House: Whatever It Takes
(S04E06) "My malpractice insurance doesn't cover alien autopsies." --House
"That's fine. X-files are the next wing over."-- Dr. Samira Terzi
Tonight was apparently the "stand-up" episode of House. It had more one-liners than an episode of Seinfeld. And everybody got into the game-- not just House. I guess "Whatever it takes" referred not only to medicine but to extorting laughs. It's a good thing it had so many zingers in it, because that was one of the only likable things about the episode.
"15 minutes for the lap dance, half hour to scrub the guilt off my soul... See you in 45!"-- House
Gallery: House: Whatever it takes
I completely agree with commenters on past posts who have said that they are sick of House's cat and mouse game with his fellows. Just shut up and re-hire your old team. However, this season seems to be about teaching his old team a lesson. Particularly Foreman, who quit. Chase is pissed, but he was fired, and who knows? Maybe he won't come back. But Cameron keeps getting involved with cases, and she admitted to Foreman tonight, after Chase accused her of it, that she can't let go. And so, as with "Mirror Mirror," we have another episode in which the theme is "Whatever it takes," only this time, they actually put it in the title of the episode. Just so we wouldn't miss it.
Do you think House is actually going to hire any new people? Um, besides Dr. Shamira Terzi, formerly of the CIA? And how long do you think she is going to last? We only have five left now: Amber Volaki, Lawrence Kutner, "Thirteen" (who doesn't have another name listed), Jeffrey Cole, and Chris Taub.
I'd like to address briefly the comment last week about why I refer to the men by their last names and not Amber: I would, except that most viewers of the show probably know her as Amber or Cutthroat Bitch (which House hilariously has on is cell phone ID for her). And considering that we refer to the other woman as a number, well... It's a reflection of the show's biases, however, and not mine. I was an English grad student, so I am aware of the sensibility. However, I also have a responsibility here to the show's viewers, so I will now be addressing Taub as "the plastic surgeon," because nobody ever calls him by his name anyway.
Whatever this episode was about, it wasn't the cases. However, it took me a little bit to realize that they were cutting back and forth so fast between the two cases because they were parallel lines, with parties at both ends supposed to learn the same lesson, as articulated by Dr. Terzi: "Being right means a lot."
Let's compare the two cases:
Casey comes in with symptoms that are initially similar to heatstroke. However, that seems too simple and there might be other explanations, so they rule that out.
In the case for the CIA patient, John, the immunologist reads in the chart about an allergy to chestnuts. House makes a joke about horse chestnuts tasting terrible, and more jokes about squirrels, which distracts us away from this explanation and it is immediately dismissed.
"Did Oswald really have sex with Marilyn Monroe?"
The fellows want an interesting case; House and the CIA think a man was almost assassinated, despite the fact that both Dr. Terzi and John say, "We don't kill people." Therefore, both sides ignore what is right in front of them. (Granted, that doesn't mean other people don't make assassination attempts; my point is that the writers laid it all out for us to ignore right along with them.)
One of the greatest parts of this episode was when Amber and the plastic surgeon insist that the patient has lupus, which is one of the series' longstanding jokes. And I admit, I fell for this episode hook, line, and sinker. It's never the first diagnosis they come up with. One of the reasons they dismiss heatstroke for Casey the race car driver is that she is one of House's patients, and that couldn't happen just for heatstroke. That is a double-edged sword on this show: Hubris saves, and hubris kills.
Amber and Taub go talk to Cameron about how to deal with Foreman, who now has second-guessed himself to believe that the patient has M.S.
"All House cares about is results."
"I know. I'm talking about how to deal with Foreman."
"So am I."
Yes, okay, already, we get it. House and Foreman are one! How many episodes will it take for you to get it through your thick heads that we have gotten it through our thick heads?
What was also particularly interesting about this episode was that even though House made the final diagnosis of the CIA patient, he was wrong initially and every time thereafter, but Foreman was right from the beginning. However, the fellows argued with him and he doubted himself, even as much as he yelled at them for starting treatments and running tests behind his back. House doubts himself from time to time too: If he didn't he wouldn't have to work with a team.
