So our episode description promises “Foreman and Thirteen’s relationship progresses”. Who knew? That’s right, I did. For like a month now. Also that “Cuddy receives an unexpected gift”. Hmm, given that the episode title is “Joy to the World”, I’m guessing she gets the baby back for at least one episode. The baby’s name was Joy, remember? Get it? Well, enough prognosticating, let’s hit play and see what we see.
We’re backstage with a jazz choir at a private school Christmas pageant. Two Mean Girls are trying to talk your average Overweight Misfit into some kind of prank backstage. In the middle of their song, Misfit Girl starts to sing a line about one of their teachers, gets dizzy and blows chunks all over the footlights.
Someone’s had a few too many sugarplums.
Cuddy reads House and Co. the case. Hallucinations, vomiting, liver failure, and a partridge in a pear tree. House notices that Foreman’s taking a vacation day, but 13 isn’t, then accuses Cuddy of hanging around because she’s interested in him. OK, he actually says Louie’s name instead of his own, but even Louie isn’t fooled. They notice a present for House on the table. House tosses it in the trash and wonders why it didn’t explode. Louie gets it back out and opens it. It’s an old surgery book. House tosses it again anyway. The Houseguests keep bugging him about it and House, who actually looks like his goat is being gotten, changes the subject. “Depending on where this school falls on the Heathers scale,” maybe the Mean Girls drugged her.
Kumar and Chase are interviewing the students. They’ve taken a little field trip to the OR observation room, with no teacher present. Who signed those permission slips? That’s not even the POW down there, but they’re trying to scare the kids into confessing. Kumar asks one of the Mean Girls what she did. She barely looks up from texting. The other Mean Girl says they gave her shrooms, and blames to the boy who gave them to her. Mean Girl #1, a sucker for an accent and raggedy sideburns, hangs around to bat her eyes at Chase and ask how much trouble she’s in.
Foreman and 13 are doing Sexy Medical Tai Chi in the testing room. I’m sure that’s an official treatment regimen and all, but I bet it’s not as hot when he does it to Tank Girl. Speaking of Tank Girl, 13 asks where she’s been lately. Foreman says she dropped out but he doesn’t know why–he only breaks into the homes of patients whose pants he wants to get into. She leaves him her clipboard and it has a little Post-it thank-you note stuck on it along with a gift certificate to a spa. Looks like a booty call to me, bro.
Or a prescription for Sexual Healing.
Loumar is breaking into a locker (don’t they have teachers for that?) and talking about House’s mysterious gift. They think he’s messing with them–remember Secret Santa from last season? Louie finds a big bottle of painkillers in the POW’s closet, so it seems she’s drugging herself. What, and let the Mean Girls off the hook? Come on, we love to hate on our Mean Girls in America.
Meanwhile, Cuddy is trying to make BFFs with the POW. “High school wasn’t that different when I was there,” she says. That’s because you never left, my dear. Cuddy tells the girl’s parents they have to give her some drug to save her liver, and if she’s on some other drugs, it could kill her, so you know, you better be sure you know your daughter first. Is that Sherilyn Fenn playing the mom? Yes, I cheated and looked at the credits. Because wow. I guess it’s been awhile since Twin Peaks.
The boys ask Wilson about House’s present. He guesses the green wrapping paper correctly, and says it’s from some patient House fell for once upon a time. He’s laying it on way too thick. Sure enough, it’s the gift Wilson gave House last year and House is just messing with them.
The POW is having some sort of problems. I can’t tell what though. Guess I’ll just wait until after the break. They always explain it then. Yep, it’s pulmonary edema. Not that that helps me any. The Houseguests grab Cuddy for a quickie Name That Disease, since they couldn’t find House. House comes in and sends her packing. Louie, of course, thinks the present is from Cuddy, says they should be together and threatens to go talk to her himself. “A love like this needs to fly free.” Now Louie is messing with House. I’m glad he’s finally getting some dialogue for a change. House figures out they asked Wilson about the gift, and gives Louie a yucky assignment as a reward.
House and Wilson go to lunch in the cafeteria. House, miffed that Wilson ruined his prank, tells Wilson to “hang out in the video store and tell everyone Kevin Spacey is Keyser Soze. BTW, t hat ending really made no sense at all.” Nice Bryan Singer shoutout. The Usual Suspects is one of my favorite movies EVAR. Wilson needles House about being lonely. This scene is required in every holiday episode of House. If he was nicer, says Wilson, he might get real presents at Christmas. Maybe it sunk in this time, though. House looks pensive and says he has to stop being such a jerk, and Wilson almost believes him–until House steals his ice cream sandwich and walks out.
Oh just say it. Bah humbug.
