I really couldn't resist that post title.
So I finally caught up on the season opener of House last night (though that's all I watched) and I really enjoyed it. As I expected, this episode was House only - the rest of the regulars got the week of...well, except for Wilson who had one brief phone call scene with House - and that was a good thing. It's not that I don't like everyone else on the show, it's just that I dislike Foreman and Thirteen so much that I'd rather see no one than have to put up with them.
But the absence of my two least favorite characters turned out to be the smallest part of what made the episode so terrific. The guest stars and the complexity of the personality changes in House were where it really shined. In particular, Andre Braugher and Franka Potente were phenomenal.
I won't go through the whole plot because I can sum it up thus: House has issues and while getting off vicodin was a good first step in conquering them, his new psychiatrist (Andre Braugher) isn't about to let him practice medicine again until he's absolutely sure that House is capable of behaving like a normal human being. I know what you're thinking - "but House isn't normal!" I know, which is what makes it so freaking awesome.
He's not just dealing with his latest manifestations of crazy but of his life-long anti-social personality disorder and inability to connect with other people on a human level. At the end of the episode, House actually does learn to care about people other than himself; to be a good friend just for the sake of being a friend and not strictly for the purposes of messing with someone else's head; and to care deeply for, help and refrain from making fun of quite a few people that the old House would have driven to the verge of suicide and then pushed over just for shits and giggles. So he's discharged from the loony bin and sent home with a letter from his shrink encouraging the New Jersey Medical Board to reinstate his license to practice medicine again.
The truly remarkable thing is that he didn't bullshit his way out of it. He really did change to become a happier, nicer person. And he really is off of the vicodin. I can't wait to see how the new House interacts with his staff, his peers, Cuddy, Wilson and his patience with all this new sincerity and human emotion taking over!