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House Fodder

House: The Jerk

House Episode 3-23 : The Jerk

Airdate May 15, 2007

This is a full review.

The Hook:

A teen-age boy plays tournament speed-chess against an older, better dressed opponent. They play rapidly, slapping the clock after each move. The boy plays head games as well as chess, taunting his opponent and making faces at his victim's moves. The opponent deliberates over a move for a few seconds, drawing more taints from the boy. Mr. well-dressed makes a tentative move, the boy quickly responds and slaps the clock again. Moves are made and pieces traded rapidly. At last the boy begins to sing a victory song sotto voce as he slowly slides a bishop across the board "Hey, hey, goo-ood bye." The boy adopts a wide smile as his opponent fingers his king for a few seconds, then topples it, conceding defeat. The loser rises, offering his hand in congratulations : "Good game." The boy begins to stand, grimaces as if in pain, then snatches the clock and brains his opponent with it. Not content with the sucker ‘clocking', he vaults the table and continues battering the bloody and unresisting young man with the clock. Tournament officials grab the assailant, pulling him off his unconscious victim. An official rushes to the fallen man and yells for somebody to call an ambulance. "Tell them to send two," says another official. The boy has fallen as well, holding his head and yelling "My head's gonna' explode!"

Act 1

Chase examines the young boy, whom we learn is (a) named Nate, (b) 16 years old, and (c) a complete jerk, not necessarily in that order. When Chase asks him if his head still hurts his response is "Are you a moron?". When his mother, Enid, tries to intervene he says "I'm clutching my head in pain and he asks if it still hurts? What are you, some kind of med student? You look like you still have theme birthday parties." In response to Chase asking if he has any trouble concentrating in school, Nate responds "Besides the dreams of running my tongue along my French teacher's breasts : no : I'm doing quite great." Suspecting possible parasites, Chase asks Enid if Nate eats a lot of sushi. She responds no, and that Nate was a vegetarian until just a few months ago. Any changes in behavior with the new diet? No, says mom, he's been this big a jerk since puberty. I'd like to explore the reasons why a 16 year old vegetarian suddenly starts eating meat, but this is never mentioned again. Nate fake-cries for the tragedy of Enid having to deal with his jerkdom for four long years now. No mention made of the father, but I'm guessing he split about the time Nate turned 13? Having had a jerk teenager of my own, Enid has all my sympathies. I'm, even wondering if we can do something to make Nate's pain worse. I'm sure the House team can manage. But I digress.

Chase is writing on the White Board o' Symptoms : "Rage". He's almost breaking the marker. "I like this kid," House pipes up, on the theory that anything that aggravates Chase is a good thing. Not to mention that the kid beat up, not someone who just beat him, but instead someone he just beat. One jerk gravitating to another, I guess. So likes attract, in the physics of jerkdom? Chase adds "Head Pain" but Cameron remarks that the pain is not limited to his head. Chase discounts that, saying the body pain is accounted by the bumps and bruises from the seventeen fights the kid has been in this semester alone, adding that his MRO was clean, no frontal lobe tumor, no coke or amphetamines in his tox screen. Foreman starts to add a guess, but House interrupts to say he's having a precious moment : possibly Foreman's last time to mistakenly suggest adrenal gland tumor. But Foreman persist in saying this could create the pain and rage. But not the personality disorder, House counters. Maybe he's just a sucky teenager, Foreman counters. But House thinks his behavior is too inappropriate to be accounted for by teen-age suckiness. Perhaps we should interview House's mom about that.

House adds "personality disorder" to the list of symptoms, and suggests "cluster headaches" as the diagnosis : ah but what's causing them? Best bet is a vascular problem, he says. Cameron says that the normal treatment for cluster headache is steroids, which the ER already gave Nate. Ah so, Grasshopper, so if normal treatment doesn't work, let's try some abnormal treatment, House thinks. It's not as it that's ever gotten us in any trouble… Let's go blood thinners and transcranial magnetic stimulation.

The Hice walk down the hall, Chase offering fifty bucks if one of the other two will do the treatment. He has to go pick a theme for his birthday party. Cameron says ‘it's not the kid's fault', but she still won't do it. Foreman volunteers, since that will leave his afternoon free to go to a big job interview. Cameron offers to give a peer recommendation, but Chase passes on the implied invitation to add one of his own. Just one big happy family here, folks.

Foreman waves a weird device over Nate's head, saying the magnetic pulses should stimulate the nerve cells and ameliorate the head pain. Nate asks if there's anything he can do about the other pain. "From fights?" Foreman asks. "Yeah, in my head, shoulder, stomach," Nate says, "I can barely bend my fingers." Nothing I can do about that, Foreman says. "Sure you can," Nate says, "tell your homeys to quit stomping on me." Accepting the assumption that ‘We all know each other', Foreman says he'll get the word out that Nate is a great guy. "Do people watch what they say around you?" Nate wants to know. "Because I'm black?" Foreman asks. "No, because you're gay." Two down one to go. Pretty soon this kid's going to be treated by the night janitor.

