“Transplant,” the second episode of the new season of “House,” is definitely less exciting than the season opener. The main reason for this sudden shift is that in this episode the stakes for House are so much lower than when he was in prison and trying to survive the last five days of his sentence. In “Transplant,” the games aren’t nearly as thrilling because there is really nothing to lose.
The episode opens with House still in prison. He has a surprise visitor: the Dean of Medicine from his hospital. No, it’s not Cuddy. She left Princeton-Plainsboro after House ran a car through her dining room. The new Dean of Medicine is none other than Dr. Eric Foreman (Omar Epps), the one employee who has never been totally comfortable with how House operates.
Foreman tells House that he has a unique case and that he has convinced a judge to release House under his supervision. Not wanting to feel the inevitable wrath of Foreman, House kindly refuses at first, but changes his when Foreman informs him that his patient is a pair of lungs in a glass box. Obviously the “cool” factor is too much for House and he accepts.
The lungs came from a young organ donor who died in a motorcycle crash. Vanessa (Liza Snyder), a patient who is dying from emphysema, needs the lungs, but there is something wrong with them and the transplant can’t take place. Dr. Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) is Vanessa’s oncologist and is both pleased that House is on the case (because who else would be able to solve it?) and frustrated that he is back.
Foreman gives House a new office (essentially a broom closet) and a new team: Dr. Chi Park (Charlyne Yi). It’s unclear what happened to Taub, Chase and Thirteen, but apparently Omar Epps was the only cast member who didn’t have other projects in the pipeline. Park is young, lacks confidence and lives with her parents. Essentially she is the antithesis of what House wants or needs.
This episode is pretty light on the medical procedural aspect which is advantageous because the story isn’t that interesting and seems forced. What is interesting is the dance between House and Wilson as they try to find some type of balance with one another. House wants everything to go back to normal while Wilson is furious with House and unwilling to become close with him again.
In the end, House solves the mystery (again, not very engaging), and he and Wilson’s relationship takes the only logical step in the world of “House.” There could have been more power struggle between Foreman and House, but the show has travelled down that road before. It will be interesting to see how Foreman reacts to being everyone’s boss, not just House’s. With any luck, the writers will have a more interesting story and mystery next week.
“House” airs Monday nights on FOX at 9:00 p.m. ET/8:00 p.m. Central.