Let’s just get this out of the way first: I was totally caught off guard by this episode of House. No spoilers were out there. Not even the typical “This week, Someone Dies! Really! We Swear! SO UNEXPECTED!” It’s not even sweeps! It took guts to pull that off. Now Kal Penn is dead and America has lost a stellar young talent. What a trage-what’s that? Kal Penn isn’t dead? Are you sure? I went and visited this page and left a note saying how much I loved him in Guantanamo Bay and everything! You say Kal just traded one House for a bigger House? Fox wouldn’t milk a touchy subject like suicide for web traffic, would they? Well, now that you mention it, it does seem a little
contrived sudden to kill off a main character, especially after I came out last week and said nobody was ever leaving the show and all. So what the Fox?
But more to come on that. A couple of other things happened this week too. Hey, did you notice Meat Loaf was guest starring? I didn’t think you did. He’s the big guy dying in the bed there:
Baby don’t be sad.
And here’s his doting wife, played by the fantastic Colleen Camp:
If the name doesn’t ring a bell, turn in your I Love the 80s fan club card, because back then she looked like this:
We’ll always have Paris.
All Meat Loaf’s friends are coming by to say goodbye one last time and tell him how awesome he was in Fight Club. He tells his wife how much he wished he had taken her to Rio before he died, and she gets all choked up.
In a not-so-good way.
Back at HQ, House wants to know why they are bothering with this woman since her weight is obviously causing her breathing problems. And where’s Kumar, anyway? Louie says he’s home with a sick dog. The POW wants to go home to tend to her Meat Loaf, who has mysteriously been getting better since she got sick. Louie, trying to save face after last week’s Mos Def scandal, gets the idea to roll Meat Loaf in so they can be together.
And 13 is still giving me the creeps lurking in the background.
Speaking of giving me the creeps, House treats a Little Miss Sunshine down in the clinic doing a pretty good drunk impression. He gives her his coffee and tells her to spit out the mouthwash from now on. “Mommy doesn’t,” she says.
When to spit and when to swallow is something all pageanteers should learn at an early age.
Back upstairs on the Boring Floor, the POW is getting better and Meat Loaf is getting worse again. So where’s Kumar? House is antsy to find someone to fire this week. Before he can polish his axe, it turns out the POW is not getting better after all, and Meat Loaf is doing so well he’s up out of his bed to check on his wife.
Foreman and 13 go next door to the Apartment Set to check on Kumar.
Or is that the Cuddy’s Office Set? The fake brick wall looks familiar.
And then the typical Breaking and Entering scene turns into one from CSI, as 13 finds their pal’s cold body lying in a pool of blood, next to his own gun.
As my favorite new recapper would say: asdlk ;kljlkj ;lkjh ‘l;;lkdsl;ksddhf
Or, as Kyle Broflovski would say, You Bastards!
Yeah, that happened. Kumar out.
In memory of Kutner, someone has put blue gels over all the lights at Princeton Plainsboro. (To show my respect for the fictionally dead, I will refrain from calling him Kumar for the rest of the recap. FOX would approve.) Now let’s take this opportunity to learn how Team Miracle Cure deals with grief, shall we? About like you’d expect. 13, as usual, delivers the PSA: 25% of suicides show no outward signs of depression. House says they just say that to make you feel better for missing the signs. Moral Officer Louie calls Kutner an idiot and wants to get back to the case. Foreman wants to bail on the case because they’re in no shape to solve it. “And the next one too, and the one after that?” House asks. Enter Cuddy, to offer grief counseling and vacation time, and console House personally. (No post-loss nooky yet; I predict next week.) House tells Cuddy that Wilson hasn’t come to talk to him, probably because he thinks House needs some alone time “so I don’t have to keep flicking his wings off my shoulder”. Then we get the best exchange of the week.
CUDDY: Sorry for your loss.
HOUSE: Thanks, but it’s not my loss.
CUDDY: Then I’m sorry you don’t think it is.
While Louie treats the POW (the wife, in case you get confused like me), Foreteen’s off to visit the bereaved parents. House tosses back some Vikes and decides to go with.
Yeah, this’ll end well.
