House: Season 3 - Fools For Love (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
INDIELONDON singles out notable episodes from our favourite television series for stand-alone reviews. On this occasion we take a look at the season 3 episode of House entitled Fools For Love.
What’s the story? House (Hugh Laurie) takes the case of a young woman who has been rushed to the hospital with problems breathing and severe stomach pain after she and her husband were robbed. After her husband collapses, the team believes the couple’s illnesses are related. Meanwhile, Michael Tritter (David Morse), a clinic patient, causes problems for House that could have serious ramifications.
Why the review? House is often criticised for being a little too restricted by its “medical mystery of the week” format. But while that’s true to a certain extent, the writers almost always manage to pull an interesting story out of the bag and occasionally they excel.
Fools For Love not only put forth a genuine head-scratcher of a mystery but also a worthy new adversary for Hugh Laurie’s grouchy doc in the form of David Morse’s equally grouchy clinic patient, Michael Tritter. The resolution of the episode was an absolute humdinger.
Digging a little deeper: Some of the best episodes of House find Hugh Laurie being pitted against someone who is equally as stubborn and/or brilliant as him.
In season one, for instance, a multi-episode story arc involved a compelling battle of wits between the cavalier House and by-the-book billionaire businessman Edward Vogel, which succeeded in putting Hugh Laurie’s character through the emotional wringer.
In season 2, it was matters of the heart that almost proved the good doc’s undoing, concerning the return of his ex-wife.
The entrance of excellent character actor David Morse (of The Green Mile, The Rock and Down In The Valley fame) looks set to provide House with his most formidable opponent yet.
The first confrontation between the two actors was a tour-de-force moment for the third series. House, glib and tetchy as ever, refused to take a sample from Tritter’s groin area and attempted to send the patient on his way in record quick time.
But Tritter took exception to House’s rudeness and deliberately tripped him up on his way out of the clinic, prompting House to seemingly reconsider his position and take the swab.
House, however, had something else in mind and proceeded to give Tritter a more thorough examination that placed the two on a collision course.
But rather than focusing on this story just yet, director David Platt put it on the back-burner, concentrating instead on the intriguing medical dilemma (which resulted in another shock discovery involving the patients) and a comical interlude involving House’s bet with colleague Dr Foreman (Omar Epps) that Dr Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) was having an affair with a new blonde recruit at the hospital.
Tritter floated back on the scene for a mini-confrontation in Dr Cuddy’s office midway through proceedings, offering him a chance to apologise that House refused, before cropping up in at the end to help deliver the cracking denouement.
Turns out Tritter is a cop and House’s pig-headedness has now landed him on the wrong side of the law, particularly as Tritter stopped him for speeding on his motorbike in a residential zone and then arrested him for possessing unprescribed painkillers.
Part of the pleasure in seeing House being taken down a peg or two is the keen sense of anticipation it lends the series. House will undoubtedly bounce back and even regain the upper hand but it’s always intriguing to see how he goes about doing so.
But given the quality of the early scenes between Laurie and Morse, it’s safe to assume that fans of the series are in for some spectacular fireworks as the battle of wills intensifies.
Morse is an actor I have long admired and the role of Tritter is tailor-made for his particular skills. So it should be fascinating to see how this story progresses.
Fools For Love also impressed for another reason – the quality of the writing. Always good, Peter Blake’s script was nothing short of exceptional in this episode, finding time to include plenty of witty banter between House and his colleagues.
But it also afforded Omar Epps a nice moment in the spotlight – both in the surprise revelation that it was him dating the new blonde recruit, and in his final moments with the patient of the week. It added some extra depth and layering to a character that sometimes feels under-written.
Hats off to the creative forces behind House, then, for dropping in such a crackerjack episode so early in the third season, and for expertly setting up the prospect of another terrific confrontation and sparring partner for Laurie to trade blows with. This is a show that still has us gripped…
What do you think?