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House: Season 5 - Dying Changes Everything (season opener reviewed)

Hugh Laurie in House

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

INDIELONDON singles out notable episodes from current television series for stand-alone reviews. On this occasion we take a look at the opening episode of House: Season 5 entitled Dying Changes Everything (as aired on Sky1 on Sunday, May 31, 2009).

What’s the story? In the aftermath of personal tragedy, Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) resigns from the hospital… and from his friendship with House (Hugh Laurie). Meanwhile, Thirteen (Olivia Wilde) struggles with her personal medical problems while helping treat an executive assistant with a similar personality to her own.

Was it any good? House may have switched channels from Five to Sky1 but its quality remains intact if this fifth season opener was anything to go by.

The usual intriguing medical dilemma was in place – this time concerning a female patient who initially believed she was covered in red ants – but the emotional element was heightened by the continued fallout from the fourth season closer Wilson’s Heart

As Wilson returned to hospital after a two month break following the death of his girlfriend Amber, House had to deal with the repercussions of his friend’s decision to quit.

Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein) implored House to apologise to Wilson for his part in Amber’s death, while his colleagues took it in turn to raise the pressure on the grouchy doc’s apparent indifference to human suffering and emotion.

But House steadfastly refused to treat his friend with kid gloves, adopting a number of approaches in a bid to get him to reverse his decision and stay.

When he finally resorted to an apology – and a heartfelt one at that – Wilson delivered a final telling blow. He wasn’t just saying goodbye to the hospital, but to his friendship with House. It was a poignant finale to a gripping opening episode.

It remains to be seen where House and Wilson go from here and the hope is that Wilson will remain an integral part of the show, as the chemistry between Laurie and Leonard is among the best that the show has to offer.

Their friendship has always been volatile and dictated to by House’s selfish whims, but there’s no doubt that House does care for his colleague, or is hurting from the blame he feels over Amber’s death.

Laurie, as ever, magnificently channelled this grief… lashing out at colleagues, treating patients and superiors with contempt, while offering glimpses of the heart and soul that still exists beneath the gruff exterior. He remains one of television’s most fascinating, complex and enigmatic characters.

Leonard, too, though deserves credit as the unsung hero of the show; the vulnerable, overly caring opposite to House, whose continued emotional battering at House’s expense has finally reached its head.

Elsewhere, House’s latest interns continue to bicker and annoy one another, with Olivia Wilde’s Thirteen getting the bulk of the things to do as she juggled trying to solve her latest medical dilemma with the knowledge that she has Huntington’s Disease.

As ever, she had to contend with House’s spiky retorts (often directly at her expense), as well as questions from her colleagues about her newly revealed condition. But far from the shrinking violet she seemed during her first few episodes on the show, she is now exhibiting a more feisty streak that should enable her to continue to grow as a character.

The case itself, too, remained consistently intriguing and suitably messy in places, with painful rectal bleeding following the initial ant outbreak.

But it’s the emotional drama that elevated this particular opening episode to such heights and which promises to keep House at the pinnacle of the US imports currently airing on British TV.

Read our review of Season 4

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