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October 7, 2015

Review: House - Known Unknowns

by Jonathan Toomey, posted Nov 10th 2009 1:40AM
Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard, R) and House (Hugh Laurie, L) have a heated exchange at a medical convention in the 'House' episode 'Known Unknowns.'
(S06E07) "Well, I feel bad. I haven't named your testicles." - Cuddy

We're all thinking it, and unlike euthanasia, I see no reason to keep mum -- House is firing on all cylinders right now. Actually, let me clarify that -- House the character, not House the show, is firing on all cylinders right now. Anything going on in Greg's periphery at the moment is sensational, absolutely electrifying drama.

Everything else? Not so much. If anything, "Known Unknowns" did nothing more than highlight something we've seen countless times already. Namely, the paralyzing effect House's absence has on his team. They're inept without him. What did I glean from the case du jour? Some annoying teenager got sick from eating oysters. However, I gleaned plenty from the rest of the hour.

Ever since the season premiere, most episodes this season, while good, have been lacking to some extent because we know how much better it can be when Princeton-Plainsboro isn't the focus. House out in the real world is riveting stuff -- he's like the fork you accidentally drop into a blender. So not only was the pharmacology conference a nice change of scenery, but it also allowed for some seriously good moments between House/Wilson and House/Cuddy.

When it comes to Greg's relationship with Wilson, it's always been give and take -- generally with House taking more of what Wilson's giving. So it's always refreshing when House finally gives back, even if it is in his own back-handed, semi-insulting, selfish way.

Obviously, he made the right move. Wilson's career would not have survived a "pro-euthanasia for terminal patients" lecture, regardless of the fact that everyone thinks about it. House, rather "Dr. Pearlwater," took the hit for Wilson. No injury to anyone's career and now Wilson's thoughts are at least out there, floating around in academia. Yes, he drugged Wilson to achieve all this, but it proves what Wilson has been trying to tell Cuddy -- House is growing as a person, becoming more selfless and caring.

As for whether or not Cuddy truly believes that, we got our answer there, as well. She hired Lucas (Michael Weston) to look into House and see how he's been. She ended up hitting it off with the guy and they've been seeing each other. Doesn't seem like too much of a stretch. As I recall, Lucas and Lisa flirted quite a bit during his last visit to PPTH.

The key here? Cuddy's wry smile as Lucas began to rattle off everything he knew about House since his time at Mayfield. Her curled upper lip? Confirmation that she feels the exact same way about House that he admitted to feeling about her during med school. Way back then, he was going to call, but then he got expelled. Now? She was going to call but she ended up sleeping with the private investigator instead. It'll happen, just not yet.

A few more thoughts on "Known Unknowns":

  • For those of you playing along with Fox's Simpsons Scavenger Hunt game, House referred to Cuddy's breasts as Patty and Selma. Why? Because "they're always smokin'."
  • Here's my one concern about bringing Lucas back into the fold. He had a great story the last time he was around and thus far, his presence is less about that and more about the shock value. The same effect would have been achieved had House walked in on Tritter holding the baby. All I'm saying is that there had better be more than what we've seen in terms of Lucas and why he's back.
  • So Wilson actually aided in a patient's suicide. What's next? I'd love to see Wilson become addicted to this and have some sort of Angel of Death plot unfold. Not nearly as dark as it sounds, but seeing his reaction to ending the suffering for multiple patients and how it affects his own guilt could be really cool to explore.

The only other big development? Chase finally told Cameron that he killed Dibala. It was a long time coming and unless you've been living under a rock, you've likely heard what it leads to. However, if the previews for next week are any indication, Thirteen and Taub are gonna be back in the mix. Hopefully, they won't be as inept this time around.

[Watch full episodes and clips of House, as well as other shows, over at SlashControl.]

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Axel Harris

Weren't they prepping Lucas for a spinoff at some point? Whatever happened to that?

