This week of House is brought to you by Episode Formula #4: Doctor Sees Self in Patient. You may remember that we got the same formula in the premiere, to less than stellar results. Does it work this week? Read on!
Playing the Patient: Breckin Meyer, who I really like. Playing the Doctor: Louie. Finally he gets something to do besides sit around and ogle 13. More about him later.
Smoky Spanish music plays. There’s skin and lots of it. Our boy Breckin is an artist, painting a woman nude. She has this cougar thing going, mostly because I needed an excuse to work in the term “cougar” before its 15 minutes of fame are up. Oops, I’m too late. The woman’s husband, a goon of the Vincent D’Onofrio type, watches with his tongue hanging out. He takes one look at the finished painting, and punches Breckin the nose. The portrait’s face is all warped like a Picasso, or that guy from Goonies.
Back at Mission Control, House and his new bromance the private investigator are looking over someone’s diary in the cafeteria. No idea whose. Enter Cuddy, who cuts off the PI’s funding. So we know character development is important this week, because this scene comes before the Name That Disease Game which opens most episodes. We also get the PI’s name: Lucas Douglas. That Random Name Generator I mentioned last week would probably have come up with a better one. Lucas is all googly-eyed over Cuddy. He compliments her shoes, which House correctly points out is an excuse (albeit a gay-sounding one) for checking out her legs. And she’s hardly even showing any skin.
And now, the Name That Disease Game, round 1! Let’s do the short version. Stroke? Nope. Tumor? Maybe. Drugs? 13 thinks so, since he’s an artist, and someone has to play up the stereotype. (You may remember that 13 was against the stereotyping two weeks ago.) House discounts her theory — he doesn’t trust the judgment of anyone who’d pay 12% interest for a car. (Remember this was filmed way back when we still had an economy.) Lucas has been digging up dirt on the Houseguests. Apparently Kumar holds the Guinness world record for crawling. How… random. House didn’t get anything on Louie, but his wife, on the other hand… Louie squirms but doesn’t take the bait, yet. House says to go check Breck’s studio. Kumar points out that House has a detective to do those kinds of things, but that would mean we’d actually see Lucas walking the walk. Sorry, not happening.
13 and Foreman inject a very nervous Breck with a contrast so they can check his brain for tumors. Meanwhile, Kumar and Louie are breaking and entering, checking the studio for scary stuff like lead-based paint. Kumar heckles Louie about his wife. Louise puts up a brave front — “we trust each other” etc — but you can tell he’s using up his meager reserves of backbone in a hurry. Oops, did I call him Louise? Let’s roll with that.
Now it’s time for Name That Disease, round 2: Rule Out Cancer and MS. NOW House thinks it’s drugs. He wants a brain sample, but 13 says Breck will never go for it. He’s too skittish. House gets a mini-lightbulb and asks 13 if Breck’s girlfriend is hot. “Very,” she blurts. I bet every week after the show airs, Olivia Wilde dials up her agent demanding a role as a nun (but not a repressed hot bisexual nun, please). Sorry, babe, after the OC gig, and with a name like Wilde, you’re typecast for life. House charges off to the patient’s room with 13 scurrying after.
“You seem to have a massive brain tumor… We need to cut your head open.”
“Who are you?”
“This is Dr. House. He’s pleased to meet you.” 13 must be the Official Herald to His Curmudgeonliness King House, because this scene repeats itself every time House meets a patient. Anyway, Breck is not terrified of the aforementioned head-cutting, and House thinks it’s because he knows the drugs are causing his symptoms. House deduces that Breck isn’t using your garden-variety starving-artist drugs; instead, he’s a test subject for experimental drugs. Three of them at once. He’s afraid that his girlfriend will find out and dump him. House closes the case.
Louise, out of backbone already, goes to House in secret to find out what Lucas dug up on Louise’s wife. House says she has a secret bank account that she’s sneaking money into. Louise claims to know about it, but he’s a terrible liar. Meanwhile, Breck is having a seizure just in time to avoid being discharged. Whew, that was close. We almost ended the episode right there.
Why the long face?
Normally we would do Name That Disease Round 3 here, but let’s switch it up and do Name That Experimental Drug instead. These drugs don’t have names, so House names them after the Houseguests. Bisexadrine, Cuckoldisol and I didn’t catch the one named after Kumar. Kumar thinks it’s funny, though, so moving on. House says to put Breck on dialysis to clean the drugs out of his blood.
