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House: Season 6 - Lockdown (Review)

House, Season 6

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3.5 out of 5

What’s the story? Princeton Plainsboro goes on lockdown after a newborn disappears from the nursery. House (Hugh Laurie) is trapped with an inquisitive patient (David Strathairn), Foreman (Omar Epps) and Taub (Peter Jacobson) are sealed in the records room, Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) and Thirteen (Olivia Wilde) play Truth or Dare, and Chase (Jesse Spencer) is locked in with a familiar face (Jennifer Morrison).

Our verdict: We always like it when House shakes up the formula a little bit. Thus far, Season 6 has opened with House being locked away in a psychiatric facility, and Cuddy being asked to save the hospital from cuts in 5 To 9 (all episodes in which the show has excelled).

Lockdown once again discarded the “medical mystery of the week” scenario in favour of a character building device: namely, various characters being trapped in rooms with each other once the hospital had been put into lockdown during a missing baby crisis.

Hence, while Cuddy desperately deployed her staff to find the missing newborn, each of the show’s other main characters got to do a little soul-searching, either comically or dramatically.

Some of these devices worked very well; others not so. But the episode remained consistently engaging, often amusing and sometimes highly poignant.

Hugh Laurie’s scenes with David Strathairn’s dying patient Nash were, predictably, among the hour’s best. Heightened by the tension between them once it had been revealed that House had turned down his case, the two actors enjoyed a wonderfully probing exchange that offered more insight into House’s conflicted personality, as well as his quick-witted ability to deflect criticism.

In truth, Strathairn didn’t have that much to do, and could have benefited from a little more of the episode’s focus, but his steadfast determination to grill House, despite being in pain, and his tearful farewell to his daughter (via answering machine message) were fine examples of this brilliant actor’s ability to excel at his craft.

Laurie, too, once again rose to the challenge of appearing alongside an esteemed guest star, clearly enjoying the opportunity to spar with another big name.

Elsewhere, the truth or dare between Robert Sean Leonard’s Wilson and Olivia Wilde’s Thirteen was consistently fun without ever being too revelatory… even though it appears to have paved the way for a new love interest for Wilson.

That said, the duo handled the comedic aspect of their storylines well: Wilson’s attempts to steal a dollar for a dare were hilarious, while Thirteen’s [off-camera] boob flash to Taub was really nicely delivered.

The moments between Taub and Foreman in the records room were also fun, providing a drug induced slice of playfulness between the two men that helped to reveal more about their backgrounds and personalities. Taub’s final moments, alone, were touching… even though some of the more slapstick moments between them looked forced.

Alas, not so convincing were the closure scenes between Jesse Spencer’s Chase and Jennifer Morrison’s Cameron, as they sought to bring an end to their marriage once and for all, while questioning each other about the reasons it went wrong.

Admittedly, the scenes between them were nicely played and suitably spiky and affectionate, but the device to bring them together felt contrived and the revelations only served to underline why – in my opinion – Morrison’s Cameron continues to remain one of the show’s weakest characters.

None of her reasons for leaving Chase rang particularly true and most felt like they were treading old ground. The pair’s eventual make-up dance and impromptu love-making session also felt like a tired device… and below a show that exists to pile on misery rather than joy (not that Chase got his woman… they still left the episode divorced).

But perhaps the biggest niggle surrounding their screen-time was the way in which it detracted from either the more intriguing one involving Laurie and Strathairn, or the more fun ones concerning the other principal characters.

That said, there was still enough to enjoy about this episode to make this another of Season 6’s undoubted highlights.

House: Season 6 is on Sky1 on Sunday nights from 10pm. This review related to an episode which aired on April 18, 2010.