Welcome to Dissecting House: a blog dedicated to the television show House MD, where analytical reviews of season 8 episodes are posted weekly.

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Twenty Vicodin

With 'Twenty Vicodin' as the new premiere title came a lot of speculation about the meaning behind the words and the episode content. In my last post I mentioned that Peter Blake (@pkbhouse) invited fans to suggest reasons for the seemingly obvious yet deceivingly vague title. He RTd his favourite guesses on his Twitter page. There were 17 of them. He later posted:


Obviously being the dedicated (and impatient) fans that we are I thought it would be interesting to look at a few of the guesses. So I chose 4 that I thought could provide a solid foundation for the title 'Twenty Vicodin'.

First of all, it has been confirmed now by Hugh Laurie himself that S8 will begin with House behind bars:

Source: TVLine


It's probably not very diplomatic to include my own RTd answer but I wouldn't have suggested it if I didn't actually think it could be a possibility. I know it makes no sense syntactically but you get the picture. 

We find House in jail, he is suffering from withdrawel symptoms after 20 days with no Vicodin. In his desperation he finds a way to access the medicine cabinet in the prison hospital by faking serious symptoms that get him out of his cell. He manages to convince them that he is in so much pain he is about to pass out. They give him the appropriate medication and leave him to recover (because the doctors are well aware that withdrawel is excrutiating, they believe him). He rips the IV out of his arm and manages to break into the cabinet to steal vicodin (because the stronger pain medication will only last so long). He plans to get back into bed and continue his treatment without alerting suspicion. That's when he meets Odette Annable's character who catches him in the act. In order to convince her not to tell anyone he promises to make her part of his team...


I like that in this case 'Twenty Vicodin' is more symbolic: It makes reference to all his most consequential Vicodin abuse with examples that include strong hallucinatory episodes ('Under My Skin' and 'Both Sides Now') in season 5 to 'Bombshells' and 'After Hours'. Pain is a selfish motivator to do anything you can to stop it regardless of whom it harms. It's even worse when Vicodin can no longer cure physical let alone emotional suffering. Everytime he took Vicodin he fractured a part of his future, his addiction led him to alienate even those closest to him. He was almost sent to jail during the Tritter arc (note: it was Cuddy who saved him from his fate then...). The end of his relationship with Cuddy and his emotional shrapnel cut him until he could no longer control his emotions, which led to the last five minutes of 'Moving On'. So in terms of continuity this would also link extremely well to the premiere.


I like the idea of Vicodin being used as a bargaining chip as it's very old school House. The warden will be played by Michael ParĂ©, as reported by TV Line. He will most likely play a prominent role in the episode so it is highly likely that the title is in some part a reference to him. As the most highly renown diagnostician House can ask for whatever he wants if it means that a life will be saved in the process, whether it is orthodox or not. (I wonder what disease he would have?)...Odette Annable's character could be related to the Warden and is the one who begs them to let House save him. House realises she is extremely competent (as well as attractive) and invites her onto the team. 


A slight change to this one. We now know that House will in fact be in jail when S8 begins so hallucination aside it is quite possible that House ODs in Paradise some time after 'Moving On'. The barman notices he has not turned up at the bar that day and enquires about him or someone else finds him, calls the hospital and Odette Annable's character is the one who revives him. They find out who he is and arrest him. Because of his addiction he has built up a resistance and that amount of Vicodin (20) doesn't kill him. Or perhaps he clinically dies for twenty minutes and that is how long it takes to revive him. Whatever happens in his mind during the time he is 'dead' could be part of the time warp.  (I like the Paradise-Purgatory-Hell imagery of this one).

OBSERVATION: Only the text in the pictures belong to the authors themselves. Their (more detailed) views may differ from mine. I simply took their ideas as premeses for mine.

So which, if any, do you think is the closest to the truth? If not, why 'Twenty Vicodin' as the premiere title?

64 days and counting...


  1. I was thinking that if he somehow relives moments that brought him there it would also be a tribute to Cuddy & give her fans some kind of closure, things her last episode was sorely lacking.


  2. That's a very good point. It would work well on so many levels. I only wish we could know sooner.

  3. For me 20 vicodins is the numbers of pills he has on him when he is arrested by the police. When you enter in jail you let your personnal effects, like your watch, shoes etc. and in this case : 20 vicodins.

    I know there is nothing mysterious about that lol


  4. I think the title may actually apply to more than one thing. It often does with [H]ouse, as in it refers to both the main plot and the sub plot, so I'm interested to see whether that applies this time. Thanks for sharing your views. Unfortunately I don't think we'll be getting any more clues!

  5. I really prefer "Dark Matters' to "20 Vicodon" - i flat out think it's a stupid title - I don't have a clue what it means - hopefully House will take 20 vicodin and his addiction will once and for all be OVER - enough is enough - and I hope the man has had enough....