House: Season 7 - Now what? (Season opener reviewed)
Review by Jack Foley
What’s the story? Now that they’re together, House (Hugh Laurie) and Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein) try to establish a normal relationship. Meanwhile, the team comes to the aid of an ailing Princeton neurosurgeon (George Wyner) but discover that they need House’s help… and House is nowhere to be found.
Our verdict: Seven seasons in and House has once again placed its central character and – by extension – its viewers in unfamiliar territory: happiness!
Whereas Season 6 kicked off in the depths of despair, with Hugh Laurie’s grumpy doc undergoing counselling for addiction, Season 7 found him embarking on a fledgling relationship with his boss, Cuddy (Edelstein).
Thus, the big season question has immediately been posed: can the relationship last? And, by extension, can House let himself be happy? Can Cuddy tolerate the insecurities once up close and personal to them? And how long will viewers tolerate the will they/won’t they question?
Herein lies perhaps the season’s biggest question. Many House fans have already complained that the show has ‘jumped the shark’ and that the decision to put House and Cuddy together, and veer more into soapy territory, is a bad one.
I disagree… but the balance needs to be maintained. The cases of the week still need to be strong, the ethical and moral dilemmas stronger and the darkness that surrounds the show still needs to find a way to invade. House canot be allowed to go too mellow.
But why should he be denied happiness, even if he must continue to struggle to find it?
The early indications are that House and Cuddy face many hurdles – not least in the form of their own doubts and insecurities. Their romance looks solid enough when keeping things light and physical, but even the most mundane of interruptions (a ringing phone, a knock at the door) can trigger soul-searching.
Hence, Now What? was an interesting first episode… one that eschewed the case of the week format in favour of personal examination… and one that confidently mixed humour and emotion.
The attempt by Wilson (the ever brilliant Robert Sean Leonard) to gain entry into House’s apartment, only to become stuck in the window, was a classic example of the humour that also drives the show… enabling both Leonard and Laurie to pick up their witty repartee of seasons gone by.
Similarly, House’s put downs to Cuddy’s new assistant, or his cryptic orders to Dr Chase (Jesse Spencer) were as acerbic as ever… and fun to hear.
But such moments were offset by the questions surrounding the wisdom of House’s new relationship. True, Cuddy and House stayed at home and had sex a lot (and who wouldn’t!) but they kept tripping over their own feelings.
When Cuddy announced she was leaving for the day, House declared their relationship wouldn’t work. Earlier, Cuddy had hidden out in the closet, determined not to be caught by Wilson so as to enable House to grow into the relationship, rather than being forced into admitting it too early.
The scenes between the two stars were beautifully played: we knew they cared deeply for each other, but personal baggage and past demons constantly lay in wait.
It meant that Cuddy’s final words of reassurance to House and his subsequent declaration of love were genuinely touching, although in true House fashion these were followed by silent looks, either side of each other’s doors, that spoke volumes for the unease with which both parties will now pursue the relationship.
It makes for an interesting dynamic, so long as it doesn’t become over-played or come at the expense of the show’s other attributes. But it can be done and, on the evidence of the season opener, should be an enjoyable challenge for everyone concerned – for House, for Cuddy, for their colleagues and for us viewers!
What did you think?
- Buy House: Season 6 on DVD (Amazon)
- Buy House: Season 6 on Blu-ray (Amazon)
- House: Season 6 - Complete season review
- House: Season 7 plot revelations
- House: Season 6 - Photo gallery
- House: Season 6 - Help Me reviewed
- House: Season 6 - Lockdown reviewed
- House: Season 6 - The Down Low reviewed
- House: Season 6 - Broken: Part 2 reviewed
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- House: Season 5 reviewed
- House: Season 4 - Review
- House: Season 3 Review
- Read our review of Season 2
- Read our review of Season 1