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House: 97 Seconds

House Episode 4-03C : 97 Seconds

Airdate Oct 09, 2007

This is a capsule review : it will be supplemented soon by a full review.

The Hook:

Night. A handicapped ramp lowers and we see the interior of a van. Inside we see a young man in a wheel chair, and his helper dog. As the young man wheels out of the van, at a single word, "cold", the dog runs back into the van and brings a blanket. The man tells the dog they're going to go check out the new waitress at the ice cream bar. Wheeling down the block, they come to a crosswalk and the dog presses the "WALK" button. As they roll across the intersection, the young man's head droops, and he slumps unconscious in his wheelchair. The dog barks and grows more and more nervous at their unsafe condition. Down the block we see Ms Blonde Yuppie in her SUV headed toward the intersection, all her attention focused on manipulating her sound system (Should have been yakking on the cell phone - or even better : text messaging.) The potential for tragedy grows, the dog barks, Ms Yuppie rolls on, oblivious. At the last second, she looks up and tires screech (note to producers : tires don't screech in modern cars : ABS). Tragedy averted. At least Ms. Yuppie has the decency to jump out and run to the young man's side, she doesn't just drive around him.

Cue twanging guitarry House music… I notice that Cameron, Chase, and Foreman are still featured in the titles. After a cute commercial with John McEnroe hugging a one-time nemesis umpire, we go to…

Act 1

There are ten potential Hice still in the running waiting in the lecture room for a late House who arrives and deals out information packets on their new patient, a young man with spinal muscular atrophy and a newly developed tendency to become unconscious. House has the protoHice divide themselves into two teams on gender lines. He also has them take off their numbers, saying he knows who they all are. Instead he start to give them annoying nicknames : "Overly Excited Former Foster Child", "Fat Twin", and "Cutthroat Bitch" for instance. CB wants to join the men's side, but the men reject her.

Cameron is working in the ER as CB approaches her and sounds her out for a suggestion on the diagnosis. Cameron's not inclined to help, but CB cleverly plays on Cameron's sympathies for the patient to get her help.

House joins an auto accident victim in the clinic. The vic pulls a knife and plunges it into… not House but the nearest electrical outlet. House calmly calls for a crash cart.

One of the women interviews the primary patient, whose name, we learn, is Stark, and learning he's recently visited Thailand suggests the possibility he picked up heart worms from the soil, and gives him two pills which, if that's the case, will clean him right out.

Two of the men appear and ask the victim : er : patient : for hair, blood and stool samples.

House talks to Cuddy about his team approach to interviewing and his electocutee.

In Massachusetts we see Foreman using his own three person team of mini-Hice to diagnose a patient. It's virtually identical to a House session, complete with white board, except Foreman goes out of his way to be the anti-House, praising his mini-Hice rather than brow-beating.

In the cafeteria, House flicks the victim's knife and talks to Wilson, still obsessing over the self-electrocution he witnessed. Wilson is more interested in the team competition, but House really isn't listening to him.

CB goes to the men's team and asks again to join them, offering Cameron's diagnostic suggestions as an incentive. After consideration they agree. Next they ask Stark to let some bugs bite him : sneakily, they let the bugs feed on him, then examine the bugs' excretions, since Stark isn't producing any - it's called xeno-diagnosis. The bugs start to do their work, but before the test is complete, Stark begins choking on the milk of magnesia he's been swigging to try to produced feces the old fashioned way. Amidst concerned barking by the dog, we have a new symptom : difficulty swallowing.

Act 2

As a nurse pounds on the patient's back, House convenes both teams to discuss the new development. We hear two new nicknames, "Grumpy", "Daughter of an Alcoholic". I'll take the first one, pass on the second : too difficult to type : she's still 13 to me. The women come up with a new theory that can be diagnosed with a tilt-table and rush off to do it. House reveals to the men that one of them isn't really a doctor - but not which one : and chides them for timidity and wasting time.

In Mass, Foreman's team discovers their first diagnosis was wrong, and the patient's liver is failing. Foreman struggles not to be House and redirects the team.

House flicks the knife and interviews the electocutee, and wants to know "Why?". The answer is, when he almost died after his auto accident, he experienced something profound and wants to repeat the experience. House derides the experience as endorphin-produced, but the vic says otherwise.

