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House - Anatomy of a Relationship: "Office Politics" 7x06

House – Anatomy of a Relationship
An Episodic Examination Of Huddy In Love

Hello, my fellow Huddy fans. Long time no talk to. It’s sad we don’t stay in touch better even if there isn’t a new episode of House to nosh on. I’ll try to do better over the holiday break. Promise.

Since I missed recapping “Unplanned Parenthood” due to numerous conflicts I’ll quickly review it. Huddy progressed only a bit. In that episode, two weeks ago, Cuddy finally asked House to babysit. And he actually agreed. Then Rachel swallowed a coin under his care. House kept the fact that Rachel had swallowed a coin, a potentially dangerous event, hidden from Cuddy. In fact, he would have never told her about it if he hadn’t been caught. That episode dealt with trust issues as House begins to interact with Rachel. Each of them is testing the other on their level of commitment it seems. Cuddy tests House’s ability to interact with Rachel and House is testing Cuddy’s ability to let him into that part of her life. It actually doesn’t turn out horrible. We discover that although House is still not a great boyfriend, you know because of the whole lying and deception thing, he’s a pretty good parent. He doesn’t freak out and calmly proceeds through the steps needed to ensure Rachel doesn’t die. Hey, he’s doing the best he can. I found it interesting the caution he used because the House we all know and love usually has no qualms for doing the most invasive yet quickest solution to a problem. In “Unplanned Parenthood” the fact that when it comes to things House actually cares about, he teams on the side of caution is reinforced.

So we return to Huddyland this week. And things seem to be going fine. A politician’s campaign manager (yay, HRG, AKA Jack Coleman) has taken ill and a new doctor, well, med student, has joined House’s team. There is still the illusion of a separation of love and work between House and Cuddy. In the opening Huddy scene Cuddy tells House about his new hire, which House rejects. He tells her just ‘cause they’re sleeping together she doesn’t get to decide how he runs his department. She says that’s right. She gets to tell him how to run his department because she his BOSS. He accepts this but I get the sense he’s not happy. In fact, during the entire episode as the patient of the week declines and decisions are made I got the impression that House is kind of tired of the power Cuddy has over him. She thinks there’s still a definite line of separation in their relationship, but House knows every decision he has made since “Now What?” is based on the fact they now have a relationship. House knows that anything he does will be linked to his new intimacy with Cuddy and Cuddy, because she’s a girl, (yes, I said it) really can’t successfully separate House’s two roles of boyfriend and employee although she thinks she has.

The writers/directors/producers explain what’s happened in their relationship in the teaser as the POTW talks with the politician. HRG wants to release a mudslinging ad and the politician is hesitant. The Politician argues that they’ve always been the underdog but they’ve always found a way to win. HRG responds with, “That’s because you’ve always let me do what’s needed to be done.” That sums up the Huddy relationship up until they slept together. When it wasn’t a personal affront to Cuddy if House went behind her back or lied to her face to save a patient she would let the consequences slide. Now, anything House tries to slip past Cuddy is a boyfriend being dishonest or disrespectful.

I preface the next few sentences with this phrase: I love Cuddy. Okay, here we go. Cuddy is ticking me off. Big time. She is manipulating House with their relationship. I don’t know if she’s doing this purposely or if it’s just become another weapon in her boss arsenal and she’s subconsciously utilizing it. I’d like to think the best of Cuddy and go with the “subconsciously utilizing it” reasoning, but Cuddy is smart enough to have a method in all her madness. She refuses to back down on Martha Masters, the new hire, and demands proof from House. This is typical Boss Cuddy behavior, but there’s an underlying, nonverbal suggestion that he’ll do these things not only ‘cause she’s his boss but ‘cause he loves her. It’s manipulation taken to an art form and Cuddy is the master right now. See, Cuddy is trying to change House and doesn’t see the faults she has. House gave her full disclosure that he’s an ass and will remain an ass. She seemingly accepted that. But these past few episodes have merely shown us that she didn’t really, truly mean it when she told him she didn’t want him to change. And that ticks me off.

