Ah, so, I was a bit displeased after last week's episode of House and made a few thoughtful critiques. And by "displeased" I mean "completely incensed and outraged" and by "made a few thoughtful critiques" I mean "went on a verbal rampage terrorizing everything in my path." (It was thoughtful, though.)
After this week's installment, "The Tyrant," I am (thankfully) far less...vehement in my disapproval. I will not rescind my comments about jumping the shark. I still think it's a problem - I mean, seriously, a dictator? An African dictator? An African genocidal dictator? Once upon a time the patient could be a flamboyant homosexual photographer with daddy issues and that was more than enough for an exceptionally thought-provoking episode. Oh, the good old days...
But I digress. My distaste for the increasingly ridiculous stunt moves House has been making aside, this was a fine episode. It was the first time in a season in a half where I've actually felt like I wasn't waiting for things to return to normal. The old team was together, Wilson had more than a token half line, House balanced the medical mystery and his own struggle with assholery (not just his this time, either), and it all went so smoothly together and I felt like I'd finally left the crazy alternate universe this show has been living in.
The main problem I've had with the new team is that they never stopped being stock characters for me. They started out as two-dimensional personalities who were part of an insane game-show style House hijink, and they just never grew out of it. I don't like Cameron and I never have, but the difference is that I don't like her as a person. Because she has always been fully fleshed out enough to be considered a person and not just a sideshow for Hugh Laurie. So her moral dilemma throughout the episode (and Chase's too, but I like him so I complain less, because I'm biased that way) was cloying, but not because I felt like half a personality was being shoved down my throat in an attempt to make me warm up to a labcoat with a name.
I think the Foreman character was hurt by being surrounded by half-personalities for so long. He used to be my favorite character, because he was the potential pre-House, but not. He had some mystery, genuine humor and intelligence, and a spectrum of good and bad qualities that made him fascinating to watch, just because there was no real way to predict what he was going to do. Maybe the show has just been suffering from an overdose of Eric Foreman As The Only Main Character With Real Value And Screen Time Besides House. But, because I am so incredibly anti-New Team, I'm going to go ahead and blame it on Thirteen. Yes, yes, Olivia Wilde is very attractive. But enough is enough and I won't be sorry if she's gone for good this time.
All things considered, this episode was pretty solid. And, even better, it helped set up what could become some overarching emotional plotlines for the rest of the season - Chase and his ethical dilemma, Foreman's Thirteen-less struggles with his own character, House's attempts to find a new life within the old one. I'm hoping for another interesting (but maybe less extravagant?) case next week. And also for some Cuddy time. Because, while I know she's had some important things off and on, it still feels like she hasn't been very important for awhile. And that's a shame, because she really is a very good character to have around.
One last thing: James Earl Jones is a B A M F.
(This review also posted on my blog at http://meltedbrain.wordpress.com)