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The Interpretation of Dreams

I'll preface this by saying that I tend to be a total sucker for attempts to break out of formulaic storytelling in general, and dream sequences in particular. So even aside from the totally unexpected bonus of House relapsing and the Huddy break-up (not that I approve of the causal connection, but more on that later), I was pretty much guaranteed to be pleased by this episode.


Cuddy's Worst Nightmare


Hilarious! Right after designating her sister as Rachel's guardian, Cuddy dreams of the alternative: her  boyfriend cultivating his "biggest tax write-off" as a juvenile delinquent after her death. I'm sure that I missed some interesting details (like the choice of clothing) due to my highly selective tv viewing, but that's okay. And Wilson is her other dad! And those eyebrows! And the group hug!


My Job Ate My Relationship

Did anyone else have a Buffy moment when House whipped out the ax-cane and decapitated Chase? Perfect depiction of House's not-so-subconscious difficulty in balancing his work and his relationship with Cuddy; his team is basically killing her by distracting him with an actual case. Whether or not it's true, House has long believed that allowing himself to care about his patients would make him a worse doctor. This season has shown this to be a self-fulfilling prophecy, although it could (easily) be argued that the problem is not that he loves Cuddy but that he needs her like an addict needs anything - desperately and unconditionally.


Hi Honey, I'm Home!

Talk about your obvious Freudian wish fulfillment dream! So, so funny that I actually felt sorry for Cuddy in this one for being depicted as such a blatant inverted stereotype: coming home from a hard day at work to find her little woman making dinner and her perfect daughter (again, those eyebrows!) doing her homework. Happy 29th birthday again!


Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head


There were a lot of complaints from House/Wilson fans that Cuddy should not have been the one in this iconic BC&tSK sequence, but let's face it, she's dreaming that it's her and House against the world... and then it's just her. Despite her brave words, Cuddy does fear being deserted by him in her time of greatest need.


Come On, Get Happy

I cannot, cannot believe that House/Cuddy fans got from the previews that this was going to end well. Psychedelic dream sequences with House singing a showtune about chasing your troubles away can only mean one thing: drugs. And it's time to get ready for "Judgment Day," when Cuddy will boot his addict ass out of her life.

So that brings me to my one complaint about this episode. Words cannot express how whole-heartedly I wished for the House/Cuddy relationship to end, and yet the way in which it did, despite gorgeous acting by HL and LE, left me feeling somewhat unsatisfied. I was hoping for some kind of growth - some action on House's part in response to his drunken insight last week about his inability to balance being a good doctor and having a relationship with Cuddy. I wanted him to get to the point where he could choose whether or not to be with her, or even better, reach a mutual understanding and agreement.

But eh, what am I talking about? This is House. What we get instead, as far as I can tell, is the conclusion that he is an addict, that he can't do better even if he wants to, that Cuddy has been his drug of choice ever since she saved him from relapse in his bathroom... and that she entered into a relationship with him knowing that he was bound to fail to live up to her expectations and then abandoned him because he was so afraid of losing her that, after trying every other permissible distraction he could think of, he took the edge off before coming to see her by swallowing a pill.

Without laying the blame fully on either side, I have to think about Cuddy's parting words to him. Is House's MO really about avoiding pain that he feels unable to handle? I don't think so; at least, it doesn't seem to me to be that simple. Is the problem that he is so self-centered that he can't notice and respond to the needs of others? Again, I don't think so, although it's the primary persona he tries to project. I do think, though, that he would be an extremely difficult person with whom to have a relationship for anyone, and doubly so for Cuddy, who has tried so hard to make herself a perfect, orderly, responsible life, and who will try to control her environment, including the flawed people in it, with her last breath.

And Cuddy is a strong, independent woman. She doesn't want to be needed in the way that House has always been needy. You know who does? Wilson.

I'm just sayin'.

Comments

( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
barefootpuddles
Mar. 8th, 2011 02:37 pm (UTC)
I like you interpretation of the zombie stuff. I just thought he was battling death or cancer, but your interpretation i like better. :)

And Cuddy is a strong, independent woman. She doesn't want to be needed in the way that House has always been needy. You know who does? Wilson.

