Tonight on “House,” our favorite troubled genius faced a mirror image of his former self in his patient, and may have actually been inspired to be a better person because of it. Emphasis on the “may.” And for those of you holding out hope that last week’s apparent team set-up of Foreman, Chase, Taub and Thirteen would fall through, my condolences.
Patient of the Week: A supergenius working as a delivery guy “because he wants to” suddenly can’t feel his hands and winds up at PPTH, where he explains to the disbelieving team that he simply fell in love with someone who didn’t care if he was smart, and that just being happy is easier than putting his geniusness to work. Well yeah, I’d imagine “just being happy” is easier than a lot of things.
He appears to have TTP, but the supposedly curative splenectomy doesn’t help, and though they find hidden alcohol at his apartment, his liver looks fine, too. The renal failure, though, leads House to call their patient stupid. Or at least, stupider than he should be, because he’s addicted to DXM — cough syrup. Seriously? I thought that was just for middle schoolers too nervous to raid daddy’s liquor cabinet. I’m also very disappointed to learn “robotripping” refers to DXM abuse rather than awesome robot vacations. Taken in high doses, DXM is a “dumb drug.” And taken with one drink per day, it lowers IQ without causing brain damage.
“When my brain was on low, everything didn’t seem so miserable anymore. Life was bearable.” And with that, his poor wife is upset that it wasn’t just her making him happier. Man, it’s gotta suck to know that even with your husband medicinally lowering his IQ, he’s still much smarter than you are. And soon to be infinitely smarter. Patient: “I don’t think I can live without it.” House: “You’d be surprised what you can live without.” And he would know.
And our patient is back to “doodling” about subatomic particles and plasma devices and such in no time. It’s almost frightening. He rants to Foreman as soon as his wife leaves the room that at 91 IQ points lower than him, she’s closer to a gibbon than she is to him, and having sex with her is like an act of bestiality. Harsh. He recognizes that he’s being a jerk, and he wants to want to be with her, but just… can’t. And that’s why you don’t marry someone you fell in love with while high.
He tells House about how he jumped off a building years ago, and got put on painkillers at the hospital which made him feel at peace, rather than isolated and lonely. It’s where he fell in love with his wife. Um, yeah, not the best thing for a recovering genius drug addict to be hearing. House actually gives him a bottle of cough syrup before figuring out that in the fall twelve years ago, the patient broke ribs, damaging his spleen and creating… other spleens. All of which need to be removed to cure TTP. Wow. We really came full circle on this one. And so our man keeps up with the robotripping, and keeps his marriage intact. That’s pretty messed up.
Huddy: House has decided to break up Cuddy and Lucas, simply so he can have a purpose in life, of course. He sees it as a favor: If they’re going to split up anyway, this will just speed things up, which is better for everyone. If they’ll be together forever, his meddling will fall on deaf ears (and, um, other parts), or even strengthen their relationship. He chooses Thanksgiving as the scene of his meddling, where happy, old-timey music plays as Cuddy, Lucas and family laugh and have fun. Someplace else. Because House totally got punked, and drove three hours to a housesitter and a turkey sandwich. Man, even though he had evil intentions, that’s pretty cold. And it looks like Cuddy feels the guilt, just a little.
House breaks into Lucas’s place to drink his liquor and explain how he’s “less wrong” for her than Lucas is. And how Cuddy always used to give him a chance, but he’s used up all of them, is pathetic, and doesn’t deserve her. Finally, after collapsing drunkenly on the floor as Lucas offers to let him sleep it off on his sofa bed, House admits, “I love her.” This apparently pre-planned confession prompts Lucas to break it off with Cuddy, which prompts Cuddy to preemptively break it off with House. Yet House, somehow, declares victory. Because “Her eyes say, ‘How will I ever pay you for that tennis lesson?'” Ha!
When he later asks her out to dinner anyway, Cuddy asks him to just do his job, telling him “it’s not fun anymore.” Aww. It’s fun for us! Stop being so selfish, Cuddy. House buys her tickets to some holiday carnival for her and her kid, “just to be nice,” but she refuses them. Saaaaad. And thus House figures out that she and Lucas didn’t really break up, because she felt too guilty to take the tickets. (And to be fair, I had wondered what kind of a private eye Lucas had been if he didn’t already know House was in love with Cuddy.) House says he accepts that they chose “stay together” rather than “break up,” though I’m not sure I buy it. But hey, maybe this week’s case prompted some soul-searching.
The Team: Cameron went back to Chicago, and there’s “no chance of reconciliation.” Chase insists he has things under control, even as Taub pushes him to come over to Thanksgiving, to talk to someone, and basically to not be Kutner. Thirteen also tries to get him to see a counselor, which truly is an admirable goal. I mean, committing murder and losing your wife can’t be easy on the psyche.
Chase finds a great way to deal, though: When House harangues him for a suggestion, any suggestion, during a differential diagnosis, threatening to call his “ex-better half” for a suggestion, Chase just walks over and punches him in the face. I can see how that would be therapeutic, plus, Chase later claims it was just to get people off his back. House blames it on tripping over an ottoman and declines pressing charges.
In other life-ruining news, Taub’s wife is upset that he’s “40 years old and still doing grunt work,” working for someone who made him miss Thanksgiving dinner. Ruh roh. So he takes a photo of House’s shiner, brings it home, and takes credit for beating House up for abusing his employees. And now, apparently, Taub is irresistible. To her, at least, since I’m assuming I’m not alone in disliking him more every time he speaks.
Odds and Ends/Quotes:
- If painkillers make geniuses feel like part of society, rather than isolated and lonely, I wonder if House’s newly obsessive pursuit of Cuddy is because he’s lonelier than ever and needs an intimate relationship to replace the warm embrace of his vicodin. Could this realization have been the inspiration for his apparent change in attitude towards Cuddy’s relationship at the end of the episode? Maybe he really cares about her, and doesn’t want to mess up her life just because she’s his new vicodin. This doesn’t bode well for Wilson, methinks…
- I can’t decide if this episode was a primer for kids on how to get high with household medications, or a convincing PSA about how robotripping will make you stupid. I gotta say, I think I can guess which half of the lesson kids would absorb more…
- House: “New me is static-guarded and friction-free.”
- Chase to Taub: “I’m going to pretend there’s something interesting over here so you’ll shut up.”
What did you think about the parallels between House and the patient? Has House really turned over a new leaf with Cuddy and Lucas, or is he just biding his time until interfering will get him what he wants?
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Photo credit: FOX