November 11 2009 at 2:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It is well established that House and Cuddy both attend University of Michigan Medical School together. In this episode House says the reason he didn't call Cuddy the day after he met her was because the dean called and he was expelled from his first medical school. House's first medical school was Johns Hopkins though.

November 10 2009 at 11:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

M.E. Perlmutter is the name of the character played by Arye Gross on the tv show "Castle". I watched this "House" episode on Tivo tonight followed by an episode of "Castle" and had to rewind it to make sure I heard right. Weird.

November 10 2009 at 9:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"Why does House even have a team if they are so completely useless without him? Why does the show always do the "House is away but will fix everything over the phone at the end of the 60minutes" gimmick every time he has to be away from the Hospital? "


I GIVE YOU...This episode was not the typical formula episode...where a man,woman, or child, or somebody has blood coming from any orifice of the body....them diagnosing the problem of the patient, which they are wrong the first 5-8 times of diagnosis. Why this wouldn't kill the patient alone...well, it's beyond me! In the middle of diagnosing the patient problems and looking for a cure...you have all this High DRAMA btw Cuddy-House-Wilson, or Foreman-Thirteen, or whomever! BUT, YOU ARE RIGHT! BUT, YOU CAN TAKE IT TO THE BANK...that You can always count on Greg House to pull the correct diagnosis right out from his ASS! How? From an epihany he get's--it's like a light being turned on in his brain! House sees the light! (This happens At EXACTLY 3 minutes to the ending of the show) EXACTLY--Like CLOCKWORK!) and he, then, cures the patient from his/her dreaded affliction. Then to wrap it all up, comes this silly, LAME SONG, from MOSTLY some unknown amateur, from who knows where. PLEASE, IF YOU GO THE FORMULA ROUTE HAVE HUGH AT LEAST PLAY THE PIANO, RHYTHUM GUITAR, THE HARMONICA, OR EVEN THE DRUMS, AT THE END OF THESE EPISODE!!!...MUCH BETTER THAN THESE SAME AND LAME SILLY SONGS COMING FROM WHO KNOWS WHO AND WHO CARES, WHICH MAKE MY EARS BLEED!!! JUST HAVE HUGH PROVIDE THE MUSICAL ENTERTAINMENT!
As to the Cuddy/Lucas thing...still hoping for future fireworks btw HOUSE/CUDDY!! I was hoping I'd never see that underhaned worm, LUCAS character ever. Don't care a rat's ass about Chase-Cameron thing. Love Cameron acting--hate Chase's acting. Sorry to see Cameron GO!

November 10 2009 at 6:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The whole party scene was just an excuse for Hugh Laurie to raid the Blackadder wardrobe.

November 10 2009 at 12:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Brian's comment

Haha, Brain :) That's exactly what I thought when I saw that bit.

November 10 2009 at 2:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I don't think they said that Lucas and Cuddy were together, but if you're calling someone up to babysit your kid and they drop everything to come and help you, I would think that implies a really good friendship OR relationship. I think they wanted to at least imply it this episode. Along with the fact that he basically knew everything that House has been going through (from the eyes of Cuddy) is another indicator that they have a real relationship going on. I'm sure the details will be laid out for us in the upcoming episodes. ..


November 10 2009 at 10:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

How do the doctors at the conference not know that it was House?

We've seen non-medical professionals able to spot House on sight. I think he would stand out in medical community. Jackass with a limp that hangs around Dr. Wilson.

I know in my professional circles I stand out enough for people I've never met or heard of to know who I am. and I'm no where as exceptional as House.

November 10 2009 at 10:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Ryan's comment

These were specifically Oncologists, so that may be why.

November 10 2009 at 12:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I believe House made a comment about not having attended a professional conference in over 15 years (as he and Wilson are walking away from the balcony).

I did wonder why Dr. Pearlmutter (or whatever his name was) didn't show up - but that happens sometimes. People register for conferences and then just don't attend. I was a little surprised that House knew the real doc was in Toronto all weekend, though.