Breck worries about how to explain the dialysis to his girlfriend as Louise looks pensive, obviously thinking along similar lines. 13 figures out that Louise didn’t know about the stash of cash. He says marriage is not a happily-ever-after thing, but theirs is great and he’s not going to confront her about it. He does, however, confront House and tell him to butt out of his personal life. Seeing him try to stand up to House is amusing; he’s the Chicken Hawk to House’s Foghorn Leghorn. He’s also asking for advice in a roundabout way. House says his advice doesn’t matter, because he knows exactly what Louise is going to do: tell his wife that he’s in the wrong, and beg her forgiveness for whatever he did to cause the affair. Louise returns his borrowed spine to… wait, who did he get that from? No one on this show has any, other than House. And Amber, but you saw where that got her.
House is talking to Lucas on some sort of spy radio. Lucas heard the whole exchange with Louise. House appears to be talking to himself, and this is a great scene because that’s exactly what he’s doing. Lucas is sliding into Wilson’s still-warm seat as House’s conscience. Keep this in mind, because House’s conscience is currently stalking Cuddy. Yep, Lucas is sitting outside Cuddy’s office in a totally discreet, non-creepy trucker hat and jacket and pretending to read a paper. Somehow Cuddy sees through this brilliant disguise. Anyway, in this scene I start to buy Lucas as a character, because he’s just a foil for House. Come to think of it, everyone on this show is a foil for House. I won’t be surprised if the series ends and we find out House is making all this up, “Usual Suspects” style. Who directed that, anyway? That’s right, House exec Bryan Singer.
These Bluetooth headsets just keep getting smaller!
Lucas and House are discussing whether Louise’s marriage difficulties will make him a better or worse employee. Lucas points out that Louise left his last job because it was too hard on his marriage, something House seems to have overlooked.
Meanwhile, Breck (remember him? Patient of the Week?) is swelling up like a beachball. His windpipe is closing up, which calls for Shocking Medical Procedure #12: slit the patient’s throat!
Name That Disease, round 4: House isn’t paying attention, and I can’t say I blame him. He asks the room why someone would pay for a three-year gym membership and only go twice. He doesn’t name any names, but Louise looks at him with alarm. The dialysis worked, which means the drugs didn’t cause the swelling. Could be withdrawal. Put him back on the drugs so we can detox him properly, says House. Or as we say in the software development biz: push the car back up the hill, let it roll back down and see if it crashes into the tree again. Yeah, it doesn’t work for us, either.
Cuddy walks through the lobby outside her office and sees Lucas spying on her again. Oops, it’s not Lucas. She just fell for the Random Guy Wearing My Clothes Trick! The real McCoy is in her office, going through her desk. He says he’s spying on her to learn about her, so he can ask her out. It’s ok, he’s not a creep because he didn’t find out anything personal. Is that like when he was hiding in the ice cream truck, but not spying on children? Lucas sweetens the pot by offering flowers and dirt on House. This works like a charm on Cuddy, despite the fact that the guy looks like a shlub, is invading her privacy, and has no game besides. Yeah, well, Cuddy’s freak magnet is cranked up to full power, and if you couldn’t tell from the wardrobe, she’s just a bit desperate.
Louise and his wife are having dinner in a depressing-looking house. I would so not put the two of them together. He makes up a story about having stumbled across her secret bank account. Surprise! She’s buying him an $83,000 car. Oops.
This beer pairs well with foot.
Back in the fishbowl that passes for a hospital room, Breck is off the drugs and flirting with 13. He pulls her into the bed with him and gets another shot to the nose for his trouble. Dude, you didn’t see her scoping your girlfriend? She’s scheduled to play for the other team this week.
Louise proudly tells House that he confronted his wife, and that the money is for a gift. I understand why he’s bragging. It takes mad skillz to get one’s foot that far into one’s mouth. House, not impressed, continues to push Louise’s buttons.
House arrives home to find Lucas going through his closet. He’s looking for the dirt he promised Cuddy. They’re plotting something. Ah, House is actually using Lucas to get dirt on Cuddy. He says it’s to get leverage at work, but Lucas says they’re both interested in Cuddy and “we’ll see who gets there first”. He’s not that bad a detective if he picked up on the House / Cuddy vibe. No one else on the show has. His stock goes up a couple of points. May the creepiest loser win.
