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House: Mirror, Mirror

House Episode 4-05C : Mirror, Mirror

Airdate: Tuesday October 30, 2007

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

The Hook:

Two teenagers, apparently brothers, are crouched in an urban hidey hole looking for a mugging victim. They finally decide on a young man strolling casually down the deserted alley. When they confront him and demand his money, he gives them attitude instead. The younger mugger is impressed, but the older, more cynical one whips out a knife, holds it to the young man's throat, and demands his wallet. The man's only response is to begin coughing in their faces. Nervously the younger thug rifles the man's pockets and retrieves the wallet. As they run off, the man collapses to his knees, still coughing. The younger one stops to ask their victim if he's all right. The older says the vic is still ‘faking it' (though why would he be at this point?) and urges his brother to leave. The younger, less hardened criminal whips out a cell phone and calls 9-1-1 to report the ‘mugging victim in need of assistance', then the two turn and run as we hear...

Cue spooky music rather appropriate for Halloween... (Ever stop to consider how appropriate the House intro is for Halloween? We've got skulls, a Gothic looking hospital, naked heads with their brains showing, nerve systems exposed, skeletons, spinal chords, ripped open chests... all it needs is a narration by Thoro Ravenscroft and we've got a pretty good ride, here...)

Act 1

House is briefing the team : "...we're hunting for the cat-burglar of diseases : what causes a healthy man's lungs to fail but leaves no fingerprints?" Possibilities are called out rapid fire and just as rapidly deflected by House. House's eyes raise as Cuddy walks in with... Foreman! "What are you doing here, " he asks. Foreman chooses to jump in with a suggestion of his own. House thanks him and tells him to get out. Cuddy says since killing his second-last patient, he's lost his veto power. The other candidates, led by Cutthroat Bitch, are mainly concerned, "Does this mean there's one less slot for us?" Cuddy says that's up to House, but Foreman is there to represent her, and they are to do nothing without his knowledge. House says to flush out the disease, they'll give the patient a methacholine challenge : stop his breathing : only long enough to see what his problem is, of course. The teams streams out to comply.

Foreman and House chat in the hall, House saying he'll just make Foreman unhappy enough to quit. Foreman says he's not quitting.

The patient is breathing through a tube and wired up to monitors as he jogs on a treadmill, while CB and Young-Guy doctor watch instruments. They're apparently controlling the dosage as he jogs. The patient says his foot is tingling : which is not normal. And his stomach is killing him, he says. CB tells him this test shouldn't cause those symptoms.

CB reports that the test was a bust and two new symptoms have shown up to more of the group, who are in the hall gathered around Chase, who's taking money from them. He says "Amber (CB) has moved up to even money." It's a pool on who gets fired next. Learning there isn't a limit, CB offers $500 on Foreign Guy. FG responds with $1000 on CB. (Guess these guys don't need the jobs for the money. What then? The challenge, House's warmth?)

Foreman is in the lecture room writing symptoms on a real chalk board (green), not the White Board o' Symptoms : guess that's reserved for House. (I do seem to remember House reacting to Chase using it last year, now that I think of it.) House strides in and tells the group "Carry on, he's the boss." House sits and contributes side commentary on Foreman. House's beeper tells him the patient just crashed. The team looks back and forth, House asks "Can they go, boss?" At a nod from Foreman the candidates rush out. Foreman tells house the world thinks he's been corrupted (by House) so no one will hire him, he hates being there and would love to quit, but he can't. And Foreman's off to see the patient as House looks thoughtful.

The team rushes up to find the patient alone, collapsed in the hall. (Where's whoever paged House? They just walked off and left him there?). He has a pulse, but is not breathing. FG wants use the opportunity to attempt a diagnosis of the lung problems, but CB's afraid they're risking his life if they don't start treatment promptly.

House approaches Foreman and somewhat sympathetically tells him "You're right, you're obviously in an impossible position, so I'm not going to humiliate you... I'm going to humiliate Cuddy until she fires you." Foreman opines the patient is faking his symptoms : "It's Munchausen's" He points out that the patient gave the same name as the paramedic who brought him in, and points out that all the patient's symptoms are listed on a chart on the wall next to other patients in that ward. (Me, I'm wondering if in this day and age, any hospital really posts patients' names and symptoms on a prominently displayed place that appears to be in a public hallway : this when most hospitals won't even confirm that a person is in the hospital without waivers six ways from Sunday, much less tell you what their diagnosis is.) "He's copying his neighbor's symptoms." House disagrees, and thinks it's Giovannini's Mirror Syndrome, where a patient who has lost his memory seizes on things around him to fill in the blanks. The patient is conscious and listening to their exchange without expression. House comes up with a shortcut way to test his hypothesis.