13 goes to visit Tank Girl at home, and asks why she dropped out of the test. It turns out the drugs made her nauseous, and she didn’t like Foreman because he was too tough on her. I hope this arc keeps going awhile for Lori Petty’s sake. The Emmys love sick characters.
Louie is back from his yucky assignment, which was to do an anal swab on a homeless guy at a soup kitchen where the POW volunteered. The guy had tuberculosis. Wait, I thought the test for that was to stick you in the arm with a little needle and wait a week. Someone pulled something out of their butt there, anyway. But I’m over it, because House is on his way down to the clinic. Score! I’m telling you, House in the clinic is what this show has been missing the last couple of seasons. Thanks for the early Christmas present, writers! House limps in to see a young woman and he’s actually trying to be nice to her. Probably helps that the girl (since we don’t know her name, let’s just call her, oh I don’t know… Mary?) is cute as a button. What doesn’t help is that she’s dumb. Real dumb. H says she’s pregnant. Can’t be, says Mary, she’s a virgin and so is her fiance. “I believe him,” says House. Mary wants to know if you can catch pregnancy from a toilet seat. Dr. Nice Guy lasted all of 2 minutes. “I was doing so well.”
While House was goofing around playing nice, the POW had a seizure. Her liver is failing and she needs a transplant. House wants to know why Cuddy is so interested in the POW, and thinks she’s practicing the maternal thing. You know, from the baby she tried to adopt but no one has mentioned in a month? Kumar proposes a mold allergy or fungal infection from the shrooms she ate. Eww.
Foreman thanks 13 for the gift. I didn’t peg him for the metro type, but his head sure is looking nice and shiny and exfoliated. 13, immune to Foreman’s freshly-primped charm, accuses him of being insensitive to Tank Girl and her nausea. It’s 13′s turn to play Doctor Obvious this episode, so she points out that Foreman is starting to act like House. “Seeing the ghost of your Christmas future is tough,” quips Foreman, but lines like that only prove she’s right.
The clinic POW, um, I mean Mary, brings her fiance in to see House. He’s just as dumb as she is. This should be fun. House accuses Mary of cheating on Joseph. Joseph demands a paternity test.
The POW is doing homework, which makes her feel better. Simon, the jock kid who gave her the shrooms (whoever heard of a jock named Simon?) brought her her school stuff. Kumar is suspicious that another prank is going down. He gets all Scared Straight on the jock and Louie tells him to ease up. So it looks like Kumar’s bonding with another patient because she’s a bullied nerd like he was. Wow, Kumar is regular box of chocolate stereotypes. Simon the jock says he used to be friends with the POW, but he got popular and she didn’t. He also says she used to drink a lot, and he scored vodka for her. Cuddy confronts the POW about her drinking. She says she’s been sober for six months. Cuddy tries to play the “I’m just like you” card again, but gets sidetracked into reminiscing about the baby she almost forgot.
House is seeing someone else down in the clinic and trying to be nice again. This woman has asthma and he asks if she’s using her inhaler right. “Do I look like an idiot?” she asks. House squirms. He asks her to show him how she uses the inhaler, and she squirts it on her neck like perfume. Cut to the idiot storming out of the clinic muttering “Jerk.”
Yep, I’ve missed the clinic.
House tells Cuddy to start the POW on some drug to treat alcoholism. The drug also works on seizures, so the parents don’t need to know that their daughter is a lush. House goes to Mary and Joseph with the paternity test results. He looks mystified, tells them not to leave, and walks back out.
Foreman is in his testing office poring over Tank Girl’s file. The woman running the test with him tells Foreman that patients are just numbers and he shouldn’t get attached. (I’m going to hazard a guess that she works for the Big Evil Drug Company.) That’s why she hired him, because he works for a boss (House) who doesn’t care about patients. Bah, humbug.
Meanwhile, we’re over the halfway mark, so someone’s probably crashing right about now. Yep, it’s the POW.
House returns to the clinic six hours later. Joseph isn’t the father, but no one else is either. House announces a Virgin Birth as bells ring. Leave it to House, though, to take all the fun away by coming up with a scientific explanation. During Name That Disease, House wants to talk about the Mary case, but the POW is going through alcohol withdrawal. Her test results indicate… she’s dying of leukemia. Yes, leukemia again. Cuddy begs House to start the treatment NOW NOW NOW, instead of testing to confirm it first. Wilson thinks the girl is too far gone to treat. Is Wilson taking House’s side against Cuddy for once? Shocking.
Foreman goes to visit Tank Girl. He tells her they’re doing another trial with a lower dose, so the nausea she complained about won’t be an issue and she can come back to the testing. Dude, you caved way too easy.
