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House: Season 4 - Frozen (Review)

Hugh Laurie in House

Review by Jack Foley

INDIELONDON singles out notable episodes from current television series for stand-alone reviews. On this occasion we take a look at the latest episode of House: Season 4 entitled Frozen.

What’s the story? House (Hugh Laurie) and his team have to diagnose a case at a distance when a researcher at a South Pole base is taken ill. The stakes become raised, however, when House finds himself attracted to the Arctic doctor (Mira Sorvino), whilst being intrigued by a possible new interest for Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard).

Why so good? For people who claim that House is sometimes stifled by its rigid format Frozen offered the perfect riposte. Just like past episodes in which the grumpy doc had to diagnose symptoms aboard a plane or within the CIA’s headquarters, this one found him having to do so via a computer link as his subject was stranded halfway across the world, in the South Pole. To complicate matters still further, viewers were also treated to the sight of House actually caring for someone – and visibly showing it.

Humour, of course, stemmed from House’s continuing friendship with Wilson and his attempts to uncover the identity of a possible new girlfriend, as well as his attempts to persuade his new team to persuade Cuddy to re-introduce free cable TV for the patients.

Digging a little deeper: The main joy from watching Frozen stemmed from seeing how the relationship between House and Dr Cate Milton (Mira Sorvino) developed. House has had to treat the ones he cared about before – but they usually involve people he’s had previous relationships with.

On this occasion, the feelings stemmed from an instant attraction. But they were stifled by the distance between them. Dr Milton was a fiercely determined woman who more than matched House’s aggressive tendencies. Unless he could deliver proof of what he thought her symptoms were, she refused to take the medicine he diagnosed for fear it would deprive her co-workers in the South Pole of the vital supplies they might need.

Straight away, this stoked House’s interest given that Milton was someone prepared to stand up to him – and even challenge his theories. It helped, too, that she was very, very attractive.

There were times when House, as usual, seemed to test his limits. One particularly pervy moment involved House asking Milton to strip naked so that he could observe/admire her body, beginning with her breasts (to check for swollen lymph glands). She did as requested – but only after he’d been forced to give her a virtual tour of his home so that she could find out more about him.

It was this one upmanship that gave the episode extra edge, especially when it emerged that House had genuinely developed feelings for her.

To add extra complexity, however, House eventually discovered that he had a rival in the love stakes, in the form of Milton’s co-worker Sean (Jeffrey Hephner), who was even prepared to taste her urine if it helped with a diagnosis.

Hence, once Milton had lapsed into an unconscious state, it was Sean that helped with the eventual diagnosis and bravely performed the life-saving procedures. And when the time came for thanks to be given, you could sense the anguish in House as he was forced to watch Milton embrace the other man she loved, while casting a longing look over the internet at the real man who’d saved her. It was a delicious moment to draw the episode to a close, and final proof that House’s feelings were, indeed, mutual.

Sorvino played the role to perfection and if one day the writers opt to bring her home to America and place her in House’s vicinity once more, it would be an interesting direction to take. But who knows…

Worthy of mention, too, was the “surprise” new love interest of Dr Wilson. I’d put my money on Cuddy, so was as shocked as House to find that he was, in fact, dating Amber (Anne Dudek), the “manipulative bitch” of the new recruits who House had only fired a week or so earlier. More is certain to follow on that one next week – but it was a great twist and offers some tantalising possibilities as House attempts to understand the reasons why… We love it when the good doc gets perplexed by human nature.

What did you think?