TV Review: HOUSE 8.1, "Twenty Vicodin"

A title that’s more than just product placement!

rating: 4.5

A title that€™s more than just product placement! When last we saw Greg House (Hugh Laurie), he€™d just rammed his car into Doctor Cuddy€™s home. It turns out that after he did that he fled the country for several months, came back at some point, got a prison sentence and has been inside for almost a full year. Now he€™s faced with the possibility of parole, but only if he can behave himself for five whole days. With anyone else that might be a challenge. For House€? Not surprisingly, he hasn€™t been exactly making friends and influencing people while in prison. He€™s gotten on, or is getting on, the wrong side of a white supremacist, a very large black thug (Mars Crain), and assorted others. Just to make things even more interesting, he€™s unofficially helping out the hospital staff at the prison (where he meets new series regular, Doctor Jessica Adams, played by Odette Annable), making sure the inmates get the correct dosages of their medicine, making deals with a helpful trustee (Jaleel White), and dealing with a psychopathic roommate who is fond of making pets out of insects, killing them, and then hoping House can fix them. This is not a formula for success for our hero, and things get worse when the white supremacists try to extort twenty doses of vicodin from him. While this is going on, he of course finds a medical issue to investigate, involving a patient who appears to have lupus. It€™s never lupus, of course, so suggestions like MRSA and cancer start to come into play. House, simply by listening to the man€™s chest, is able to diagnose a possible tumor, but things get oh so much more complicated when the man stops breathing and House has to perform an emergency tracheotomy with a shank. This was a good episode, and I like Doctor Adams so far. It will be interesting to see how the show uses her over the rest of the season. I also look forward to seeing if there€™s any fallout for how the vicodin incident turned out. I€™m very glad that the producers have decided to show actual consequences for House€™s actions at the end of last season. Ramming his car into Cuddy€™s house is not something that should have been swept under the rug, and I€™m glad that it wasn€™t. It does seem somewhat odd that his prison sentence was what it was, but that does get explained and I liked that. I liked less the overall Oz feel to the prison. House seemed to be in medium security, which doesn€™t make much sense. It€™s far more likely he€™d be in minimum. I understand that this was probably done for reasons of TV, but still. I was also rather unimpressed with the fact that television producers still seem to believe that solitary confinement is a dark room where your food is slipped to you through a slot on the floor. It€™s far more likely he€™d be in a brightly lit room where the lights aren€™t ever turned off and he€™s monitored constantly. Aside from those minor complaints, I liked this episode. I think it was the strongest start they had since the two-part season opener where House was in an asylum. It€™s good to see the character taken down a few pegs and suffering for the choices he€™s made. I don€™t ever want him to be totally destroyed, but watching him get humbled a bit is nice. Next week it looks like he€™s back at the hospital again, thus rendering this episode little more than a side trip, at least so far. We€™ll see what happens in the future.

Chris Swanson is a freelance writer and blogger based in Phoenix, Arizona, where winter happens to other people. His blog is at