Howdy y’all! I swear Fox has been toying with us the last few weeks. House is on, then off, then on again. On means Silly Metaphors and House Bingo. Off means I get to sleep, but my dreams are dark and depressing visions of House being canceled and me getting put on Rock of Love duty. Also, I’m stalking the entire House staff on Twitter and they’re more entertaining during non-hiatus weeks. So I guess it’s a wash. Anyway. This week we’re on, and Mos Def is guest starring as the POW, so let’s roll!
Open on a blurry patient’s-eye view of a hospital ceiling. This is Mos Def not Princeton Plainsboro, because there are no water features in sight. A doctor says the patient is brain dead and is a good heart donor candidate. We hear the POW thinking “But I need my heart! I’m here! I’m right here!” He’s still alive in there, but nobody knows. It’s all like some bad dream! Then he hears a familiar gravelly voice in the next bed. It’s House, and the dream has just become a full-blown nightmare. Except it’s not a dream, and House knows the guy is not brain dead. How does he know that? Well, he’s getting treated for what looks like a scraped elbow after a motorcycle accident in another town. So he’s probably in even more pain than usual, which means his Superpowers of Observation are juiced today. Just think what House could do if he was, say, getting bamboo stuck under his fingernails, or having his jewels zapped with 1.21 gigawatts. He might even figure out the economy for us. Paging Dr. Bauer! The country needs you, stat! House and the Other Doctor argue until House gets the patient to blink his eyes. He has something called Locked In Syndrome.
And if there’s anyone you don’t want to be locked in with…
We’re still inside Def’s head (excuse me sir, do you prefer Mos or Def? And when you and Mr. T get restaurant reservations together, what name do you use?), getting his point of view and his thoughts. This is an awesome idea and would have been even awesomer if that lame Hayden Christensen movie hadn’t done it first. He flashes back to a bike accident. The POW’s real doctor thinks the bike accident caused the, um, locking in, and House thinks the locking in caused the accident. After a little nap, POW Def gets a visit from his wife. She says God will heal him. Really guys, I think God is getting sick of proving Himself to House, let’s let him sit out an episode or two, k?
House is still in the next bed, sneaking a look at Def’s CT scans as the Houseguests (“hot, dark, and darker”, which means no Louie) come to visit and bring him food. He claims he was there to buy a ’57 Les Paul Goldtop, and if you know anything about guitars, you’ve just had a Guitargasm. You probably also know that it’s tough to carry a guitar case on a motorcycle, so I bet we haven’t heard the whole story. They do a little Name That Disease session while Def drools over House’s fries. Kumar wants to get the Other Doctor to order an MRI but House says he’s “too busy teaching him to blink out ‘Kill Me’ in Morse code.” (Remember that creepy Metallica video? I hear the movie it came from was good but I’ve never seen it.) House forges an MRI order form, they put these fancy virtual reality goggles on him, and he starts daydreaming. Let’s call them Convenient Plot Device Goggles, because they let him have some scenes with House. He sits on a beach, with House, with his kids playing in the sand. Meanwhile, the MRI rules out a tumor, and House monologues to the POW about what else could be wrong and why he’s interested in the case. “So many questions… but if you could answer any of them, then you wouldn’t be fascinating.” “You’re a little nuts, aren’t you,” thinks Def. “A little?” we all think. The POW fades out again because the meds Dr. Idiot (first Bingo square!) had him on almost killed him, which is exactly what House hoped would happen. When Def comes back to, he eye-blinks that he wants to ditch Dr. Idiot and have House treat him instead. So, road trip back to Princeton.
