House season six -- An early look
by Jonathan Toomey, posted Sep 21st 2009 10:02AM
Dr. Gregory House has problems. This is not news. We know this. His colleagues know this. He knows this. The issue at the core of tonight's two-hour season premiere of House ("Broken" airs at 8PM ET on Fox), is waiting patiently for our favorite curmudgeon to admit what he knows.
Ever since last season's finale, we've all wanted to know one thing - is House really crazy or has the Vicodin finally done enough damage that he's hallucinating dead people and having imaginary sex with Cuddy? The answer is finally revealed, and despite Fox's viral marketing campaign that presented the possibility of someone having done something to House to cause his problems, it turns out that Mayfield Psychiatric Hospital is precisely where he belongs. Or is it?
Of course, I'm not going to answer that for you - don't want to spoil all the fun - but I will mention something else that we all know. House's doctor, Nolan, played perfectly by Andre Braugher, makes it clear very early on in the premiere that House's "issues run deeper that Vicodin." Well, duh.
That's the beauty of the episode. Save for a brief scene featuring Robert Sean Leonard's Wilson, the entire two hours is a whole new world for us and House, separate from the goings-on at Princeton-Plainsboro. We don't know how Cuddy is reacting to House being committed. We don't know how Foreman is managing with Taub and Thirteen. We don't know how Chase and Cameron are doing. With all that out of the way, you'd think that focusing on House's issues would be easy. Wrong. Easier, but not easy.
Being comfortable in his own skin isn't something that comes easy for House. His daddy issues and history with Stacy (and her hand in his injury and subsequent addiction) both come to mind, but mostly, the man just doesn't emote well. Finally, though, House is put in a position where he has no choice. It doesn't hurt, either, that he's dropped smack in the middle of a plethora of mystery cases to occupy his time. He's quick to start figuring out what everyone else's problems are while ignoring his own.
Throughout the premiere you can't help but wonder when the moment will come that the good doctors of Mayfield need House, rather than him needing them, and without giving away whether that moment comes or not, suffice to say that it creates an interesting amount of tension. It boils down to who's smarter (or in this case, more stubborn): Nolan or House?
With a solid supporting cast, including Franka Potente as the sister-in-law of one of House's fellow patients and Lin-Manuel Miranda (from Broadway's In the Heights) as House's off-the-wall rapping roommate Alvy, there's plenty else going to to keep you occupied beyond seeing House go through detox and annoying the orderlies. It's once House realizes that there's more to Mayfield that the fun starts.
He does make connections, he does feel, he does help, he does fail - but does he get better? Again, not going to say. But it immediately makes one think about Denis Leary's Tommy Gavin going sober on Rescue Me. Does the show work if House isn't broken anymore?
[Watch full episodes and clips of House, as well as other shows, over at SlashControl.]