Monday, February 1, 2010

The Miracle of Life


This is from the third season of House. I think it is the eleventh episode. A pregnant woman has numerous medical problems because of the unborn child. House becomes convinced that the only solution for the situation is to remove the fetus which is weeks too young to be viable. The woman refuses and some of the staff are sympathetic to her wishes. When discussing the child House refuses to employ any term but 'fetus.' When other staff members talk to the woman and refer to the unborn baby as a baby House is visibly angry. He says that language tends to give the patient unrealistic expectations. Complication follows complication but they come to a point where they see a possibility of saving both mother and child by operating on the baby while he is still in the womb. The scene above comes just after House has cut open the mother's belly. The minute hand reaches out and graspa at House's finger. For the remainder of the episode House looks alternately dazed, bewildered, surprised and maybe even happy. And he thereafter refers to the tot as a baby.
It is one of the best episodes of the series. The character who is the pregnant patient is a famous photographer of the rich and famous who is known for her ability to capture the bare truth or an iconic moment in a photo. During the episode she snaps pictures of members of House's team. Many of these photos reveal truths about the people and their relationships. There is always a character besides the photographer who understands the full significance of each photo. But for various reasons he who understands does not always share the full meaning of what has been captured with everyone else. So the viewer who sees it all gets this panorama of full knowledge, partial knowledge and misunderstandings. They are a few vignettes and revealing photos spread throughout the episode that illustrate Aristotelian irony.

********************* Update *******************

This is actually the 17th episode of the 3rd season. The title is 'Fetal Position.'

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