They roll the POW into the House of Pain, and it takes him about 5 seconds to notice the kinky animal magnetism between House and Cuddy. We’re still looking through the POW Cam, and this is a really cool idea, because people are going to forget he’s awake and say stuff around him they normally wouldn’t say, and we get to hear what he thinks, which is probably about what we think, so he’s a stand-in for the audience and anyway, writerbabble over. Louie comes running up wondering why he wasn’t invited and House says he changed his mind and he’s still fired. AGAIN? House thinks Louie isn’t motivated to do a good job anymore and he needs to do some brilliant doctoring on this case if he wants his job back. AGAIN?? Next in line to introduce himself to the POW is Wilson, who doubts House’s cover story about the guitar. House told everyone the guitar used to belong to Duane Allman, who died in a motorcycle crash, so House is probably screwing around. Wilson’s theory is that House was going to a pain clinic out of town for more drugs (“You’re on drugs? WHAT??” thinks Def). House blackmails Wilson to keep his mouth shut (“You guys are friends?“)
Louie tells Kumar he doesn’t know if he wants to stay or quit. (“You should have your midlife crisis after I’m better,” thinks Def. See what I mean about audience stand-in?) They see something and run to House. Whatever it is might mean drugs, and they decide to biopsy his brain stem. 13 comes back to change out his catheter, which is a bit of his perspective I could do without (I wasn’t running closed captions but he thinks something like “aaarrrrgh awwww dammit!”). There was blood in his urine, which was what Loumar saw earlier. Def’s wife brings the kids in for a visit, for about ten seconds before a nurse tells them to scram. 13 wipes his eyes because he was crying. Fadeout. Fade back in just long enough for Chase’s eyes to tell him he’s going back under for his brain surgery.
During surgery Def goes back to the beach, where he and House argue about God some more while wearing redonkulous Hawaiian shirts. For the record, Def is on God’s side… for now. He wakes up and Chase has him read a couple of flashcards to make sure they didn’t break his brain while they were in there. He knows the answers, but can’t blink anymore. Oops.
Do I hear the Miami Vice theme?
After the break, we’re out of Def’s head for the first time and we see him just lying there on the bed. I figured they’d have to lose the POW Cam sooner or later or we wouldn’t get to see everyone walking down the hall (Anyone got that on your bingo card?). They try to figure out whether the surgery screwed up his blinking or even if he’s still alive. Louie comes up with the idea of hooking up a computer to Def’s brain so he can talk to them by moving a mouse pointer with his thoughts. Unfortunately for Louie, stealing ideas from ’80s Clint Eastwood movies doesn’t count as brilliant doctoring.
Must… think… in Russian…
Wilson’s still trying to figure out why House was out riding his motorcycle in another town. What, he’s not allowed to go anywhere but back and forth between his apartment and the hospital? I blame Amber. None of House’s alibis has stood up to Wilson’s impeccable sleuthery. House tries again by saying he was going to visit Foreman’s brother in jail. Meanwhile, Louie is monologuing his little heart out to Def, and I don’t know which one I feel more sorry for. Def isn’t listening because he’s busy moving the mouse pointer.
Now if they’d just put Pong on this thing.
Now that the Houseguests can talk to Def again, they ask him where he’s traveled to lately, and his wife says he went to St. Louis. “Could be Missouri malaria, we’ll start treatment,” says House. Then Def says no, meaning he was lying about going to St. Louis. It also means House knew he was lying and made up “Missouri malaria” to get him to tell the truth. House could tell he was lying by an arrow on a screen? Never ever play poker with this guy.
House thinks Def lied about St. Louis because he was cheating on his wife. Def wonders why he would admit he lied about St. Louis but not admit having an affair. Louie wonders the same thing out loud, which makes Def think that he likes Louie more and more, despite the boring monologue. We zoom in through Def’s eye, down to a Google Earth view of town, down to Google Street View, looking for the house he was staying at when he was supposed to be in St. Louis. This episode has had more gadgets than a Bond movie. Now the wife joins House and the POW in Google-land as we find out which friend he was staying with. Loumar is dispatched to the friend’s basement, where they find a bunch of resumes. Apparently Def was cheating on his wife with Monster.com. They follow the paper trail to a battery factory where he moonlighted as a janitor, and there’s poisonous metal dust all over the floor. Score!
Louie waters Def’s eyes since he can’t close them, and you know that metal poisoning isn’t the problem because Louie is all “aren’tcha glad I hooked you up to that computer? I saved both our butts!” Exit Louie, enter Foreman, who complains to Def that 13 never wears the bracelet he bought her. Def is bored out of his mind by Foreman, or at least he would be out of his mind if he had anywhere else to go. Exit Foreman, enter wife, who’s upset about the white lie, but Louie forgot to program “I’m sorry” as one of the answers on the Mind-Reading Computer, so Def is screwed. Meanwhile, Louie is disappointed that his computer trick isn’t enough to get him off House’s naughty list. He admits to House that his job is big and scary and he wants to overcome his fear and make a difference. House says Kumar has done all the work on the case so far, so maybe Louie doesn’t matter at all. Ouch. This is House being a mentor, though, and you know he’s just pushing Louie so he’ll grow. Or something.