Chase is explaining cluster headaches to Enid. They can last for years and cause irritability and hostility toward others. "You mean", she asks, "the illness is affecting his personality. "Yes," he says, "if the treatments work it could..." "Change him?" she interrupts. Enid takes this a curious way, almost breaking down with relief. Hope! Then she apologizes, thinking Chase must think she's awful. Nope, Chase has met the boy, he gets it. "I thought I was a bad mother," she says "and I hated myself. Because I hated him."

Next morning, the team reconvenes. House seems cheerful. Still on the depression meds? Chase says the blood thinners and TMS had no effect, therefore not cluster headaches. House says the symptoms don't lie. "Hemochromatosis?" volunteers Cameron. Still doesn't account for the personality disorder, House says. "Hypothyroidism?" Chase offers. Should produce lethargy, House says, which this doesn't. "Rochford dermoid cyst?" Cameron says. House stage-staggers, maintaining he expected the next input from Foreman, who's sitting quietly disgruntled. Pressed, Foreman concurs with Cameron. "No fat in the ventricles. It's cluster headaches." House maintains. But neither the normal nor the abnormal treatments worked, Chase points out. Sometimes treatments don't work, but symptoms never lie, says House. Is this a new aphorism? House is drinking some blue gunk from a bottle labeled "ONS" or maybe it's "ON5". The block lettering could be either. It seems to be an energy drink. House needs more? Cameron says the next, doubtful treatment for cluster headaches is brain surgery, and even that's not always effective. "Back off, Foreman!" House shouts, highlighting the fact that Foreman is pointedly not contributing. "If the approved treatment doesn't work we go with the non-approved treatment," House says, striding from the room.

Foreman follows him and angrily accuses House of sabotaging his job interview at New York Mercy the previous day : someone purporting to be Foreman called and canceled the interview. House denies it, saying he'd only sabotage the departure of someone he considered worth keeping.

House breaks in on Cuddy in conference with a nurse, and accuses Cuddy of being one evil cunning woman - which turns him on, he says. As Cuddy gapes and asks what's going on, he says she called New York Mercy to have Foreman's job interview killed. Cuddy speculates House is off his antidepressants, but I don't she how she reaches this conclusion : he's still quite cheerful, for House. Is it the energy drink he's still sipping? In response to Cuddy's question, House says no, Foreman doesn't really believe it was her, but he, House, know it must have been her since it wasn't him. Cuddy says she does want Foreman to stay, and she's waiting for board approval of her plan to keep him, but it wasn't her. House approaches her closely and gazes into her eyes : "Looking for a tell," he says, some physical trait that will give the lie away. She shoves him toward the door and tells home to send Nurse Unger in and not let the door hit him in the ass on the way out. "Oh," he says, coming back in, "I need to give a 16 year old magic mushrooms to treat a cluster headache. Is that, cool?" "Yeah, no problem." She says as House departs, then realizes he was serious and runs to catch him : "I was being sarcastic," she says. "Wouldn't look that way in a court transcript," House rejoinders. Cuddy lays down strict limits on the amount of psilocybin he can use.

Chase and Cameron explain the proposed treatment and its possible side effects to Enid, while in the background Nate, who's all for it, clamors for "shrooms!", and calls his mother by her first name very patronizingly. Enid sighs.

To the strains of "In a Gadda da Vida" and spinning, blurry camera effects, Nate enjoys his ‘shrooms. There are electrodes on his head. Chase and Cameron stand by his bed, and Chase asks him about his head pain. "What I got here is the opposite of pain," Nate says. Cameron says this is good because it means he's suffering from cluster headaches, and we can… We never find out what ‘we can' because Nate interrupts to declare that Cameron is hot and making him horny. And to prove it he lifts his sheet to display his erection. Chase is disgusted, but Cameron seems intrigued and leans closer for better look, which should really discomfort Chase. But it's not what he thinks,. Or what Nate thinks either.

Away from Nate, who would surely not want to hear this, Cameron tells the House that Nate has undersized testes. New symptom! Hypo gonadism. Every young boy's nightmare. A hot chick is interested in the equipment only because it's too small. Other "secondary sexual characteristics" are normal, she says. I'm wondering just what secondary sexual characteristics boys have, but Cameron doesn't enlighten us. I know what it means for women, but I'd think pretty much all male sexual characteristics are primary. Unless, maybe, we're talking about wallet size.

Cameron asks where Foreman is, and House says he's mad at House, for some reason or other which he doesn't explain. He then theorizes that the new symptom pretty much rules out the vascular problems he previously suspected, and points toward the hypothalamus and pituitary gland. Blows to the head from getting beat up at school could create damage to the hypothalamus, Cameron speculates, and then asks what they're going to do when Foreman leaves. House refuses to discuss the latter and says the former would have Nate's temperature all over the place, and "symptoms don't lie." "He's gone in less than a week and you haven't read a resume'," Cameron says. What about Honey's, I wonder? (see last week) Doesn't she count? "Biopsy the brat's pituitary and let the record show I was right about the cluster headaches," House parting-shots.

