House: Season 6 - Help Me (Season Finale Review)
Review by Jack Foley
What’s the story? The team is called upon to aid a search-and-rescue operation during an emergency. House (Hugh Laurie) ends up staying to help a woman, Hanna (China Jesusita Shavers) trapped beneath the rubble who has to choose whether she will sacrifice her imprisoned leg if she wants to live.
Our verdict: We’ve come to expect emotional season finales from House and, true to form, Season 6 delivered just that… as well as the expected last-gasp twist.
Once again deviating from the usual race-against-time “case of the week”, this one unfolded on a spectacular scale, yet examined intimate emotions. Hence, it provided both a pressure cooker scenario and some probing, often poignant, character study.
As a book-end to the season opener, Broken it also marked a satisfying resolution to House’s post-psychiatric therapy and the start of an interesting new chapter for him.
The jaw-dropper was the resolution of his relationship with Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein)… when the episode began, she was contemplating a move in with current boyfriend Lucas Douglas (Michael Weston) and hiding something.
This, in turn, made House tetchy… so much so that he followed Cuddy to the scene of an accident involving the collapse of a crane onto a housing development.
Seeing House in the field was great fun… not only for the acidic wit he employed to deliver a couple of early diagnosis, but also the compassion it brought out in him.
His slow-building relationship with trapped victim Hanna (brilliantly played by China Jesusita Shavers) was often quite touching, occasionally amusing and ultimately heart-breaking.
Hanna’s trapped leg, and whether or not it should be amputated to facilitate her safe removal, provided House with the excuse he needed to put Cuddy on the spot… to find out what she was hiding. But it also offered an insight into his own tortured mentality.
When Cuddy told House she was engaged, he looked visibly shattered – lost, even. His hurt turned to petulence and eventually grief.
Two moments therefore stood out: the showdown between House and Cuddy, as she told him she was done with him and that everyone around him was moving on, and House’s subsequent heart-on-sleeve moment as he persuaded Hanna to have the amputation, thus revealing his own regret about the decisions that ‘cost’ him his own leg (and soul?).
House, as a series, is no stranger to tear-jerking moments, but here was the House character brutally exposed. As Cuddy shed a tear, so too did we.
And yet there were still surprises to come… Having performed the amputation himself, House was then forced to watch helplessly as Hanna perished in the ambulance, from an embelism caused by the operation.
The sequence was gut-wrenchingly sad and totally unexpected – a firm reminder that House doesn’t always deliver the happy ending.
Indeed, it took House himself to an even darker, more forlorn place. When he told a concerned Foreman (Omar Epps) to get out of the way, you feared for his mental state. And when he got home to find a last, secret stash of drugs, you wondered whether this would sow the seeds of next season’s return to old ways.
Alas, no… the writers had one last surprise up their sleeve – Cuddy.
Arriving just in time to prevent him from taking the drugs, Cuddy revealed her continuing feelings for him. The moment House fans thought they’d never see ensued… Cuddy declaring her love for House, and the two of them kissing.
There was a teaser… House asked if he was hallucinating (possibly from the trauma he received while underground). But it would be a cruel trick if the sequence did, in fact, turn out to be a dream. We’ve been down that road before…
What should be interesting, going into Season 7, is just how the writers choose to develop this unlikely liaison. Can they be allowed to live happily ever after? One suspects not…
But House has matured throughout the course of this season: his humanity has been revived. Help Me felt like a fitting end to that journey.
And let’s not forget, either, the small matter of Thirteen (Olivia Wilde), last seen placing a note on House’s desk asking for some time away. When cornered by concerned colleague Dr Chris Taub (Peter Jacobson), she smiled and revealed that her own health had deteriorated. Was this a goodbye? We hope not…
Some have suggested that Season 6 of House has been an underwhelming affair. But while certainly lacking in grandstanding “big” moments, it has consistently entertained and often excelled by placing more of an emphasis on character; or rather, rehabilitation.
Help Me was a classic case in point. It was an emotionally charged finale that really did leave you wanting more…
What did you think?
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