Yes! Exactly. I think Wilson would take him on vicodin. He wouldn't like it but I think he could deal with it. But I do always remind myself that Wilson doesn't always do the best job 'saving' I think after this season it is easy for us Wilson fans to forget that Wilson has not always been a smooth ride for House either (excuse any pun your brain might manufacture there).
flywoman
Mar. 8th, 2011 02:44 pm (UTC)
I agree - I am not someone who thinks that their friendship is perfect, that they've always been there for each other, etc. But they have made it last despite everything, all the crap they've put each other through, and they do have enough in common to last as a couple, I think.

Also, I don't intend to portray this kind of co-dependent relationship as a healthy one, but it may be all that House and Wilson are capable of. If their respective flaws are so complementary, why not?
yarroway
Mar. 8th, 2011 03:12 pm (UTC)
Very interesting take on things. I really must watch this episode, but of course by the time I do all discussion will have died away. I'd have made an exception and watched this one anyway were it not for a competing commitment. But I digress.

What I'm chiming in here to say is that you make a brilliant point. Cuddy does not want to be needed like this. She wants control, but I think she also wants to be able to be needy sometimes. And it just doesn't sound like she's getting that from House.
flywoman
Mar. 8th, 2011 03:21 pm (UTC)
I stayed up way too late like an idiot trying to track down a viewable version of the episode, but it was totally worth it.

Check soophelia's thread on house_wilson for the link.
pgrabia
Mar. 8th, 2011 03:37 pm (UTC)
I know that you disagree with me, likely, but I can't help but see Cuddy as the selfish one here. The entire season she's led him on thinking that there was a chance she could love him for him when all along she's been dissatisfied because he's not submitting to her manipulations. It is manipulation to use a relationship as a threat for unwanted behavior. There are definitely less hurtful ways. She told him she knew what she was getting herself into and that it was okay. Maybe she had herself convinced that it was--I don't know--but obviously she wasn't and I think she knew that long before this episode. She should have ended it much earlier.

It's unfair to say that House is unable to be someone's boyfriend like I've been hearing around. He was happy with Stacy before the infarction and I've gotten the impression she was too. Was he perfect then? Stacy says not...but she still loved him for him. It wasn't until she betrayed him that he couldn't trust her anymore and began to push her away. Maybe I'm warped but I think his reaction was understandable.

I do think, though, that he would be an extremely difficult person with whom to have a relationship for anyone,

I get frustrated with the show because they seem to see addiction as a fatal character flaw instaed of what it is--a maintainable disease. He is sick, not 'selfish' or an 'asshole'. There are actual physiological changes in the brain of an addict that work against them no matter how hard they fight. Can it be controlled? Absolutely--but only in a very supportive, loving, caring environment. I never saw Cuddy even try to give that to House. Like she said, she 'forgot' that he was an addict so wasn't supportive or observant. She took his soul and gave him what? Sex? She wasn't being altruistic with the sex. Her dumping him for being an addict and slipping is like her dumping him for having a cancer that goes into remission and then flares up again.

Yes, Cuddy is entitled to have her needs and her needs are very important too. However, to kick a man when he's already down leaves me with very little sympathy for her. Sorry.
flywoman
Mar. 8th, 2011 04:59 pm (UTC)
I know that you disagree with me, likely, but I can't help but see Cuddy as the selfish one here. The entire season she's led him on thinking that there was a chance she could love him for him when all along she's been dissatisfied because he's not submitting to her manipulations.

I think that she believed she could accept him the way he was when they first started dating. (Obviously she was wrong, and tried to change his behavior while they were together, but she was finally able to recognize that.)

Maybe she had herself convinced that it was--I don't know--but obviously she wasn't and I think she knew that long before this episode. She should have ended it much earlier.

I absolutely agree with you on this.

It wasn't until she betrayed him that he couldn't trust her anymore and began to push her away. Maybe I'm warped but I think his reaction was understandable.

I think hers was, too. Stacy was just doing what House does with all of his patients - disregarding their right to autonomy in order to save their lives. Was this worse because she loved him?

He is sick, not 'selfish' or an 'asshole'.

Can't he be both? I really do sympathize with House regarding his struggles with addiction. But he has other character traits, not necessarily related, and not necessarily even his fault, that would absolutely drive me crazy.

Her dumping him for being an addict and slipping is like her dumping him for having a cancer that goes into remission and then flares up again.

Again, not arguing with you here at all.

However, to kick a man when he's already down leaves me with very little sympathy for her. Sorry.

