Coincidentally, tonight was also the night I explained "slash" to my parents!
I went into the episode with mixed expectations. On the one hand, it's a rich, rich concept to throw at House. On the other hand, every single science-based or science fiction show, from Star Trek to Chicago Hope, has to do a SCIENCE VS. RELIGION: FAITO! episode at some point, and they usually fail to deliver. Given that House this season hasn't been of the highest calibre a lot of the time, I was fearful.
I needn't have worried. This was easily the best episode this season (although admittedly I haven't seen 09 and 10 yet), and even one of the best overall.
It's always a good thing when you go through an entire story that relies on coincidence and realize only afterwards how much it does so. "House Versus God" was an example of that. Boyd, Grace, the poker game, Wilson--all of it flowed together just fine in the episode itself.
I found Boyd an unusually interesting patient character, for that matter. He had House's raw perception and Wilson's understanding of emotion--a dangerous combination, and one the show milked for all it was worth. He was neither a saint nor a simple con artist--he really believed in what he was doing, but, well, he was flawed.
It's always interesting to see House go up against a "foil" character, one that mirrors aspects of his own personality, be it Foreman or a patient. (Foreman is basically a sane House. Which, I suppose, is why I'm not wildly interested in him. Pfft, sanity.)
What really mesmerized me, though, was House and Wilson's interaction. I am not a House/Wilson shipper--both characters just seem too damn straight for me to get into that. (Maybe I'll go into that in a later bout of meta.) But this episode did more to crack my resolve about that than a million fannish essays ever could. The need they showed for each other was almost enough to push me to transcend my concept of their sexuality.
So I mention to my mother that tonight's episode was fanservicey as hell, and she's puzzled. So I then have to explain that a rather large segment of House fandom is all about the prospect of a romantic relationship between House and Wilson. She then makes me call up my father to explain slash to him. Which I do.
His reaction? Basically the same as mine, only more Wilson-centric: "No way, Wilson's a nympho!" Yes, "nympho" was the actual word he used. He argued, on the other hand, that House was asexual, which I don't buy--some of his ogling the wimmins may be an act, but not all of it, and not his relationship with Stacy.
Still, he brought up an interesting point aside from the slash--that there would have been a simple test to see if the faith healer was for real: have him try to heal House's leg. Weirdly enough, I hadn't even thought about that. He, on the other hand, had really wanted to see it. But I pointed out to him that there was no way either character would go for it. Boyd knew better than to expose himself like that, and House? Well, there was a 99.99% chance it wouldn't work, of course, and that he'd be able to gloat at the kid. The problem lies in that 0.01% or less chance that it would work, and even that tiny chance is too much of a risk. House wouldn't dare put his worldview at stake like that.
However, it has prompted me to want to write a "missing scene" ficlet where House and Boyd dance around the subject of healing his leg. I'm not sure I can write House, but already I have snippets of his dialogue in my head.
"--what was it that happened to your leg?"
"A bear bit it."
"You mean God didn't tell you?"
I still lack confidence in my ability to write him, though, and certainly in my ability to roleplay him. Alas. We'll see.
Meanwhile, while I normally don't waste drive space downloading House episodes I've seen on TV, I loved this one enough to nab it. For those of you thinking of getting into House, I urge you to try the same. It's a brilliant episode for House's character, Wilson's character, and the relationship between them. House is hardly cuddly in it, but then, he never is. This is a show about fucked-up people. That's why I love it.