'House' Season 5 Premiere Review: The Doctor is in Top Form
'House' Season 5 Premiere Review: The Doctor is in Top Form
House dared to reinvent itself in its fourth season, but not all fans were happy with the changes made to the series.  Some longtime viewers felt betrayed and upset when old favorites like Cameron and Chase were pushed aside in favor of new characters.  While I wish that Jennifer Morrison and Jesse Spencer were given more to do last year, I thought season 4 of House was fantastic.  Giving House different personalities to play off of brought an interesting new dynamic to the series, and the tragedy that wrapped up the season took the emotional stakes of the show to a whole new level.

In tonight's fifth season premiere, the series dives into the relationship between House and Wilson, whose bromance is on the rocks after Amber's death.

The title of tonight's episode is "Dying Changes Everything," which perfectly sums up the way House and Wilson's relationship has deteriorated since Amber died.  Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) has taken some time off since last season's finale, and when he returns he tells House that he's resigning from his position at Princeton-Plainsboro.  House, of course, thinks that Wilson is being irrational and ridiculous, allowing his grief to influence his decisions.  He insists that "pain fades," but Wilson has made up his mind.  "Nobody at this hospital even liked Amber," he reminds Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein) when she begs him to reconsider.

House is so intent on changing Wilson's mind that he completely loses interest in the patient of the week.  A woman comes in hallucinating ants all over her body, and it's up to the new team to get to the bottom of the mystery.  While struggling to figure out what's wrong with her, Thirteen (Olivia Wilde) has to deal with her Huntington's diagnosis, which House announces to the rest of the team without a second thought.  The idea of staring death in the face isn't something she's equipped to deal with, but she learns a thing or two from the patient about how to deal with mortality.

Fans who were hoping to see an abundance of Chase and Cameron in the premiere won't be satisfied with this episode, though Cameron does get a nice scene with Wilson where they bond over dead loved ones.  Other than that minor quibble, "Dying Changes Everything" proves that House is still at the top of its game.  The friendship between Wilson and House has always been one of the most fascinating aspects of the series, and seeing that relationship tested makes for riveting television.  It's easy to see Wilson's point of view, but it's hard not to sympathize with House, who doesn't have the heart to tell his only friend that he needs him to stick around.

"You really don't feel any sense of guilt?" Cuddy asks House after he claims he has no reason to apologize over Amber's death.  She tells him to open up and dare to be vulnerable with Wilson, and even tries couples counseling, but House would rather manipulate his friend instead of talking to him.  Dr. House remains a total bastard, but thanks to Hugh Laurie's brilliant performance that bastard is wonderfully likable.

- Don Williams, BuddyTV Staff Writer
(Image courtesy of FOX)

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