Cameron and Chase explain this latest test to Nate, who's much less interested than he was in the magic ‘shrooms. In fact he's negative about having a piece of his brain cut out. But Enid quickly realizes "You only need my consent, right?" This verified, she quickly signs the forms. Listen, all you obnoxious sixteen year olds out there, to a very good reason not to pain your mother. She can sign to have a piece of your brain removed. Nate begins ranting at his mother, but his speech becomes slurred, his eyes roll up, and he collapses on the bed. Cameron and Chase rush to examine him as Enid anxiously want to know what's happening. Pulling back Nate's lower lip, Chase concludes "He's jaundiced. His liver's shutting down."

The commercials include touting the "24" finale which I am missing even as I type this for you. Oh the dedication. Thank goodness for DVRs, and I'll be along soon, Dave.

Act 2

So now the team adds "Liver Failure" to the long list of symptoms. Foreman still sits in the back with folded hands. Chase says liver failure can cause all the other symptoms, but House wonders how it can travel backwards in time and cause the other things first, before the liver failure happens. House mock-reacts to the advice Foreman pointedly doesn't offer. Foreman says "I'm listening", which House says doesn't help. House asks Foreman what causes liver damage, and Foreman suggests "Wilson's disease" (Wilson's got his own disease now?), but Cameron and Chase say the tests were negative for that. House suggests that liver damage can be caused by what we put in our bodies and again asks Foreman what that might be. "Alcohol" he suggests but again the C duo shoot the idea down. Hey, at least Foreman is talking now. Other suggestions are contaminated water… In the midst of the diagnosis Foreman's pager beeps and House suggests "Cuddy?", but Foreman doesn't confirm this and gets up to leave.

"OK," says House, if it's not the bad things Nate's putting in his body, what about the good things?" Chase reports that he was raised vegetarian but recently began to eat meat. House suggests "OTC deficiency", which keeps the body from metabolizing nitrogen and damages the liver. The test for this is hamburger and lots of it : then see if his ammonia levels spike. So, this is sort of making a bad situation worse?

Cuddy offers to double Foreman's salary, which Foreman says would cause Chase and Cameron to mutiny. Nope, Cuddy says, they'll be heading up their own diagnostic group. (At double their salaries too? So in the future there will be four diagnostic groups? Wow, wish I had a boss with that attitude.) "Separate staffs, separate cases, complete autonomy." Foreman protests he's only been doing this for three years, but Cuddy says "Three years under House." So that not only feels like three decades, it counts for it, too? But Foreman says he knows the case will come along he can't handle and then he knows who he'll have to turn to. (And this is bad because?) Cuddy, who's sarcasm meter is turned up to nine today, says "Or you can just let that patient die, your choice." Thanks, but no thanks, Foreman says, because "He's evil."

Cuddy says House didn't sabotage Foreman's interview, she did. Foreman turns to leave in disgust, then she tells him she didn't, but that moment when he could believe she did means he doesn't totally believe that it was House. Foreman doesn't see that makes a difference since somebody at PPTH did it in he doesn't want to work with anyone who would.

Nate pulls the cover off a dish to see three naked hamburger patties staring at him. So a bun would invalidate the test? Nate thinks "Doogie" just wants to make him eat garbage for sport. Chase responds they need to see how his liver processes proteins. So get me a steak, Nate responds, which seem like a good point to me. And wouldn't the protein to fat level be higher then, for a better test? Unless these are those dreadful 95% lean sawdust burgers, in which case I fully support Nate. Mom offers to bring something from home, but Cameron says that would make the experiment uncontrolled. Nate says "I'm not eating anything prepared by five dollar an hour immigrant hospital cooks in hairnets." Gee, I missed the part where they were rich. What's his problem? Chase loses his patience and threatens to strap Nate down and shove the protein down his throat. Nate tries to play the sick-boy card for sympathy, but of course his previous actions have totally devalued that card. Chase picks up a phone and asks a nurse for a "full set of body restraints", which the nurse, who's apparently been around this patient for a while, immediately says "yes, doctor." Was that a touch of maniacal glee in her voice? So a surly Nate picks up a hockey puck sized patty and chomps down. Cameron seems amazed.

Cuddy strides up to Wilson in the halls and accuses him of killing Foreman's job interview. Her theory is if, it wasn't House, it has to be somebody protecting House, which means someone who actually likes House, which leaves only : guess who. But Wilson says he wants Foreman to leave, so House will understand that some people can stand up to him : Cameron is in love with him, Chase is afraid of him, and Wilson enables him. Cuddy gives in to him. "House," he says "is a six year old who think's he's better off without parents." Cuddy accuses him of lying. "An enabler doesn't conspire against, an enabler enables," she says, winning the regional cup for most uses of enable in a sentence. She says Wilson made the call and thereby guaranteed Foreman's departure. Wilson looks thoughtful.

