The House Movie Event (S6:E1)
Posted by Mr. Feeny on September 22, 2009
“I was deluded into thinking I might be crazy.” – Gregory House
That’s basically what this season 6 premiere was…a made-for-TV movie. Don’t misunderstand, though. “Made-for-TV” only because it was on television, not because it was cheesy, featured old child actors and will be airing on Lifetime this weekend. As two-hour episodes go, “Broken” is one of the best I’ve seen. So stylistic, clever and a departure from the formulaic House routine that it seemed more like a movie than a TV show.
You knew from the very beginning this would be a different type of episode. The opening credits were replaced by a sequence showing House go through Vicadin withdrawal, with different music and only the people in this episode mentioned. No Lisa Edelstein, no Omar Epps. I’m impressed by their representatives’ willingness to let that happen. Usually, actors always need to be mentioned, even if they’re not in that episode. Or, guest stars need to be billed in the beginning, sometimes ruining surprises. But not this episode (there weren’t any guest star surprises…just a general observation).
There were fantastic guest stars, though. First among them was Lin-Manuel Miranda, best known in Broadway circles for the Tony-winning musical he composed and starred in, “In the Heights.” He played House’s lovable, hyper but also wounded roomate in the psych ward. His raps throughout the episode were very enjoyable, but his interaction with House could be the thing that gets him an Emmy nomination next year. Andre Braugher (Homicide) as House’s doctor was also quite entertaining. Where the writers could have created a typical confrontation between authority figures, they instead let Braugher’s character appease and gently coerce House into healing himself.
I guarantee that will be the theme of this season. “Physician heal thyself.” It was set up perfectly in this episode. Everyone and his mother knew that House would be back at Princeton General before too long. He’s not going to be written out of his own show. But by providing this special episode, the groundwork has been laid for the issues that House needs to deal with. And it’s deeper than in seasons past, though there have always been flickers of it. Drugs and pain are no longer the problem. They eliminated that for the time being early in this episode. Season six will be about House’s interactions and relationships. Things that were looked at last season, as his friendship with Wilson nearly eroded and he almost began somethign with Cuddy.
But now he’s gotten to the root of the problem. His trust issues, his fixation on fixing, his instinct to drive people away. As he says in this episode, “I started to connect with one guy but then my propensity for screwing things up overtook me. And then my desire to have fun overcame my propensity.” House was ready to just walk away from the mental ward having cured his drug addiction and cleared his visions of Amber, Wilson’s dead girlfriend. But the doctor knew better. House probably did too. It took a while, but we finally saw House truly open up. We saw his inner compassion. Just in time for it all to go away come next week. But now we know he has those feelings, and he does too. It should be interesting to see how he tries to move forward in his life now that he’s identified his own problems.
House was never crazy. He was just crying for help. And he finally got it. Will it change him? Not immediately and certainly not permanently. But we will certainly see some subtle shifts in the show’s fabric this season.