Most of the medical cases on House begin and end in a single episode, no matter how perplexing, complicated or rare. All that changed this season with the arrival — and death — of President Diabla (James Earl Jones), an African dictator accused of genocide and crimes against humanity. Dr. Chase's (Jesse Spencer) faith pushed him to choose to save a country rather than save a patient, and his role in the dictator's death has rocked his personal and professional worlds ever since.
Chase's fight to focus at work and his resistance to come clean with wife Cameron (Jennifer Morrison) is only about to intensify. As Spencer puts it, "the s--t's about to hit the fan." Spencer talked with TVGuide.com about how Chase's personal demons will affect his future at Princeton-Plainsboro, Morrison's on-screen exit and House's (Hugh Laurie) new team.
TVGuide.com: Why do you think Chase has been so consumed with guilt even though he knows his decision saved so many lives?
Jesse Spencer: I compare it almost like a post-traumatic stress disorder sort of thing. Soldiers are a good example. They get on the battlefield and kill, and they believe that they're doing the right thing. But that doesn't stop the guilt. The actual physical act of killing has an effect on the human psyche, whether you think you're in the right or the wrong. Chase goes through this guilt thing... and that sort of branches into different parts of his life and affects his relationships and his work and all that sort of stuff.
The big stuff hasn't really happened yet. Where the story line is going, the s--t's about to hit the fan. It's the reason that Chase will stay in the hospital and the reason that Cameron will leave. Chase feels he has to stay and face the music — whatever that is. Maybe nothing ever happens, but he feels like he has to stay and play that out in the hospital.
TVGuide.com: What is the final straw for Cameron when Chase wants to stay?
Spencer: With the guilt, Chase is acting so weird. [Cameron] thinks he's having an affair [because] something is obviously wrong. She approaches Foreman, Foreman says to talk to me. Eventually, Chase does end up telling her and she ends up blaming House for the event. [She thinks] Chase has sort of been manipulated by House into doing things that he wouldn't ordinarily do. Chase defends the notion that he made this decision rationally and that it had nothing to do with House. She offers for her and Chase to leave and go somewhere. He accepts it [at first] and then realizes that he really can't go anywhere because it's just going to follow him everywhere he goes. That leads them to go their separate ways.
TVGuide.com: There's been talk that Jennifer Morrison would return to the show in the future. How will that work if Chase and Cameron split?
Spencer: We really don't know. It is open for her to come back at some point ... but we don't know in what fashion that will be. That's what makes it exciting. The story line has been set up and right now it's just brewing there, but I don't know how it's going to end.
TVGuide.com: How does Chase fair with dealing with his guilt once Cameron leaves?
Spencer: It will come out in a couple different ways. Most guys throw themselves into their work, and that's what he's doing right now. Also, there's a lot of pent-up aggression that flies around, particularly toward House because there is some residual blame and resentment in the relationship. Whether or not he really had anything to do with it, House sort of becomes the outlet for some of the blame because he was marginally involved, because Cameron blamed him for the end of the relationship. So there is residual aggression and blame that circulates around and makes for some pretty fun things for House and Chase. But then it sort of settles for awhile, and Chase will attempt to move on and just do his job.
TVGuide.com: Will Chase ever be able to forgive himself or at least move on?
Spencer: It's hard to put closure on that. The full closure of that would be that he's caught, convicted and sent to trial, so I don't know! Maybe that will happen. That's the good thing about the show, everything's not wrapped up nicely with little bows. They really emphasize the shades of gray in life. Not everything is black and white, and there are contrasting opinions. Sometimes both opinions are correct. I don't think any full closure will come around.
TVGuide.com: Will we see Chase's faith come into play again as he tries to come to grips with everything?
Spencer: [It] was brought up in Season 2 that he went to seminary and then sort of had to split from his faith and leave it for medicine ... The contrast between science and faith is quite fascinating. Sometimes they overlap, and sometimes they seem to contrast in opinion. Just like the show in a lot of ways. Spirituality and faith is the opposite of what House is. He's about deduction and logic and [how] everything can be worked out through the scientific process. Chase's faith is quite nice to have as the antithesis to House's belief... It's nice to have a character who can jump between one and the other. He looks for absolution through his faith and through science.
TVGuide.com: How will Cameron's departure affect the team and its dynamics? Will someone come to take her place?
Spencer: I don't think anyone will take Cameron's place. We sort of have a new team again because now basically Chase joins the team. It's a slightly new dynamic with him on the team. He asks to come back on the team because he feels like it's the only way he's going to be able to face his demons and what he's done. He comes back on the team so it will be Chase, Foreman, Thirteen and Taub. I still keep doing the surgeries, which is kind of fun because I like doing that stuff.