Lock Up The Vicodin – House Is Back

Posted on March 11, 2010

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Though it’s already powered ahead on Fox in the US, our favourite diagnostician found his way back to Sky 1 on Sunday night to continue his travels in this, the sixth season of the popular medical drama.

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A brief catch up then: House went, more or less, stark raving mad at the end of series 5, resulting in him ending up in a One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest style institution to detox off Vicodin in the Series 6 opener. Following that, he moves in with Wilson, goes back to work in the hospital and even helps Chase cover up, what was effectively the murder of a genocide preaching dictator they were supposed to treat. But hey, what comes around…

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Season 6 marked a drastic change in formula of the series which, though highly entertaining was repetitive. At around the 37 minute mark in EVERY episode, House has one of those epiphany moments and walks off on whoever is talking to him at the time, yet no one ever stops to say, “Hey dude, that’s really rude and you’re ALWAYS doing it!” Personally I find some of his epiphany moments hilarious, especially the facial expressions of whoever he’s just walked off on.

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Realistically though, giving Foreman (Omar Epps) power over the team for most of the first half of the series should have been dealt with better. The only thing different was rather than House telling his team to go do something, he had to goad Forman into telling them to do it, resulting in the funniest miming scene since David Tennant and Catherine Tate decided to have a conversation through a window and a door.

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But, back to House and Foreman, there was a prime opportunity for some tension between these two egotistical doctors, particularly as Foreman had already managed to dismantle the second team in a short, sharp burst, resulting in House spending the first half of Series 6 convincing Taub and his nose to return, and Thirteen to bring back some much desired lesbianism.

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Onto the rest of the series though, the latest episode, The Down Low is standard House – strange illness, in this case noise induced vertigo inflicting a drug dealing gangster with a warped sense of morality. Meanwhile House and Wilson garner a different kind of interest from a neighbour in their new apartment who thinks that they’re gay. We’ve been thinking it for years…

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The writing is still as tight as it was five years ago, David Shore’s remarkable ability to create new and absurd metaphors and insults for House being something of an art form. The characters too, are realistic and believable in their actions. I can’t honestly remember ever watching an episode and remarking that someone’s action was out of character. A show like this doesn’t need to do that because anything out of character for the secondary characters is something House would do without a moment’s hesitation. In a sense, the character of House is any writer’s dream because you’re effectively given a blank page and told to make as much of a mess as you like. Cuddy’ll clean it up…

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In this sense though, the rest of Season 6 will be interesting and particularly the finale. Where does the show go from here? Primarily about House’s addiction for the last five years, that’s come to a head and he’s apparently kicked it, so what next? The obvious thing would be a relapse but somehow I don’t get the feeling the writers are going to go with obvious. Plus, a relapse would result in House returning to a detox facility which we’ve seen already and is hence rendered boring – much like what House would say if he got a case of Lupus.

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So perhaps the most interesting thing about this series is not what’s already happened or happening right now but what’s going to happen. As a show, it’s powered along nicely to this moment, with its effective formula and some truly memorable TV (Season 4 finale comes to mind) but like any series, House appears to be reaching its turning point, the moment when we find out if David Shore has anything more up his sleeve for this great character, or if he’s simply milking the formula.

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Judging from everything we’ve had for the last five years, I doubt the latter is the case. There are plenty of unanswered questions in this series: what will become of Chase and Cameron; how will Chase’s murder crop up again, as it undoubtedly will; will Wilson donate any more internal organs to patients and has Cuddy really lowered her dating standards to Lucas? And of course, the main question: what kind of insane move is House going to make next? (I personally hope he shoots a corpse and breaks the CT scanner again…)

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But with the format changing slightly in coming weeks: an episode based entirely around Cuddy’s day coming up, and a Hugh Laurie directed episode scheduled for April in the States, I get the feeling that Season 6 is shaping up to be a cracker.

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House broadcasts at 10pm, Sundays on Sky 1

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Posted in: Reviews