“House” broke some from its usual form Monday (Feb. 6) with an episode that introduced a formidable (and presumably one-time) adversary for House and examined what happens whether his way of doing things leads to good results or chaos.
The answer? Both. So if “Nobody’s Fault” didn’t really tell us anything we don’t already know about Greg House and brand of mind games, it at least gave us a very well-acted, expertly directed (by exec producer Greg Yaitanes, helming his 30th episode of the series) examination of the question.
Oh, and it also left Chase — the last original member of House’s team working under him — struggling to regain use of his legs after a patient’s case goes about as wrong as it can possibly go without resulting in death.
As the disciplinary inquiry went on and we saw a couple rounds of questions from Dr. Walter Cofield (Jeffrey Wright, very good in a necessarily understated performance), it became apparent that Chase wasn’t in the rotation. So after about 10 minutes, a sense of dread began to build — particularly since we knew Chase was just fine, give or take some unfortunately dyed hair, in flashbacks to the early part of the case.
Fortunately, the episode didn’t make us wait too long before finding out what happened to Chase. Unfortunately for Chase, it was really, really bad. The patient (David Anders) has a psychotic episode because of an early misdiagnosis by the team, takes a scalpel from Chase and stabs him. In the heart. Adams and Taub are able to keep him alive and patch the wound, but he wakes up with no feeling in his legs.
House correctly diagnoses a blood clot in Chase’s spine, but being House he then pushes the rest of the team to keep diagnosing the patient, which they understandably have no interest in doing. Meanwhile Cofield — who was Foreman’s mentor in med school — is very close to suspending House, which would cause his parole to be revoked, sending him back to prison and likely putting Foreman out of a job as well.
It doesn’t end that way — another prank by Chase gives House his light-bulb moment, which saves the patient and causes his wife to interrupt Cofield’s verdict with a thank you. Cofield then clears House and the team, though you get the sense he was headed that way anyway.
That was pretty well telegraphed by the episode’s title and everyone telling Cofield of House’s methods, “He’s not wrong.” The official exoneration is a cop-out on Cofield’s part, and you could argue on the show’s part as well, but we’re not going to. House doesn’t walk away smirking from this one. Because Chase is now faced with having to re-learn how to walk again, something House knows a whole lot about, the guilt hangs over the end of the episode, and we have a feeling it will linger for a while.
The episode also gives Jesse Spencer some of the best material he’s had to play in some time, and we’re hoping we get to see some of his road back — both physically and emotionally. The show owes it to him not to return everything to normal next week.
What did you think of “Nobody’s Fault”?