Thursday, February 09, 2012

Review: House Season 8 Ep. 11, Tumor Ex Machina


The opening of “Nobody’s Fault” is a disheveled hospital room, covered with spatters of blood. A bottle of Lidocaine lies of the floor. It’s one of the best cold opens in a long time, but then, I love gore.

I spoke too soon. We are plunged into an extremely dark room, House sits opposite a Dr. Cofield, played with a stunning lack of charisma by Jeffrey Wright. Cofield is the head of Neurosurgery at New York’s Mercy Hospital. He was once Foreman’s mentor, so Foreman has brought him in to cover his own ass. (Why a head of Neurosurgery is involved in this is one of those things best not thought about or your ears will start to bleed.)

Director Greg Yaitanes loves effects that draw your attention away from the story to the direction, so the first few minutes are spent puzzling, “why hasn’t PPTH paid its light bill” and “This is a modern hospital, why are they sitting in room straight out of the 1920s?” .

Cofield is there to investigate a violent incident involving the POTW, a chemistry teacher who collapsed while jogging and now cannot feel his arms or legs. Since once again I don’t remember the patient’s name, let’s call him Biff. House begins by saying the incident is “nobody’s fault.” That bad things happen. Since Cofield seems never to have been in a hospital before, he is inclined to disagree.

The case is examined from each team member’s perspective. During the case proper, the lights are on, but when it returns to the investigation, the lights go out and there is an eerie blue tinge. Make sure to watch this in a darkened room or you won’t see a thing. And somehow Jeffrey Wright manages to suck all of the energy out of each scene he’s in., which affects the overall pacing of the episode.

"Do you think you could turn on the light on the table?" "No."

Biff was involved in a classroom chemistry explosion but for some reason nobody thinks that has anything to do with what’s happening.

The only member of the team who acts as though he is not spoiling his trousers with terror is Taub. Park and Adams are both…well, they’re Park and Adams.

In keeping with this season’s direction, there is a pointless prank war going on between Chase and House. But more on that later.

Biff has a rash under his arms, so House orders him pumped full of steroids in hopes of making the rash worse. Unfortunately, this gives Biff a major case of ‘roid rage. In one of those “this needs to happen even if it makes no sense”moments, Chase and Adams decide to biopsy the rash. Chase wheels in a table, revealing that he has a scalpel and a bottle of Lidocaine. Biff goes berserk and stabs Chase with the scalpel. There is an excellent shot of a stunned Chase not realizing that he has a scalpel stuck in his chest.

(For the record, Jesse Spencer knocked this out of the park. He tends to be criminally underused.) They rush him to the OR. With Cofield, Adams blames herself. Taub guesses that Chase might be at fault for bringing a scalpel into a room containing a psychotic patient. (YA THINK?)

There is a temporary moment of dramatic tension when Chase can’t feel his legs, but by the end of the episode he’s in physical therapy. When House opens his Vicodin bottle, it explodes (prank war). This gives House an epiphany, so he sprints out of the hearing the same way he sprinted out of the hearing during Season Three when he was on trial for abusing drugs.

ANYWAY, House realizes that Biff’s being in the explosion loosened cancerous tumor cells from his lymph node which proceeded to go through his entire body. Since we’ve completely forgotten about Biff, my only reaction was “Huh?” However, Biff’s wife isn’t buying it and rushes Biff to another hospital.

As usual when we reach heavy dramatic moments toward the end of the episode, it starts pouring rain outside. The entire team gathers to hear Dr. Cofield give his verdict. It’s something along the lines of House being brilliant but a complete disaster, when they are suddenly interrupted! By Biff’s wife!

House was right! Biff will be cured by House’s diagnosis! “He saved my husband’s life!” she exclaims breathlessly to Cofield.

Your faithful correspondent dropped her drink, exclaiming, “You have GOT to be kidding!”

But no. Cofield announces that the incident is indeed nobody’s fault. House, ever maddened by good news, yells at Cofield for being a coward. Then he visits Chase, who’s walking on a treadmill, and says, “They were wrong. I’m sorry.” Chase and House share a manly moment of silence before the end credits.

Next week, the episode is about Chase. Since we see him talking about leaving PPTH in the promo, then in a lab coat, it's a good bet that the status quo will be preserved. People don't change.


Elisa & Fletcher

1 comment:

leakey said...

Well done. Very funny.