Spoilers for the Christmas in January episode of "House" coming up just as soon as I test-drive an iPhone...
Much like House, I was enjoying the fellowship competition so much that I worried things wouldn't be as exciting once the team had been finalized. And despite his attempt to keep things frictional with the bogus Secret Santa contest, this felt like... well, like a regular episode of "House." That means some funny lines (my favorite actually belonged to Foreman, when noting that lies don't make Taub's life any simpler), a strange clinic patient and the usual six or seven botched diagnoses in a row before hitting on the solution in the closing seconds.
I know some fans missed the old formula and were no doubt glad to be rid of the rose ceremonies and Cutthroat Bitch and the like. I, unfortunately, started zoning out at a few points during the episode (admittedly, after one of my longest work days in a while) and had to keep rewinding to figure out things like what Wilson said to lead House to the solution, or whether the clinic patient was really a hooker who does donkey shows but also feels that old-time religion, or just a nice church-going girl who enjoyed letting House think that she was a hooker who does donkey shows. (That last scene was also worth rewinding and rewatching just for the superb use of the Staple Singers' "Who Took the Merry Out of Christmas?")
So "House" is back to being what it used to be: a well-executed, superbly acted but extremely predictable show. And that's fine. But I already miss the topsy-turvy nature of the competition.
Also, why are Cameron and Chase still on the show, other than the producers' loyalty to those two actors? Foreman's been well-integrated back into the team, but there's barely enough time for Wilson and Cuddy, let alone those two. And should I read anything into the arrangement of that old team/new team tableau in the hospital lobby? Kutner and Chase together is a natural (they're the two suck-ups), but Taub with Cameron and Thirteen with Foreman instead of the other way around? Interesting.
What did everybody else think?