House season 7 premiere – Now What? (S07E01) – Episode review

When last we left House, he’d once again hit rock bottom after being unable to save a woman trapped in a building collapse. Just when he was about to fall off the (metaphorical) precipice and down a handful of Vicodin, Cuddy showed up in his apartment and declared her love for him.

The big question with this season opener was, as House himself said in the first few minutes: “Now what?

House (Hugh Laurie) and Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein) getting together was always going to be controversial – the simmering tensions between the two characters are one of the cornerstones of the series. Can House ever become blissfully loved up? And if so, what does that mean for a series that relies so heavily on him being an asshole at least 90% of the time?

Well, for one thing, as Cuddy tenderly dressed his wound and the two ended up in bed together, it struck me that a proper romance between the two might not be a bad thing. Even if it was borne in the wake of a massive trauma for House. He was in bad shape after his patient died last season, and the scenes with Cuddy certainly seemed to distract him from his failure. It’s what Doc Brown called “The Florence Nightingale Effect”.

To be honest, I was expecting the script writers to hit the reset button immediately during the season premiere. I was convinced that House would find some way to mess it up. But he even went as far as confessing to Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) that he was with Cuddy – but Cuddy got cold feet that time and hid in the closet. It was a brilliant moment when Wilson accused him of taking Vicodin and hallucinating a relationship with Cuddy all over again.

Whatever way the writers of [[House (TV Series)|House]] decide to deal with it, this relationship is going to be a complicated one. If they fizzle it out too soon, they’ll be accused of exploiting it for last years’ season finale. If they lurch along in constant conflict, it’ll become tedious. And if they’re too loved up, it won’t have any authenticity because House won’t simply give in and allow himself to be happy.

One complaint was how Cuddy blew off all her other responsibilities to spend the day with House. Now, I know that she maybe suspected he was still in a fragile state and didn’t want to leave him alone anyway, but the drama at Princeton Plainsboro was something she should have been there for. Not to mention failing to check in with whoever was minding the baby.

Anyway, there was a twofold drama at the hospital. One was that their only neurosurgeon, Dr Richardson, took sick, and Cuddy’s new assistant reported the situation. Without a neurosurgeon, the hospital’s ER department would have to close down. Elsewhere, the guys discover that Thirteen is planning to ask for a leave of absence.

Stoned Neurosurgeons and Departing Doctors

The situation with Dr. Richardson was hilarious – the brain surgeon was brought down by bad seafood and started acting erratically, stripping down in the middle of the corridors and generally acting stoned. It gave the team something to diagnose anyway and they managed it with absolutely no hints from House.

Thirteen’s request for a leave of absence is the source of much speculation from Foreman (Omar Epps) and Chase (Jesse Spencer). The two of them go to town invading her privacy (they’re getting good at this), but Thirteen neatly sidesteps their snooping with an excuse that she’s going to Rome for a Huntingdon’s trial. Chase – as class act after my own heart – asks her to have sex with him since he was playing a “long game” and the deadlines just got moved up.

It turns out that the whole thing’s a ruse, and Thirteen literally disappears off the map just as Foreman discovers the lie. In real life, Olivia Wilde has been pretty busy with her acting career and is due to star in the upcoming Tron Legacy. Hence her ‘leave of absence’.

Summing Up

A solid season première for House – almost a complete parallel to how he began Season 6 locked in an institution. I hope we can see House become serious about the relationship and how it affects his usual levels of game playing and over-analysing things. But I acknowledge the writers have a tough job on their hands to keep this storyline satisfying for the long-terms fans of the show.

Quotes from Now What?

  1. House: “So that’s it?” Cuddy: “No, this is the beginning of it.”
  2. Thirteen: “You read my note, you go through my locker, and then you decide you want to round it off by lecturing me about my life choices?”
  3. Cuddy: “Why do you have to analyse things to death? Why can’t you just…let it be nice?”
  4. House: “You were thinking about Wilson while we were having sex? That’s cool, so was I.”
  5. House: “She’s not a hooker….Begins with C and ends with ‘uddy’.” Wilson: “How many Vicodin have you taken?”
  6. Cuddy: “I told you I love you. You didn’t tell me you love me back. You don’t think that should give me cause for concern?”
  7. House: “You’ll realize that I am an insane choice for someone who has a kid.”
  8. House: “I’ve done horrible things to you. And I’ll do horrible things again. To you. Because of one stupid moment with a dying girl and a pile of rubble you think I can change.”
  9. Cuddy: “I know you’re screwed up. I know you’re always going to be screwed up. But you’re the most incredible man I’ve ever known.”

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