House: Season 4, Episode 3 Thursday, October 11, 2007Posted by gordonshumway in gordonshumway, House, hugh laurie, unhealthy obsessions.
Tags: episode 3, House, hugh laurie, season 4
This week’s episode, titled “97 Seconds”, opens on a handicapped man in an electric wheelchair waiting at a crosswalk (which I believe was also the name of Primitive Radio Gods’ mid-1990s hit). He tells his service dog that he’s cold and the dog hands him a blanket. The man suggests heading to the ice cream store to check out “the new girl who’s not too fond of buttoning her top button”, which answers my lingering question about whether, um, all of his parts are disabled. It still leaves me curious whether the dog would have to move that into place as well.
The light changes and as the man begins to cross the road, he falls unconscious. The dog barks, trying desperately to wake him. Meanwhile, a young woman is driving her giant SUV toward the crosswalk, paying no attention to anything beyond the radio dial she’s fiddling with. She flips through a number of stations before settling on one playing “Let Me In” by Hot Hot Heat. She glances back up, just in time to slam on her brakes and avoid the still unconscious man, narrowly avoiding a tragedy and disproving the adage that guns don’t kill people, people who listen to indie rock kill people.
Meanwhile, at Princeton-Plainsboro it’s four p.m. and the remaining ten candidates for House’s team are wondering where he is. Just as the bitch that last week I christened “Hayden” is ready to walk out, House bounds in with the case of the man from the crosswalk, a 27 year old with severe ascending muscle weakness. He tells the team to remove their numbers and says that they will try to reach a diagnosis while divided into two teams, men and women.
He splits them into teams based on those with genitals that dangle (The “Confederates”) and those whose genitals are aesthetically pleasing (The “Union”). Anyone who has watched any pornographic film ever should know that neither set falls into that category. Except maybe that one guy from “The Rodfather”. Hayden the Cutthroat Bitch wants to join the Confederates, which makes me think that she may have been born a man.
The teams split and the women try to figure out House first. They assume that he knows what is wrong with the patient, because there is no way he would be reckless enough to turn patient care into a game. Apparently, they did not watch Seasons 1-3. The men write symptoms on a whiteboard, which is the first step in every differential diagnosis. One trip to Staples and you, too, can be on your way to becoming a doctor. Kumar suggests a barrage of tests—actually he uses the terms “brute force” and “gangbang”—which makes me think he has confused Princeton Plainsboro with prison.
Hayden the Cutthroat Bitch goes to the ER to attempt to suck up to Cameron, who is happily dealing with the, um, fallout from a woman who placed a D-battery into her poop chute. Welcome to New Jersey: Where We Make Our Own Fun! Meanwhile, House has a clinic patient who, despite his neck brace and cast, leaps from the exam table and jams a knife into a wall outlet. Seriously, Garden State…don’t you people have board games or something?
The Doctor Formerly Known As #13 hypothesizes that their patient contracted threadworms in Thailand, gives him two antibiotics and tells him that they should do the trick. The patient doesn’t know that it’s only ten minutes into the show so that obviously isn’t the problem.
The Danglers, led by Kumar, come in and demand hair, blood and stool samples. They carry him into the bathroom and I add “jobs that require me to handle other people’s poop” to my list of careers I’m not interested in, right behind “jobs that require me to be respectful” and “jobs that require me to wear pants.” While the teams work, House goes into Cuddy’s office to consult with her breasts.
Cut to New York Mercy Hospital, where Foreman is writing on a white board (see?) and addressing his own team: a guy with floppy hair, a woman, and a minority. As they try to diagnose his patient, Foreman gives tells them all “Great job!” Look everyone! He’s not House!
House is curious what would possess a man to put a knife in an electrical socket, what would make someone attempt suicide in that particular manner. He’s also ignoring Wilson, who is trying in vain to get House’s attention by throwing out observations like “the rain in Spain does not actually fall on the plain”. Wilson cries himself to sleep every night.
