HOUSE Season Seven Premiere – “Now What?”

House Season 7

Photo Credit : FOX

As the new season opens and the two long time friends lock lips, the viewer is left to wonder…now what?

shawnabenson1   By : SHAWNA BENSON

Let’s be clear: If you haven’t watched the show previously, now is not the time to jump into the story.  Typically “House” deals with a confounding medical mystery that the titular character and his team must diagnose and address before someone dies.  Sometimes, the show breaks its usual procedural pattern to focus on its characters.  While it’s possible that you might understand the significance of the first five minutes of the season premiere without having seen House and Cuddy as characters previously, it’s unlikely you will care as much as the millions of fans who have been waiting for this moment –“ the Huddy Hookup.”

I’m not spoiling anything – the promise of the House/Cuddy romance was made clear at the end of last season, and the show wastes no time picking up right where it left off (I mean, literally – House is still covered in grime from the harrowing building collapse of the earlier evening, in the show’s timeline).  House lost a patient, one he tried harder than usual to save, and it was a major blow.  In the closing minutes of the season finale, the audience feared a relapse for House as he rips through a wall to reach some hidden Vicodin.  Thankfully, Lisa Cuddy comes to the rescue, convincing him not to throw it all away.  She’s called off her engagement and declared her undying love and devotion to House.

As the new season opens and the two long time friends lock lips, the viewer is left to wonder…now what?  Funny, that’s exactly what House and Cuddy are wondering too.  So often in television when a relationship is finally forged or consummated it means the beginning of the end.  Interestingly, the episode tackles that issue head on, and may surprise some fans with the results.

House Season 7

Photo Credit : FOX

Hugh Laurie and Lisa Edelstein are to be commended; it could not have been easy to strip down their characters (literally and figuratively) to their naked vulnerabilities.  The episode charts this first day of their relationship, all of the highs and lows, the heady giddy happiness and the frustrating interruptions of that bliss by Wilson, House’s team, Cuddy’s new assistant…basically, anyone who could potentially disrupt their moment.

Their relationship is the focal point of the episode.  The medical mystery – a neurosurgeon who has fallen ill – barely registers for the hour.  I didn’t care how or why the problem was solved, only that the team better not drag House and Cuddy out of their canoodling to deal with it.  There are, however, a few more pointers to story developments for the season.  Olivia Wilde (Thirteen) needed some time off, so she’s here, pretty much just to let us know she’s leaving for awhile.  Her sudden departure is the emotional story for Foreman, Chase and Taub, all of whom are deeply affected by her decision to take a leave of absence.  All three of them want her to stay, and their devotion to their teammate may be annoying to her, but is adorable to us.

This is very much a “fan” episode, but it also lays out the direction of the show, at least in the short term.  If last season was about House’s recovery, this season looks to be about whether he can move past his recovery into actually improving his life.  A key element to that will be his relationship with Cuddy.  The premiere serves up the emotional satisfaction of their coupling, but the success of the duo, long term will very much be an issue this season.  It’s an issue most fans of the show are looking forward to exploring.

House returns Monday September 20 at 8 PM Eastern/Pacific on FOX.