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''House'' Two-Parter

By RD Heldenfels Published: May 1, 2006

This weekend was a ''House'' triple-header: finally catching up to the DVR of last week's episode, followed by the two-part telecast airing this week (at 9 p.m. Tuesday and then 8 p.m. Wednesday).

There is one link between last week and this week -- the intersection of faith and medicine. Last week, of course, that was in the story of House (Hugh Laurie) and team trying to cure a young faith healer. I didn't think the show handled the topic very well, as it reached a compromise -- medicine working some, faith working some -- that felt too much like something designed to pacify all segments of the audience. The new episodes embrace faith through Foreman's father (played solemnly by guest star Charles Dutton) during a medical crisis after Foreman picks up a mysterious and potentially very dangerous ailment from a patient. It feels with faith more sure-handedly. Foreman's father comes across as someone who not only believes in God but believes in what people can do -- particularly people who know more about a topic than he does.

But the episodes are really a showcase for Foreman (Omar Epps) and, to a lesser degree, Cameron (Jennifer Morrison), as her conflict with Foreman remains unresolved going into these shows. There's also a glimpse of the warmer side of House. All right, so he doesn't really have a warmer side. Let's say a glimpse into the conscience of House, since he does have one of those, and the show does well in dealing with why it's often better that House not care about his patients.

Not a perfect pair of episodes. After all, we all know that, if a story is in two parts, then what looks like a solution near the end of part one is probably not going to work out. But as character pieces they're highly enjoyable. The idea that Foreman is in many respects House Jr. gets a real workout here, and more than once you will look at him and think, yeah, House would have done the same thing. And Cameron gets to show some elements of her character that are a departure from what we usually see, while consistent with Cameron as we know her.

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