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'House M.D.': On that midnight train to Georgia

May 4, 2010 |  6:45 am
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Monday night's "House" episode, "The Choice," was arguably one of the best of the season. Sure, it fell back on some of the weakening crutches that have plagued the season: Taub's miserable infidelity story line, and House and Wilson's stubborn refusal to accept their codependency. I could've done with a little more Cuddy - ever since her solo episode, she's been criminally underused.

But all is forgiven, because there was karaoke.

At first I was underwhelmed by Wilson paying the team to take House out, and even more unhappy that House actually went with them -- even if he did go with an agenda. I quickly changed my tune when I saw House and Foreman singing Pips backup to Chase's "Midnight Train to Georgia," complete with choreography. They pretended to be a train, Show Trackers. It just doesn't get any better than that. Ever.

Taub's infidelity has really been dragging the show down. Between Jesse James and Tiger Woods,  and everyone in between, the media have been positively saturated by unfaithful men apologizing for their wrongs. It's frustrating to watch Taub treat his cheating as if women are quicksand and he just can't help but sink. Even when he calls off the affair (which is hard to believe), he says it's "one day at a time." If he's got a sex addiction, then he needs treatment. If he's just being a sleazeball, then he needs to take responsibility for his actions instead of blaming some kind of inevitable biological imperative.

With Taub bringing the mood down consistently, the only cure was a serious dose of fun, and Chase, Foreman, and House certainly wrote the right prescription. Check out the hilarious video below!





Another excellent thing about this episode was the patient of the week. Unlike last week, this patient didn't just serve as background noise for character development. This patient had some incredibly compelling character development of his own. Theodore ("Coyote Ugly's" Adam Garcia) and Nicole (Eva Amurri) were about to say their wedding vows when Theodore went suddenly mute and collapsed. House thinks Theodore's faking it. "There has to be a better way to call off a wedding," he quips. "A tweet, for example."

A little bit of digging -- which, by the way, Thirteen is getting almost too good at -- leads the team to a man named Cotter ... who is Theodore's old roommate. Whom he had sex with for three years. As House scoffed, "Sodomy. One of the top 10 most common household accidents."

When Theodore was unable to muster the courage to come out to his parents, he opted for conversion therapy. The word "therapy" might make you think of a slouchy sofa and a guy with a clipboard asking about your feelings, but Theodore's therapy involved unhealthy doses of male hormones, ECT, and being fed an emetic agent while watching gay pornography. The therapy was so violent that years later, his head trauma still had an effect.

Theodore seems to believe it worked. "I believe that we get to choose how we live our lives and I've made my choice," he insists to his fiancee. She knows better, though, as does House. When House diagnoses Theodore with a congenital narrowing at the base of his skull, which caused serious pituitary problems after swelling was exacerbated by ECT, he says to Theodore, "Like so many other things ... you were born that way."

The romantic in me wanted Theodore to finally accept his biological imperative and chase after Cotter, who was clearly still in love with him. I know, I know -- why does Theodore get to call his attraction to men a "biological imperative" while Taub's insatiable need for sex doesn't get that privilege? There's only one deviant between the two of them, and it's not the guy who is desperately (if misguidedly) trying to do the right thing. It's the guy who has the right thing at home in his bed while he goes out and sleeps with the wrong thing.

In the closing scene of the episode, it was revealed that House is again self-medicating for the pain in his leg, but this time, his numbing agent of choice is alcohol, not Vicodin. I've been expecting this, but I can't say it wasn't disheartening to see him fall off the wagon. He's so alone in his pain -- everyone else's lives go on around him as he becomes less and less functional.

But we should focus on the good things! Did I mention House was a Pip? Let's go back and watch that video one more time.

I can't wait to hear what you guys have to say about tonight's episode! The nature vs. nurture argument is timeless, but it was brave of the "House" team to address it so head-on.

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

Photo: Jesse Spencer, Omar Epps, and Hugh Laurie perform "Midnight Train to Georgia." Credit: Fox

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