So, House finally determines that HRG has Hep C, which doesn’t respond to the Interferon. Masters comes up with an alternative, but highly experimental, treatment. Masters runs and tells Cuddy before House can do his behind-the-back stuff first. And this is where the crap hits the fan. Now, in the past, House would just go ahead with the treatment and ask for forgiveness rather than permission. And Cuddy, because the patient lived, would give that forgiveness, and probably a short, mock-stern lecture. But Cuddy finds out and flat out demands proof of the Hep C before they start treatment. House says it’s impossible. She tells him to find a way. And now House has the same dilemma as Adam: don’t eat the apple and stay in the garden or eat the apple and get kicked out. It’s not fair to House because Cuddy totally demands this with her boss and lover voices. And House knows it.

House is seriously torn. He consults with his BFF about lying to Cuddy for the 10,001 time. House acknowledges the fact that his actions are not only being done as an employee but as a lover. Wilson can only lay out the two options: don’t lie and deal with the patient dying or lie and deal with his relationship with Cuddy possible dying. House returns to his office to ponder. Gratefully, he falls back on his tried and true methods: he does what needs to be done. As Cameron told him (and Masters, Cameron 2.0, will reiterate later in the episode) House does what’s right, not because it’s cool, or impressive, or required. He does the right thing because it is the right thing to do. Plain and simple. House knows this could kill his relationship, but he knows his patient is definitely dead without doing it. He sadly draws blood from the politician, who House has determined also has Hep C, and marks it with HRG’s name. The test comes back positive for Hep C and Cuddy tells House to start the radical treatment. House can’t make eye contact the entire conversation. It’s evident he feels like crap, but keeps quiet on his deceit. Cuddy rubs salt in the wound by thanking him for respecting her enough to get her the proof she requested. He deflects and leaves. The patient lives.

HRG’s final scene shows him watching his politician accept the win to the senate seat. The politician had earlier leaked the mudslinging commercial then blamed the leak on his evil campaign manager, HRG. The ad did its job and swung the race in his favor. HRG took the hit quietly because as he stated earlier in the episode that like in medicine, in politics in the end all that matters are results. HRG’s candidate won. So what if he was trashed and thrown away. Results are what counts. The newly re-elected politician takes the glory and basks in the victory while the man that made it all happen sits in a lonely hospital bed in the dark, his career and reputation tarnished. House’s situation again mirrors the patient’s. House fully expects to be trashed and thrown away by Cuddy for his actions, but ultimately results are what counts. The hospital and Cuddy, through House’s actions, will soak up the glory on saving yet another patient, but House realizes things may be over with Cuddy, if she finds out.

Cuddy does find out. She discovers that the senator was at the clinic with House at the same time that the test results came back positive. She puts it all together and realizes House’s deception. The old boss Cuddy would have been pissed but eventually okay. The new lover/boss Cuddy feels the crushing blow of House’s lying methods and realizes House hasn’t changed, which makes me really happy, personally. Just saying. Cuddy walks out of the clinic; sadness and disappointment defining her features and body language. This is where the episode ends. I wonder if she’s heading back to yell at House, who she just left upstairs. I suggest she counts to ten first. Maybe 100. You know, House lied to her about Rachel swallowing a coin, but that isn’t even dealt with in this episode. It seems that Cuddy is more upset with House messing with her hospital then messing with her child. Hmmmmmm. Maybe she’s just more forgiving because of House’s complete lack of parental knowledge. I don’t know. It’s an unbalanced focus of importance to me.

This is a big step for House. House has always been about the right thing. He doesn’t have anything close to a moral compass, but when it comes to his patients he’s almost always put their diagnosis and recovery first. He has consistently done the right things, but usually used the wrong methods. And now, his one non-gray area of operation was under fire. He now had something personally to lose by not backing down. He risked it anyway because ultimately it’s about the results with House. Hopefully, Cuddy can return to her senses, or at least remember who she fell in love with and why, and deal with this deceit constructively. I’m anxious to find out next week.

Thanks for reading. Comments are appreciated!

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