Hayden the Conniving Bitch (HTCB) is making another plea to be on the men’s team. She tells them that they will all benefit if the women are out of the competition and that the men “are idiots”; if she can get a job, then so can two of them. Her brilliant treatment idea is called xenodiagnosis, which involves coating the patient with insects that will bite him and then they can check the bugs’ feces. Normally, in order to deal with this much poop, you would have to eat 37 bowls of your own cereal or just one bowl of Whole Wheat Total. In the next, squirm-inducing scene she drops bugs all over the guy, he’s gagging, the dog’s barking—it’s like a very special episode of Trailer Park Medicine.
Regardless, the patient’s choking has gotten worse which prompts the New York Mets to offer him a contract. The women stand by their diagnosis of strongyloides or threadworms, again blaming his trip to Thailand. Just going there is apparently enough to leave you riddled with parasites, which is a small price to pay for discount handbags.
At New York Mercy, Foreman and the United Colors of Benetton have not properly diagnosed their patient either. Her liver is failing, which prompts Foreman to go purchase an additional whiteboard.
House meets with the patient who tried to electrocute himself to find out why he’d make an attempt on his life (and most likely prompt a lot of paperwork for Cuddy). The patient explains that the previous weekend he was hit head-on by a drunk driver and was technically dead for 97 seconds—but they were the best 97 seconds of his life. I’m sure the 92 seconds when he lost his virginity were a close second. House, always the skeptic, tries to scientifically explain the visions the young man experienced but he disagrees and claims “there’s something out there”.
The original patient (why can’t ANY of these people have names) is still suffering from fainting spells, choking, and difficulty swallowing. The non-doctor whom House dubbed “The Ridiculously Old Fraud” suspects a tumor in the patient’s throat that is causing excess pressure to build on the vagus nerve. This theory is roundly dismissed because they all know that what happens in vagus stays in vagus.
A CT scan is ordered. #13 is wearing suspenders, which should be noted. If she doesn’t get the job at the hospital, perhaps she could find one as a rodeo clown or a hobo.
House has called to order the Tribal Council, complete with Bunsen burner torches and a cease and desist from CBS. Unfortunately, he felt no Richard Hatch-like need to remove all of his clothing or ignore his taxes. The CT scan that the women ordered showed that the patient has scleroderma and should be given a feeding tube and discharged. House expresses his disappointment with the men—“You make me want to stop dangling”—and fires them all.
There’s at least 15 more minutes in the show, so he’s not going anywhere…and not because he’s paralyzed. HTCB is sure that House is wrong and wants to run blood tests on the patient to prove it. She finds Chase and tries to convince him to run the lab tests with the promise that he “could make House’s life miserable”. Well, that and some Hannah Montana tickets.
When HTCB draws blood, it comes out green. The creepy part? This has actually happened in real life…well, in Canada, which is pretty close to real life.
House and the remaining candidates reconnect and decide that the patient is either a Vulcan or that his kidneys are failing. The CT scan required a green contrast and obviously it hasn’t been filtered out of his system, a problem that is blamed on the patient’s catheter. The hits just keep coming for this guy. I started hoping that maybe he’d get his dog to put a knife in a light socket for him.
After finding out that Chase is running tests for HTCB—who was fired with the men—House confronts him and threatens to have him fired. Again. Chase tosses his hair saucily and says “If you need help, I’m here. If you need to vent, leave a message.” Leave a message? Leave a message? Chase probably heard that on Saved by the Bell once and has been waiting 15 years for an opportunity to use it. I can’t wait till he burns House with a comment about his car phone.
Foreman’s patient isn’t getting recovering either. He’s been counseled by the hospital administrator at New York Mercy who, in accordance with the law of supporting cast members, must also be female. Only her boobs aren’t flopping out of her shirt. She brings up the fact that (last season) Foreman killed a patient by using too much radiation, which I assume is the kind of thing they probably put in your permanent record.
