Was I impressed by this week’s episode of House?  You betcha by golly wow I was.  And I know the basic formula for House is something I’ve commented on before, simply because it is so cut and dry.  House gets an unsual case, insults his team while trying to solve it in under an hour, and by around minute 45 just before the commercials, there’s a climax and a breakthrough and the case gets solved.  Leaving some resolution for the finale.  And possibly more insults.

And that’s just how it works.  Yes, over the years, the mold has changed from time to time.  House got a new team reality-tv style.  House had run-ins and pissed off many of the wrong people.  And last season, we saw delusions and hallucinations.  Which made vulnerable-House an amazing character to watch – not like he wasn’t already amazing, but he added depth.

So, with the season opener this year, we finally saw the culmination of years of Vicodin abuse and obsessive behavior when House was in a rehab/mental institution.  That episode was both truly amazing and painfully uncomfortable, in that, everything we’ve ever known about House was completely taken away.  No more drugs.  No Princeton Plainsboro.  No Cuddy.  No Wilson.  No team.  All he was able to manage keeping within his grasp was his sarcasm, and some semblance of his ability to annoy the shit out of everyone just to get his own way.  Although the later proved to be unsuccessful after awhile.

But after watching the episode this week, which did NOT focus on House, I, once again, have a newfound appreciation for the quality of the show, the writing, the characters, and the actors.  No, this was not a House-specific episode.  In fact, House was almost barely in it.  He was talked about a lot.  And he played a surprisingly good supporting character.  But this was a Wilson-focused episode.  Which should be no surprise, considering a Cuddy-focused episode is in the works and scheduled to air around February, 2010.

Wilson was always an interesting character, often bordering on the House-enabler, but also teetering on the idea that he needs to teach House how to be humble.  But that makes him no less interesting to watch.  It was amazing to see what makes his character tick.  Why he cares so much about his patients.  And what I found with the diagnosis du jour was that Wilson is fueled by guilt in many situations.  Especially the ones where he goes on pure instinct alone.

I love Wilson as a character because, much more than the other characters, he’s the anti-House.  They are not really polar opposites, but they are different enough.  Where characters like Cameron, Chase and Foreman have distinct qualities that are different than House – Cameron cares too much, Chase is a kiss-ass, and Foreman is a House wannabe –  Wilson is just the anti-House.  He’s like the angel on his shoulder trying to get him to do the right thing.  And House is the same for Wilson, being all devil shouldered and all.  They really are the perfect offset to each other.  And I don’t think House would be the same person if it weren’t for Wilson.

Wilson is also the type, while trying to get House to do the right thing, to look out for what is in House’s best interest.  They’ve looked out for each other through divorce, death and rehab, it’s hard to think of either character on their own in a different environment without the influence of the other.  Which is what made the Wilson episode so much more entertaining.

I’ve always loved House, but I can feel this season that the writers are trying to bring it to a whole new level.

What do you think of House as a show?  A Wilson-focused episode?  The anti-House?