'House': Joshua Malina guest stars as Wilson steps into the spotlight

robertseanleonard_house_1130_290.jpgIt was great to see Wilson featured on "House" this week, and even greater to get a break from the drama with House's team. And of course, Joshua Malina's guest turn as Wilson's ex-ex-patient/friend served as icing on the cake.

Patient of the Week: Wilson's former patient and current friend, played by Joshua Malina, comes down with a nasty case of partial paralysis five years after his leukemia went into remission. The cause? "Ironic leukemia," as Joshua puts it, caused by the chemotherapy for the initial leukemia. Wow, that's definitely a bummer. Especially since despite Wilson's initial optimism, the new leukemia is resistant to chemo.

Wilson, desperate to save his friend, wants to double the chemo. House points out that double chemo = double poison, and while it may be the "House" thing to do, Wilson isn't House and doesn't handle it well when things go wrong. True story, that. Joshua, his ex-wife (whom Joshua has chosen as his medical proxy instead of his young girlfriend) and his daughter decide to take the risk, which destroys both the leukemia AND Joshua's liver. Whoops.

A desperate Joshua puts Wilson on the spot by reminding him that they have the same blood type and so could do a live liver donation, guilting him by talking about how he's just gotten his family back together. On the one hand, that's probably a faux pas if Wilson didn't offer on his own. On the other hand, the guy is dying, so I can see how etiquette might fall by the wayside. Wilson initially resists, before succumbing to the guilt of "causing" the liver damage. When House tries to talk him out of it, Wilson kicks him out of the apartment. Cuddy gives the okay, though she agrees with House that it's "insane."

From a purely utilitarian perspective, it's really Wilson's responsibility as an apparently great doctor to stay healthy and save as many patients as possible. But I suppose that's ignoring the friendship at issue here. Which is perhaps why you shouldn't treat your friends -- saving a friend's life is great, but it doesn't seem right to be put in the position to do so at risk to yourself largely because you feel guilty about a choice you made as their doctor (which itself may have been influenced by friendship).

When Wilson asks House to be with him during the operation, House refuses, simply saying: "Because if you die, I'm alone." Hugh Laurie was amazing in this scene. So understated, but so affecting. But when Wilson goes through with it (which surprised me, to be honest), House sits by his bedside as he wakes and recovers.

Joshua, it turns out, isn't so hot on the idea of his family being back together now that he's going to live. He's back with his cute younger girlfriend, explaining that "the person you want when you're dying isn't the same as the person you want when you're living." That may be true, but it's incredibly unfair to his ex-wife, and rightfully pisses Wilson off since the family thing was one of the justifications Joshua gave for being so desperate to have Wilson's liver. When Wilson tells House he's not mad, but just disappointed, House prompts him into angry action. Just... not regarding Joshua.

robertseanleonard_lisaedelstein_house_1130_290.jpgHuddy: When Cuddy uses Wilson's Realtor ex-wife as an excuse to tell him about her plans to move in with Lucas, Wilson is fairly unfriendly about it, trying to protect House. House, for his part, interprets it as a "classic mid-life Cuddy crisis." But Wilson's displaced, partially liverless anger leads him to contact his ex-wife to outbid Cuddy on the loft she wanted, since he and House "do need a bigger refrigerator." (Congrats, House/Wilson fans. You got your wish!)

It seems a bit out of character, not to mention impulsive, for Wilson to do this to Cuddy, but, "She hurt my friend. She should be punished." House's confession about the importance of Wilson's friendship, plus his eventual bedside support, must've really had an impact. Plus, the subway tile in the loft's kitchen backsplash is to die for. House is obviously proud of Wilson (I'll leave it up to you whether that's a good thing), though Wilson still has a long way to go if he's trying to be House since he's attempting to keep the purchase a secret from Cuddy.

Odds and Ends:

  • When House calls you a "self-important jerk," you know you might need to step it up as a friend and human being.
  • It was great to see Wilson successfully doing his thing (when it comes to non-friend patients) apart from House -- with his nurse, his oncology ward, his patients, etc. And his incredibly sad job. Oncologists deserve a medal, seriously. And I should note that it was also great to see Robert Sean Leonard do his thing -- for all his interviews about enjoying being the lazy supporting actor, he's great at what he does.
  • In case you didn't catch this, the team's first random background patient had "popcorn lung," an implausible-sounding but very real disease caused by a chemical used in artificial butter flavoring. Of course, he'd only be the second popcorn consumer (as opposed to factory worker) to be diagnosed, but still, I didn't want you to think they were making the whole "poisoned by too much microwave popcorn" thing up!
  • House playing George Michael's "Faith" in the beginning = yay. (And another treat for you House/Wilson fans, I'd imagine...)
  • I love that House is the kind of friend who will ruin all the food in your freezer just so he can make jello shots, but who will risk losing your friendship - and his housing - to keep you from making what he thinks is a bad decision. Though I'd note that I've always made jello shots in the refrigerator, not the freezer. Not that I've ever made jello shots. But, um, if I had...

Quotes:

  • Joshua: "I read somewhere that the Native Americans said turkeys know what you're thinking." Wilson: "So I should stop thinking about German porn." Joshua: "No, no...that'll lure them closer."
  • Taub, with maybe the greatest and grossest random medically-related phrase he could possibly have uttered: "We can't stop the oozing."

Did you enjoy Wilson's moment in the sun, or did you miss the team? What do you think about Wilson's decision to outbid Cuddy?

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Photo credits: FOX