HOUSE, M.D.: SEASON 8 - Blu-ray review

"House" may not be as strong as it was in the early seasons, but it goes out with a bang.

William D. Lee's picture
William
Lee

All good things must come to an end.

So it goes with "House," the long-running drama centering on Dr. Gregory House (Hugh Laurie) comes to a close with its eighth and final season. House isn't cut from the same mold as the warm and cuddly physicians of the past. He doesn't have the friendliest bedside manner, more than likely to prescribe a generous dose of sarcasm with a 100 cc's of condescension.

Much of season 7 was devoted to the tumultuous relationship between House and his boss, Dr. Lisa Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein). To say it ended on a sour note would be an understatement as House drove his car through Cuddy's living room and then fled the country. Season 8 picks up almost a year after those events with House serving the final portion of his prison sentence. However, he is given a conditional release and allowed to once again practice at the Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital. The old stomping grounds have changed drastically in his absence. Cuddy is gone and former whipping boy, Dr. Eric Foreman (Omar Epps) is now the Dean of Medicine and House's superior. Funds for the diagnostics department have been slashed and his only staff member is a meek neurologist named Dr. Chi Park (Charlene Yi). House rebuilds his team as well as his friendship with the long suffering Dr. James Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard). The handsome Dr. Robert Chase (Jesse Spencer) and the philandering Dr. Chris Taub (Peter Jacobson) are back. Though Thirteen (Olivia Wilde) makes a couple appearances, her battle with Huntington's disease precludes a full-time return. Replacing her as the hospital's resident hottie is Jessica Adams (Odette Annable), a doctor House met in the prison infirmary.

While the cast is different, the formula remains the same. Inspired by Sherlock Holmes, series creator David Shore made House every bit as brilliant as he was egotistical. Medicine would be a heck of a lot more fun for House, if not for all those annoying patients. The man is more interested in an intriguing medical mystery than he is in actually helping people. Each episode begins with a patient being admitted with an unknown ailment. House and his team run through various diagnoses. The first two or three guesses turn out to be wrong when the treatments nearly kill the patient. A sudden burst of serendipity leads to House finally cracking the case. Then, they do it all again next week. To be honest, I found the disease of the week plots more compelling than the longer story arcs. The formula may be predictable, but it's like slipping into a well-worn pair of slippers.

Universal has released "House: Season 8" in a 5-disc set. The episodes included are:

-Disc 1-

  • "Twenty Vicodin" – "House" meets "Oz" when the good doctor is forced to survive amongst homicidal maniacs and white supremacists while attempting to treat a convicted drug dealer.
  • "Transplant" – House returns to Princeton-Plainsboro to treat a pair of lungs that are desperately needed by one of Wilson's patients.
  • "Charity Case" – House believes a wealthy philanthropist's unwavering generosity is a symptom of something life threatening.
  • "Risky Business" – Despite some of the staff's feelings, the team must treat a CEO shipping his factory overseas to China.
  • "The Confession" – As a patient's condition worsens, he feels the need to confess to a string of misdeeds that alienates him from the doctors and his own family.


-Disc 2-

  • "Parents" – Terrible family secrets come to light when a young man is rushed to the hospital with partial paralysis.
  • "Dead and Buried" – A 14-year old girl has more than just teenage angst while House looks into an old case involving the death of a 4-year old.
  • "Perils of Paranoia" – A district attorney is admitted to the hospital after suffering a heart attack while questioning a witness. The team finds his extreme paranoia may be a tell-tale symptom.
  • "Better Half" – A patient with early onset Alzheimer's is sent to House after coughing up blood during a clinical trial.
  • "Runaways" – The docs have a tough time helping a teenage runaway who is reluctant to share information about her family background.
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-Disc 3-

  • "Nobody's Fault" – Jeffrey Wright guest-stars as a neurosurgeon investigating House's actions after one of his patients suffers a psychotic break.
  • "Chase" – It's another day in the life of Princeton-Plainsboro as seen through the eyes of Dr. Chase.
  • "Man of the House" – House treats a marriage counselor who collapsed during a seminar while putting on a show for immigration to save his green card wife, Dominika.
  • "Love is Blind" – While House works to avoid his visiting mother, the team treats a blind man suffering from seizures and frequent bleeding.
  • "Blowing the Whistle" – The hospital is under heavy security when they treat a soldier charged with treason for leaking a video of a military massacre.


-Disc 4-

  • "Gut Check" – Chase and Park get to know each other better as the team treat a minor league hockey enforcer with a hormonal imbalance.
  • "We Need the Eggs" – House interviews for a new prostitute while taking on the case of a man shedding tears of blood.
  • "Body and Soul" – The doctors' treatment of a patient is hampered by his superstitious grandfather, who believes the boy is possessed by an evil spirit.
  • "The C-Word" – The team receives help while treating a 6-year old girl in the form of her overprotective mother, an expert in developmental genetics.
  • "Post Mortem" – House goes on a road trip with Chase, which causing problems when a colleague refuses to see any other doctor except House. The episode was directed by guest-star Peter Weller.


-Disc 5-

  • "Holding On" – House deals with Wilson's condition while treating a patient claiming to hear the voice of his deceased brother.
  • "Everybody Dies" – In the series finale, House is visited by the ghosts of his past as he treats a drug addict.


Video:
The video is presented in 1080p with an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. The transfer is clean and practically flawless. Colors are slightly muted, but finer details shine through.

Audio:
The audio is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. With "House" being a dialogue heavy drama, the sound isn't particularly immersive, but it is crystal clear. The most bustling sequences are usually when the patient crashes thanks to the pattering of footsteps and the beeping of the EKG monitor.

Extras:
Unlike previous releases, there are no audio commentaries or pop-up features. The bonus material is confined to Disc 5. They include:

House M.D.: Swan Song (43:40) is a behind-the-scenes retrospective that originally aired before the series finale.

The Doctor Directs: Behind the Scenes with Hugh Laurie (47:13) takes us from the script read to the actual filming of the episode, "The C-Word," directed by Hugh Laurie.

Everybody Dies: A Postmortem (18:41) looks at the making of the final episode.

Film Value:
"House" may not be as strong as it was in the early seasons, but it goes out with a bang. Season 8 rests firmly on the shoulders of Hugh Laurie, who gives a magnetic performance as the eponymous character.

Ratings

Video
9
Audio
8
Extras
4
Film Value
7