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House: Season 6 - The Down Low (Review)

House, Season 6

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

What’s the story? A drug dealer named Mickey (Ethan Embry) collapses during a sale, but refuses to reveal personal information to the team because it might incriminate him. Meanwhile, Foreman’s teammates conspire to play a practical joke on him, while House (Hugh Laurie) and Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) both aim their sights on an attractive new neighbor, Nora.

Our verdict: The sixth season of House returned to Sky1 on Sunday night (March 7, 2010) in typically triumphant fashion with an episode that confidently mixed an intriguing medical dilemma with some supremely witty interplay between several of its main characters.

The ‘case of the week’ story involving a drug dealer’s mystery illness provided a riveting medical story, especially given the various twists and turns it took.

At first loathe to treat drug dealer Mickey, House’s team eventually grew to sympathise with him, especially when it emerged he was an undecover detective – but were continually frustrated by his reluctance to give too much personal information away for fear it could jeoparise a major drugs bust.

Guest star Ethan Embry conveyed the inner turmoil of his character, Mickey, brilliantly (no mean feat, being confined to a bed or doubled up in pain for most of the time), while Nick Chinlund was equally superb as his drug dealing friend Eddie.

The twisted dynamic between Mickey and Eddie made for a fascinating extra dynamic, particularly during the final moments as the depth of their friendship was revealed by Eddie’s willingness to step up and do what was right for his stricken colleague.

Their final scene in the hospital, as Mickey said goodbye for a final time and apologised to Eddie, was played with real subtlety and yet felt genuinely heartfelt and heartbreaking.

The juxtaposed scenes of Eddie’s arrest with Mickey’s final moments – during one of the few times that House’s diagnosis isn’t enough to save a patient – were played out in extremely poignant fashion, with expressions doing the talking instead of words.

Given the tragic implications of the main storyline, however, it was good to find that the show managed to inject plenty of humour into proceedings as well, most notably in the ever-thrilling relationship between House and Wilson.

Their attempts to convince attractive new neighbour Nora (Sasha Alexander) that they weren’t gay were often hilarious, particularly as this also involved trying to bed the woman as well.

House’s ploy to act gay – firstly by buying A Chorus Line poster and then treating Nora as a confidante – led to several hysterical expressions of exasperation from Wilson.

But Wilson’s eventual ‘victory’ of sorts, when he scuppered House’s restaurant wooing of Nora, was similarly well played.

The most telling thing to emerge from the episode, however, was that House has lost none of its ability to excite and enthral despite being six seasons in.

The banter continues to be witty, barbed and frequently inspired, the characterisations work like clockwork and the ethical and moral dilemmas inherent in most cases continue to challenge viewers in ways that only the very best programmes do.

Long may that continue…

House: Season 6 is currently airing on Sky1 on Sunday nights, from 10pm.