House and the patient, both dressed in scrubs, walk into an OR where Wilson is busy operating. The patient seems confused, but watches Wilson closely. Wilson lectures House about accepting the Foreman situation and using Foreman's skills to lighten the load. House deflects the comment, but now ‘Martin" pipes up "Sure deflect. It's all about Cuddy : I can almost smell the pheromones now!" Wilson decides he likes ‘Martin". House tells Foreman, who's looking down from the observation balcony, "I told you I didn't need you." But Foreman quickly points out that ‘Martin' has picked up a scalpel and seems poised for some cutting. House stops him : then peels off ‘Martin's' rubber glove to reveal a networked pattern on his skin. "Your blood's turning to sludge : if we don't heat you up you'll die," he says, adding "Can't fake that," to Foreman.

Act 2

House leads the group though the hall lecturing on Mirror Syndrome. The team suggest three tests to find the source of the infection that's turning ‘Martin's hand black, bathing him in warm water to thin his blood before taking a sample, and an abdominal ultrasound to look for an abcess, and taking a history. The group has reached the cafeteria, where House launches Operation Annoy Cuddy by announcing the food is contaminated and everyone there should go to the clinic and ask for Dr. Cuddy. House sends BL to take the patient's car keys and search for his car. 13 volunteers to go with him.

CB is drawing the patient's blood. She's apparently using some technique to keep/make it liquid without dunking him in ‘boiling water'. He begins to act hard-boiled with her and tells her he's "always right". Since his syndrome is to mirror whoever he's around, and she's the only one around, this should tell her something about herself, if she's perceptive enough to realize it. "When they don't like you, you've gotta be right, or you're not worth anything," he tells her.

Now PSG is ultrasounding fake-Martin's abdomen. ‘Martin' asks PSG who that last doctor was, and when PSG tells him, he makes comments that make PSG realize that ‘Martin' perceives PSG as being attracted to her.

Wilson and House talk, and Wilson says he's read a Swedish study that says Giovannini's patients mimic whoever's in charge, and since, in the operating room ‘Martin' mimicked Wilson, Wilson crows about ‘being in charge' of their relationship. House says is was only in that specific setting. The stride into the lecture hall, finding it empty, but a skeleton is pointing the word "CLINIC" written backwards (for some unexplained reason) in the White Board o' Symptoms.

House enters the clinic and announces that he wants all his "personal, private doctors back, right now." Cuddy says his team, including Foreman, is dealing with the great food panic he caused. House strides into examining rooms and asks the doctors for opinions on the new symptom "lesion on the liver". House sends YG to biopsy the patient's liver, a procedure that could be dangerous in one of the three suggested diagnoses. House ups the Cuddy ante by asking aloud "Who here doesn't have any health insurance?" then ordering MRI's, PET scans, psych tests and private rooms for everyone with their hand up.

YG is sticking the patient's liver with a probe. The patient says he's bored. Meaning YG is. The doctor finds what looks to him like pus in the extract from the liver, and relates it to some exotic tropical diseases he's encountered in his missionary work : which immediately convinces the patient he's been in the tropics.

YG is explaining the possibilities of black pus to House, and says CB's administering Amphotericin, which should do the trick if it's what he suspects. YG also says he's quitting, he realizes now he's not cut out for hospital work and it's back to the bush for him. Now House turns contrarian and argues for YG to stay because "You're good." YG says he'll stay until the patient is cured : which should be in about an hour.

As FG and CB watch the patient, he becomes uncomfortable and, pulling back the sheets, they discover his livedo reticularis (blood clotting from cold) has returned, and they rush him into a hot whirlpool bath to counteract this.

Act 3

Lab tests have confirmed that the liver held clotted blood, not pus, and the Amphotericin did nothing. House asks YG why he's still there and he says he's changed his mind and is staying. The team is now down to suggesting that they repeat earlier tests to see if they missed something, but House suggests they try to get the accurate history he's sent 13 and BL off to find. He calls them for a progress report. They've located the car, but it's been towed and is a locked yard guarded by two fierce Dobermans. They're wrapping something in doggie treats and tossing it over the fence.