November 10 2009 at 9:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Why does House even have a team if they are so completely useless without him? Why does the show always do the "House is away but will fix everything over the phone at the end of the 60minutes" gimmick every time he has to be away from the Hospital? Both plot lines were good, but I wish they would put his team in a different setting. The character progression was necessary, but did it have to be while they were huddled around another patient of the week again?

As to the Cuddy/Lucas thing, as far as I understood it, she hired him to investigate someone at the hospital she thought was stealing, and then they semi-dated/went from there, but at the same time, I think he said he came up to help with the baby as a friend. Although if he said that before their little dinner sitdown, he may have just been lying to avoid the awkwardness.

Nice to see the baby again. I was wondering what happened to her.

Nice to see Lucas again. I don't think we have enough invested in him as a character to worry about this go-round ruining his character.

November 10 2009 at 10:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to LRM's comment

I get the feeling the reason for all the conference calls has something to do with the fact that Hugh Laurie is having difficulties due to the cane and limp thing. Conference call means you can cut to the actor without having the actor standing in the whole scene. While you do see the actor answering the call, he is rarely walking as he speaks, so it eases up on his having to affect the limp and lean on the cane as much.
I really doubt it has anything to do with plot or focus on the "team". They really are inept without his input, but that's probably why the show is named "House" and not "Diagnostic team"

November 10 2009 at 11:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

That's because the show is more about House the person than House the doctor. The disease of the week is just a plot device to drive his interactions with the other cast members.

November 10 2009 at 12:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Happy Steve

There was also someone wearing a Marge Simpsons costume at the 80's party. All you can really see is the hair, but it's unmistakable.

November 10 2009 at 10:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I thought this episode worked well on both branches of the story. The conference story had all the big guns, so that was sure to work, and back at Princeton Plainsborough, I liked the interaction with Chase and Cameron, the medical mystery was interesting enough for not being a focus point, and Cameron's displaced anger was an interesting beat. I've always liked Foreman's steadfast and levelheaded refusal to instert himself into the middle of Chase and Cameron's relationship, and the final scene with Chase finally confiding in Cameron worked well too.

When did they say Cuddy hired Lucas to check up on House? They mentioned that she hired him to check up on some suspicious goings on in accounting, but I don't remember anything about checking up on House. I'll have to go back and watch again.

And was it made clear that Cuddy is romantically involved with Lucas yet? They had the flirtation when he was introduced to the show, and a semi-date, but beyond that I must have missed it. Cuddy called Lucas up to the conference to babysit after she got there and seemed to be pretty cozy playing happy families later, but are they actually "together" together?

November 10 2009 at 5:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to jffm's comment
Jonathan Toomey


I could be wrong in my interpretation of Lucas/Cuddy, but it seemed to me that she was lying when she said she hired him to look into some accounting fraud at PPTH. I thought she she hired him to look into House and that seemed to be confirmed when Lucas began spilling everything he knew about House post-Mayfield, while Cuddy looked on, clearly uncomfortable that her lie was being blown due to Lucas' big mouth.

As for them being together, House made the "and one thing led to another" comment and neither Cuddy nor Lucas seemed to deny what he was implying.

November 10 2009 at 10:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Okay, went back and watched the restaurant scene with the four of them again. NOW it makes more sense.

Jonathan - I had forgotten House's 'And one thing led to another' line, House talking about them hiding "it" from him, Cuddy saying she didn't advertise her personal life, and Lucas saying he had to hide in, "our room" indicating he was staying in Cuddy's room. Actually, probably not so much "forgot" as the actual meaning didn't sink in. Part of the problem may have been that I couldn't place who Lucas was till I actually heard him speak again in the restaurant. d'oh.

I do think the accounting investigation story is legit, though. I go along with those that assume Lucas knew what was going on with House through talking to Cuddy.

I will say though, House used to have much better Cuddy radar. House really has changed a lot; the time was he would have known if Cuddy was hot and heavy with someone five minutes before it happened. Either that or Cuddy has gotten more cunning or House has just had too much else on his plate to notice.

November 10 2009 at 12:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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