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House: Season 3 - Cane & Able (Review)

Hugh Laurie in House

Review by Jack Foley

INDIELONDON singles out notable episodes from our favourite television series for stand-alone reviews. On this occasion we take a look at the third season episode of House entitled Cane & Able.

What’s the story? House (Hugh Laurie) and his team treat a young boy who claims there is a tracking device in his neck and believes he has been the subject of alien experimentation. Cameron (Jennifer Morisson) is outraged when she learns Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein) and Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) have been lying to House about the diagnosis on his last case.

Why so good? Ever since Hugh Laurie burst onto our TV screens as the grouchy but brilliant Dr House (complete with convincing American accent), he’s kept us enthralled with his antics – whether it’s rubbing colleagues up the wrong way, coming up with amazing medical diagnoses, or just simply telling his patients things straight.

Some critics have suggested that the format is showing signs of tiring, while others lament the lack of a more notable support cast. But the diagnosis remains strong for us, given that the first two episodes of season three have kept us gripped. Laurie remains brilliant and the cases have been suitably mysterious. What’s more, the ever increasing insights into House’s personal life continue to provide an added draw.

Digging a little deeper: The third season of House has hit the ground running (literally in Laurie’s case) and shows few signs of real wear and tear.

Episode two, Cane & Able was a classic case of House doing what the show does best. It featured a really twisting case, a revelation you could not have seen coming and another superb performance from Britain’s own Hugh Laurie.

The medical case in question concerned a young boy who claimed he’d been abducted by aliens and experimented upon. But while few viewers ever really believed that anything truly out of this world was happening, there was a great deal of suspense and intrigue surrounding the case.

To lend proceedings an extra juicy flavour, however, House himself is struggling with his new place in the world. Having been shot at the end of the second season and undergone surgery that took away his limp (and cane), the good doc was beginning to feel the effects. By the end of episode one, he was back on the painkillers and come the start of episode two he was limping.

Both superiors Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein) and Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) weren’t convinced by House’s deterioration and wanted to test their patient to find out if he was putting it on. They had also refused to tell him he was right about another brilliant (but dangerous) diagnosis at the end of the previous episode.

His confidence shaken, House began to question his own judgement and even “gave up” on the boy at one stage, prompting Cuddy to reveal all about last week’s case.

Their ensuing conversation inevitably prompted House to happen upon another theory about the boy’s condition, which subsequently proved right, but it also placed him on a collision course with Wilson, who he confronted at the climax of the episode.

The two friends appeared to fall out and House went home to retrieve his trusy cane from his cupboard – once again convinced of his own medical prowess.

The conclusion, though, posed many more questions. Would House forgive his friends for lying and knocking his confidence and did his surgery fail?

Laurie, as ever, brilliantly conveyed the mixed emotions of a character clearly living on the edge. His put-downs and witticisms were as scathing (and funny) as ever but they were nicely contrasted by moments of quiet reflection in which he got to question himself and confront his fears.

So long as the show’s writers continue to pose such cracking dilemmas and put their main character through the emotional wringer than we confidently predict that House fans are in for another cracking season.

Make sure you tune in on Thursday nights, when this excellent show airs on Channel 5 at 9pm.

What do you think?