Let’s get right to it, huh? I thought last week was sort of an average episode, the typical “name that disease” formula. This show can certainly do better. Maybe this week?
We open on two women playing tennis. The sweat and hair are flying but I don’t hear any squealing or grunting. I thought that was required in today’s women’s tennis. One player clutches her chest and wipes out. Cut to a construction site where a shipping container is dangling in the air from a crane, and drops to the ground. They open the door of the crane’s cab. Out falls the operator, unconscious. And so on. The random victims also include a boxer and a tuba player. Looks like the Houseguests are going to be busy this week.
13 bursts into a lecture hall — it looks like the same one where House auditioned his new Houseguests last season — and disrupts the class. Hey, maybe she’ll be stuck in detention this whole episode… Nope, she’s saving the teacher of the class from a similar fate. The teacher had a cornea transplant, and everyone who received a transplant from the same donor is dead or dying. DUN DUN DUN. Theme plays.
I believe you’re in my chair.
And we’re back. Five seasons and I still have trouble remembering that House doesn’t go to commercial after the opening theme. So I do the fast-forward-oops-too-far-rewind dance every week.
This week’s orientation takes place in the morgue. We learn that everyone who got a transplant from this one donor is dead (well, except for the Patient of the Week and the old guy sharing a room with her), but the causes of death are all unrelated to the organ they had transplanted. One guy got a heart, but his liver failed. Etc. This is the sort of thing that House should be eating up, but instead he’s mooning over Wilson while the Houseguests are brainstorming.
Was the problem transmitted in the donor’s blood? No, the Patient of the Week (henceforth known as POW, since they almost never have names) got a cornea, and there’s no blood there. OK, maybe it’s autoimmune. That’s the other thing they always throw out in addition to sarcoidosis and cancer.
“Or maybe it’s cancer.” Bwahaha. Considering that the title of this episode is “Not Cancer” (which is probably an inside joke, since they’re always saying it’s not cancer), I’m going to predict that it’s not cancer. Or maybe it is. Isn’t irony awesome? You win either way!
The Houseguests say all the tests were negative for cancer. House disagrees and thinks it is cancer for a change. Gee, now he’ll have an excuse to go talk to his ex, the cancer doctor.
House limps down to the cafeteria and puts his lunch on another doctor’s tab. Yeah, that pickup line always worked for me. He sits down with the guy, tosses back a handful of pills, and chats him up. He’s looking for a new bromance, and I’m smelling a boring subplot.
Do you have any raisins? No? Then how about a date?
Foreman interrupts this awkward scene to tell House that the teacher’s eye is failing. Did House just get blocked?
The POW reads an eye chart. She fails miserably and Foreman breaks it to her with House-like tact: “Sorry, we need to remove your eye.”
Not so fast! House thinks the problem is in her brain, not her eye. “Which means we’re gonna have to remove your whole head.” He rushes at her with a cleaver. Fooled ya! She’s hallucinating. “Hallucination… that’s a brain thing, right?” Oh, House, you slay her.
After the break, the Houseguests are in the doctor’s lounge watching a tape of the dead boxer’s last fight. They’re looking for twitches, dilated pupils, etc. Some dude who’s fixing the coffeemaker puts in his two cents. He’s a private investigator in a lousy disguise. House hired him to look up the dead patients’ history, or so he says. I’ll bet a whole loaf of this monkey bread stuck to my fingers that House has him following Wilson. Hide and watch. Worst of all, this guy is yapping way too much to not be a new regular. I hope I’m wrong, because he’s seriously annoying me.
House and company are still arguing about what killed the boxer as they head back to see POW. Kumar wants to know if they can quit breaking into patients’ houses now that they have a detective to do it for them. House says they’ll have to cut into the brain to know for sure, but it’s risky. So they can do it to the old guy, not the teacher. He’s got one foot in the grave already, so who cares about him? Oh yeah, he has a wife. So she’ll have to sign a consent. POW begs the wife to do it, saying she has a young child. She’s lying, though, and the wife knows it. Drat. Usually the patient is the most likable character in the show, but this one’s stock just tanked. On the bright side, though, we can laugh at the goofy colored electrodes stuck to her head.
