7 Things: My Favorite Episodes #7 – House

Counting down my favorite episodes from House. Some of the best writing. Some of the best moments. The best overall. Per me.

Of course, there will be a few spoilers. Though, nothing too spoilery, I don’t think. Except at the end.

I should first declare that I haven’t watched any of this current and last season. Jumping the curb sort of jumped the shark for me. If you’ve seen up through last season, you know what I mean. I’m not saying those final moments facilitated this season as the final season, but I don’t see how it could have helped.

So, on with it –

7 – Son of Coma Guy 3.7

A super cool “last day on Earth” meets “boys night out” plot and John Larroquette as a guest star make this episode notable. House sending Wilson away to protect him and Wilson providing House an alibi give this episode its special kick. No moment may better capture the depth of their bizarre friendship.

6 – No Reason 2.24

Almost a foreshadowing of even better episodes to come, No Reason was the first full-episode hallucinatory trip in the House-verse. And the House writers do hallucination like nobody’s business. Although they use it several times, it’s a believable device with a Vicodin-addict protagonist. The episode has some memorable lines and a brilliantly intense ending.

5 – The Down Low 6.11

I acknowledge that the subtexty B story in this episode is what puts it on my list, but the main plot is special enough to occupy the same forty-some minutes of television. As far as the main plot goes, both main guest stars are perfection and the ‘bad guy as the best friend you could ever have or want’ moral remains strong to the last second he appears on screen. As far as the subplot, it’s full of laughs. Then, Wilson proposes to House, and, for just a moment, all is right with the world.

4 – Airborne 3.18

Stuck-on-plane episodes have a habit of ratcheting up tension. Bones did a decent one, Leverage did a better one in true Leverage style, but I do believe this episode of House tops both. The idea of being in an enclosed space with a contagious disease preys nicely on fairly universal fear, and putting one of the show’s own in danger sells it. The back-at-Princeton-Plainsboro subplot with an aging woman who fears that trying some outside-her-safety-zone things has caused her sudden illness, and her temporary friendship with the prostitute she intended to try before she fell ill, returns a powerful life message.

3 – Three Stories 1.21

If you need an explanation for House’s anger – well, part of it at least – this episodes provides it. The telling of House’s infuriating tale is done in a manner that is both comical and heart-wrenching. It’s just an all-around well-written episode that answers a lot of questions, and it’s hard to imagine a better way for them to have done it.

2 – House’s Head 4.15

A little bit reality, a little bit hallucinatory, the opening of this episode – a very House-like strip club awakening – indicates exactly what’s coming. Then, in a way that seems to draw inspiration from Christopher Nolan’s Memento, we take a step backward and see how House ended up in said strip club. Little-by-little, the episode takes House backward – through hypnosis and hallucination – until he finally connects the dots. Possibly the best thing about this episode, though, is House recreating the bus crash. It’s a rare thing on House to see true ensemble work, and I dig a large cast working flawlessly together.

1 – Both Sides Now 5.24

Wow. How freaking awesome was this episode? And I warn you now, if you haven’t seen it and intend to do so one day, this will spoil the whole shebang for you.

So, look away.

This episode almost made the earlier hallucination-dabbling episodes seem like precursors. And those episodes stood on their own. They were so essential, though, to making this episode work that it’s hard to imagine someone didn’t have this idea sitting in their head from the get-go.

Perhaps I was alone in my gullibility, but I was completely shocked at episode’s end when House finally realized that his semi-fantasy life coming to fruition was a drawn-out, waking hallucination. I’m usually not quite that blind to getting played. The reason that the episode is so damn effective, I think, is because the House-verse isn’t shy about using hallucination as plot, and, most of the time, it was easy to tell when House was hallucinating. But, this time, no big event (that we saw) triggered the hallucinations, and they played out so naturally that they weren’t detectable.

At least to me.

Those last few scenes, where no one really said anything – were writing gold.


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