House: Season 8 - Twenty Vicodin (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
EIGHT seasons in and House continues to grip like a vice. Opening episode Twenty Vicodin marked another impressive return for a show that still shows little sign of fatigue.
Working in this opening episode’s favour was the fact that Hugh Laurie’s central character once more found himself in an unfamiliar situation: prison.
Having crashed his car into ex-lover Cuddy’s house at the conclusion of last season, House was now paying his dues having offered little defence for his actions when he returned to the country after a self-imposed three month exile.
As the season opened, House had just five days to survive before parole. But events conspire against him when a mysterious ailment strikes a fellow prisoner and a gang leader (Jude Ciccolella) wants House to procure pills for him.
The latter poses the most immediate threat given that it could end with a shank to House’s midriff. But it was fascinating to see how Hugh Laurie had to use his wits without resorting to too many glib put-downs. The sense of danger was all around.
The mystery ailment, meanwhile, enabled House to inter-act with the prison doctor Jessica Adams (Odette Yustman), who was intrigued by her prisoner’s diagnostic history and his blatant disregard for self-worth or career.
The scenes between the two of them were highly intriguing in a show and tell kind of way, as Adams coaxed House back to ‘life’ while uncovering his cavalier disregard for authority (as evidenced during the crowd-pleasing finale).
Strong, too, were Laurie’s scenes with fellow inmate Frankie (stalwart character actor Michael Massee), who offered unlikely support and advice whenever House threatened to step out of line and place himself in needless danger.
Admittedly, given the prison-based setting of Twenty Vicodin it’s hard to gauge how Season 8 will feel for the loss of Lisa Edelstein’s Cuddy. But this is a show that has consistently proved that it can get by without former favourite characters, while uncovering new and even more interesting replacements.
If, as suspected, Yustman becomes a regular, she looks to have plenty to offer (especially in the way she’s prepared to stand up to House and take her own risks), while we’re promised Charlyne Li in future episodes to keep us on our toes.
So, in short, it’s good to have the grumpy doc back on the box. Roll on the next few episodes!
House: Season 8 is on Sky 1 on Thursday nights from 10pm.