Louise has a heart-to-heart with Breck about keeping secrets from one’s significant other. Louise tries to talk Breck out of coming clean to his girlfriend. But the really important thing in this scene is that 13′s last name gets mentioned. It’s Hadley. I know I’ve heard it before, but it’s so forgettable. Pop quiz: how many Houseguest first names can you name? I mean without IMDB. The only one I know for sure is Cameron’s: it’s Allison. And I’m pretty sure Foreman’s is Eric, because I thought it was funny that two major Fox characters had exactly the same name.
Brothers from different mothers.
While we’re quibbling about names, House and Louise quibble some more about Louise’s marriage, and Breck gets zapped with paddles. Huh, House almost never resorts to a paddling. Not gory enough, I guess. They notice that Breck’s hair is changing color. Was that product placement I just did?
Name That Disease, round 6 (I think… I lost count): I like to call this one the Inappropriate Analogy Round. This week’s analogy involves Pete Best, ex-Beatles drummer. It has something to do with Breck’s heart rate. I’m not sure I follow, but I don’t see a lightbulb face, so we can safely skip it.
Cuddy and Lucas are on a date. Sort of. He shows her a college photo of House… as a cheerleader! For this, I have no words. In exchange, Cuddy lets him ask her three personal questions. What a fantastic date idea. Lucas says that she should have been shocked by the photo, but she wasn’t, so she believes it’s a fake. Which means that she’s smart enough for him, but she also knows House is playing her, so he’s busted. Got all that? If not, go watch the scene in The Princess Bride where Westley matches wits with Vizzini. Same idea, much funnier. Lucas starts to walk out, but pulls a Columbo and stays because she played along with the game — she must be interested in him.
Two strange doctors are talking to Breck. It’s 13 and Louise, but Breck is hallucinating. He confesses to his girlfriend, who looks like Cameron Diaz in a brunette wig. Unless he’s hallucinating her too. He’s only sold two paintings, and is living off the drug money. Louise watches with envy as she forgives him and they have a big moment. Later, Louise is down in a basement, looking through a pile of Breck’s old paintings. Chase (working without the hospital’s one other surgeon for a change) is about to operate on Breck to fix the heart problem they think he has. Or was it a nerve problem? Louise finds one or two wacky paintings in the pile, and calls House stat. Lightbulb.
How House connects the dots here is beyond me. See, every other month Breck gets the symptoms because… he has a bezoar in his stomach! If you’ve never heard of a bezoar, it’s straight out of Harry Potter. Quick, someone fetch Madame Pomfrey. He’s under a Cruciatus Curse! A shot of Polyjuice Potion will set him right. OK, now that I have that out of my system, let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up. One of the experimental drugs was a stomach acid reducer, which caused undigested food and pills to pile up in Breck’s stomach and sit there like a rock, or a hairball. Sometimes the drugs leak out, which then interact and cause the symptoms. House calls up Chase down in the OR, and has him pull the disgusting thing out.
What the Sorcerer’s Stone should have looked like.
As Breck recovers, Louise asks the girlfriend how she took the news that her starving artist was selling out to Big Drugs. Before she can answer, his wife shows up with the key to the new car. It’s a convertible Porsche that I can totally not see Louise driving. He’s very quiet, and then he drops the bomb: “We need to talk.” But the scene is over before we can find out why.
You gotta fast car. Is it fast enough so I can get away?
Lucas is playing jazz on House’s piano. Let me guess, House is going to pick up his guitar and they’ll make beautiful music together. Barf. The private eye says Cuddy saw through their scam, and he also found out that the cheerleader photo is genuine. “There was a girl,” is House’s excuse. House also wanted to find out if Cuddy could see him in a different light, and she didn’t. Ouch. Lucas asks if House wants him to back off. They play something that sounds like the theme from a cheesy ’80s TV show. Something by Stephen J. Cannell, maybe.
Simon & Simon & Garfunkel
For me, this was the best episode of the season so far. Not much drama, but good character stuff. I warmed up to Lucas a little. Sure, he has the stalker thing going, but if it works for Cuddy, why not? He also seems to get House, more than Wilson ever did. I still don’t think he’s really in House’s league, though. It was also good to see
Louise Taub get some face time — he hasn’t done much of anything since he came on the show. What’s his secret, anyway? And did House know about it all along? I’m guessing yes. And… what’s House going to do when Lucas gets to Roxanne — I mean Cuddy — first?
Until next week!