There's so much speculation around House fandom right now with regard to what exactly is going to go down in tomorrow night's episode. We've speculated over it endlessly right here on the blog, and it doesn't seem like it's going to stop. The thing is, this is clearly an episode all about the 'shipping - and this is a fandom where the 'shipping nonsense is equal to (if not dumber than) the Jate/Skate/Jacket/Suliet madness on Lost. Tomorrow night's episode of House will touch on the ever-annoying rhombus of shipping wars: House/Cuddy vs. House/Cameron vs. Cameron/Chase. If you ask me, all three of those 'shipping factions are headed into tomorrow night feeling like the episode will either be their epic win or completely destroy any hope that remained.
There doesn't seem to be a middle ground, here. I'm obviously on the Cameron/Chase side of the battle, and even I'm walking a thin tight rope of anxious-excited and anxious-terrified.
In the interest of attempting to look at things at least semi-objectively, I figured we could take a look at the four sneak peek clips for the episode and analyze accordingly. I promise, I swear, I won't throw in my obvious bias where the bias isn't remotely called for. Besides, what's more telling than scenes from the actual episode itself?
I've tried to place these in the order in which I believe they'll chronologically fall, so the first piece of evidence on table is House/Cameron:
The trip she postponed is her vacation with Chase, that much we already knew. House clearly suspects she has other reasons for doing so than just patient care, but he doesn't think it's because she wants to save his team from grief and heartache over Kutner, either. Her immediate reaction to his question of whether or not she still wants him is, I admit, open to interpretation - and I suspect that's the point. This will be one of the first scenes after the teaser, so they can't really confirm or deny anything solidly House/Cameron that early. That would ruin the fun of playing with the idea for an hour. Or, ya know, the torture of it - depending on how you swing. The look on Cam's face right at the very end is her guilty look, please note, so I think it's safe to bet that her real motives for ditching Chase to hang with the House team are indeed not something to be proud of... but I don't think it's that she's secretly still in love with House, either.
Next in line, I suspect (though I can't really decide) is House/Cuddy:
Oh, Cuddy. Cuddy, Cuddy, Cuddy. The reason I suspect this is still pretty early in the episode is that Cuddy doesn't seem to have any real inklings over what Cameron's doing up in diagnostics instead of off sexing Chase in the Poconos. (Seriously, just wait, it's going to end up being the Poconos and you'll all owe me twenty bucks.) I think she would be a little less casual and Dean-of-Medicine-y with that initial query if she had already gone through what's in the next clip, but I could be wrong. Whatever the case, though, the question of Cameron still seems ultimately unanswered. Why is she there? Why is she hell-bent on hiding out on the fourth floor? House doesn't know, but he knows it isn't because she wants back on the team or back on him. And before you even go there, "back on me" is a simple play on words to be cute with his matching phrasing - it doesn't mean she's actually been on him before. Don't start.
This is setting up the Huddy angle for the episode, which - like the Chase/Cam angle - will either be solidified or destroyed by how the House/Cam angle plays out.
Speaking of the Chase/Cam angle:
Oh, Chase. Chase, Chase, Chase. I want to simultaneously hug him tightly and smack him upside the head. This, I suspect, is the conversation that prompts Cuddy to ask Cameron (as we saw in the promo) whether or not she's in love with House. It's also, more than likely, the conversation that is Chase's final straw and leads to the breakup with Cameron that we were told about last week. Chase's insecurity and jealousy over Cameron's past crush on House have always been lingering issues, and I'm actually really glad we're bringing it up again... if that means we can finally deal with it and never have to speak of it again. Because, really, Chase, it's pretty annoying. But he has abandonment issues and "No one ever really loved me" issues, so I get it. In this clip, he has succeeded in both finding for himself a reason to back out on Cameron before she can back out completely on him, and in planting a huge seed of doubt and worry in Cuddy's head about House/Cameron. Do you see how this episode is pretty much just fucking with all three of the warring 'ship factions? Le sigh.
Anyway, we conclude the episode (or at least come very close to concluding it) with this interesting conversation between House/Wilson:
House has lost his mojo. Hmm. He keeps trying to pinpoint what's going on with the people around him - a talent he's always notably excelled at - and is consistently failing at it now. Didn't see it coming with Kutner. Taub beat him to a great idea. Wrong about Cameron. Since he seemed to be operating on the idea that Cameron either wanted a job or wanted him, being wrong about her means the truth of her avoidance game probably finally came to light. Yes, I have Chase/Cam 'shipper bias, but I've also analyzed Allison Cameron deeper than any fictional character should ever really be analyzed, and I'm betting she was avoiding Chase and vacation (and all that went with it - probably a pretty ring?) because she was scared. Kutner's death sufficiently scared the crap out of her and reminded her how fragile life is, how easy it is to lose the people you care about. Cameron's first instinct is going to be to close herself off from emotional attachments that mean anything real to her, because pushing them away is easier than losing them unexpectedly.
Except that when you find an engagement ring hidden in your boyfriend's luggage and then proceed to push him away to protect yourself from unexpected loss, all it apparently gets you is an unexpected breakup instead of the expected proposal. Way to go, Cam. Now wrap it up like you always do ("Human Error," "The Itch") by having your lightbulb moment and fixing things with Chase in the 23rd hour. I have a sneaking suspicion that the bait-and-switch twist Ausiello mentioned is going to end up being Cameron's surprise proposal to Chase in the end.
Bias? Yes. But I tried to be objective. I'm not ignoring the H/Cam overtones. But I honestly feel like all evidence points to using H/Cam one more time as a plot bunny to put more forward motion into House/Cuddy and Chase/Cameron.
The episode airs in a little over 28 hours, so I guess we'll find out then whether or not I'm any good at this game anymore.
P.S. Throwing in that "23rd hour" line up there just gave me painful Carter/Abby flashbacks, specifically of their own ruined proposal arc. But in the 24th hour, I realize I've been thinking about her for 23 hours. And I come back to: there's something about her that I can't stay away from. Something about her that makes me want to... love her..
I'm just going to go curl up into the fetal position and cry in a corner now. Let me know when tomorrow night finally arrives.