Okay, House, M.D. fans. The House folk are back to work filming the new season, and I’m back from my little hiatus. So let’s get the conversation flowing as we count down to the start of Season 8 (October 3) when House will premiere at a new time (at least for the first half of the season): 9:00 p.m. ET. There are a few spoilers herein (nothing big, since I don’t know very much—and nothing that hasn’t been already reported elsewhere), so if you be a spoilerphobe, then stop reading…now! But be sure to take the poll on the last page.
Most of us mourn the loss of Lisa Edelstein from the House cast and wish her well as she steps into The Good Wife. She will be missed.
From what I’ve heard, there are significant changes afoot on House this season (besides, of course the disappointing loss of Dr. Lisa Cuddy) and there is much secrecy on the set at this point. Of course many of us have heard that House (Hugh Laurie) begins the season in jail, paying the price from the disastrous events of the Season 7 finale. There is also reporting that Season 8 opens a year into the future, and that House’s year in prison is told in flashback. But we shall see.
While in jail, evidently House meets a prison doctor with whom he forms a connection. Played by Odette Annabelle (Brothers and Sisters), the new doc reportedly will be signing on as the newest member of House’s Princeton-Plainsboro diagnostics team as well.
Also joining the team will be another new female physician played by stand up comedienne Charlyne Yi. But if the Diagnostics department seems a bit overstaffed with two new additions, it may be because Oliva Wilde’s film commitment will keep Thirteen on a part-time status during Season 8.
There will clearly be a new dynamic on the diagnostics staff with five or six doctors under House’s command. If, indeed, he has command at all. Once House is freed from prison, will he even have a remote chance of regaining his license? Will he simply be a consultant? Or will he have paid his price and step right back into his old role (and his old ways)? I sincerely hope it’s not quite that easy. (But that’s fodder for my next article, so stay tuned for that.)
The season premiere is entitled “20 Vicodin,” a typically enigmatic title for a House episode. However, as most House episode titles have multiple meanings within the series context, the season premiere title is sure to be a comment upon whatever happens in “20 Vicodin.” Perhaps 20 Vicodin are all House has left in his stockpile. After all, I’m guessing that Wilson isn’t writing prescriptions for him these days, if he’s even speaking to the self-destructive (or should I say self-destructed) House at all. Last we saw, Wilson was nursing a broken arm, having become collateral damage to his friend’s outrage (and outrageous behavior) in “Moving On.”
On the other hand, maybe that’s how many Vicodin House has in his system when he indulges in his supremely irresponsible and incredibly destructive behavior in the Season 7 finale. We actually do not know the charges for which he’s sent to prison (or how he is captured and convicted).
Or maybe House has been rationed 20 Vicodin to use over the course of a week—or a month. At any rate, “20 Vicodin” must have some significance for House, and doubtless for the patient (if there is one in the premiere) as well.
But the big (perhaps the biggest) question on fans’ minds these days is who will named the next Dean of Medicine at Princeton-Plainsboro? Showrunner David Shore is quoted as saying that it’s “someone in House’s orbit.” Now, some may take that to mean a promotion from within the ranks of the series regulars, but I’m not so sure. “Someone we’ve seen before” can include guest physicians (and even physician-patients) from the past seven seasons.
But first let’s consider who’s available from among the likely suspects. A lot of people are thinking it’s going to be Dr. James Wilson, House’s best friend and enabler. After all, he’s on the hospital board, a department head, and he’s very organized and diligent. Personally, I would not like to see Wilson as dean. Going back to the first season, House’s relationship with Wilson has always been voluntary—a relationship of peers. It’s a unique relationship on the series, and to suddenly make Wilson House’s boss would destroy that uniqueness—and strip away House’s only voluntary friendship. But there’s more.