Monday, September 27, 2010

House is back in the house (excuse the pun)

    Last Monday, audiences were treated to the seventh season premiere of Fox's House M.D. (usually just referred to as House).  Tonight, we get another new episode.  But before we do, I'd like to take a look at last week's story, and reflect on how awesome it was.

     Season six ended with Dr. Gregory House (Hugh Laurie) and his boss, Lisa Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein) in his bathroom, her coming in before he could take the drugs he had been avoiding taking, and some definite romantic context to the situation.  Season seven picked up right where that left off with "Now What?".  House and Cuddy spend the day in his apartment, finally consumating a love that has been simmering between them for many years.  Every moment of the episode with the two of them is pitch perfect for these characters, and played absolutely flawlessly by two very talented actors.  I'll admit, I wasn't taken with Cuddy, and have often found her a bit annoying.  She was probably the last member of the cast to grow on me, but even I had had to bow down to her this week.  I am fully on board this train.

     The ultimate question between House and Cuddy is, can they make a relationship work?  She gave up a much more stable fiance to be with him.  He has a history of screwing up relationships, despite being a secret romantic.  While he has softened, he isn't likely to fundamentally change.  Plus, the who employer-employee dynamic will shift.  Yet, I think they have a good shot.  Cuddy is willing to accept him for who he is.  When House tells her that it won't last, she confronts him, makes him air his issues, and they come to a resolution.  The only doubt planted in me at present comes from the uneasy looks on both of their faces at the end of the episode, after she exits the apartment to go home.  But is that foreshadowing of doom?  Or just an acknowledgement that there will be some serious things to work through before happy ever after?

     I found Wilson's (Robert Sean Leonard) efforts to invade the apartment and confront House humorous, and among his best scenes in the series.  Wilson had every reason to believe that House was undergoing an emotional crisis.  But when he finally did get in, and House seemed to lie to him about Cuddy, who hid in the closet, he left.  Is he going to feel left out of the new dynamic?  Probably not too much, considering his first ex-wife, Sam (Cynthia Watros, Lost) will be taking up much of his time.

     The subplot of "Now What?" involved a bit of an emergency at the hospital, where the only current neurosurgeon around got sick and had to be go home, which threatened to remove the hospital's Level One Trauma Center status and shut down key areas of the building.  House was aware of the going ons, but kept Cuddy in the dark, tasking his team to figure it out.  Which they went at great lenghts to do, typically showed their brilliant diagnosis skills, and proved that they can handle some things without their anti-social boss presiding over them.

     An unanswered question, though, is where did Thirteen (Olivia Wilde) go?  She turned in a leave of absence form on House's desk, but knowing that her colleagues would open it, lied about exactly why she wanted time off.  They were under the impression she would be undergoing experimental therapy to treat a medical condition.  Their reactions were interesting, and telling.  Taub (Peter Jacobson) supported her.  Foreman (Omar Epps) finally got over his malice over their breakup, and actually offered to go with her for support.  Chase (Jesse Spencer) tried, unsuccessfully, to sleep with her.  But none, including us in the audience, learned the truth.  Wilde will be filming two movies before her return, so the question is likely to stay unanswered for awhile.  However, the theme song was finally changed to include her and Taub, so her come back is pretty much guaranteed.

     If you're a House fan, I must admit that my review very much pales in comparison to a much longer, in depth look at the episode written by BlogCritic editor and author Barbara Barnett, which can be found here.  She writes with much depth and insight, and I highly recommend checking her's out if you're more than a casual viewer.  Her credentials are solid, and I am currently in the middle of her House companion book, Chasing Zebras: The Unofficial Guide to House, M.D., now on sale.  It is truly excellent.

     House airs Monday nights, including tonight, at 8pm on Fox.

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