"Broken" Gives New Life To 'House M.D.'

That headline can be both figurative and literal. The season premiere was stuffed to the brim with character development for our favorite cynical asshole, and I can quite easily say it was one of the best episodes of House I have ever seen.

And it is pretty easy to see why within the first fourth of the 2-hour opener. "Broken" definitely forges new ground for the show because it is one of the very few episodes that avoids the show's prestigious formula. Actually, now that I think about it, I think this episode is the first to be completely free of the formulaic structure of the show. Sure, the two part season 4 finale was excellent and the same goes for last season, but they always had elements of the formula incorporated into the episode.

"Broken" is absolutely refreshing because you don't even see most of the regular cast members. Only House's partner in crime, Wilson, makes an appearance but it only lasts for about a minute and it takes place over a phone call. One might worry that because the good old cast is gone that the episode may suffer, but it's actually the opposite: the plot is more focused without the other characters jumping in the limelight. And I would also like to make a note of just how superb the supporting cast of mostly unknowns breathed colorful life into the Mayfield Psychiatric Facility the vicodin-popping doctor called home. Despite having storylines contained within this episode, you do feel strong connections with most of the supporting characters and it's a credit to the show's writing and casting.

However, the most exciting thing about the season 6 premiere was the fact that House actually made progress. The plot was centered around him and we get a 90-minute psychoanalysis of House that is insightful, funny, and altogether fascinating. The recurring theme of pain in the show is not given much of a spotlight. This time, the psychiatrists analyze House's social behavior and conclude he is in fact a social retard with a messiah complex. By the end of "Broken", House himself realizes they were right and he decides to fix his problems. The last scene carried such a heavy emotional weight that was filled with hope and it was really just stunning.

I was honestly worried that this season would get a little gimmicky with the psych facility, and after last year's somewhat exhausted feel I was thinking of avoiding this season if it was more of the same. Fortunately, "Broken" has proven me wrong and has made me a believer in the rest of the season. If you're not watching House M.D. now, you're missing a lot.

Update: The Music Ninja wrote up a blog post about some of the excellent songs from the episode. Click here.


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