bbarnett (bbarnett) wrote in house_reviews,

Socratic Method, Season 1x6

Thanks to the wonderful new transcript LJ "clinic duty" for the transcript.

I started writing this last week.  Then my computer got wiggy and I lost the whole thing (and my Cane and Able commentary).  So, here I am, trying to reconstruct my comments on Socratic Method.  Why go to all that trouble?  SM is simply one of my favorite espisodes, not only from season one, but the entire run of the show.  Why, you ask?  OK, so I'll tell you.  In SM, we see House more overtly acting as I think House really is, rather than through the lens he projects himself through.  His colleagues don't get to see it, but we do.  He connects with both the mother and the son, looking for an alternative explanation to her sympoms oher than:  "she's crazy." 

We get a glimpse of how he thinks of laziness in medicine (real laziness, not his sort of laziness--which is never about the medicine).  He disdains those docs who would only follow conventional wisdom (a bitter reminder of what happened to him, which has been incredibly consistent over the 2+ years of the series. 

I love House's rant at the beginning of the episode, when he talks about how far (not) we've come in the treatment of schizophrenics. 

House does something with the kid that is completely unconventional, trusting and something I can't even a normal, detached doctor would do, and that is to give the kid his pager and a $20 and tell him to go get something to eat so he can speak privately with the mom.  No "get out of the room, the adults want to speak" snark.  It's House's own brand of compassion.  Unconventional and totally in character for him.  So he speaks to Lucy, observing her, but also speaking to her as a real person, no patronizing, no condesension.  Probably the first doctor who's spoken to her like that in years.  House can connect and be kind...doesn't have the arrogance he self-promotes...the kind that Wilson accuses him of so cruelly in season 3. 

LUCY: No one believes me.

HOUSE: I do.

[Outside the room]

FOREMAN: I thought he liked rationality.

WILSON: He likes puzzles.

FOREMAN: Patients are puzzles?

WILSON: You don’t think so?

FOREMAN: I think they’re people.

WILSON: Yeah. Well, he hates them, and he’s fascinated by them. Tell me you can’t relate to that symptom. [ walks awa
y ]

The team nor wilson can figure out why House would be talking to Lucy.  Wilson attributes it to solving puzzles, but House's actions in the episode point to something far deeper going on with empathy; a level of caring that no one credits him with, yet is there (except hidden from sight). 

WILSON: Learn anything from the “human connection”?

HOUSE: Yeah. The Mets suck. Also, for the last two months, she hasn’t shaved her legs. Because of the tremors… she cuts herself.

House, as usual, deflects Wilson's snark...drawing any suspicion that House actually has a beside manner away from him.

House tells them to take her off the psych meds and maybe she'll clear enough to help them with the diagnosis.  Meantime, Cameron learns that its House's birthday, a fact that seems to have eluded the doc.  It's  nice little recurring theme to the episode and later introduces us to the fact that Dr. House can play classical piano.

Time for another rant, and this time it's about mothers who are neurotica about their kids' weight.  As kind as he is to Lucy, is as rude as he is to the clinic mom.  "get the kid a damn ice cream cake!"

Foreman has given Lucy Haldol to make her more cooperative in getting the blood sample.  House is pretty upset with that, since he told the team to take her off drugs, so they can better diagnose her problem.  While House is angry with Foreman's decision, he shows us that he is not going to use that mistake to judge Foreman.  I've always said that House is the least judgmental character on the show.  when push comes to shove in important stuff, he is not judgmental.  He does not suffer fools gladly, but here, Foreman has screwed up, not followed House's expressed orders, yet he says:

HOUSE: Oh, that’s right – ‘cause… you drew the blood. But you were precise, because you knew the tube was purely for the PT study.

FOREMAN: That’s right.

HOUSE: And I’m right with you. I trust this result. For two reasons, a) because you are a good doctor, and b) because five milligrams of IV Haldol makes for a spectacularly cooperative patient. The prolonged PT time makes me think she’s got a vitamin K deficiency.
Mistakes, in House's mind, do not equal "bad doctor."  Despite what we might think House might think. 

The team go to scope out Lucy's apartment after Chase insists it's alcohol that causing the problems (now he's judgmental--the kind of conventional wisdom that House,by his own socratic methods is trying to break the young docs of before it becomes ingrained.  House makes no assumptions; takes people (usually) at face value...except those pesky clinic patients, of course.  Yeah, he's selective :)

The discover the buger diet and House has another scene with the kid.  I really do believe that House doesn't for a minute believe this kid is anywhere close to 18.  In his own way, House is watching over the kid, since his mom can't.    He confirms it by confronting the kid.  But he does promise not to turn the kid into social services.  the team finally figure out about the liver.  It's cancer.  House knows they'll never get a transplant OK, so he has a radical suggestion to shrink the tumor (again, I say, that if House wa purely about the puzzle and not about the healing, he'd stop there and not break the rules to heal the woman.  That puzzle is solved, so...  But he breaks the rules to con the surgeon into operating.  And in this case, Cuddy appears to be on his side.  She knew, yet she kept the info from the surgeon.  Good for Cuddy.  Even Wilson participates in the deception  House's anarchic thinking saves the woman's life.  And the kid's.

