How to Watch Your Season Openers: House MD


housemdIMDB rating: 9.7/10 and 9.7/10 for E01 and E02 resp.
Our rating: 8.5/10 overall
Release Date: September 21, 2009
Season 6: S06E01-02.

“They didn’t break me. I am broken.”

If you thought they couldn’t top “Both Sides Now” then you were right, but they came orgasmically close. Broken begins with House (Hugh Laurie), deprived of his Vicodin, writhing in pain and detoxing. These few minutes have enough clues hidden in them – House calling for help, unable to bear the pain any longer, the staff tying him to the bed, House, out of sheer exhaustion, giving up and falling asleep (or losing consciousness?), the “[H]ouse” that appears at the beginning of the theme in previous episodes always glows intensely but this time it just flickers weakly and fades away and to add to all of that, there’s Radiohead’s “No Surprises” playing in the background. Despite all of this, House, as tradition has it, still ‘cures’ a couple of patients at the asylum by the end of the two episodes and motivates Alvie (Lin-Manuel Miranda), his roommate and friend, to get better.

As soon as House shows signs of recovery, he tries to rush out which is when Dr. Nolan (Andre Braugher) steps in and blackmails House into staying by refusing to approve the request for his medical license. To counter Nolan, House tries to disrupt life at the hospital and frustrate them enough to chuck him out as he wants, but he gives in after one of the inmates severely injures himself because of a “misguided and irresponsible, but nice” act. With none of the usual characters around in these episodes , except for a brief appearance by Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard), House has Alvie and there is chemistry between him and a married outsider, Lydia (Franka Potente). He loses both of them only to win them back and then eventually lose them again. Reminiscent of earlier times except for the fact that this time, he didn’t screw it up.

There are a few low points. House goes around insulting mental patients earlier in the episode, the experts at Mayfield still believe in pills and not syringes, security is poor enough for an inmate to sneak up and make phone calls and have sex with married German visitors at an hour which must surely be after hours, etc. And either psychologists are lamer than I thought or everyone’s taking undue advantage of brain problems, what with dialogues like “You do know, I’m trying to help you,” “Being happy is an excellent goal” and “All we have to do is figure out how to get your from here to happy”, not to mention the weak attempts at wit with “I’m simply stating, it’s complicated.”

He hasn’t lost his sarcasm. He has lost the Vicodin. He isn’t as dismissive of people and maybe emotional attachment is going to be the new pain-killer and weakness. He eventually does get discharged and exchanges genuine hugs and smiles at his farewell complete with cake and other inmates. The episode ends with House boarding a bus with a smiley on his t-shirt and a weaker version on his face.

I do not know this House.

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