Clinic, always one of my favorite segments. A dad complains about the sunburn he got while working on his boat with his young son, but he's worried about the white polka-dots all over his flaming red, burned torso. Could the chemicals from boat-work have caused this? As the dad lays down on the examining table, House talks to the boy, asking if daddy has a cooler with lots of brown bottle with long necks. The boy nods ‘yes'. Does daddy go nap-nap in the sun? Another nod. House holds up a syringe full of water, sans needle, and sprays dad, provoking a chortle from the boy. As dad sputters, House offers to give the boy the syringe for the "… one dollar and forty one cents in your pocket." The boy eagerly hands the change over, and House fits it coin by coin to the white marks. Dad gives the boy a look, drawing a shrug. House reneges on the deal, claiming one of the coins is Canadian and snatching his syringe back, looking totally miffed. The boy shrugs again.

As House leaves the clinic, the Hice inform him that the hamburger test was negative, liver properly converting ammonia into urea. Foreman is participating now, and House gives him a "Welcome back." Foreman apologizes for taking his problems out on the patient. House whinges a little ‘what about taking them out on me?', then suggests diabetic steatosis : the test for which is to starve Nate overnight and see if his blood sugar pops. Chase worries that that might set off another rage. I'm not sure if they're expecting his blood sugar to go up, or down (normally you'd expect down from starving) but I'm diabetic and I've never noted either one giving me a rage.

Nate, however, has a perfectly good rage going on, and swings his IV stand wildly, knocking over stuff and threatening his nurse ,his mother, and the arriving Chase and Foreman : "I want something to eat!". The nurse tells the doctors that Nate went crazy when she tried to get a urine sample. Chase tells Nate it's only a few more hours and he can eat : they just need a urine sample first : and again I'm confused : for blood sugar don't you take a blood sample? Maybe they're checking ketones. "You want a sample, here's your sample," Nate says and begins to urinate on the floor right through his gown. Chase and Foreman are exasperated, Enid is embarrassed, but her expression changes to horror as the urine turns bloody. Chase tells him he needs to get back in bed immediately, and Nate looks down and for once is speechless : horrified as well.

Act 3

Nate lies in bed connected to a dialysis machine as the team reconvenes in front of the White Board o' Symptoms. Add ‘kidney failure', and Nate will need dialysis for the rest of his life. Either Nate cleans up his attitude or I pity the poor techs. Too many symptoms, House thinks. Cameron suggests HIV infection could cause multiple organ failure, but Chase can't conceive of anybody sleeping with him. And I guess we ruled out IV drug use earlier. Foreman notes a slightly elevated uric acid level, but Chase says ten percent of all males have this. House wonder if we're only considering abnormal abnormalities now, but Chase says the uric acid levels are completely accounted for by the meat they've been stuffing him with. But wasn't it only three patties, and that followed by starvation? Heck, why don't I have gout then? Foreman suggests hepatic fibrosis or MCAT, from a genetic disorder and House thinks that's a good enough possibility to test. Foreman says he can draw some blood, but then has to run. "Job interview?" House asks. "You going to stop me if it is?" House shrugs and says for Foreman to do the nurse stuff and Cameron and Chase will do the doctor stuff. Foreman takes off to don a funny starched white cap. (Actually, do they wear those any more? I don't think I've seen one in ages.)

Foreman injects Nate, who, despite being woozy, continues his earlier ‘Foreman is gay' theme, asking is he's drawing blood is for a marriage license test : legal in Massachusetts, he says. Enid suddenly gets all concerns and asks what Foreman gave him. This is the same woman who quite cheerfully consented to a brain biopsy, earlier, remember. Just a sedative so I can draw his blood in peace, Foreman says. Enid protests that Nate is sick and his obnoxiousness is not his fault. Enid desperately wants to believe that Nate's jerkiness is a symptom of whatever's ailing him, which at least holds out some hope for her of a change. Foreman is totally unsympathetic, saying if Nate had tuberculosis that wouldn't be his fault either, but Foreman still wouldn't let Nate cough on him. Enid sighs. Enid sighs a lot.

Wilson catches Cameron in an elevator, and probes her about spiking Foreman's interview. Hey, he's already over it and moved on to the next one, folks, can we let it drop? (No.) Wilson's approach is subtle, though. He claims Cuddy thinks it was him and is therefore going to fire Wilson. Cameron totally sees through the subterfuge, just like House saw through the spiked coffee last week. Wilson can't fool anybody, at least not for long. Cameron knows firing Wilson would be totally unlike Cuddy, and therefore figures Wilson suspects her. Wilson says she would have fallen for it three years ago : her deviousness quotient is up. Guess working for House has some advantages besides the obvious ones. Cameron thinks Wilson thinks it was her because she cares about House. But, Cameron insists, she doesn't : not any more. Wilson says he doesn't believe her. "No one does," she sighs. Again he says she's lying. "Everyone does," she says, "but it wasn't me." Wonder where she picked that up?

