So, where was I? Oh, yes, House and his criminality.
Now, if you've read my prior entry, it may seem like I'm condemning House. I can see where you'd get that idea; I can only say that I ran out of time to state my points more integrally. Anyhow, my point isn't so much to condemn House as it is to exculpate Tritter. I feel he needs this exculpation, based on the fan-hate that the character has received. I'm afraid I can't link to any specific blog entries at the moment, but here's my impression: The people who hate Tritter seem to be convinced that Tritter is only going after House for personal revenge. And my point in harping on House's faults last entry is to say, hey, House isn't perfect himself.
This may seem like something obvious to say. But if you'll bear with me, I think it's something that may look obvious on the surface but really isn't if you take a deeper look at it.
I think a lot of people who are fans of House really enjoy watching House-the-character, seeing him be smart and witty and dropping exquisitely barbed sarcastic quips on stupid people. Hey, there's nothing at all wrong with that--after all, that's why I tune in week after week. And I wish that I had the cunning way with words that House has--and more importantly, the ability to get away with saying the kind of shit that he does without repercussions. And while I am of course not a mind-reader, I feel confident in guessing that a lot of House fans feel the same way. So I understand if people empathize to a certain extent with House, if they see themselves being the brilliant doctor, solving the medical mystery, or whipping the quip. (Um, as it were.) The complication, however, is that House may be one hell of an entertaining character to watch... but be honest, would you want to spend personal time with him? (Or, I perhaps ought to rephrase that, would he really condescend to want to spend time with you?)
Again, there's nothing at all wrong with strongly identifying with a character in such a way. But in this particular story arc, we're seeing someone coming after House with--despite, as I've previously mentioned, the law being completely on his side--what looks to be a personal grudge and malice aforethought. And I think it's very easy to see "Tritter is going after House" translating, in a lot of fannish minds, to "Tritter is going after me." And thus the acute discomfort and creepiness we feel towards Tritter, which the fans take out on the show's writers or various Powers That Be. (Let's be honest--Tritter is one hella creepy character. But he's meant to be creepy. And I think David Morse is doing a fucking awesome job with it, and if he doesn't get at least nominated for an Emmy, there ain't no justice.)
I think, when it's said and done, this story arc is about the consequences of House's actions coming back to bite him in the ass. And it's also bringing home one very stark fact-- House is a drug addict. I say this to state a fact, not to pass judgment. House is addicted to Vicodin in particular, and it strongly looks like he's addicted to opiates (opioids? I have no ranks in Knowledge: Pharmacology) in general. I don't doubt that House is in pain. I don't doubt that House is in a lot of pain. But I also don't doubt that if you are in fact addicted to something, it is awfully fucking rough on your body to go without it--which, funnily enough, is exactly what we saw House going through when Cuddy cut off his Vicodin supply. And I also don't doubt that a large fraction of that pain is psychosomatic--which, if you'll remember, the show has been dropping blatant hints about ever since the beginning of this season. No matter what the source of the pain, however, the fact that House is in constant pain does not negate the fact of his addiction.
House, in short, needs help. Maybe even an intervention. Because in previous seasons, yeah, House liked Vicodin a whole lot, but we, and his colleagues, were willing to overlook it because he was always right. He always came through with the right answer when the chips were down. But now, I think we're getting some pretty strong hints that House is losing his edge, and not as competent as he used to be. Rememeber, he almost needlessly amputated a girl's healthy limbs because he was convinced that his incorrect diagnosis was true--and when Chase came up with the right diagnosis, House's immediate response was a punch in the mouth. Whatever the cause, and despite the support he's getting from the Cottages and Cuddy and Wilson (about which more below), House is losing it.
And Tritter was right when he told Cuddy that the hospital staff had failed in re: House and his addiction. Yes, they were willing to overlook House's Vicodin habit and his rudeness because it got them results...but now, the risks have grown quite unacceptable, for the reasons I've mentioned above. And Tritter's questions to each of the Cottages--which all boiled down to "Why are you willing to risk your careers for the sake of a boss who treats you like crap?"--are very valid ones.
I also wanted to bring in this quote from Tritter:
"Vicodin does not make House a genius. What he does on the pills, he can do off. He's just not willing to try."
And Tritter is also right in this. House is not willing to try to get off Vicodin because he doesn't feel like he should. Remember, addicts are often the last to notice that they are addicts. House doesn't see that he has a problem--right up until the last scene of last episode, when he walks into Tritter's office after his suicide attempt.
Yes, I did say "suicide attempt." I don't believe that his overdose was an accident. But I also don't believe it was done from a perspective of "I hate life and want to die." I think it had a twofold cause--first, to try to escape the closing-in situation that he felt surrounding him--despite his problems, House can see that his life is going to hell around him. And plus he's got Tritter's deal hanging over him like a sword--taking the deal would mean admitting he has a problem, and that I think could be lethal to House's soul. But refusing the deal would mean a pretty open-and-shut trial, followed by doing a dime up at Attica. And that brings me to the second cause of the suicide attempt: This overdose might have been the last thing that House felt he had any kind of control over.
(The irony in this is that it's all for naught anyhow--the overdose doesn't kill him, but it gives him the moment of clarity necessary to take the action to go to Tritter and ask for the rehab plea-bargain. ...which turns out to be invalid, because House basically fucked himself over earlier by stealing the Oxycodone from Wilson's dead patient. And Tritter didn't arrest him then and there--probably because Tritter knows now that House has absolutely no chance at his trial, and that he's just going to dig himself deeper.)
I do want to say more about House and Wilson, but that probably deserves its own separate entry. So, to sum up, I want to say that I, unlike a lot of House fans, am really digging this story arc. Because now, the show has become ambiguous--the show is no longer Dr. House Versus The Mystery Disease-Of-The-Week and the World's Stupidity. With Tritter, Bryan Singer is asking us "So, do you really want Justice To Be Done, knowing what the stakes are?" With House, Bryan Singer is asking us "So, do you really want to keep cheering for this guy just the way he is?"