If getting fired builds character, why it hasn’t worked the last 17 times?
13 notices that one of Def’s eyes looks ulcery, or maybe lesiony. I get my generic medical terms confused so easily. Which means metal poisoning is out, and infection, or maybe autoimmune is in. Did someone say autoimmune? Bingo square! (Didn’t Dr. Idiot blame infection way back in Act 1?) Cameron comes in to change the dressing on House’s elbow. Really? She’s been out for 3 episodes and the best she can do is change a Band-Aid? Really? She gives House an idea for another test to try, so her job is safe for another week. House goes down to the cafeteria so he can tease Wilson about what he was doing the day of the motorcycle accident. Wilson’s figured out House was lying about visiting Foreman’s brother, so House says he was tracking down Wilson’s new secret crush-his brother’s nurse in the mental hospital. Wilson is really ashamed of this for some reason.
The Houseguests turn Def over on his side to do Cameron’s test. He crashes and ends up back on the beach with House, where God gets another name-check. When Def wakes back up, the Houseguests are arguing with Daddy about what to do next. Kumar figures out that that Def is trying to say “down” instead of “no”, which means his foot is hurting. It’s liver failure! How do we know? Let us explain that with a Silly Analogy. Sinking ship. SOS. Enzymes. Got it? Me neither. Just take House’s word for it that the liver failure damaged Def’s nerves, or maybe his brain, causing the lock-in. So what’s causing the liver failure? More medibabble. The Houseguests are about to do a biopsy, until Kumar notices that 13 WAS wearing her new bracelet, but now she ISN’T, which is more than Foreman noticed. (Def noticed it too, but what else has he got to do?) 13 says she took the bracelet off because she got Def’s pee on it when changing his catheter. Kumar notices she’s sporting a rash where she got peed on, and thinks it’s an infection. Is that a lightbulb over Kumar’s head? Hang on, cuz here we go! Infected rats in friend’s basement -> Def gets rat pee in a paper cut -> Def gets leptospirosis -> liver fails -> Def gets trapped in his own head. Whew! Kumar has got game this week. They treat Def for leptospirosis, and before you know it he’s moving his finger like a champ.
Slow down, cowboy. Carpal tunnel’s a bitch.
(PLOT HOLE ALERT: he has total liver failure, right? Isn’t that sort of a big deal? Doesn’t he need a transplant or something? And if the liver failure caused the lock-in, why does the leptospirosis treatment cure him? Always with the pesky questions, I know. Sorry!)
House visits Loumar in the locker room and asks who had the lightbulb. Louie takes credit for it and leaves, but House knows the truth, of course. Kumar backs him up, but House says hey, if he lied about it that means he cares enough to keep the job. Is “Someone gets fired/rehired” even worth a bingo square at this point? I don’t think so. We’ll make that one the free space. House also gives Kumar props for being the one to actually come up with the idea. Rewind that. House gave someone a genuine compliment? Someone check his meds, that’s not like House at all. To drive the point home, Wilson stole House’s cell phone to figure out where he really went. House was visiting a shrink. Which means-as Wilson’s pointed out at least the last three episodes-that House is coming down with a serious case of Caring What Other People Think. House deletes the shrink’s number and tells Wilson he’s not going back. Wilson says he’ll end up alone and lonely and basically right where he’s always been, and then something awesome happens: the camera switches to House’s point of view and goes all blurry around the edges just like Def’s POW Cam. Wow. Best closing shot EVAR.
This was easily the best episode of the season for me. They really mixed it up. The POW was interesting, the investment was emotional, the POW Cam was a great idea. The Huddy and Foreteen stuff was subtle but still got enough screen time to make the shippers happy. The only downside for me was the Continuing Saga of Who House Is Going To Fire And Rehire This Week. Enough of of that already. The 2.0 Houseguests are here to stay, the 1.0 Houseguests aren’t going anywhere either and we’re stuck with an ensemble drama. Let’s just make the most of it.
So who got a bingo?