He may be a rude, bitter man who likes to pretend he is God, but I am still crazy about Gregory House. Fox’s critically acclaimed series “House”–which centers around a brilliant infectious disease specialist who solves life-or-death medical mysteries–features one of the most emotionally complicated yet morally ambiguous characters ever written for television. Sure, House (played to perfection by Golden Globe winner Hugh Laurie) wants us all to believe he cares more about solving a medical puzzle than cozying up to his patients, and, yes, he has a little pill-popping problem, but last night’s episode confirms what “House” fans knew all along–his snarky behavior is all a mask to hide his struggle with his own personal demons, as he searches for some kind of hope to make his life worth living.
Fresh off of the ending of an affair with his ex-wife Stacy, House begins to notice increasing amounts of pain shooting through his leg, which was premanently damaged in an accident years ago. Though he does not want his co-workers to know about his worsening medical condition, he does confide in two people–his only friend, Dr. Wilson, and his boss, Dr. Cuddy. Wilson suggests that maybe the nerves in his leg are trying to regenerate and heal, giving House a sense of false hope. But when the pain becomes too great for the doctor, he goes to Cuddy and insists she give him morphine, because the Vicodin pills he takes constantly don’t help him anymore.
The morphine shot works–or so House thinks–because suddenly his leg feels better. It is then that Cuddy reveals that she, too, gave House a false sense of hope. The morphine was actually a placebo, indicating that the pain is in House’s heart and head, but not in his leg. The final scene reveals House’s vulnerability in a way we the viewers have never seen before. Face-to-face with his past failures and disappointments, all of which are deeper than the scars on his crippled leg, which he now realizes won’t ever heal, House sits alone in his home staring at a bottle of pills with a look of utter despair. In a moment of defeat, he opens the bottle and pops some pills, once more hoping to deaden the pain inside.
Could this mean that House has finally hit rock bottom emotionally and spiritually? I sure hope so. It will not only make for good TV drama, but it could be a soul-searching reminder to us all that we cannot wrestle our inner demons alone and expect to win; we need the help of a higher power.