Not one but two patients this week on House M.D. And House climbs into the back of a police cruiser once again. More below, but first a spoiler alert: if you haven’t seen “Dead and Buried,” snap up your Akubra hat and watch before reading on.
This week House is eager to take the case of a 4-year-old boy whose kidneys were fried. Only one problem: The boy, Drew, died five years ago. House is simply craving a puzzle to work out. Foreman has none of it: he wants House to take the case of a 14-year-old girl who is actually alive but who has unexplained intermittent anaphylaxis. “Death is a consequence, not a symptom,” argues House. But Foreman orders the Team to take the girl’s case.
At the first DDX, Park becomes House-ish-ly relentless in her probe of why Chase looks so perfectly manicured, his hair and beard trimmed and his tie schoolboy neat. Meantime, Adams and Taub exchange various diagnoses, including one the writers often reach for, pheochromocytoma. But Taub wins House’s approval with a diagnosis of opioid use, which could cause anaphylactic reactions. The girl, Iris, has a clear tox screen, but Chase says an expanded opioid panel might show traces of drug use.
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This week’s red herring is that Iris was opening a birthday gift, a Magic 8 Ball, when she had one of her reactions. Maybe that dyed blue liquid is the cause? No, and there’s another red herring: Iris’ mother admits that she has been secretly dosing her daughter with Valium because the girl has always been “moody.” Maybe the constant benzo use has sickened Iris? No, but House can’t really be bothered because he’s focused on Drew’s case.
Some typical House M.D. hijinks ensue. For instance, House visits Drew’s corpse in his crypt (a nice line from Hugh Laurie delivered to the crypt’s creepy caretaker: “Thank you, Igor”).
But Iris’ case starts to get more interesting when it turns out that a pregnancy test comes up positive even though she claims to be a virgin. House assumes she’s lying and orders an HIV test. And, just to be safe, he orders an MRI. I think the show must be under some kind of contract with MRI makers, since just about every patient goes under the magnets. Or—more likely—the MRI viewing room is just a nice, quiet place for Team banter. This week, we get speculation on whether Chase got a Brazilian on his pubes. Jesse Spencer is awfully cute, but I still went Eww at the discussion. I went audibly Eww when Taub revealed that he had gotten a Brazilian himself and that “it hurts all your bits.”
Later, we discover that Chase has tidied himself because he has landed a role as a Dr. Oz type on a talk show. His segment is called “Doctor Down Under,” for which he wears the aforementioned Akubra hat, one of those bush hats with a side tacked up. Spencer ramps his accent way up for the scene, so much so that I couldn’t make out most of what he said. (Although I bet someone could Tumblr a translation clip.)
In this week’s lunch-line scene, Wilson tries to reason with House about the Drew case, but House merely burps in his face. “Sorry,” says House. “Vicodin repeating on me.” It’s impressive that the writers can still come up with new ways for House to insult his deeply patient best friend.
Back to Iris: her eyes start to go, and at the end another DDX, House orders “MRA for TIA, ROFL.” Translation: magnetic resonance angiography for a possible transient ischemic attack. You know the ROFL part.
House comes to believe that Iris has dissociative identity disorder (formerly known as multiple personality disorder) because her mood changes from teen girl to moody bitch so quickly. (Speaking of moody bitches, I started to miss Amber Volakis deeply during this scene.) Taub explains that the Valium was masking the mental illness, but we get a new symptom soon enough: Iris is bleeding from her vagina. An ectopic pregnancy?
An ultrasound shows that Iris was never pregnant in the first place. A pregnancy test merely shows elevated levels of the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin, which can also be caused by (Final Diagnosis, at least for Iris), a hidden carcinoma.
The A-Ha Moment for Drew comes when Wilson says he’s trying to help House avoid disaster with Foreman—but that for both men, his advice is “falling on deaf ears.” House then realizes that the kid had (Final, Final Diagnosis) Alport syndrome, which can cause both kidney disease and hearing loss. We learned in an earlier scene that the boy’s grandfather was partly deaf; Alport’s is a genetic condition. Still, the symptoms can be treated, so Drew’s surviving brother will live. As House delivers this news, the police come to pick him up: his ankle bracelet has alerted them once again.
House has saved two lives, but Foreman is furious at his brazen disregard for the rules. Foreman tells Wilson that he wants to send House back to prison. Wilson: “Your job is to keep this machine running. It’s your choice to keep House a useful tool or a monkey wrench.” Wilson adds that at least Cuddy managed House despite “knowing what a tool he could be.” Foreman caves and gives House 30 clinic hours as punishment. A better fate than prison, maybe.
My diagnosis: Another place-holding episode with too much Foreman and too little Wilson. Omar Epps simply cannot pull off the role of boss. Lisa Edelstein could play steely, but Epps just seems too sweet. Final diagnosis: C-plus.