HOUSE: Only way to get the guy to do the surgery…

CUDDY: Fraud! Fraud was the only way. There is a reason that we have these guidelines.

HOUSE: I know – to save lives. Specifically doctors’ lives, and not just their lives but their lifestyles. Wouldn’t wanna operate on anyone really sick – they might die and spoil our stats.

CUDDY: Bergen has a right to know what he is operating on.

HOUSE: True. I got all focused on her right to live, and forgot. You do what you think is right.

Another recurrent theme that makes the character of House, despite his flaws, a compelling character.  House, fundamentally is all about the healing.  Much more than the puzzzles.  Patient care is more important than maintaining doctor's lifestyles and keeping the malpractice insurance premiums low.  This is what sets him apart from other docs and helps to make him heroic and an idealist/romantic.

But social services appear and Luke blames House for calling.  He knows he hasn't called, and figures that Lucy did it, eliminating schizophrenia from the differential.  "She's not crazy."  She's done it to protect her son.

HOUSE: [ reading to Lucy ] “For in the old days, though she had young men’s praise and old men’s blame, among the poor, both old and young gave her praise.” [ he snaps the book shut and she wakes up ]

(can i just have this on a continuous loop?  House reading Yeats.  Even with the american accent, his speaking voice is just so beautiful, warm and soft.)

House confronts Lucy with the fact that she called social services.  Hugh's delivery is so warm and gentle here, it speaks to who House really is...away from other peopel, away from the snark.  Just sitting with a patient at her bedside.  something we've seen time and again.  Something he allows no one in his professional circle to witness, which is why everyone thinks his an arrogant sob.

HOUSE: What would his future have been? Taking you to chemo and back on the bus… and even if the cancer’s in complete remission, he’ll still have a mother who hears voices.

LUCY: Talk no more, talk… no more.

HOUSE: “Look what I do to him, limpie.” You said that. I checked the phone records – only one call from this room. Smart – they charge you two bucks a call. It was to Social Services of the State of New Jersey. You’re his mother, couldn’t do it to him anymore. [ pause ] Good for you.

I loved this heartfelt speech.  House's tone of voice showed respect for her and a huge amount of compassion.  Loved this.  Just loved their connection--or rather his connection to her.

We are then gifted with the lovely classical playing of Hugh Gregory House, who concludes his piece with a rather plaintive "happy birthday."   He's still working the case, trying to figure out what makes Lucy tick.  Loved the funny affected, bad English accent as he makes calls to her previous docs in the middle of the night.  hugh Laurie does not sound anything like this, btw.  Dragging the team in, he's onto something.  Cameron hits on the solution finally and Lucy is cured.

LUCY: Luke, come on. [ they all get in, the door closes ] I’m being discharged.

HOUSE: I heard a rumor.

LUCY: Thank God I had cancer, huh? It’s terrible having everybody think you’re nuts…

HOUSE: Really?

LUCY: I called to thank you, did you get my message?

HOUSE: Yes. You’re welcome.

LUKE: [ resentful ] I’m never thanking you. You turned me in. I told you we were doing OK, it was none of your business. [ Lucy looks uncomfortable ]

HOUSE: Look. I don’t care how you were living. I just wanted you out of MY life. That’s why I had Dr. Cuddy call Social Services.

[ House looks at Wilson, then at Luke, Lucy stares straight ahead. The door opens, they wheel out. House and Wilson stand watching them go. ]


HOUSE: You were right. It wasn’t the DVT. It was the schizophrenia.

WILSON: I know.

HOUSE: She’s not nearly as interesting any more.

WILSON: Isn’t it your birthday around now?

[ House closes his eyes, wincing ]

There is much emotion in House's voice during this entire exchange.  He has healed/helped Lucy and made her and her family whole again (I think House gets a vicarious sense of healing from it himself, not able to be healed, this is as close as he gets).  His "you're welcome." is simply packed with emotion in those two little words.  He keeps her secret.  Wilson even picks up on it, asking House if he's OK.  House lies to Wilson, telling him that it was the schizophrenia and now she's not anywhere as interesting.  Maybe not, but her healing was pretty important to him.  It's  fact he keeps to himself.
Tags: episodes, reviews, season 1

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