House: Euphoria, Pt II

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The House episode Euphoria, Pt II sees Foreman having contracted an obscure and deadly illness. He attempts to infect Cameron through an infected needle, and doesn’t succeed, but it was an illustration of his abject selfishness; forget that I may have given her a death sentence, it will make her work harder to cure me.

When Foreman’s illness becomes critical, he asks Cameron, doctor-to-doctor, to be his power-of-attorney. All the things he saw in her that were weak – her conservatism, her sentimentality – he now seeks in her to save his life.

And he’s sorry for the rotten things he did to her. He’s sorry he stole her article. He’s sorry he tried to infect her. He’s sorry for being an all-around jerk.

And how does Cameron respond? She’ll be his power-of-attorney, professional-to-professional, but she won’t accept his apology. He’s weak, he’s re-evaluating his life, he’s in no position to be asking forgiveness. She’ll accept his apology when he’s able to walk into her office and give it.

Bravo, I thought. I’ve been in a position where someone has called me under an external influence, asking for forgiveness. I told then to call me when the circumstances has passed, and we could talk. They didn’t call me, but to this day, I’m glad I stuck by my guns. And I’m glad Cameron told him what she told him.

So what did she do after that? Following a heartfelt exchange between Foreman and his father, Cameron cries and says “˜I accept your apology’.

Yeah, that’s totally not how it works. You hold your ground!

Feminism never gained anything feom women like Cameron giving in at the first sign of mortality and sentimentality. It gained ground from holding firm in the very face of such things.

Comments

  1. SunlessNick says

    Besides, someone ruthless enough to infect her with a disease so she’d be motivated to try and cure him (like Cameron wouldn’t have tried anyway) couldn’t be trusted to mean an apology under those circumstances.

  2. MaggieCat says

    I don’t think forgiving someone necessarily has anything to do with what they do or don’t do, or how sincerely they apologize. I’ve always believed that forgiveness is more about you than them- being mad at someone usually accomplishes nothing and is mentally exhausting after a while. While an apology’s circumstances may have something to do with whether or not you choose to tell them you have forgiven them, it has little to do with the act itself.

    I think that Cameron made her point by refusing to give him his (possibly) deathbed absolution, but keeping a hard line beyond that point if she wanted to move on would have been ultimately unproductive and contrary to one of the few points of characterization they’ve consistently established for her.

  3. Jennifer Kesler says

    Not to take away anything from your overall point, Maggie, but IIRC she did ultimately give him the deathbed absolution by blurting out her forgiveness just as he was going under the anesthesia. Which played, to me, like the hard line she took was just BS and really deep down she’s just an emotional gal who can’t wait to be as Nice at Foreman.

  4. Jennifer Kesler says

    I have to admit here I personally don’t see much value in saying “I forgive you.” Never have, and I doubt I ever will.

    I believe in making amends through deeds, not words.

    Since Foreman did nothing to make amends, I see Cameron as saying nice words to make him feel better. Same as a politician yammering on about “family values” while doing nothing to help kids, really.

    Now, if Cameron had been established as someone who believed in the power of forgiveness, I could probably see it your way.

  5. MaggieCat says

    Oh, that’s right. It’s been a while since I saw this one and I forgot the exact timeline. But that wouldn’t have changed much about my previous post; if anything it makes even more sense to me this way. There is something uniquely awful about knowing someone died while you were holding a grudge against them. It doesn’t do much for Foreman in this case, other than comforting someone who may be dying, but it would mean much more to her own peace of mind if something awful happened.

    There is a reason the people so often make and accept apologies under intense circumstances- grace. People in general are so often mean and petty and selfish, but one of the few things that makes up for that is the ability to forgive and make amends. But being petty and selfish, it often takes something extreme to motivate either party.

    Which played, to me, like the hard line she took was just BS and really deep down she’s just an emotional gal who can’t wait to be as Nice at Foreman.

    As much as I hate Cameron’s excessive sentimentality most of the time, I just can’t see it here. Yes, if she hadn’t forgiven him when it looked like he was dying a lot of people would have called her a bitch. But if the situation was reversed they would have called Foreman a bastard for not accepting an apology from her. It’s not about being nice or even a nice girl, it’s about being human and able to live with yourself.

    stupid typos. This is what I get for trying to type with my wrist all wrapped up.

  6. scarlett says

    I believe to be able to forgive someone the forgivee (the peson did did the other person wrong) needs to be genuinely and rationally sorry and have done something to make amends, and the forgiver needs to have truly let it go.

