House: Mirror Mirror
(S04E05) "She said her hoo-hoo burned." -- Kutner
I will be reviewing House for the next two weeks because Richard Keller, my House compadre, is otherwise tied up. I was going to follow the format for the review that Rich devised last week, because I think it's a great format. However, when I began writing the review, I realized that because the plot integrated with what was happening with the characters so intensely that it made sense simply to review the show. For even more House, if you can't get enough, head on over to AOL.
I realized after I watched the episode that we never got to find out who the patient, Robert Elliot, really was. From the moment we saw him, he was mirroring the older brother mugger, and then the doctors, one by one.
Gallery: House: Mirror Mirror
But I guess it was irrelevant to know who Robert Elliot really is because the most important thing we know about him is that he is a chameleon. Frank Whaley has always been a favorite of mine, and I loved watching him slip in and out of the doctors' psyches. This medical mystery was a bit of a switch: They diagnosed what was manifesting itself fairly quickly, with Giovannini's Syndrome, more commonly known as Mirror Syndrome. For once, the patient wasn't lying. He couldn't: "These patients have no agenda." Because the patient was only responding to the people around him, trying to pick up thoughts he couldn't have on his own, he was the most accurate barometer of everyone's neuroses they could have.
Interlaced with the medical mystery, of course, was Cuddy's re-introduction of Foreman. Foreman looked so truly miserable when he told House that he was already miserable that I really believed him. I was surprised that Foreman actually admitted to House that he couldn't get a job anywhere else because he has been basically been infected by House. Do you think House actually arranged for Foreman to have a job in Boston? Or do you think he actually wanted Foreman to stay, but to figure out that he was there because he wanted to be there, rather than staying there because he had nowhere else to go?
Cuddy and House's little war over whether Foreman stays or goes was absurd. Cuddy would never have let all those people from the cafeteria into the clinic after House sent them over thinking the mayonnaise was bad. That was ridiculous. The funniest part of that, though, was watching House's doctors in the clinic, especially Kutner (see the quote that starts this review). Furthermore, even though I loved the reference to Michael Moore's Sicko, nobody would have followed his orders to give all of those patients MRIs, so that was just annoying.
Furthermore, they stooped to bathroom humor. Why do writers who can come up with such enticing medical mysteries (for the first time in a long time, by the way, beginning with last week) have to resort to Cuddy substituting Vicodin with laxatives? And then they carried the joke far longer than they needed to. Why the hell would Cuddy have birth control pills at work for House to mess with? They come in a foil packet. I repeat: Ridiculous. House got some good lines from it: "That was a courtesy flush... Cuddy's going to end up pregnant...", but it was still below caliber. Fortunately, there were a lot of other things to entertain.
Did you notice the ways in which House and Foreman stood just alike in the classroom, with House deliberately mirroring Foreman, and also the way they were both looking up in the elevator? In a lot of little ways, House and Foreman were mirror images of each other in the episode, and it was nice the way form followed content. Also, I wish I had picked up on the fact from the beginning that House had rigged the betting. That explains a lot about his trying to convince Brennan not to quit.
The episode had a really nice progression from Robert mirroring Wilson in surgery to Wilson's explanation that Giovannini patients mirror whomever they perceive to be the alpha in the room. This led to House's inability to get an accurate read on Thirteen, but we, through the use of the mirroring, got to see that Thirteen's big secret is that she is terrified.
Brennan is a big wuss: he should have just broken up with his girlfriend and gone back to his Third World patients if he is really so desperate to good for mankind. However, that really isn't the gist of what Robert was mirroring. What Robert mirrored for both Brennan and Kutner was basically that they share House's excitement for the the diagnoses. Brennan is bored until he finds sludge that reminds him of fungus he found in the Tsunami. Of course, it wasn't actually sludge, but Brennan was finally interested.
Kutner gets excited by the medicine: He loves the fact that they can find out the patient's medical history from a spinal tap. The main difference between Kutner and Brennan, however, is that Kutner wants to stand out, be unique, make a mark. I think they are both genuinely interested in the science behind what they do, but Kutner's adrenaline addiction paired with his curiosity will probably get him the job. If he doesn't kill himself first, as he nearly did by putting paddles on Robert, who was still wet from the hot tub.
It wasn't a big revelation that Amber thinks everybody hates her, so she has to be right all the time. I was a little surprised to find out that the plastic surgeon is hot for her, though. It was hilarious when Robert said, "Aggressive is never a bad thing." Taub and Amber were made for each other. Taub should be fired just for making the patient clean up after himself after the ultrasound.
Did you notice that the only doctor that we didn't get a mirror from was Cole? He was given a lot to do last week, but this week he was barely there. I wonder if he will go next, though, prior to this episode, I would have thought it would be Brennan.
Even though I thought the mirroring of Brennan and Kutner was the most interesting, it was important, I think, for the plot of the show, to get Foreman's mirroring: He was inducing a fever in the patient to make his body hot enough for his blood to circulate. "Doctors don't give patients fevers." But all that matters is that this was what was necessary to save the patient. That is what Foreman did at Mercy and he got fired for recklessness. Worse, he couldn't be hired anywhere else because of it. House may be irresponsible and a complete bastard, but he is allowed to do what needs to be done for the medicine. And that is, at the end of the day, all that matters. And like it or not. Foreman is only going to be able to practice that kind of medicine at Princeton.
The height of ridiculousness was, of course, one of the most fun parts of the episode. Robert Elliot was infected by pig dung selling farm equipment and diagnosed by House dressing up like Robert Elliot to get the patient to mirror... Robert Elliot. However, they aren't going to cure him right away, even though he has a fever of 107 to keep his blood from turning to sludge. Oh no. They can wait fifteen minutes (what? Are you guys INSANE? What happened to saving the patient?) to put Cuddy and House both in his room to see who he mirrors. Because we have already established that he mirrors the most powerful person in the room.
And that would be... House. Of course. After all, the show isn't called Cuddy.
|Low blow||101 (15.2%)|
|It was both; not mutually exclusive||286 (43.1%)|