In the lab, Chase and Cameron are testing Nate's blood with negative results. No hepatic fibrosis, no MCAT, Chase says. Cameron broaches the subject of Foreman's interview and recaps the whole suspicion chain : Foreman to House to Cuddy to Wilson to Cameron to Tinker to Evers to Chance. Chase realizes she's now passing the hot potato to him. Chase is amused and says he doesn't even want Foreman to stay. Cameron says she still thinks he did it, just because he's irritated at Foreman. Chase marvels that everybody else is suspected for noble reasons : wanting to help House, but he's suspected "just because I'm a petty, vindictive jerk?" He denies it again and says that if he's a petty vindictive jerk, at least he's the petty vindictive jerk who's propositioning her, because it's Tuesday again. Come to think of it, this show is perpetually Tuesday. Good thing he didn't pick Friday, we'd never get to see this repartee. "I like you." "I know, see you next Tuesday."

Finally Chase comes up with a positive result (no, not with Cameron, with the blood.) He reports to House a partial HPRT enzyme deficiency, which could mean Kelley-Seegmiller syndrome. But it's only partial, Cameron says, so it may not be. Yep, House agrees, that about sums it up, it either is or it isn't. Cameron says Kelley-Seegmiller victims self mutilate, chewing lips and banging heads against the wall. "Lovely disease," House philosophizes, "degenerative, incurable, fatal : wonder if that's why Cameron's on the ‘no' side." That, she says, and the fact that "symptoms don't lie." Oh, zing, feed his lines back at him, Cameron. Chase says they only self mutilate when they're stressed. Cameron wants to know what could be more stressful than being in the ICU with a failing liver and no kidneys. House thinks he knows what, and asks Chase to distract the mother for a while so he can "stress this kid and see if he bites off a finger."

House walks into Nate's room and we realize it's the first time that doctor and patient have met as Nate asks "Who're you?" "Dr. McCaney," House says, "the one who's going to kick your ass all over this chess board." Nate doesn't want to play. House gives him a shot of adrenaline "if you consent", but totally not waiting for an answer. House taunts him with the formula ‘small testicles = big chicken : don't force me to do the sound effect.' Because, of course, clucking would be totally unethical. Nate still says won't be goaded into playing. "Thought you wouldn't have to be, thought you'd jump at the chance of humiliating someone," House says. And holds out a black and a white pawn concealed in fists. "Age before cripple," Nate says, claiming white. Now correct me if I'm wrong, but as normally understood, shouldn't both of those factors favor House?

House sets out a chess clock and the match is on. The pieces fly quickly, slapping the board. "Byrd's opening," House taunts, "Passive approach. Sign of a coward." Punching the clock. "Sicilian defense," Nate rejoinders, "sign of an idiot." Slap, punch. "Arrogance has to be earned. Tell me what you've done to earn yours." Slap, punch. "I can walk." Slap, punch. "I don't bleed out of my penis." Slap, punch. Slap, punch. Slap, punch. "Check" House says, "you know it's a real thin line between tortured genius and awkward kid who can't get girls because he's… creepy." Slap, punch. House pauses over his move. "Why are you doing this?" Nate asks. "To stress you out." Slap, punch. "Check". Slap, punch. Slap, punch. Slap, punch. "You know that no one likes you." House says. "Well anybody like you?" (Wilson, House doesn't say.) "You're dying!" Slide slowly, punch. "Check." Nate contemplates the board, almost topples his king, and it looks like the anxiety level is getting to him. "Your move," House prods. Nate is breathing hard. Then moves his king out of check. Slap, PUNCH! Slide, punch. (a knight) More breathing.

Then a closed-mouth smile creeps over Nate's face. He snickers. Nate moves his queen dramatically, then another emphatic punch of the clock. House looks concerned. Nate lays out the inevitable progression of moves, leading to his victory four moves later : he invites House to save what's left of his dignity and lay down his king. Before House can decide, Nate suffers a seizure. House looks bored, mutters "Crap", and removes the board preserving their positions. As nurses rush into the room and electronic devices beep, House orders "four milligrams IV lorazepam", without ever taking his eyes off the board he is carefully carrying. As the nurses struggle with Nate in the background, he topples his king.

Act 4

Later in the diagnosis room, House is still contemplating the final chess position. "I hate this kid," he says. So naturally Foreman now like him. House asks if he got the job, and Foreman says they're going to let him know. Cameron says Kelley-Seegmiller doesn't cause seizures. One more symptom, one less diagnosis, House grumbles. House asks Foreman if he gave them his name for references. Nah, Foreman says, he gave them his previous (3 + years ago) supervisor. And suggests amyloidosis. "Ouch, that can't look good," House mock sympathizes. Through the whole conversation his eyes have never left the chessboard.

