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February 26, 2009


saints with a past, sinners with a future…

by quaesitor

At last been catching up with House Season 4 on DVD. Watched what has become one of my favourite episodes ever last night: 4:9 Games (old news, I realise, as it was first aired in the US in Nov 07)

House is at his most Machiavellian in this episode as he is forced to whittle down applicants for his team down to the last 2 or (will it be 3?). He uses his famous whiteboard in the Diagnostics Office to keep the scores of the 4 candidates, and has found the most complicated case for them to work on – a nihilistic rock musician druggie with every symptom under the sun. One of the 4 hates druggies, one of them has great sympathy. Here House grills the latter, otherwise affectionately known as Thirteen (because that was her number in the original crowd of applicants). Of course, one of the undercurrent themes is that House himself is addicted to painkillers…

CUT TO: [House’s Office. Day. House and “Thirteen” walk into his office.]

GREG HOUSE: Why do you love drug addicts?
“THIRTEEN”: I won’t pigeonhole the patients, so that means I’m…
GREG HOUSE: I’m perfectly capable of drawing my own conclusions. Are you capable of answering a question?

[The third degree begins… yet again.]

“THIRTEEN”: I think there’s more to him than the drugs.
GREG HOUSE: Admirable. Why?
“THIRTEEN”: I need a reason for doing something admirable?
GREG HOUSE: There’s always a reason. He’s a patient, you don’t know him. Why do you like him? The alcoholic parent? Druggie youth? There’s no such thing as a saint without a past. 
“THIRTEEN”: Or a sinner without a future.
GREG HOUSE: What makes you so sure that drugs are a mask for something else?
“THIRTEEN”: Drugs are always a mask for something else. 

[A beat.]

GREG HOUSE: That’s the dumbest thing I’ve heard in my life.

[She smiles and leaves. House goes to the Diagnostics Office and changes her points to 102, a small smile on his face.]

Well, surprisingly enough, there’s some pretty good theology in there…

STOP PRESS – Some Source Criticism

I’ve just discovered that this is based on a line by Oscar Wilde in his play A Woman of No Importance:

Lord Illingworth: The only difference between the saint and the sinner is that every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Feb 26 2009

    Classic and insightful.

    Your blog has two headers… is that intentional?

  2. Feb 28 2009

    well, semi-intentional!!
    i can’t turn off the top one without it looking weird, and i can’t be bothered to redo the logo. so it will just have to do. Anyway, two is better than one, isn’t it?

  3. orgcha
    May 24 2009

    “There is no saint without a past, no sinner without a future.”
    — Augustine of Hippo


  4. dinesh
    Aug 14 2011

    Nice blog!


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