While two women are fighting, the old man croaks. What’s Plan B? House says to save the brain.
After the break, the Houseguests run the dead man’s brain through something that looks like a deli slicer. It’s clean (the brain, not the slicer). The Houseguests propose that maybe the organ donor just had a lot of things wrong with him. House scoffs. He’s back to cancer now, because cancer is the only disease that affects everything. Really? What about oh, every other case you’ve had over the last 5 seasons? Foreman says that cancer is just an excuse to go talk to Wilson. Yep, you heard it here 2 pages ago.
You want that on white or wheat?
Kumar spouts more technobabble about a perforated intestine. I think he’s the Scotty of House: The Next Generation. I’m waiting for him to say something about dilithium crystals or a warp core containment breach. And I just got way too nerdy for TVgasm. Now I’ll probably have to go do a couple of Gossip Girl recaps as penance.
Whatever Kumar/Scotty said, it involves a colonoscopy for the second week in a row. The old guy is dead, and they already did one on a young woman last week, so they pick… a four-year-old girl. I had to watch the scene 3 times to figure out that she’s the donor’s illegitimate daughter, and they basically blackmail the girl’s mother into bringing her in for the test. House: Turning major ethics violations into minor plot holes since 2003.
Speaking of doing horrible things to children, House is sitting in an ice cream truck with the private eye, who is on stakeout for another case. He’s peeping through the truck window with a telephoto lens. There are three types of people who hire a detective, says the detective: those who want to be right, those who want to be wrong, and those who are investigating the wrong people. If that was meant to be profound, it went over my head. House is the third type — he really wants to be investigating Wilson instead of his patients. Hey. I called that, too. This episode is more transparent than any of the PI’s stupid disguises. House gets paged right as he’s about to get vulnerable, and bikes back to the hospital as the PI shoos away some kids.
31 flavors of creepy
The kid’s colon isn’t perforated, so the Houseguests are still stumped. (Hold on a second while I setup a hotkey for “the Houseguests are still stumped”.) Kumar/Scotty says that maybe the colon defect doesn’t show up until right before death, so they really need to check the dead man’s colon — but they have to pressurize it first, so any leaks will show up. Raise your barf bag if you think this is going to end well.
I’m not too clear on the details of Kumar’s experiment, but it involves Foreman wrestling a corpse while Kumar does unspeakable things to its rear end. They think they see something, so Kumar turns up the pressure, and bang: Foreman gets spewed with dead man’s poo. Yep, House has just gone where only South Park has gone before.
After the break: the Houseguests are still stumped. (Told you that would come in handy.) House tells them to quit bringing up the same old theories. Then he brings up the same old theory, telling them to start some cancer treatment.
House goes to see the POW. He wants her to sign a consent form to start chemotherapy. He tells her it’s a placebo. Wait, isn’t that backwards? You aren’t supposed to tell them they’re getting a placebo, right? He’s just trying to confuse her. Anyway, she buys it. Congratulations House, you pulled a fast one on a semi-conscious dying patient. She says she used to be an architect, but quit after her cornea transplant, because it didn’t make her life any better. The world is just as ugly now that she can see, she says.
The PI spills the goods on Wilson. (I feel like I should be using gumshoe lingo when I write about him.) Wilson has a new job, is going to grief counseling, and gets visits from Cameron and Cuddy. I was wondering where those two have been for this whole episode. All during this conversation, the private dick is tailing some dame because he’s sweet on her. (See what I mean?) The dame (she’s a hot number, daddy-o) confronts them and stalks off. House gets around to the burning question: “Has he talked about me?” Not once, says the PI, and you can tell he’s twisting the knife a bit. He thinks there are two types of things you ignore: the not-important stuff and the very-important stuff. OK, so he’s one of those people that divides everything into categories. (There are two types of people in the world: those who categorize everything and those who don’t.)
Back at the hospital, the POW is throwing up, so the chemo is working. So it’s cancer, right? House insists that it isn’t cancer. Hold up, didn’t he just think it WAS cancer? I’m lost.
House thinks POW is still dying, even though the chemo seems to be working. The Houseguests make the point that it looks like cancer, walks like cancer, quacks like cancer and it’s getting better with the cancer treatment, so what’s the problem? The Houseguests Are Still Stumped, so it looks like House has no choice but to go see Wilson. Because Wilson will surely welcome him back with open arms.