"What if it's multiple conditions," Cameron asks. Maybe the kid's hiding something, Chase suggests. Why? Because he's evil? House contemplates the White Board o' Symptoms and utters a radical (for him) thought; "What if the symptoms lie?" Chase's eyebrow quivers, Cameron looks disgusted. House crosses "personality" off the list and say now we're facing a simple evil jerk with amyloidosis. Now Foreman quibbles with his own earlier suggestion "Doesn't fit the symptoms." Sure it does, House says, erasing the top one. Foreman says it only fits because House is ignoring a symptom and wants the kid to be evil so he can hate him. House says Foreman wants the kid to be good, or have a chemical problem because he wants to believe that people are good. Well, they're not and it's not, he says : "flush the kid with immunosuppressants." (Seems like this is a dangerous road we've gone down before.) "Get a biopsy to confirm and find him a marrow donor." The Hice holds their collective breath, praying that this time suppressing the immune system is the right thing to do.

Chase explains amyloidosis to Enid as a nurse cares for Nate, who is hooked up to a lot of machinery. Amyloid proteins build up in the organs, shutting them down. The disease is rare and can be fatal. Nate needs a bone marrow transplant. Enid agonizes over the relief she felt earlier when she heard Nate was sick, because of the possibility his personality would change with a cure. Now…

Foreman operates on a conscious Nate, explaining he's removing a small piece of nerve tissue from his ankle. Nate says he's burning up, and wishes he could be sedated. Foreman says his body has to remain clear for a possible marrow transplant. Nate says he knows "Dr. X" really busted ass trying to save him. Can this be gratitude from Nate? No, not really, he says Foreman really sucks at this, since his ‘best' isn't very good. Foreman sighs (I think he caught it from Enid. Either that or Nate's a carrier.) and considers amputation. Somewhere around the neck region, perhaps.

House purchases a "Chocolate CHOMP" candy bar from the hospital vending machine. Notice that all the other goodies have their brand-names turned waway from the window of the vending machine (contrary to good vending company marketing practice). Being a programmer by trade, and therefore a connoisseur of vending machine delectables purchased late at night when nothing's open, I'm reasonably sure this is a fictitious brand introduced to illustrate the hypocrisy of the medical profession, who'd probably like us to believe they vend nothing but celery and non-fat yogurt in their staff areas. The candy bar is in slot "24". I've never seen a candy vending machine that didn't have a two-tier, alphanumeric code system, like "D8", so I assume this is a Fox shout-out to Jack Bauer, long may he reign, especially since the font is a dead ringer for the one that introduces his show. Craft. It shows in attention to fine detail. Can we expect an "American Idle" brand of something next? But I digress.

Foreman approaches and tells House that the nerve biopsy showed no evidence of amyloidosis. So we put Enid through all that "might die" stuff before we were sure? Foreman's now thinking it's an infection, or at least partially an infection, and wants to start antibiotics and see what clears up. House says not to give up on amyloidosis so fast, biopsy somewhere else, like the sinuses, and keep Nate on immunosuppressants. When Foreman starts to object, House says he has two choices : engage House in a futile argument, lose, then do what House wants, or just do what House wants. Foreman shrugs and walks off to do what House wants, leading House to tell him "You're not ready. There was a third choice. Don't do what I asked. You could have defied me, stuck to putting the kid on antibiotics, but you didn't. Because you still trust my judgment more than your own." So with that philosophy the Hice may be here until they're old and gray. Foreman contemplates this.

House is in his office, still puzzling over that chess board when Chase comes in, and accuses House of being the interview saboteur. House says he already told Foreman he didn't do it. Chase snatches the white king off the board to get House's attention and says "Everybody's chasing ghosts over this, which means either nobody did it or somebody wants everybody chasing ghosts : now who does that sound like?" "And why would I do that?" "Because as long as Foreman thought you were guilty he was going to be useless around here." House smiles and says sometimes he forgets why he hired Chase. Chase chastises him for costing Foreman a good opportunity, House says is was s crappy opportunity at a mediocre hospital. Chase says House should tell Foreman he wants him to stay, to make him feel like he's wanted, House denies wanting Foreman to stay. As they trade arguments, neither convincing the other, Chase taps the white king on the board. He offers it back to House holding it between his index and middle finger, and House has an epiphany. "We dumped one symptom, he says, but forgot to add one."

He returns to Nate's room where Enid is holding Nate's hand. "Revenge time" he announces and approaches Nate's bed holding out both fists in a ‘choose one' gesture. Nate says he doesn't want to play, Enid asks House to leave, but House persists, "Pick one… or this comes out" (pointing to an IV line), "and for all you know, this is really important." Nate indicates a choice and House holds a white pawn out to Nate. Nate attempts to grab it using the same index and middle finger grasp Chase used. House grabs and twists Nate's thumb and Nate grimaces in pain as his mother rises to protest.

