When we last caught a glimpse of Dr. Gregory House, he was in a bar by a sandy beach in the Caribbean, having just crashed his car through the front window of his ex-girlfriend and boss, Dr. Lisa Cuddy. Last night we saw him a year later, imprisoned, finishing his sentence for property damage, reckless endangerment, fleeing the scene, and probably countless other offenses.
The creators and writers of House have always played a bit fast and loose with the House timeline — as Dr. Greg himself observed the classic episode Three Stories in season one, “time is a fluid concept” — so the shift into the future isn’t a complete surprise. I think the creative team at House wants to take this familiar, by-now iconic character and give him some new challenges in an effort to avoid the creeping staleness that is fatal to so many long-running TV shows.
So, last night we got to see Dr. House implausibly locked up in a prison with violent offenders, doing his diagnostic thing on fellow prisoners and the intrigued, rule-breaking female doctor in the hospital infirmary. We learned that no one has called or visited him in a year — not even his best friend Wilson, or the sycophantic Chase! And now House will have to reintegrate himself into society, and reestablish his ties with his old friends and colleagues.
This scenario should create some interesting storylines. Does ex-con House even have a medical license anymore? Will Foreman lord it over House when he springs him from the slammer to help on cases? Is Cuddy married? How long will it take to repair the House-Wilson friendship? (I’m betting part of one episode.) Will Taub and Chase take House’s cruel comments? Will House and 13 trade stories about their respective times in the pen?
House has been on for years and has covered a lot of territory. I like the show, I applaud the effort to keep it new, and I hope it works.