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'House M.D.': Chase and Cameron face the fallout

November 17, 2009 |  6:53 am
Well, "House" fans, it seems that the other shoe has officially dropped.

At the beginning of tonight's episode, "Teamwork," Cameron is ready to forgive Chase for his murderous misstep, on the condition that they both resign from Princeton-Plainsboro, effective immediately.  Of course, those of us who have been following news from the "House" set know that Chase won't get off the hook so easily.

Foreman pulls the "I covered up a murder for you" card and drags Chase -- and, with him, Cameron -- back in for one last case: a porn star with a squeaky-clean medical history, essentially going into total system failure. Like the team, I was distracted from the diagnostics case by the personal drama going on within the hospital.

Dr. House spends the entire episode trying to wrangle his team like they are a bunch of kindergarteners gone missing at snack time, instead of adults capable of making their own decisions. His schemes are manipulative and immature in a way we haven't seen this season. It's safe to say that Cuddy's relationship with Lucas has set him back quite a bit on his journey of self-improvement. The compassion we've seen House develop over the last seven weeks all but disintegrates in this episode.

Wilson observes that House's stubborn unwillingness to seek out new fellows to work with has nothing to do with Chase, Cameron, Thirteen and Taub being the best people for the job. Instead, Wilson believes that House is trying to hold on to the familiar faces as a way to ease the pain of Cuddy's rejection.

This seems like a bit of a stretch to me, and despite the fact that I am a fan of Thirteen (not so much of Taub), I think the show could use a new face. I was quite frustrated by Foreman's cool treatment of Thirteen during the brief period when he was her superior. It surprises me that she's willing to work with him again, especially since she seems to have a newfound self-worth.

I do wonder if I would have found this episode more effective had news of Jennifer Morrison cleaning out her trailer not leaked in advance. I really appreciated the "old team" reuniting this season, as, I think, did most longtime "House" fans. If they had to let Morrison go, I'm glad it was on the end of a solid storyline and a string of episodes in which she was more than just background noise.House-Ep608_Sc24_2191

That said, Cameron's behavior in this episode doesn't seem true to character, and her decision to leave doesn't feel particularly organic or natural. This week, Cameron projects her frustration with her husband onto her patient. This is similar to the way she accused the comic-book author of being a liar in last week's episode when, really, she should have been talking to Chase. It just didn't seem like the natural course for the always-compassionate Dr. Cameron.

Cameron's goodbye scene with House is Morrison's best performance in years, but again, she misdirects her feelings.

"You did kill Dibala," Cameron tells House, "by playing God and teaching us to do the same. Motives do matter. Lives can't come second. You ruined [Chase], so he can't even see right from wrong. He can't even see the sanctity of a human life anymore. I loved you, and I loved Chase. I'm sorry for you both, for what you've become, because there's no way back for either of you."

House has always been a rather reckless doctor. He's taken extraordinary risks, and he's often disregarded the humanity of his patients in favor of "solving the puzzle." However, he's never made a calculated decision to kill a patient based on that patient's moral code. House doesn't care about his patients' morals, just about which of their actions has led them to the hospital bed.

Cameron's accusation is off-base and unfair. Chase did the opposite of what House would have done in that situation. House wouldn't have cared that President Dibala (played by James Earl Jones) could go off and incite genocide in his country, because once the patient is out of Princeton-Plainsboro, he's no longer House's problem. He'd have shrugged, made a witty remark about how awesome it is not to live in a third world country and promptly forgotten about it.

It's important to note that Jennifer Morrison is still under contract as a series regular, so David Shore and Katie Jacobs still have the option of bringing her character back. I won't be holding my breath, though, as tonight's closing montage (set to "Where Did You Go?" by Jets Overhead for you soundtrack junkies) made it seem very final.

So, for those of you keeping track, House's team now includes Chase, Foreman, Thirteen and Taub. The hospital really should spring for a revolving door for his office at this point.

Time for my favorite part: Tell me what you thought of Cameron's final episode!  Will you miss her as much as I will? How do you feel about the return of Thirteen and Taub to the diagnostics table? What were your thoughts on the porn-star patient?

Sound off in the comments below and be sure to check back next week to discuss how Chase is handling the breakup.

-- Carina MacKenzie (follow me on Twitter @cadlymack)

Photo: Top, Cameron (Jennifer Morrison) and Chase (Jesse Spencer) discuss their relationship. Bottom, House (Hugh Laurie) interrupts Thirteen's (Olivia Wilde) workout to tempt her into returning to the hospital.  Credit: Fox

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