On tonight’s episode, there are new developments in the relationship cloyingly referred to as “Huddy.”
But they are not all positive. House finally confesses that he has always (since college) had feelings for Cuddy. And she responds by literally walking away.
Of course, the House writers characteristically lighten the mood of this emotionally disastrous scene with unexpected elements. In this case, the pair is at an ‘80s prom at a medical conference, and House is in full 18th-century dress, including powdered wig, while Cuddy sports an ‘80s perm and off-the-shoulder Flashdance top.
Still, House’s raw vulnerability with Cuddy is palpably painful. And it’s only made worse when he goes to her hotel room to try again to win her over, only to find the adversarial private detective Lucas from last season in her room.
House’s newfound humanity this season is evident throughout the episode. But the surprising twists in House keep his new caring attitude from being saccharine. For instance, House tries to save Wilson from confessing a secret that will ruin his career, but he does so by drugging his drink and delivering his speech in his place.
Though the formula behind House is so entrenched that the writers pay self-referential attention to it, it does change ever so slightly. Here, when House has his characteristic late episode revelation about a patient’s diagnosis, he delivers the usual antagonistic speech to the patient and her family over the phone instead of in person, asking Cameron to hang up at the end so he can make a dramatic exit.
Cynically, the reappearance of Lucas in this episode could be seen as the jumping of a trout, if not a shark, in order to bring fresh blood into a sluggish series. Yet, the episode feels like a more refreshing take on the same old story of House than has been seen in a while. House and Cuddy are facing their feelings for each other, even if they can’t act on them, and Chase and Cameron seem on the road to recovery as Chase finally unburdens his deep, dark secret about General DiBala’s death.
The note-worthy series is breaking out of the stagnation it’s shown in the past season, and it’s a welcome change.