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House: Season 6 - Broken (Part 2) - Review

House, Season 6

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 5 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 second part of the opening episode of House: Season 6 entitled Broken (as aired on Sky1 on Sunday, October 11, 2009).

What’s the story? House (Hugh Laurie) begins to settle into his rehabilitation programme and co-operate with staff as be bids to mend his broken ways. In doing so, he begins an unlikely relationship with a patient visitor (Franka Potente) and begins to open up to Dr Darryl Nolan (Andre Braugher), while tapping into some unexpected happiness within.

Was it any good? House rapped, House snogged, House had sex with a married mother and House finally opened up.

This was no ordinary episode of the series, but rather a revelatory one. And one of the best! (Even though Sky1 had decided to split the 2-hour opener across two weeks, as opposed to the US all-in-one dose!)

Hugh Laurie once again excelled as the doc, still in treatment and still very much broken. But well on the path to recovery.

Season six’s second episode was an emotionally involving tour-de-force that delivered a genuinely satisfying payoff, as well as plenty of classic moments along the way.

Having given in to the psychiatric facility’s recovery programme, House began the slow and painful journey towards rehabilitation.

Firstly, this was via one-on-one therapy sessions with Andre Braugher’s Dr Darryl Nolan.

Next came slow bonding with Franka Potente’s Lydia, a patient visitor he had taken a shine to in the opening episode.

House and ? attended an evening soiree together and ended the bash with a kiss.

This came as a nice surprise to House, and then as a shock. He recoiled, determined to avoid hurting either himself or Lydia’s husband. But was eventually moved to console and then sleep with her once they had shared another intimate exchange of feelings.

Incredibly, House even stopped being a jerk long enough to be able to console Dr Nolan over the death of his father – another brilliantly observed sequence in which Braugher lay crestfallen before House, silently pleading for a shoulder to cry on and a valued medical opinion rather than any sarcasm or push-and-pull.

By virtue of House’s gradual re-awakening, he knew when to shut up and when to sit still, and the short, unspoken sequence between Greg and Dr Nolan was both rewarding and poignant.

There were kickers, of course. House, as a series, can’t do joy without a little bit of pain.

Hence, as amusing as seeing House rap with fellow patient and roommate Juan “Alvie” Alvarez (Lin-Manuel Miranda) was, or as magical as the sequence involving the partial rehab of Derek Richardson’s Steve/Freedom Master’s catatonic superhero and sudden awakening of Ana Lenchantin’s formerly vegetative Annie, there had to be some bad news waiting in the wings.

Annie’s awakening meant that Lydia had to leave – and House suddenly found himself facing the prospect of more heartbreak just as he’d allowed himself to open up.

Demanding a night pass from Dr Nolan, House went and visited Lydia at her home, meeting one of her sons on the doorstep and then pleading with her not to go. She didn’t want to… but couldn’t tear apart her family and so said a tearful farewell.

House, for his part, returned to the facility and shared one final impromptu session with ?, who informed him that he’d be recommending the re-instatement of his medical licence as a result of the progress House had made.

Again, the moments between them sparkled as the respect that has blossomed between the two men shone through.

Braugher has been a wonderful addition to Season 6 – a worthy sparring partner and eventual confidante and Laurie clearly enjoyed the challenge of appearing alongside this former Homicide luminary.

But there were other great performances, too. Potente excelled as Lydia, providing an alluring presence and a genuine source of heartbreak.

While Miranda’s “Alvie” moved from annoying to endearing over the course of his two episodes, concluding the hour by declaring he wanted to get better himself and finally asking for his own medication.

Which brings us to another of Broken‘s many pleasures – the feelgood ending. With House having been given the all-clear to resume his life and career, the final shot saw him sitting aboard a bus, vaguely smiling, as the camera panned down to reveal a yellow smiley face T-shirt that spoke volumes.

It was a rare ray of sunshine to bring this generally sombre show to a close. House’s rehab had been hard-earned but revealing and it should be absorbing viewing discovering how he takes these new life lessons into his return to work.

Season six thus far has been a bit of a corker….

What did you think?