Can a House Divided Against Himself Stand?

House usually follows a pretty standard formula. Patient gets sick; patient is seen by House and his team; original diagnosis turns out to be wrong; House does something crazy to treat the real problem; patient lives; Cuddy makes faces. Every so often, however, the formula gets shaken up, as it has been in this year's two-part season finale. When we left House and Co. last week, he had battled temporary amnesia caused by a bus crash to finally recall that he'd been with Amber (since she might be dying, I feel too mean calling her Cutthroat Bitch) on the bus. It looks like she was the passenger whose mysterious symptom House saw before the crash, but it might not matter because she was impaled through the thigh by a pole. (How very Frida Kahlo.)

Last night's episode needed to answer a host of questions. What was House doing with Amber? Were they having an affair? Can Wilson forgive House if they were? Is Amber sick? Is House sick? Will Chase ever get a haircut? How does Cuddy have time for such a demanding job when she obviously spends many hours a day on the Stairmaster?

Wilson and House moved Amber to Princeton Plainsboro and induced a hypothermic state to give House more time to make a diagnosis. After the team's diagnostic meeting, Taub hung back to ask House whether they were having an affair and/or had done any drugs together. Meanwhile, Kutner and Thirteen went through Amber's stuff (but Thirteen didn't really want to snoop around), and House tried to remember what happened with Amber via a seductive hallucination.

Naturally, Wilson was more involved in the diagnostic process than usual, and Taub had to remind him that he wasn't being objective. Since when is Taub the one to hold everybody accountable for their emotional reactions? House and Wilson went to the bar House was at with Amber before the bus crash. The bartender confirmed that House was there with Amber, she was buying the drinks, and that he seemed "into her." House's next hallucination revealed a rash on Amber's lower back, negating their Hepatitis B diagnosis. Thirteen continued to have difficulty treating a patient she knows, and became a convenient scapegoat for House's frustration.

They decided on something called "Rocky Mountain Fever." Is that what John Denver had? House, however, was taking a much more cautious approach to treatment than usual. Foreman tattled and Cuddy stepped in. Wilson went ballistic. It's kind of nice to see Robert Sean Leonard get more to do on this show besides be Hugh Laurie's straight man.

He asked House to undergo deep brain stimulation again to try to remember the symptom he saw, in case it wasn't the rash. Deep brain stimulation, by the way, basically looks like electroshock therapy with a really big needle. Unpleasant.

The answer to what Amber was doing with House turned out to be pretty vanilla. When the bartender took House's keys, he called Wilson and Amber came instead because he was on call. He talked her into having a drink with him, then got on the bus. He forgot his cane, so Amber followed him onto the bus. She kept sneezing, and she took some pills. Because of her injuries from the crash, her kidneys couldn't process the drugs, and because the drug "binds with proteins," dialysis wasn't an option.

No sooner did they figure out what was wrong with Amber than House seized and slipped into a coma. Cuddy talked Wilson into waking Amber up so that they could say goodbye. Gee, it's a good thing she's a doctor, or it would have taken Wilson way longer to explain to her what was wrong with her. Oh, it was all very sad with lots of crying and sad music. But I can't help but feel like they brought in these new characters just to kill one of them off. It would have been more interesting if they'd just killed Cameron.

While Wilson and Amber were saying their goodbyes, House was in a coma, brought on by head trauma, a heart attack, and multiple, invasive memory procedures. He "met" Amber one more time, on the bus, before waking up. He told her he knows Wilson is going to hate him, but I think Wilson is more forgiving than that. In a montage o'sadness typical of this type of finale, Thirteen learned she tested positive for Huntington's, Taub went home to his wife, Kutner ate cereal (but it was sad cereal), Cuddy slept at House's bedside. Foreman, Cameron, and Chase went to a bar, and Wilson went home to his water bed to find the note Amber left him before going to get House.

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Amy Kane spends as much quality time with her television as possible, when she's not busy at her day job as a cube dweller.