The men have been told by House to sit around in his office and not talk, but they quibble over the exact meaning of "not talk", and eventually, prodded by CB, go back into full diagnostic mode. The old guy suggests a tumor in the throat, which they'll need a CT scan to detect. Then Grumpy notices that House's computer has a built-in microphone : busted. CB crawls across the floor (avoiding being seen by the also built-in camera), and leaves the room, apparently exiting though Wilson's office in the middle of a patient conference.

The women congratulate themselves because the tilt table seems to have proved their diagnosis. CB enters and says they haven't stressed the patient enough, cranks the table up and the patient enjoys it like a carnival ride.

House has constructed his own ‘tribal council' in the lecture room, complete with handkerchief buff and Bunsen burner torches. New nickname, "Big Love" for the black Mormon. House fires the men for violating the rules, but CB comes in late with a new diagnosis : she's run the CT scan anyway. House looks at the scan and disputes her diagnosis, sends the women out to put a feeding tube in Stark, and again dismisses the men's team, plus CB. OG stops on his way out to tell House "it was the best two weeks of my life". House says he'll miss him most of all and crowns him "Ridiculously Old Fraud".

CB consults with Chase, saying she's not fired because House "fired the men". "Could House be wrong", she asks waving the scan. CB wants Chase to run the lab tests and dangles the possibility that Chase can make House's life miserable : an offer he can't refuse.

CB goes to Stark to draw his blood. He's now feeling worse even though he's ‘theoretically cured'. He's in a philosophical mood and says he's ready for the long degenerative progression to be over. But his blood is green! New symptom, ho-o.

Act 3

Suddenly everybody's unfired and back in the lecture room. What diagnosis does kidney failure suggest? House drops the team approach and goes into full speed ahead mode, taking rapid fire suggestions and dispatching doctors for tests.

House confronts Chase over performing tests for non-doctors. Chase rebuffs House's approach and strides off. Cameron, who's been watching says "I like him better like this. You?"

13 reports the patient is developing pneumonia, and all their diagnoses were wrong. House wonders if the speck in the biopsy could indicate cancer.

In Mass., Foreman is suspecting cancer, too, since his patient has not responded to broad-spectrum antibiotics. Suddenly Foreman's facing the same dilemma he did last year : no time to test two different diagnoses : if it's cancer she needs radiation immediately, if it's infection the radiation could suppress her immune system, exactly how Foreman killed a patient last year when the correct diagnosis turned out to be infection from a dirty bra-hook. Foreman's supervisor knows about the case, too, and tells him to try a different antibiotic, first.

House wants to remove Stark's eye to catch a suspected cancer in the optic nerve. Cuddy thinks he's going too fast, but House brow-beats her into letting him proceed. House enlists Wilson to help. Wilson explains the situation to Stark, but has to admit that the likely result is only a few more months of life. In pain, the patient says ‘ I'd rather just get this over with, get out of this useless body'. House can't stand to see anyone make a decision on : to his eyes : irrational bases, and derides the suffering man.

In the hall, Wilson and House exchange angry words, Wilson wondering why a dying man can't be allowed a comforting delusion. But to House, "He shouldn't be making a decision based on a lie. Misery is better than nothing." The House philosophy in a nutshell. Wilson, though, tells him "You don't know that there's ‘nothing'. You haven't been there". House hates that argument.

House stands in the room of the auto vic and contemplates him without speaking. Then he returns to his office and sits in the dark, thinking, and holding that knife.

In Mass., Foreman contemplates the White Board o' Symptoms, also alone and thinking. Deciding, Foreman pushes the patient's bed, alone, though the darkened nighttime hallways.

CB and 13 are with Stark, inserting a tube into his lungs to help him breathe. But the fluid the tube brings up is clear, not full of blood as it should be with cancer. 13 tells CB to call House, but CB's pager rings and it's House paging her. She rushes off to his office. As she approaches it we see a flash of light. She enters the office and sees House collapsed on the floor. The knife is stuck in an outlet. She begins CPR.

Act 4

The candidates debate the meaning of House's actions in the lecture room. Wilson enters and says House is alive but unconscious, and he'll lead them in attempting to diagnose Stark.

Wilson berates a recovering House. House says he was just taking Wilson's suggestion to see for himself, and asks to talk to the auto vic. However the auto vic died a couple of hours ago. Wilson wants to know if House saw anything, but House says ‘nothing' and wants to talk about Stark's latest diagnosis, an cephalic pneumonia. Wilson says it was "Brennan"s idea, but House doesn't know who that is by actual name, and wants to know if it's ROG. House says to start him on cyclophosemide, but Wilson's already done that. Wilson says he'll order up some extra pain meds for House, and House responds "I love you." Hope someone's watching out for tall, lurking police lieutenants.