Sure enough, Wilson looks about as pleased to see House as you might expect. Which is to say that he tries to slam the door in his face. House, always one to pick up on the subtle cues, grabs the door and keeps on talking — and then goes into full-on stalker mode and lets Wilson know he sent the PI to check up on him. Wilson is shocked and indignant, of course, just like every other time House does something antisocial. House points out that they aren’t friends anymore, so he doesn’t to be considerate — not that that stopped him before. Boy, House sure has it bad. Wilson says he’s getting on with his life and shuts the door on House again.
Thus rejected, House goes crawling back to his new fling, the detective.
(Sidebar: Why do so many characters go nameless on this show? I can barely remember the names of any of the Houseguests, and they never name the patients, either. Isn’t there a random name generator or something that the writers could use?)
House says Wilson was his only friend. And seriously House, don’t you know you aren’t supposed to talk to your date about your ex? Anyway, I hope this is just a rebound thing, because I’m not getting the chemistry here. Sure, this guy does weird stuff like spy on people from an ice cream truck, but he’s so not in House’s league. Besides, he’s weird in a boring kind of way. Unlike Wilson, who’s boring in a boring kind of way.
House asks the PI to be his friend, which translated into House-ese comes out something like “shut up”. The detective says, and I quote, “Friends are friends. Customers are customers. Everything else is everything else. If it’s not nothing, it’s nothing.” Which sets off House’s lightbulb face. And like that, poof, he’s gone.
(Sidebar, continued: I guess the writers couldn’t afford a Random Name Generator because they blew their budget on a Random Deep Quote Generator. They’re getting their money’s worth out of that there gadget.)
House goes to see Cuddy, who has been taking the episode off until now. He needs permission to open up the patient’s head and poke around in there. House hits her with his loony theory of the week: the original organ donor had cancer stem cells, which spread around the victims’ bodies until they acted like part of whatever organ they ended up in. I don’t pretend to understand it, but, ok, sure. House’s reasoning is that if the teacher’s eyes were bad, her brain should be trying to compensate for them, but it isn’t. “It’s cancer, but not cancer,” he says, so the chemo won’t work. Nope, still not following. Just distract me with a pretty CGI illustration and I’ll be fine. Cuddy doesn’t give in, of course, because House’s loony theories are never ever right.
Cuddy expects that House will do something to make POW crash so he can do his experiment anyway, so she posts security guards outside the POW’s door. House thinks for awhile and then does the oh-so-obvious thing: he gets the PI to dress up in scrubs and go slip a little something into the patient’s IV. It took him that long to come up with that plan? And how dumb are those security guards, anyway?
So Chase, as one of like two surgeons working in the hospital, gets to open up the patient’s skull. House is watching from the observation deck and talking to the detective. “Hey, that’s the woman whose meds I switched… I could’ve killed her!” OK, welcome aboard, whatever your name is. You’re at least as smart as the rest of the supporting cast. They find the problem, whatever it is (it’s not a toomah) and take it out. “You owe me $5000,” says the detective. And I say House owes me an hour of my time back.
House goes to debrief the patient. Her eyes and head are bandaged. Did they do something to her eyes? I didn’t think so. House says the world isn’t that ugly after all. See, when she said the world still looked ugly after her cornea transplant, she literally meant that the world looked ugly — because the not-a-toomah in her brain was affecting her vision. He unwraps her eyes — ah, they were bandaged for dramatic effect! — and she oohs and aahs as she sees the world as it really is. She tells House he looks sad.
House calls the PI and asks to put him on retainer. I was afraid of that.
So for the second week in a row, the whole episode hinges on a throwaway line from the Patient of the Week. Evs. This episode felt really slow to me. No Cameron, five seconds of Chase’s eyes (the rest of him was behind a surgical mask), one Wilson scene, one Cuddy scene. Not much from the Houseguests either. I thought that was odd after last week’s 13-centric episode. So I’m kinda disappointed; I have to score this one lower than last week.
Did anyone like the new guy, and for the love of Pete, what’s his name, anyway?