The poor paralyzed guy has now been given the superawesome diagnosis of cancer. In his eye. If his eye is removed and he has three courses of radiation, he may have a few more months to live in this fun, immobile, choking, catheterized, and constipated body. Not surprisingly, he doesn’t want to recover–he just wants to be allowed to die. House, of course, yells at him and insists that he’s not going to sprout wings and become an angel, which is ironic because every time House rants about his atheism, an angel gets its wings. That’s one angel for every episode this season.
When they leave the patient’s room, Wilson scolds House and says that he has no right to counter the man’s beliefs about Heaven since he’s never been there. House counters with “And I don’t have to go to Detroit to know that it smells.” This coming from a man who lives in New Jersey. Wilson should have suggested a trip to West Virginia, because it is ‘almost heaven’ according to their license plates, John Denver, and a lot of crystal meth addicts.
House sits alone in his office, flicking the Crispy Critter’s knife. As Alanis Morrissette sings in the background, House decides that he, too, is going to shove the blade into the light socket. That seems to be the appropriate reaction, since Alanis’ music makes me want to kill myself too.
Before he does this, he pages HTCB who races into the office in time to see a flash of electricity and begin performing CPR. Dr. Wilson, dressed in jeans, a polo, and a khaki jacket, was taken away from an LL Bean catalog shoot so he could tell the remaining candidates about House’s condition.
When House regains consciousness, Wilson calls him an idiot. Harsh words from a man dressed like a lesbian. The patient did not have cancer in his eye, but the Crispy Critter already died, before House has a chance to compare notes about the afterlife with him.
The patient has been given new medication which isn’t really working, if the white crust forming around his mouth is any indication. He asks for someone to hand him his dog. He then asks for #13 to put his hand on the dog’s head. And the other hand on her breast. In a raspy, strained voice, he tells the dog “It’s OK. I’m not scared”. This is where I started sobbing, right before the sound of the flatlining EKG and the announcement of his time of death.
The news of the patient’s demise springs House from his own hospital bed because “death is not a diagnosis”. By the time he reaches the room, the dog has died as well. One doctor tries to give an explanation, based on her observations as a veterinarian. That’s not disturbing at all, that she transitions so seamlessly from pets to people. It also explains why she wanted to fit House with one of those giant collars so he couldn’t chew on his burned hand.
House looks at the dog and notes that, like other members of the collie family, this dog doesn’t have the MDR1 gene, which makes heartworm or any other type of anti-parasite medication fatal. You know, like the pills that #13 gave this guy 10 minutes into the episode, to cure his threadworms. House moves a dresser in the room and finds the chewed up cup that once held those pills. Sticking the knife into the socket made him the damn Dog Whisperer.
Cuddy, wearing a hairstyle last seen on Martin van Buren, tells House that this death is his responsibility. Her breasts concur.
Foreman managed to save his patient’s life, but with a gutsy call. His administrator doesn’t appreciate the risk he took and fires him on the spot, with a curt “I’m sorry, Dr. Foreman. You are the weakest link. Goodbye”. Wow, out two jobs in two months. Foreman’s resume looks worse than mine, which says a lot since I was once fired while sitting on the toilet.
#13 is in the morgue, looking at the patient’s body and wiping her tears with her suspenders. An autopsy proves that he really did have threadworms from dirty old Thailand. House tells her that if she’d watched him take the pills, that this wouldn’t have happened, but he’s not going to fire her because he gives all of his doctors one do-over. As long as she never accidentally kills anyone else—and her breasts remain perky—she can stay.
While I enjoyed tonight’s episode, I have to call bullshit on the finale. When I watched it again, I noticed that there is a shot of the dog being left alone in the room with the pills when Kumar takes him to the bathroom to poop in a cup. But this is a trained service dog—unless the patient commanded the dog to take the pills, I find it hard to believe that it would do so independently. Also, the patient did not have use of his hands, so he couldn’t have fed the pills to the dog either. I’m not satisfied with the resolution—that he just had pinworms—but I am convinced enough to toss out the leftover Pad Thai in my fridge.