Kutner’s parents admit they are as shocked as the Houseguests. House slowly winds up into this magnificent hot mess of a rant, blaming the parents for forcing an innocent Indian boy into a life of indentured WASPitude, and he does it all without ever raising his voice. I daresay it’s Hugh Laurie’s best acting of the season so far. Foreman finally stops the trainwreck by telling him to GTFO, so he snaps out of his trance and does.
Back at the hospital, Louie tells House he thinks Meat Loaf is better because his concern for his wife has elevated his hormone levels. House is more interested in why Louie isn’t interested in what Kutner’s parents said, but he pays attention to the case long enough to figure out that the POW is faking some symptoms to keep Meat Loaf healthy. When he confronts her, she gets a real attack of something. I think maybe her leg muscles are withering away.
Foreman is back and is tres pissed at House for making a scene in front of the parents. House has been calling all Kutner’s friends trying to find someone who noticed suicidal behavior. Louie, still trying to steal attention back from Kutner, thinks the POW has MS. House’s digging did at least turn up Kutner’s criminal record; namely, that he streaked at a football game once. Cuddy tells him no wonder he’s upset, Kutner was growing into House Jr. “If he thought like me, he would’ve known that living in misery sucks marginally less than dying in it.” I think that’s the most honest House has ever been about himself.
Meanwhile, the POW confesses to 13 that her husband hasn’t always been the affectionate type, and passes out during an MRI. Meat Loaf is confessing the same thing to Louie while having his heart tested, and he wants to do better. Louie says he’s only saying that now that they’re both sick. Meat Loaf’s heart is still on the blink, so at least he won’t be testing Louie’s theory any time soon. Cuddy goes to visit Wilson, who’s been hiding from House, and says that House needs him.
Now gently remove your tampon and go give your buddy a hug.
While Cuddy’s telling Wilson to sack up, Chase works on the POW’s spleen. Did I miss something? How did we get to the spleen? Anyway, whatever it is is messing with her liver too. Chase says he’s got this, and tells Louie to go home and cry.
Wilson finds House snooping around Kutner’s apartment. After dropping a few Wilsonisms like “it’s OK not to be OK”, Wilson suggests they go get wasted and talk about the time Kutner set the OR on fire. Remember that one?
House still can’t find any clues, ergo there must not be any clues to find, ergo Kutner didn’t kill himself, ergo he was murdered, ergo there’s a reason no one says ‘ergo’ in real life. Wilson leaves in disgust.
And then there were two Houseguests. (Two out of three ain’t bad.) Foreman’s taken the day off, and 13 is stunned that he told House and not her. House has been writing up murder motives instead of symptoms on the whiteboard. Louie and 13 show the appropriate amount of disgust. Louie goes to run another test. Now that the POW seems to be dying, she offers to give her heart to her husband, and not in the metaphorical sense.
13 finds Foreman at home having some quality cave time. NO GURLZ ALLOWD. 13 is sniffly, but has apparently read Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, so she’s OK with it. For now. I foresee trouble in weeks ahead when They All Struggle With Grief In Their Own Way. In other Shipper News, Cuddy thinks the case (the medical one, not the alleged murder one) is all that’s keeping House together. This is not good, because right now his patient is on the floor having a seizure. She stabbed herself with the first needle she found, so she could die and give up her heart. She’s still alive, but hosed her liver in the process, so now she needs a transplant. Problem is, they don’t know what her problem is, and the transplant committee won’t give her a liver if she’s just going to die anyway. This is not a problem for House, who is all set to forge a diagnosis, until he gets distracted by a page about Kutner.
(PLOT HOLE OF THE WEEK: Remember Mos Def last week? His liver failed too, right? How come we weren’t scurrying around faking forms and stuff then?)
Instead of telling us what the news was, House goes to ask Cameron for a favor. She says Kutner wasn’t murdered. “Did you deduce that by taking off your sunglasses to the strains of a Who song?” Don’t be jealous, House. Caruso has his shades and you have your cane. If you still had the one with the flames, you’d be about even.
House wants Cameron to talk Meat Loaf into dying and giving his wife his liver. Suicide again? Are they taking ideas from the last Will Smith movie? This is like some twisted O. Henry meets Clive Barker scenario. I can just see the two of them dying on adjacent operating tables as he gets her heart and she gets his liver. Cameron agrees to this, which I totally don’t buy. It’s too 24.
Also, we have to do it without anesthesia and use scissors. We’re Running Out Of Time!!
