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'House M.D.': A section of the brain just for hope?

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This season, it appears the "House" writers have realized that breaking away from their usual maybe-it's-lupus formula makes the show much more compelling. Monday night's episode, "Baggage," was presented as a session with House's therapist, Dr. Nolan.

House has slowly been circling the drain toward the man he was at the beginning of the season. Though he hasn't turned back to his Vicodin addiction, he has been self-medicating with alcohol to stave off the pain in his leg (and in his heart ... aww). He's become increasingly manipulative and abusive, and though he's not as devious as he once was, there's very little evidence that he's healing.

We take a walk through House's mind as he describes his latest case to Nolan. I know this might shock you, but House's behavior in diagnosing the patient actually reveals his true feelings about ... who else? Wilson and Cuddy. As much as the different formulas have helped to break up the monotony of the season, there are only so many times we can discover that House is unhealthily dependent on Wilson and still hung up on his feelings for Cuddy.

We get it.

The episode begins with Wilson asking House to move out of their apartment. Excuse me a moment while I scream "Noooo!" from the rooftops. House's and Wilson's cohabitation has been a bright spot of the season. Sure, they're obsessed with each other to a worrying degree, but that doesn't mean it's not fun to watch two grown men navigate their lives like college roommates.

House returns to the scene of his greatest crimes: his own apartment. Except, it's not the musty, dusty, unused place he expects to walk into. Instead, his old friend from the institution is there: Alvie! On the run from immigration officers (even though he's Puerto Rican and thus a U.S. citizen), Alvie is squatting at House's place. He's been selling House's stuff piece by piece to pay for ... bright yellow paint. Because if anyone wants his apartment painted sunshine-yellow, it's House.

One of the things sold off is the first edition of a valuable medical text. Though Alvie pawns it for $25, it's actually worth thousands of dollars. House and Alvie manage to get the book back -- through not-quite-legit means -- and, of course, Nolan does some head-shrinking. As it turns out, the book is written by an Earnest T. Cuddy M.D. , a certain someone's great-grandfather. House has been saving it to give her for a special occasion. Unfortunately, that occasion may be her housewarming. And no, that's not innuendo for sex-with-House -- she's moving in with her gnat of a private-eye boyfriend.

It's a powerful moment when House blurts out that everyone in his life seems to be moving forward except him. Even after he gets Alvie off the hook with immigration officials, Alvie leaves town to live with his cousin -- when House was obviously expecting him to stick around. Cuddy and Lucas are moving in together, and with Sam, Wilson has finally found a relationship that might stick.

"To hell with this," House tells Nolan. "When I first came to you, I told you that I wanted to be happy, and I followed your advice. Instead, I'm just miserable. How is this working for me? For a year, I've done everything you've asked, and everybody else is happy. I run my treadmill. You just sit there and watch. You're a faith healer. You take advantage of people who want to believe. There's nothing in your bag of tricks."

Something's got to give. I've got a feeling that next week's season finale is going to be quite the upset.

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

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Photo: House (Hugh Laurie, left) returns to therapy with Dr. Nolan (guest star Andre Braugher) in the episode "Baggage." Credit: Fox

 
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