House suggests another way to get some history : examine ‘Martin's blood for antibodies : find out what diseases he's had in the past and they'll know something about him. Of he sends FG, complete with a new nickname "Alice" (as in Through the Looking Glass) to get some blood. The team dashes off to do tests or starts to, when Foreman reminds them he hasn't "signed off" on this approach. (Was I wrong or did Cuddy only insist on Foreman's notification : not approval?) The team dithers in embarrassed silence, looking back and forth to House and Foreman. House says nothing, the team make up their collective minds and dashes off without Foreman's approval, although PSG does at least hang around long enough to apologize and say Foreman and Cuddy both seem decent, while House doesn't, but he's sorry : gotta go.

Foreman talks to Cameron as she treats a patient, saying "Your boyfriend has me at even odds." And Cameron tells him she's got a hundred on him. (To stay, or to go, I wonder?) Foreman turns to go with a grimace, but Cameron pursues him to say he's not really miserable : he's really loving it. Foreman begs to differ, and speculates that Chase is jealous because he (Chase) didn't get the ‘ride herd on House' job. Cameron begs to differ.

FG is tapping ‘Martin's spine for fluid to study his antibodies. When the patient seems to welcome the pain, FG objects that he (FG) is not a masochist. They each seem to reflect each other until the recursion gets overwhelming. ‘Martin' says he's turned on by new and unique experiences.

Wilson catches Cuddy going through House's office and correctly deduces she's fighting back in House's little war with some sort of prank, and urged her not to descend to House's level. She's replacing his Vicodin stash with laxatives, and asks Wilson "Where were you two hours ago?"

YG finds House coming out of the bathroom making suffering sighs, and reports the patient had antibodies for diseases endemic to the Ohio River valley, and older, weaker antibodies to diseases from California's San Joaquin Valley, and even further back, to central America. Slim evidence, as Foreman points out, but with nothing else to go on House says ‘run with it'.

FG reports that rash is back and House says if even the hot bath is not doing it, they should induce a fever. House returns to the bathroom stall, as Foreman warns of the danger of the high fever they're about to induce. House flushes and Foreman walks off.

Cuddy confronts House about inducing a fever. Cuddy says he can't do it. House dares her to fire him. Cuddy backs down. House is suspicious of how easily she gave in. House says the war's not over ‘til Foreman's gone. Cuddy says Foreman's not going anywhere. Then he adds the best line of the night : "I know when my Vicodin isn't Vicodin. Do you know when your birth control pills aren't birth control pills?" (Cuddy looks non-plussed, but if House is telling the truth, what was all that time in the bathroom?)

Foreman is giving the fever-inducing drug to the patient and explaining things. The patient says he feels pretty good, which bothers Foreman since a fever shouldn't work that way. The patient says he's happy and excited, which Foreman realize is a reflection of him (Foreman). Then the patient collapses. His heart's stopped. Foreman summonses more of the team to help get the patient out of the tub and onto a table for defibrillation. They grab towels and dry him frantically. FG carries over the paddles saying "He's dry enough." The other doctors say ‘Wait', but FG lays on the paddles and charges the system, calling ‘Clear'. As the other doctors jump back, he presses the button, restarting the patient's heart but knocking himself out in the process.

Act 4

Lecture hall. House razzes FG for knocking himself out. Foreman tries to get the discussion back to the patient. House orders the blood cultures run again, with longer run times. Foreman suggests biopsying his heart to at least narrow the infection down between bacterial and viral infection. Dangerous, because the patient just had a heart attack, but House agrees with the procedure. House and Foreman rush off as the other doctors look thoughtful.

In the elevator, House says he got Foreman a job in Boston Mt. Zion hospital. Foreman says that was nice of him. House's says he had to do it or Cuddy would get pregnant. House says the job starts Monday. Foreman says he doesn't want it. "Why not?" says House. "You're miserable." "Apparently not," say Foreman, with a hint of a smile, which House picks up on. House is puzzled and tells Foreman to "Do your own stupid biopsy," and turns away. Now Foreman really smiles.

The away team reports back with the patient's name : Robert Elliot, hometown : Hamilton, Ohio, and the contents of his car : which is only a tube of vapo-rub and lunch receipts. House asks 13 why she volunteered to go with BL, and speculates she was avoiding something : probably learning something about herself from Elliot's reaction to her.