Another parallel is the flirting going on between House and Dr. Terzi and Amber and the plastic surgeon.
"I have an opening. On my penis."--House
"I can kill a man with my thumb."-- Terzi
"Shiksas are for practice."-- Taub
"If I had 2 minutes and some anti-nausea medicine, I'd take you up on that." -- Amber
Honestly, I have no idea if the flirting is going anywhere with either pair, and I really don't care. It makes for some snappy dialogue, but I don't get the impression the writers really care either: the show doesn't hinge on these romances.
Because the two cases have to run in parallel, they give house an immunologist from the Mayo Clinic to abuse. He tells the poor man that his book on immunology is keeping House's piano level. The immunologist diagnoses radiation treatment and they start the patient, who is covered with lesions and blisters, with an iodine drip. House, in his hubris and egomania, stops the iodine drip and starts treating the patient for pancreatitis. Pancreatitis leads to blood cancer and a funny side story consulting Wilson about the treatment.
Wilson, of course, doesn't believe House:
"I'm on a top secret mission for the CIA."
"They have a satellite aimed directly into Cuddy's vagina. I told them chances of invasion are slim to none."
"I'm sure they already know you smuggled heroin back from Afghanistan."
Wilson tells Cuddy where House is, so she gives them both extra clinic duties: House, for being gone, and Wilson for covering for him.
House's mistake almost kills the patient, because the patient tells him that he spent 40 days at a festival. House figures out that he was in Brazil eating Brazil nuts for 40 days, and has poisoning (oh, not chestnuts, but so close, and if you have a nut sensitivity anyway...) The treatment is the iodine drip that House has unhooked. Oops. It seems clear that the patient is dying! Unless they try an alternative treatment! House suggests an herbal treatment. Cordyceps Sinesis. with dimercaperol chelation can mediate bone marrow damage of radiation. In monkeys! Can it possibly work? Oh, the suspense!
Meanwhile, Brennan has tested the patient for polio without Foreman's knowledge and even though the patient has never been to Africa, and even though there hasn't been a positive case of polio in the U.S. for twenty years, she has it! Great Scott! And there is no cure! It seems clear that the patient is dying! Unless they try an alternative treatment! Brennan suggests an herbal treatment: Vitamin C in large doses can cure polio! In people in from the 1950s! Can it possibly work? Oh, the suspense!
I love Brennan, the lying son-of-a-bitch's line to Foreman: "If there's anything that you learned today, it's that you can be wrong." Wow, insert knife. Twist.
Later, Cameron goes to see Foreman. "I miss people doing whatever it takes to get the job done. I guess that's why I'm having trouble giving it up."
Foreman says he got everything wrong, and Cameron tells him that's not true. "You're never going to get everything wrong." Awww, that is so warm and fuzzy. Come on. Blah, this was NOT the best episode. I just don't buy that Foreman suffers from such lack of self-esteem that he needs this little pep talk.
House doesn't believe the fellows' diagnosis and treatment. Foreman comes in and says that she doesn't have polio because there isn't any cure, and yet the patient just walked out of the hospital. House says that the alternative is that a doctor poisoned her with Valium, faked a polio test, and gave her Vitamin C to counteract the Valium. Brennan did it so that people would do research to help poor people in the Bush.
House tells Brennan that he's not going to fire Brennan; Brennan is going to quit. Foreman was right about the heatstroke after all. House tells Foreman to call the cops. House then tells his team he left Foreman in charge for a reason and that they should have listened to him. That is only partly the case, however: Foreman has to have the confidence to make them listen.
Finally, we have the obligatory denouement so we make sure Lisa Edelstein can have her contractually-obligated lines. House lies to Cuddy about being in the Hamptons and Cuddy forgives House's hours and makes Wilson do 16 hours. Then Cuddy busts him.
"I know how to kill a man with my thumb." --House
Dr. Terzi is waiting for House outside the hospital. She says she is here to accept his offer. She gave notice at the CIA. So, who knows what will happen next? And with the writer's strike in full swing, who knows how many more episodes we have that can tell us? (Probably through January, actually; most reports are that scripts have been stockpiled). Hopefully some of those are better.
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