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By Pam Glazier · October 6, 2011
I’ve been taking a break from TV for a while, so I was quite surprised to find that the premiere of this season finds good ol’ Doctor Gregory House (Hugh Laurie) in prison blues. Yep, House is in the slammer. And there aren’t any recognizable faces from any of the previous seasons. It was jarring to say the least, but this episode proves that none of those people are actually required. They did a good job n’ all, but when it comes right down to the bare essentials, as long as you’ve got that crack-staff off writers geniusing their way through the seasons with an unforgettable, iconic character, Dr. House is all the House you need.
This season’s premiere episode starts off with House sitting before a parole board. He’s been in jail for 12 months, and because of over-crowding, they’re considering an early release for him. If he can make it five days without messing up, he’ll get released at the end of the week.
Next up we are acclimated to House’s daily grind. He wakes up to his psycho-killer cellmate, Curtis Asofa (Kaleti Williams), taking a crap in the tiny cell’s toilet while angrily staring at him. Then he lines up for the daily drug dispensing. There we find out that house “pays taxes” in the form of one of his daily allotment of Vicodin to the white supremacist gang for protection. On his way back to his cell, Nick (Sebastian Sozzi) says he heard House was a doctor and describes pains he’s having in his joints. House brushes him off, and then finds Rolo (Nate Mooney) in his cell, stealing his stuff. Rolo explains that House in on short-time, he can’t beat up Rolo for stealing, and if he snitches, he’ll get shanked in the showers. House is pissed, but he stands down.
House’s prison job is janitorial work. While he’s picking up the trash in the clinic, he hears Dr. Jessica Adams (Odette Annable) prescribe Ceftriaxone to Nick. House tells her it’s not Ghonorrhea despite her assumptions—“you figure joint pain, plus fever, plus a low lifestyle equals a Ceftriaxone prescription.” He notices slight eye-brow loss and tells Dr. Adams it’s Lupus as he’s rolling his little janitor’s cart out of the clinic.
And there’s where it starts, right in minute six. Will House be able to keep his head down in order to make parole? Will he die for snitching? Will he die for being a jerk to the wrong inmate? Can he cure Nick? Should he cure Nick? Even if he shouldn’t cure Nick, can he stay away from diagnosing him? Because we know, we have absolute certainty, that it’s not Lupus. It’s never freaking Lupus. Nick’s going to get worse and House is going to have to struggle to fix him, but this time everything’s harder because he’s not a highly-respected doctor with a team doing all his labs for him—he’s an inmate, a janitor, he has no power over the patient, he is actively blocked from seeing him, and we find out that House is possibly a dead man once the white supremacist gang informs him that taxes go up when you’re on short-week. So on top of all this, now House has to find a way to steal Vicodin rations as well.
This show is gripping, funny, mildly cathartic—pretty much everything you expect from a good episode of House. Nicely done, Doctor Gregory House. Nicely done indeed!