"You hold the pieces that way because it hurts - you can't bend your thumb, because your bones have formed abnormally, because of all the crap that's been pushing its way between them." "Actually", he says, yanking out the IV, "this stuff isn't important at all." "But what about the immunosuppressants," Enid asks, "your doctors said he needs them." "They're idiots," House says, "It's not amyloidosis, it's hemochromatosis." I believe one of the idiots suggested that several pages back. I wonder if PPTH gets much repeat business, what with the favorable impression the diagnostic staff must make? Good thing most of their patients have once-in-a-lifetime illnesses. Nate's body can't process iron from food, House explains, and it builds up in the organs and joints. Causes all the symptoms, even the body aches everyone thought were from fighting. "His personality issues…" Enid timidly asks. Sorry, you're stuck with those, House tells her. "Your kid's a jerk." Nice to have a medical professional's opinion. Is there a DSM IV code for that? "And it's probably your fault." he says, as Enid's world crumbles around her, "although" he adds to Nate, "if you'd stayed off the meat like she said, you'd have half as much iron and be twice less.. almost dead." He punctures a vein in Nate's wrist and just lets it drain, calling a nurse to say "This patient is bleeding, for some reason."

House explains that Nate will need dialysis and getting his blood drained every few months for the rest of his life. Sucks to be you, Nate. Almost as much as it sucks to be Enid, I guess. House offers his condolences to both of them on what promises to be a lone and annoying life. Enid is the picture of mixed emotions. House leans in to Nate and days he wouldn't have played the end game that Nate laid out. He'd have moved differently and won the game. Nate snickers that he knew all that : "I was bluffing. And that's why you lost." Checkmate. "Little jerk" House mutters under his breath as he walks away.

House finds Foreman in the lab, still testing those tissue samples for amyloidosis. House tells him to run the tests again and check his results, then leaves with a glance at Foreman still performing his useless tests. Speaking of Jerks…

- Cecil

Week After Next:
The case starts at sea with a couple caught in a storm on a small boat. Once again a unique case challenges the House team. We seem to have a reversible death ruling, and that, the voice says, is just the start of things. "Is this Heaven?" the patient asks. "No, New Jersey." I'd be totally bummed if I expected Heaven and got New Jersey instead.

Prev Episode: 3-22 Resignation May 8, 2008
Next Episode: 3-24 Human Error (Season Finale) in two weeks, May 29, 2007

Guest Cast Ep. 3-23, "The Jerk" Aired 5/15/2007

Nate ___________________Nick Lane
Enid___________________Colleen Flynn
Doug__________________David Bowe
Mark__________________Dustin Joiner

Posted by Cecil on May 24, 2007 11:34 PM
Permalink |

Am I first?
Just kidding Cecil. Great review. Looking forward to watching the season finale which I have DVR'd. Glad to be amongst the first to post here. My LOST handle "BunnyLover" doesn't quite work here, so my new handle for this blog shall be "HouseHater."

-- 1. Posted by: BunnyLover at May 25, 2007 3:45 PM

Whoo Hooo! A comment has rolled in! I think we've had a bunny or two on "House". Probably as a source of disease. Heh. The difference between "House" and "Lost" is we solve the mysteries weekly, not at the end of Season 6.

I'd have to go back and check to see which has the larger body count. This week's "Lost" finale has certainly added to theirs. But House and company have bumped off a few this year, too.

Instead of Others, we've had "The Evil House-Obsessed Hospital Chairman" (S2) And the "Evil House Obsessed Cop" (S3) Either one of these could give Benjamin Linus a run in the creepiness department. Come to think of it, I wonder if the Hanso Corporation had a hand in these things?

And Foreman seems to be having as much trouble getting out of PPTH as the Losties do getting off the island.

What other parallels can we think of.

-- 2. Posted by: Cecil Rose at May 25, 2007 5:21 PM

Hey, Cecil Rose, just dropping by. I knew your recap would be well-written! Unfortunately, I don't watch House, so can't add much to the commentary. I am, however, fascinated by the Discovery channel and like to diagnose my co-workers until they beg me to stop :) Your intermittent quips are quite funny, so I'll be sure to come back next week.

And this made me LOL: "I think we've had a bunny or two on "House". Probably as a source of disease."

Sorry, BunnyLover :)

-- 3. Posted by: Clementine at May 25, 2007 7:27 PM

I came over here from the LOST blog and I'm glad I did. I didn't realize that I didn't see the end of this episode for some reason. Must've fallen asleep, I guess. I'm glad I found this! I wish I found it earlier to be able to discuss House with other House lovers.

Great recap. Personally, I wouldn't mind Foreman leaving. I'm actually getting quite bored with this staff, with the exception of my beloved House. They're all starting to grate on my nerves. Especially Foreman.