Cuddy, heart on sleeve, comes to House with a sleigh-load of desperation diagnoses for the POW. Like “microangiopathic vasculitis”. I’m not kidding. House thinks she’s too involved. He finds a present on his desk, from Mary the clinic POW. He tells Cuddy about the case, and says he faked the paternity test results because Mary cheated on Joseph. Aww, too bad. House tosses the present to Wilson. “I win.” But you cheated! It doesn’t count if you had to lie to them. Cuddy says House is confusing kindness and cruelty, and she has a point, but more importantly she has a lightbulb. The POW has eclampsia, which if I’m not mistaken is pregnancy-related. Sneaky, sneaky. “Which means we don’t have one dead patient,” declares House, “we have two.” Yaaaaaaah!! Cue theme song by The Who. All we’re missing is David Caruso and his sunglasses.
Cuddy breaks the news to the POW and family. The girl is dying of eclampsia, which means she WAS pregnant. She quit drinking for the baby, hid her tummy under loose clothes, etc. She had the baby three weeks ago in a vacant house down the street from the homeless shelter, the baby wasn’t breathing, so she left it for dead under her coat. So that’s why there’s a homeless shelter. OK, raise your eggnog if you know where this is going.
Emmy face reduxified.
Where it’s going is to said empty house, with Cuddy. Surprise! The house is NOT empty, but cozily occupied by a couple of squatters, male and female, who are–brace yourselves–taking care of a three-week-old baby. Cuddy gets them to give the baby up, way too easy. She takes her back to the POW and parents, practicing her motherly walk along the way. Simon the jock is the baby daddy, of course. He comes to visit, and Kumar gives him the “you have earned my respect, young apprentice” nod.
Kumar goes down to the work Christmas party, where Camerase is anxiously awaiting the outcome. And where have they been the whole episode that they’re so concerned about this case? Kumar says the girl has a couple of days to live at most, so hmm, what are they going to do with the baby? Oh, I know! Could it be… Cuddy, who is doting on the baby in an otherwise empty nursery. Bzzzt, try again. We had a baby just before Christmas, and she was stuck in the special care nursery for ten days, and there were a dozen other babies around. They don’t just let them go home for the holidays, ya know. Cuddy tells House the grandparents don’t want to keep the baby because it would be too painful. Uh uh, not buying it. They’ve just seen their dying daughter hold her daughter and they want no part of it? Too convenient by half. Cuddy has already talked to a lawyer before the grandparents can change their mind and screw her over again. “Merry Christmas, Cuddy,” says House and walks out alone before he can change his mind and strangle the baby out of jealousy.
Kumar is walking up to an apartment, because apparently we don’t have enough subplots in the air already. Anyway, a short guy answers the door, and Kumar apologizes for picking on him in high school. OK, OK, you guys got me with the twisty thing again. Kumar wasn’t the nerd in high school, he was the jock. I’ll give the writers half a point for that. But -1 for bringing that up in the first ten minutes and then dropping it until the very end was kind of annoying.
13 tells Foreman that she heard Tank Girl is back in the program. It’s his Christmas present to her. She says he isn’t House after all. Aw gee, look at the time. They should go down to the party. Or they could just stay up here all cozy by the Christmas tree and snog. Yeah, let’s go with option 2.
What, no mistletoe?
What a sweet ending. Well, except for the poor girl who’s dying at Christmas. Remember her? Never in the history of House has a POW kicked the bucket with so much good cheer. I admit that the baby storyline tugged at the old heartstrings a little, right up until it was obvious that the baby was still alive. Then my inner cynic kicked my inner grandma to the curb. I thought the virgin birth red herring was nifty and I’m kind of surprised it hasn’t come up before now. It would’ve made a good main plot. I enjoyed House trying to play nice and I LOVED the resurrection of the clinic.
So anyway, let’s check the predictions!
- Foreteen: Check.
- Huddy: Didn’t predict anything, got nothing. Check.
- Cuddy + Baby (Buddy?): Check (so it was a different baby, ah, who cares, she got what she wanted, right?)
Main gripe: I know all these ensemble shows are guilty of this to some degree, but I hate when some subplot just gets dropped on the floor and picked back up when it’s convenient. Cuddy went 4 episodes without showing any sign of grief for the baby she almost adopted–unless you want to make the case that chasing after House was her way of dealing with it, but that’s a stretch. The baby is just there to push the Huddy plot along though, so we’ll see where it goes. But we’ll have to wait a bit–looks like reruns until next year. However! As an early present, Hugh Laurie
is hosting hosted Saturday Night Live this week. I’m TiVO Crappy-Time-Warner-DVRing it right now. If I’d gotten this out at a reasonable time, you’d have known to watch. Sorry about that. If you’re interested, I’ll recap the inevitable House skit to make up for my slackitude.
Happy Holiranahanakwanzafestivmas and see y’z in January!