House Is Back!

House is back and I have no idea what that means.

Last season’s finale was so jaw-droppingly good that I spent the better part of my summer wondering what this season, the show’s sixth, was going to be like. My favorite fantasy was imagining House living with, and helping the cast of, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. For while the show started off as, and continues to be, a medical mystery; it has evolved beyond that.

The first season, and even into the second season, the show revolved around the genius that is Gregory House. Every episode was about how he, and his team, could find the truth of the situation in the smallest, most mundane of details. We, the audience, were just along for the ride. We were there to watch House harass his colleagues and then name the Obscure Medical Phenomenon of the Week. But slowly, the show grew beyond that. Now the show uses the medical mysteries serve as doorways into the psyche of House. The genius of House is not gone, but now the more prevalent player is the madness of House.

This came to a thrilling climax in the final two hours of Season Five in which the good doctor was committed to an asylum for rehab. The setting was a goldmine for ideas. House, the ever cold, ever condescending, with his lack of patience, would get along so entertainingly with the other committed that I was very nearly counting down the days to last night’s premiere.

As the opening credits began, I was excited to note that nearly none of the regular cast was credited. House has abruptly changed its cast on us several times and always to great results. As I watched the show, I was nearly giddy with delight. My dream of House stuck in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest was almost dead-on. It was so close that I wondered, a couple of times, if they filmed it on the same set. I loved the addition of Franka Potente (of Run Lola Run and the first two Bourne movies) and even though her character was a little hard to believe, I really liked her character.

But then the show ended. It ended with House being released from rehab. In two hours, it seems, he’s overcome his vicodin addiction and he’s being sent back to work. While I knew this was the inevitable conclusion, I was hoping for it to take a little longer. I was hoping he wouldn’t be back in the hospital till January. And while the asylum story was told well, I couldn’t help but feel like it was a little rushed.

But House is back and that’s all that matters. Which brings me back to my opening sentence: House is back and I have no idea what that means. Is he off his vicodin? Does that mean he’s going to be less nasty? Does that mean he’s going to be able to get his personal life in order? Will it, as he feared, effect the razor-sharpness of his mind? How are his friends and colleagues going to react to him?

I think it’s safe to say the answer is a resounding ‘no,’followed by a ‘with guarded mistrust and much rolling of eyes,’because it just wouldn’t be House if the answers were anything but. But, if that’s the case, then what was the point of the last four hours of House?

Doesn’t matter. I know where I’m going to be every Monday night.

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