    In this case, I didn’t see that from Foreman. I saw that he asked for forgiveness only because he was scared of dying, not because he’d he’d taken a reasoned long hard look at his behaviour. Initially, Cameron knew this, which is why I was impressed with her ‘I’ll be your doctor but I won’t forgive you until you can ask me when you’re NOT dying’.

    I watch House very sporadically, but I would have put money down on the fact Foreman returned to being a jerk and nothing had changed, and I think Cameron should have been prepared for that outcome – hence why she refused to forgive him in the first place.

  7. Gategrrl says

    Excuse me, but isn’t attempting to inject someone with a deadly virus/germ whatever considered attempted MURDER?

    Once that jerk gets better, that character should press charges, forgiveness or not.

    If she doesn’t…well, the writers write for shit characterization and reality.

  8. Jennifer Kesler says

    Excuse me, but isn’t attempting to inject someone with a deadly virus/germ whatever considered attempted MURDER?

    You would think. However, House always blithely ignores stuff like that in order to go for maximum drama. House does crap like that all the time and everyone else on the show always just accepts it. Then they sort of call him on it later, except not in any meaningful way, and… well, I eventually gave up watching because my suspension of disbelief left the building.

  9. MaggieCat says

    Excuse me, but isn’t attempting to inject someone with a deadly virus/germ whatever considered attempted MURDER?

    Since the disease in question not only initially presented with extreme mental and behavioral changes, but almost all of the symptoms were neurological, diminished capacity is definitely involved there. House does have a lousy track record with those sorts of plot lines though

    Now, if Cameron had been established as someone who believed in the power of forgiveness, I could probably see it your way.

    For me she has been. During the first season there was a case with African Sleeping Sickness where the patient not dying from the treatment proved that she’d had an affair, and the husband asked if the fact that a tiny part of him would rather have her die than having been unfaithful made him a horrible person. Cameron told him yes, and couldn’t believe that he left the moment she came out of the coma. Now a marriage is a different situation entirely, but Cameron’s consistently and repeatedly been shown to be someone who believes in things like human goodness, so for me it’s only reasonable to think she sees the value in forgiveness.

    I’ll be happy to complain about Cameron being presented as an irrationally emotional woman in “Informed Consent” though. Way to muddy the waters around doctor assisted suicide even more, House.

  10. Gategrrl says

    That the writers on this show had a male character attempt murder on a female character, and then had the female character “forgive” the male character is beyond fucking dysfunctional.

    How is this show enjoyable at all? Why is it still on the air? Are the characters meant to be this dysfunctional and screwed up?

    Or is this show really a fantasy within House’s mind, and the final episode will show that it was all in his autistic head?

  11. Jennifer Kesler says

    I can see what you’re saying Maggie. For me, her characterization is just too all over the place for me to buy… well, anything she does. And that’s the fault of the people writing her.

    How is this show enjoyable at all? Why is it still on the air? Are the characters meant to be this dysfunctional and screwed up?

    Well, yes they were, and it used to be fun. I’ll try to keep this brief, but:

    For two seasons, House was mean and manipulative, but he was also performing a very loving act over and over: fighting for lives no one else could save. Risking liability and putting the pursuit of what was best for his patients ahead of all that BS that plagues the practice of medicine.

    And Cuddy was the only person who could ever beat him in the manipulation game, and watching them spar was a joy.

    Also, there was an interesting theme in that all the “nice, functional” people around House frequently proved to be no better than he. In fact, arguably worse because they were in denial about it. With House, you knew what you were dealing with.

    And finally, the medical cases – though sometimes not remotely plausible – presented a very intriguing mystery.

    But by S3, the writers are running out of (even semi-plausible) medical cases. So House is doing really mean pranks to people (and animals) more often than he’s practicing medicine. Cameron is whining and worrying about House while she’s supposed to be working a case. Chase and Foreman are hardly there (and Chase mostly becomes Cameron’s boy toy, so when he is there, he’s only playing doctor).

    And they repeat an arc from season 1 – tyrannical authority figure engages in pissing match with House – and everyone pretty much responds the same way, as if this didn’t all happen in S1.

    To sum up, they had something very potentially interesting going on for two seasons. But when push came to shove, they couldn’t carry it off.

  12. SunlessNick says

    So what did she do after that? Following a heartfelt exchange between Foreman and his father, Cameron cries and says “˜I accept your apology’.

    I just had a thought. I don’t for a moment think this is what Cameron was doing, but I would forgive this show a lot if it turned out that she just wanted him to think “Oh shit, I’m going to die” as he went under the anaesthetic.

  13. scarlett says

    Heehe. If Cameron had that kind of meanness for someone who REALLY deserved it (as Forman often does, IMHO) I would think a lot more of her.

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