Well, she did just have a major death scare and discover that he wasn't strong enough to be there for her, plus I honestly can't blame her for trying to do the right thing by herself and her daughter. I'm sorry for both Cuddy and House re: the inevitable end of their mismatched relationship. But you have every right to feel differently about it.
stenveny
Mar. 8th, 2011 06:11 pm (UTC)
It was never a healthy relationship. Passionate, intense, and sweetly romantic, but never healthy. Why would its termination be healthy?

It began House literally seconds away from collapse. Cuddy had contributed to that state by telling him forcefully, cruelly, that he had nothing, that the people around him were making their own lives worse because of his neediness, that she and Wilson -- his only two friends -- were moving on. Even her initial declaration of love was tainted with "I wish I didn't."

But she had decided she had to know if they could "work" and for 14 episodes we had *House* working -- fiercely independent, stubborn, opinionated, uber-rational House, living in such fear that he'd be abandoned for small infractions (in most places, faking a test result is a felony, but in House-land it's a small routine infraction) that he learned to make personal lifestyle adjustments for another person's comfort in "Massage Therapy" , and how to humble himself and admit fault-- something he refused to do even when it was in his own best interests for Tritter or Vogler -- in "Small Sacrifices." Unable to even verbalize his feelings to Cuddy in the season opener, by "Two Stories" he was confessing his deepest needs to 11 year old strangers, and in "Recession Proof" he was able to accept the possibility that there is something more valuable to him than his intellect and professional accomplishments.

Now, finally, after 14 episodes of worrying that his girlfriend was going to reject him and he'd fall apart, she has, and he hasn't (yet, or completely.) He's learned how to "work" at relationships, how to compromise and how to open up (maybe not *when* to do so, but he knows how.) If he is ultimately okay even after his worst fears have been realized, then maybe he can move forward with some confidence in himself and put the lessons he learned in this doomed unequal thing to use in a healthy partnership with someone else, if HE chooses.
flywoman
Mar. 8th, 2011 10:52 pm (UTC)
Passionate, intense, and sweetly romantic

Sorry, I just didn't see this, except in your fic. This relationship ended as it began - with House desperate and broken after Cuddy's brutal honesty.

and how to humble himself and admit fault-- something he refused to do even when it was in his own best interests for Tritter or Vogler -- in "Small Sacrifices."

Were we supposed to believe that his apology was sincere? Given how melodramatic it was, and his recap to Wilson afterwards, I really didn't think so. He was just going along to get along.

And he did apologize to Wilson towards the end of the Tritter arc, remember? Cameron hugs him for it.

Unable to even verbalize his feelings to Cuddy in the season opener, by "Two Stories" he was confessing his deepest needs to 11 year old strangers, and in "Recession Proof" he was able to accept the possibility that there is something more valuable to him than his intellect and professional accomplishments.

I seriously did not see either of these things as an improvement. But YMMV.

If he is ultimately okay even after his worst fears have been realized, then maybe he can move forward with some confidence in himself and put the lessons he learned in this doomed unequal thing to use in a healthy partnership with someone else, if HE chooses.

I would like to see this.
(Deleted comment)
flywoman
Mar. 10th, 2011 02:53 am (UTC)
She wasn't his vicodin substitute, she was his therapy substitute.

Hmm. Although, in a sense, wasn't therapy his vicodin substitute? Albeit harder and much less fun?

I agree, though, that he still has a ways to go before he'll be able to stand alone.
(Deleted comment)
justjuly4
Mar. 9th, 2011 02:18 pm (UTC)
I agree with much of what was said before.

I liked the musical best. It looked weird and frightening. I had a feeling of a big storm coming from the first seconds when House was whispering the first lines of the song. It felt wrong. Aggressive dancing and a lot of crimson-red color made the scene look like an Introduction to Hell.

When Cuddy sat alone on the hospital bed at the empty stage, I was worried for her. She really did look vulnerable, fragile, uncertain. I remembered the quote "everybody dies alone".

House in a costume reminded me Hugh on S7 promos (the one where his face was painted as a clown's) The face of clown, but not funny. He was a joker, a trickster. Cuddy at the same time was HIS puppet doll. I think the musical part showed him that way. It was impressive. He was beautiful in some evil way.
flywoman
Mar. 10th, 2011 02:55 am (UTC)
"everybody dies alone"

I missed that, but it is VERY Housian.

He was beautiful in some evil way.

It was certainly an extremely disturbing sequence. I wonder how those House/Cuddy fans feel who used the promo clip of them dancing for their userpics...
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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