To say House’s season seven premiere has been highly anticipated by fans would be a gross understatement.  Since our DVRs stopped recording new House episodes, our Monday nights have been filled with poor summer substitutes and have left us scrambling for old House DVDs.  Or maybe that was just my summer.  Regardless, we open exactly where we left off: House and Cuddy attempting to move past their mutual pain and forward into a relationship that could redefine both of their futures.  This season’s format-breaking episode “Now What?” provides plenty of material for discussion and opens the door to what should be a unique and perhaps sexier season of House.  Each sub-heading of this article is a name of an episode of House from a past season.  House develops major themes throughout its seasons and the past episodes title’s themes coming up again serve to demonstrate this point. 

“Acceptance” (Season 2)

What struck me in this episode was the amount of honesty we saw from Cuddy and House. In the world according to House, everybody lies. But, in this episode, House and Cuddy proved that the truth is a powerful tool, except in the case of House keeping Cuddy’s hospital trouble to himself. 

Cuddy has never been this talkative, nor as honest as she was in the whole history of this series.  As soon as she said those three magic words, every wall they had built around each other came crashing down.  Their acceptance of one another’s vulnerabilities was beautiful to watch and I felt like I was witness to real intimacy.  Very little music throughout the episode and noises like bed creaks also helped to create intimate moments.  It was almost unnerving to see both of them talk like human beings, having real conversations while they sussed out what their lives might be like from here on out.  Of course, House’s motto does hold true for Thirteen, who left without telling anyone the truth about where she was going.  This begs the question: have we ever known Thirteen? 

“Lucky Thirteen”/”Wilson”/”Known Unknowns” (Seasons 5 and 6)

Wilson’s consistent worrying and his grand comic entrance are worth noting.  Only House could do such an amazing job humiliating Wilson even further by pulling him into the kitchen on a cart.  Surely, Wilson’s anxieties where House is concerned will be a theme throughout the season, especially with Wilson in a relationship as well.  A little trust from Wilson would be nice, but his skepticism keeps him in character.  As far as Thirteen is concerned, I’m sorry to see her go.  Each goodbye Thirteen had with the team members was valuable, especially her and Foreman’s.  It was nice to see Foreman’s caring side make an appearance.  A close second was her and Chase’s goodbye.  Who wanted her to say yes?  Not me!  Glad they kept it open.

“Words and Deeds”  (Season 3)

Much of this episode was devoted to determining the worth of actions over words.  Right from the hand-holding start, Cuddy undresses House, nursing his wounds to another classical string piece (similar to the end of “Help Me”).  Did anyone else think of a nurse helping a wounded soldier?  

House is a bit resistant, clearly not used to being cared for in this way.  When she goes for his scar, the one part of him that he rarely exposes to anyone, especially someone who he may have held partially responsible, he’s clearly uncomfortable until she tells him she loves him, and then kisses it gently, demonstrating that she loves all parts of him.  Meaningful words led to the meaningful action.  

Cuddy wants to know why House didn’t return her “I love you.”  House claims words don’t mean as much as actions.  But can’t words be considered actions?  In the last few minutes, House realizes that Cuddy’s words to him moved him which bring him to tell her that he loves her.  Nice shot of them holding hands again.  Full circle now.  Perhaps words and deeds are on more equal footing after this episode.

“Both Sides Now” (Season 5)

House is a man with many sides.  His logic and intellect are what he values the most, but where would he be without his creative side?  The side we’ve seen least is his romantic side, so I’m anticipating some viewers protesting that House seems out of character in “Now What?”.  But didn’t House bring Cuddy’s desk back from her mother’s storage?  Didn’t he let Stacy go, telling her that he couldn’t be what she needed?  Wasn’t he the same man that got Cameron a corsage for their date?  All signs point to yes, and House’s bath, while not exactly soothing, his champagne toast, while not exactly safe, and his board game “I lobe you,” all showcased House’s uniquely romantic side. 

As for House’s sexy side, we hadn’t seen much until now (mostly Stacy and Lydia with a touch of Cameron and obviously Cuddy).  FOX really pushed the bar on this episode, showing us plenty of skin.  Some clever, albeit unnatural, arm crossing kept Edelstein’s breasts shielded, but not much else.  And Hugh Laurie didn’t get much of a break in the nudity department either.  Anyone else hear some stomach growling at one point?  Happy accident? Or purposeful to keep the scene real?  Interesting that throughout the episode, Cuddy kept asking for House to cut through his logic and just let things be.  Maybe she was trying to access his more easy-going side?  Might be difficult since it’s doubtful House has accessed it himself lately.

“Don’t Ever Change” (Season 4)

By the end of the episode, it’s clear Cuddy knows House.  We’ve been seeing things through House’s eyes throughout the series.  We know how attentive he is to her menstrual cycle, her dating life, and her “tell.”  But we found out in this episode what Cuddy knows about House.  She remembers things about him that he didn’t realize she would.  And in the last few minutes, she calms his anxieties about his ability to screw up relationships (very Stacy-esque circa season 2).  The whole idea of them being together successfully hinges on Cuddy realizing that House may not change who he is and her unconditional love of who he is in spite of that fact.  He shares this fear and she calms him, telling him convincingly he will always be “the most incredible man she has ever known.”  This scene had me scrambling for the Kleenex!

Ah yes, there was a patient during this episode!  The neurosurgeon, played by character actor George Wyner, provided some much needed comic relief during an intensely personal episode.  I was left with a question that takes us right back to the beginning of this episode.  When the door closed on House and Cuddy, their facial expressions left me wondering what they were really thinking.  First happiness, then concern?  Fear?  Now what, indeed. This episode of House will go down in history as a Huddy classic.  Stay tuned for next week’s “Selfish” where House and Cuddy’s working relationship is tested.

(Photo courtesy of FOX) 

Lisa Palmer

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV