If it’s the last week in August, it must be time for Universal Studios Home Entertainment to release its latest season of House, M.D. on disc. Season 7 of the FOX series, starring Hugh Laurie in the titular role is available August 30 on Blu-ray and DVD. The newest collection of House episodes includes all 23 episodes from last season and a nice collection of extras, including an in-episode feature exclusive to the Blu-ray release.
Season 7 asks whether the troubled genius diagnostician Dr. Gregory House is capable of sustaining a romantic relationship. The results for House are as mixed as the season for the series is uneven, with many highs both for the doctor and the series—and a few lows (I’m still bothered by “Fall from Grace.”)
It’s always a risk when move characters from unresolved sexual tension—something always in the air between House and his boss, Dean of Medicine Lisa Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein in her final season on the show)—to a full-blown love affair. And in the case of House, whose quest for happiness is an underlying theme of the series, it’s not possible for him to complete this possibly futile quest (if he ever does) so long before the series ends. It’s possible for him to grab happiness in fleeting bits, finding it where he can, but House is a fundamentally unhappy man, afflicted with serious chronic pain issues and a pessimistic attitude toward happiness and life. At the end of Season 6—arguably one of the lowest points in House’s life—Cuddy appears almost miraculously in his apartment, declaring her love—and rescuing him from disaster.
Can House be happy? Is his mistrust of happiness and love so ingrained that he is destined to sabotage (even unconsciously) his new relationship with Cuddy? And Cuddy, herself, doesn’t possess a winning track record in the love department either. And going into the relationship ambivalent and wary isn’t necessarily going to help nurture it. The relationship, lasting the first 15 episodes—and its aftermath—frames Season 7, often taking a back seat to the multitude of diagnostic puzzles and odd ailments.
As the season progresses, House’s preoccupation with Cuddy, the relationship and his fears about it often distract him from the week’s case, leaving the team to take much more of a leadership role. That works enough of the time, but takes House, perhaps too often, out of the case, leaving many viewers to sorely miss the troubled, introspective genius. Especially after House and Cuddy break up, House is distant from the cases as he careens out of control toward the devastating penultimate and finale episodes of Season 7. The finale episode, in fact, sent shockwaves through the online fan community, leaving many wondering if House (and House) simply had gone too far.