-- 4. Posted by: I heart House at May 25, 2007 9:24 PM

In case anyone cares, and I know you do, I'd like to personaly apologize to Meg for being first. NOT! Actually feels pretty good for a change. (If you haven't been to the LOST blog, please disregard.)
On subject: Hey Cecil, I can't find the recent finale episode review from you. I'm I totally drunk now or have you not posted it yet? Or did I mistake the date.

Just wondering and hatin for a change...

In the "More Recent Stories" links below, 'House: The Jerk' appears twice, and I can only get the one review.
Am I seeing double?
probly... (misspelled on purpose)

-- 5. Posted by: HouseHater-aka-BunnyLover but not after this post at May 25, 2007 11:54 PM

Hey Cecil, excellent review. Keen insights, and witty to boot! I don't know if I'll be posting much on here, there's not as much to speculate on from week to week as there is on Lost. Except how the Chase/Cameron relationship is evolving versus how the actors who play them's real life romance is evolving...but i don;t go in for that kind of stuff. BTW, who writes the Studio 60 fodder? I felt like I was reading an NBC press release, you and Mac do a much better job! And whoever did V Mars, I'll miss that show and the recaps!

-- 6. Posted by: FenwayBen at May 26, 2007 5:47 AM

Wow. so nice to have some discussion over here.

On questions about the finale - it hasn't aired yet. They took a week off to give “American Idol” extra time this week. Actually, for those who TIVO/VCR/DVR "House", “Idol” has been a problem all year - it usually slops over a few minutes, causing "House" to not start until around 9:03 0r 9:04. They always give it the full time, but it means if you set your VCR for the scheduled time, you end up cutting off the last four or five minutes. If I'm not watching live I always set my DVR for 9:00-10:10, just to be safe.

So the finale episode of "House" 'Human Errors' will air this coming Tuesday, May 28, hopefully (silence, English teachers) at the regular times.

The reason "The Jerk" appear twice in the reviews columns is I've recently begun a practice here that I started with the "Rome" blog, keeping two separate reviews on line, one a shorter or "capsule" review, and the other a longer or "full" review. mac's contract with his reviewer requires a review on line within 24 hours of the show, which is a good thing, I think. Unfortunately, not being as fast a typist or analyst as mac, and having a full time job to get to the next day, I didn't think I could do an hour show justice in that time frame, so we negotiated and mac was fine with the idea of a quick shorter review followed later by a longer, more thoughtful and complete review.

On "Rome", I put these up in two different areas, leaving both on line. When I came over to "House" after the fall of "Rome" I at first kept only one review, starting with the short one then replacing it with the longer one later. I've come to conclude that that wasn't working out well, so recently split the blog into two areas, one called "House Episode Reviews" and the other "House Episode Capsule Review", and there's a review of "The Jerk" in each.

There's also a "House News" area for general stuff - there's an episodic character list, and a recent announcement from Fox about the opportunity to buy 'House" merchandise with the profits going to support NAMI, the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill, a fine organization I heartily endorse.

Anyway, if you come in on the top link, you see all three types of entries mixed together, most recent on top, and that's why you see two "The Jerk's". I've got to try to separate these by title or description to make the distinction clearer. Or you can click on one of the three categories at the top right, and then you will see only that category of entry in the list at the left.

I wasn't aware that Jennifer Morrison and Jesse Spencer had an off-screen relationship. I suppose that may add extra poignancy to the on-screen one for those in the know, but it's not the sort of thing I can keep up with. For those that want to comment, though, the comments section of the "House: Characters" blog provides a forum.

Admittedly, there's not as much speculation room on "House" as on "Lost", since each week’s mystery usually wraps up by curtain time. However there have been at least two major multi-episode story arcs. In season two there was the evil hospital board chairman who wanted House fired. In season three, just concluding, there has been the evil police detective who wanted to put House behind bars for prescription drug abuse (or alternatively, just get him to apologize for his rudeness).

Thanks everyone for stopping by, and I hope you’ll feel welcome to return often.

-- 7. Posted by: Cecil Rose at May 26, 2007 9:20 AM


The "Studio60" reviewer doesn't seem to sign her reviews. But from the comments area of her cancellation news item, we can conclude that her name is Gina, at least. Maybe we should recommend to mac a staff listing of all his reviewers. I think it's a good practice to introduce yourself to your readers, and I tried to do a little of that over in the 'News' category.

-- 8. Posted by: Cecil Rose at May 26, 2007 9:34 AM

Thanks, Cecil Rose! I wish I had known about your Rome blog when the show was still on, I was a huge fan but none of my friends were interested in watching (which is maybe why it's not on anymore...) Great info, and keep the reviews coming!

-- 9. Posted by: FenwayBen at May 26, 2007 2:54 PM

PS from Wikipedia:

Spencer became engaged to House co-star Jennifer Morrison on December 23, 2006 after proposing in Paris. They live together in San Fernando Valley.

-- 10. Posted by: FenwayBen at May 26, 2007 2:56 PM

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