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What an incredible episode of House. It played more like a two-hour movies than the season six premiere.
We'll do our best to hit all the important notes during this recap, but we can't possibly do the installment - and Hugh Laurie's incredible performance - justice...
The episode opens on House in the mental asylum where Wilson dropped him off to close last season. In a quick sequence, we see our favorite doctor taking pills, writhing in pain and screaming for help. But when the montage ends, House seems calm and on the mend.
He tells the facility's head doctor, Dr. Nolan (played brilliantly by Andrew Braugher) that he's ready to go home and can leave whenever he wants because he's there on a voluntary basis. Nolan acknowledges that fact, but also reminds House that being free of his Vicotin addiction isn't enough. He's been troubled for a long time, and it came out following the deaths of Amber, his father and then Kutner.
Nolan says he won't make the call necessary to reinstate House's medical license unless the doctor truly commits to self-improvement. At this, House agrees... in the only way he can: he spends most of the opening hour trying to cause so many problems that the hospital will just dismiss him in order to be free of the nuisance.
But Nolan is a smart, stubborn man. He sees through House's schemes, one of which involves a call to Wilson - the only other main character featured during the two hours - in order to try and blackmail Nolan. But Wilson has already heard from the man in charge and won't play his friend's games.
After bonding with his roommate Alvie - also played brilliantly by Broadway star Lin-Manuel Miranda - via his plots and his schemes, House finally wants to change. This decision is spurred on by the fact that, through an attempt to get at Dr. Nolan, House almost kills a fellow patient that believes he can fly and jumps off a parking garage ledge after House helps him believe in his delusion.
As Lyida, guest star Franka Potente also plays a vital role in the rebirth of House. He grows close to this character, who is best friends with a patient. They kiss. They make love. She seems to understand House for who he is and actually cares about him. When she leaves to help take care of her friend elsewhere at the end of the episode, House is crushed - but Nolan is encouraged.
This means House can form meaningful connections. It's also a great sign that he came and spoke to Nolan about it, rather than run away and hide from the pain. As a result, House is set free. He'll return to Princeton Plainsboro next week.
For now, we all need to sit back and appreciate this show, especially its star, both of which were on top of their games this week, accomplishing a type of premiere that no other series on TV could pull off.