Meat Loaf signs the consent form for the transplant, but Cameron saw some nodules on his fingers and thinks that means he has something other than lung cancer and he might still live. House doesn’t want to listen, because he’s too busy sulking. Kutner’s parents’ killer died a couple of months ago, so he can’t be behind Kutner’s death. Cameron’s been on a hot streak lately, though, and she turns out to be right. Meat Loaf isn’t going off to Paradise By The Dashboard Light anytime soon after all. He’s not at all happy about this turn of events, though, and threatens to get hit by a bus so he can still give up his liver. House wants to go ahead with the transplant if he’s going to be an idiot about it. And by my count we’re up to eight uses of the word ‘idiot’ this episode. You know, ‘nincompoop’ and ‘maroon’ worked pretty well for Bugs Bunny. Maybe you should try them every now and then. 13 refuses to go along with it, but Louie agrees, saying he wants to prevent another pointless death. Let me get this straight: someone committed suicide, so you’re going to help someone else do it too? Louie’s not much good at this ethics stuff without Kutner around. He wheels Meat Loaf into the POW’s room and tattles on him, wrecking the plan. Nice fake there, Lou.
Now it’s time for Last Ditch Diagnoses. Sarcoidosis? Scleroderma? “Either we have all the clues and we’re idiots, or we don’t have all the clues!” House snarls, as worked up as you’ll ever see him get, and you know what’s really on his mind. Nice line reading there, Hugh. Then…
See, the POW said earlier that she visited her sister in Hawaii, but she was lying. She went to Rio instead with another man and came back with some disease. From the sand flies, not the strange. House says she was ready to die for him out of guilt, not love. “You can’t feel that much guilt without love,” says Louie, and he should know, and that line works on so many levels.
They find the POW a liver, but the treatment for Sand Fly Disease didn’t work, so she’s toast. Louie’s going to stay with her instead of going to Kutner’s funeral. What was that you said about guilt there, chief? Cuddy comforts Louie by saying her death will still be meaningful-it gave them time to save Meat Loaf, and now the world can experience the masterpiece that will be Bat Out Of Hell III.
Wilson thinks that the real reason House is obsessed with Kutner’s death is because he thinks he’s losing his superpowers. He sees everything coming, but he didn’t see this coming. Nah, it’s probably just a solar eclipse. That would also explain the dim cold lighting.
Now it’s time for the super-size closing sequence, at Kutner’s funeral. You know, usually they pick pretty good songs for this, but I’m totally not feeling this one. The lyrics are good, but the Eurotrash drum loop ain’t working here. “Bittersweet Symphony” not indie enough for y’all? Anyway. Foreman and 13 reunite and hold hands, and she’s wearing that bracelet again. Meat Loaf kisses his wife goodbye while Louie bawls his eyes out in the hall, and the entire cast assembles for a cremation photo. The best shot is House looking through old photos of Kutner smiling and goofing around, then he finds one of Kutner in a pensive, Thinker sort of pose. (Except with clothes on.) The camera pulls back to show House in the same pose and expression. Ooooh.
Another generations’s stoner hero goes Up In Smoke.
And then we are treated to a Suicide Hotline PSA. How Very Special.
So, that’s it for Kumar, I guess. Unlike that other show, on House, Dead Is Dead. And of course, they killed off the WRONG main character. If you held a gun to my head (har har) and made me pick my favorite 2.0 Houseguest, it would have been Kutner. Be careful what you wish for, I guess. If you have to write somebody out of the show though, that was a good way to go. My only gripe is that, in a show chock-full of sneaky one-liner Easter eggs, they should have given us a clue or two. Some have said that they were faking us out by setting up Taub for a suicide attempt instead. And yeah, I know their whole point was that sometimes you don’t see it coming. But it still feels a little bit like cheating. Oh, also it would’ve been nice to not even have a POW this time. Let House’s snooping around Kutner’s death be the Case of the Week. Did we really need to squeeze in a POW plotline, especially with big actors like Meat Loaf and Colleen Camp? If I was Mr. Loaf, I’d be ticked that I ended up playing second to a major character’s death. But that’s just me. Anyway, two good episodes back to back! My hopes are up for the rest of the season, especially with one less character to worry about. Best of luck to Kal in the future!