. Instead of letting his team who are predominately absent through this episode, investigate where she might have gone, House goes himself to investigate with the woman. Alvy tags along.

Alvy is actually the one who urges House to go to a doughnut shop. At the doughnut shop, House uncovers that the woman who works recognizes the amnesia runner and has a name with Sandy or S- something. She knows that she came in with a guy. The guy left his buisness card in one of the doughnut shop’s lottery drawing.

House goes to the woman’s house and finds out that she has a husband of four years, she’s a civil rights lawyer and her name is Sydney and that she used to surf.

Dr. Nolan questions once again: Why is this case so important to you?

House doesn’t know, or does he? We will find out shortly.

Important interaction: Dr. Nolan notes that the husband is trying to talk to her like she’s his wife, but to Sydney he’ a stranger. They should start out slower. House actually takes this into consideration when she is healed.

So what’s wrong with Sydney? Well first, House wants to caught out a piece of her brian, husband says no. By the time,  House tries to negotiate, he realizes it’s too late.

House believes she has TB and makes his team give her a dose of medicine and then put her in a room with UV lighting. When under the UV lighting, House realizes that she has a tattoo that wasn’t permanently removed thus leading to an allergic reaction. The tattoo, Eddie Wall,  was from her times surfing. Funny how the past affected her?

Now Dr. Nolan believes that this case is all about the past affecting House with Wilson kicking him out. Instead after House and Alvy had recollected all the items Alvy sold to a pawn shop including “The Approach to the Acute Abdomen” by Ernest T. Cuddy M.D. and watching the husband interact with the woman does Dr. Nolan realize this case  has to do with relationships.

Relationships include friendship and romantic ones. Wilson is moving in with Sam, Alvy leaving to bunk with his cousin in Phoenix and Cuddy moving in with Lucas.

Wilson actually tells House to move back in, but House believes this is because he talked with Cuddy. Thus ensues my favorite part of the episode, discussed below in side notes.

Dr. Nolan questions why he hasn’t heard that Cuddy was moving in? House says no big deal. You know, when anyone says no big deal= it is a big deal. It turns out the book that House had to have back was written by Cuddy’s great grandfather and he was going to give to her at some point. At some point? Man it’s been six seasons, House.

Now with Alvy, he  is moving in with his cousin because House made sure the immigration services wouldn’t be coming to find Alvy. He faked DNA results stating that Alvy was of Puerto Rican descent. Once Alvy was guaranteed his freedom, he found it safe to move on. The only one who can’t move on is House who starts drinking, goes to bar and gets into a fight.  Dr. Nolan asks why he got into the fight? House can’t remember why.

In the end, House afraid to admit what’s going on, decides he doesn’t need this therapy crap anymore.

“To hell with this.  When I first came to you, I told you I wanted to be happy, but I’m just miserable now. How is this working for me?”

“It takes time-“

“For a year? I’ve done everything you asked. Everybody else is happy. I ran on the treadmill as you sit there and watch. You’re a faith healer. You take advantage of people who wanna believe. There’s nothing in your bag of tricks. Whatever the answer is, you don’t have it.”

Side notes:

Now why I loved this episode? It was the way it was shot and how Dr. Nolan could interrupt House’s thoughts or House tried to change what people really said.

It felt like a play production at one point especially with House and Dr. Nolan off to the side and the lighting adjusting to fading in slowly when House wanted to talk about Cuddy and Willson. It was beautifully done in such a simple way that theater companies have been using for decades. The fade in and fade out of lights and then Dr. Nolan says turn on the lights of your brian which of course the set brightens immediately by the turning on the actually lights of the room.

Loved when House has Taub interrupt Wilson and Cuddy during Nolan’s sequence of events. Dr. Nolan goes, this didn’t really happen? House rolls his eyes and explains, “Your version needed to be ended, it was crap. It was all sweetness and light about me choosing the right path.”

House’s version of Cuddy and Wilson talking was about how House is self-destructive and shouldn’t be left alone. Dr. Nolan’s version is about friendship.

Once again one of my favorite episodes with the focus on House, the interruptions in House’s days and the mirroring of the way a play is done. So great!

So now I have some 5-ish hours until I have to recap and review the finale. Good times.

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