Tall dark woman doctor and 13 tell Stark the new meds should start working in minutes. As he waits for the drugs to take effect, Stark asks them to put his dog on the bed, then to place his hand on the dog's head. Stark says he's not afraid, then dies.

CB enters House's room to tell him that Stark has died. House levers himself out of bed to go see "our patient". CB presses him to tell her "Why me". Because she's the only one who would care if he dies, he tells her, because she needs him alive to offer her a job.

House enters Stark's room and mulls over where they went wrong with the two women doctors. 13's a little skeeved by this and asks if they could remove the body first. Then they discover that the dog is dead, as well. They try to figure if there could be a common cause, but tall dark woman doctor thinks that's unlikely. House asks 13 if she watched the patient take the pills. "I don't know, I think so" she stammers.

House asks what would happen if the dog took the pills, and the conclusion is it would kill the dog. House begins pushing furniture around and discovers a dog-chewed pill cup under a table. House tells a wide-eyed 13 take the body down to the morgue.

House is dressing, big bottle of nice new pain pills on his table, when Cuddy strides in and says if he hadn't treated the patient as a game, he'd still be alive. Cuddy says his patient died while his attending physician was unconscious by self inflicted means. House says he died because his doctor was an idiot (I think he means 13, but maybe not). Cuddy takes it that way and says "You employed her, you're responsible", and House has no retort.

Foreman is approached by his supervisor. The patient is recovering nicely after Foreman's midnight radiation treatment. "Gutsy call" the supe tells him, but also "it wasn't a compliment", and "You're fired." Foreman sighs.

13 sits in the morgue with Stark's body. It was threadworms. House asks if she thinks it's fair that he fired all the other members of her team when they had the right diagnosis. She's obsessing on minutia, wondering if there's anything she could have done differently and saved Stark's life. House goes over all the false steps her inattention led to. "Forget the lecture and fire me" she flashes. But House isn't firing her, because "I know you're not going to let this happen again." She leaves. House tells the recumbent body "I'm sorry to say… I told you so."

- Cecil

Next episode (two weeks):

House talks to his team and we see Big Love, Cutthroat Bitch, 13, Plastic Surgeon, Grumpy, and Other Young Guy, but no Old Guy. So is the competition over and the team is six now, or does he games go on?

He tells them their next patient sees dead people. Oooh, Haley Joel Osment? Nope, it's a woman. She not only sees ‘em, she talks to them, too, and they talk back.


Prev. Episode: 4-02 The Right Stuff - 10/02/07
Next Episode: 4-04 Guardian Angels - 10/23/07
Coming: 4-05 Mirror, Mirror - 10/30/07
Guest Cast Ep. 4-03, "97 Seconds" Aired 10/09/2007

Originally aired: Tuesday October 9, 2007 on FOX

Writers:…………………………….. Russel Friend, Garrett Lerner
Director:……………………………..David Platt

Show Stars:

Hugh Laurie…………..(Dr. Gregory House)

Lisa Edelstein…………(Dr. Lisa Cuddy)
Robert Sean Leonard….(Dr. James Wilson)

Jesse Spencer………….(Dr. Robert Chase)
Jennifer Morrison……...(Dr. Allison Cameron)
Omar Epps……………..(Dr. Eric Foreman)

Recurring Roles:

Anne Dudek……………(Amber/Cutthroat Bitch)
Olivia Wilde……………(Thirteen)
Peter Jacobson………….(Taub/Plastic Surgeon)
Kal Penn………………...(Kutner/Grumpy)
Carmen Argenziano…….(Henry/)
Edi Gathegi……………..(Cole)
Andy Comeau…………..(Brennan/OG/ROG)
Bobbin Bergstrom………(Nurse)

Guest Stars:

Brian Klugman………….(Stark)
Meera Simhan…………..(Jody)
Melinda Dahl……………(Twin 1/Fat Twin)
Caitlin Dahl……………..(Twin 2)
Charlie Hofheimer………(Almore/Auto Vic)
Kathleen York……… ...(Dr. Schaffer)
Mary Kate Schellhardt…..(Female Fellow)
Reynaldo Rosales……… .(Handsome Fellow)
Douglas Spain……………(Latino Fellow)


Posted by Cecil on October 11, 2007 6:26 PM
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