House and 13 enter the room where Foreman is preparing for the biopsy, and House tells him they'll take over. He pushes 13 forward while shooing Foreman out. House tries to play meek so Elliot will consider 13 the dominant one in the room and mirror her. House is having fun with this. Elliot complains of frustration, and 13 says that's House, not her. House leaves the room and tells FG to go in : his (House's) personality is blocking Elliot from mirroring 13, so he wants someone with a weaker personality in the room to see how Elliot reacts. Now Elliot is scared, despite 13's reassurances.

But 13 comes out and reports that Elliot is just hunky dory : but his rash is back. FG says they've got to put him back in the hot tub to keep his blood from coagulating. House goes along with that, and says to soak him again. "He'll be happy, loves hot tubs," says FG. "No, you love hot tubs," House says to FG, meaning Eliot was reflecting his attitude, then to 13 "Gather the team in the lecture hall." Turning away FG mutters "I hate hot tubs". House turns back and is all over this remark. If FG hates hot tubs, then who else was in the room for Elliot to reflect. "No one," say FG. House is getting the idea that water somehow brought out Eliot's own thoughts. "We need to splash him some more.

House walks into Elliot's room wearing what looks like a high school letter-jacket (no letter, though) and carrying Eliot's car keys, the tube of vapo-rub, and the shoebox with his meal receipts. I don' t know what the significance of the jacket is, it was not the jacket Elliot was wearing when he was mugged, and the away team didn't mention it as being in the car. Maybe it's just to make House look different and he got it from a passing high school student. House is not carrying his cane, and acts rather meek. Elliot asks House "Do I know you?" House introduces himself as Robert Elliot, from Hamilton, Ohio, and the patient says "Me, too!" Elliot asks House "What do you do?" and House is non-committal... "Stuff". "Me, too!" Elliot says again.

House presses him for what type of work hew does, and Elliot says "I'm tired." His lividity is growing more intense, and the heart monitor begins to beep gently. House switched the monitor's sound off and talks about eating out a lot, looking a the receipts and calling out the names of restaurants as Elliot looks confused. "I know those places." They're... convenient he says, and on the road. House hefts the vapo rub and says he uses it all the time, and Elliot says he does, too. House mentions some possible uses and Elliot takes the tube and smears some around his nose and upper lip. When House asks him why he did that, he says "because, it doesn't smell like dung." House finally gets it.

House ducks into the hall and tells Foreman, 13 and FG that "Now is the time to stare at me in rapt amazement." Elliot, he says, sells farm equipment to pig farms with pig lagoons, and has caught Eperythrozoon infection from pig poop. 13 responds they'll start him on chlorothromyacin. And this time tomorrow he'll be back to his old self, House says. Foreman pipes up that the treatment can wait. But he has a fever of 107, FG says. It can wait a little, too, Foreman says : where's Cuddy? House's eyes widen as he realized what Foreman's planning.

House and Cuddy are in the patient's room introducing themselves. "I'm the Dean of Medicine." "I'm the guy who saved your life."

Outside Wilson, Foreman and 13 look on. "So what if it's House?" Wilson says. "Then I take the job at Mt. Zion," Foreman says. "There is no job at Mt. Zion." "But House said..." "Well, if House said it, it must be true."

Inside, the dominance playoff game continues. "I can fire him. I can fire him now. I can fire him tomorrow. I don't even need a reason." "But she doesn't fire me. She never will fire me. She needs me." "He's a good doctor, that's all, I respect his expertise." "She's hot for me." "SHUT UP!" That last ones the patient. "Well that could have been either of us," Cuddy says. The patient turns to Cuddy and says "You have great [something meaning breasts, but I can't make out the word.]" Cuddy tries to say this could still have been either of them, but House knows he's won, and goes into a little victory dance as Foreman grimaces from outside the room.


Later, House faces all the candidates in the lecture room with an observation: "You all suck." (What, no flowers this week?) A large crowd watches in the background : presumably they all have bets down with Chase. House critiques them all for their failings in the case, though he can't really come up with anything specific for PSG, who then asks "So, which one of us sucks the most?" House says it's a tie. "Between whom?" asks CB. "All of you." "You mean we're all fired?" CB asks. "None of you is fired." House responds. Hands are slapped, and in the background the crowd grumbled and disperses, as Chase grins.

House and Foreman leave the hospital and Foreman says "That was nice of you." "So by not firing anyone you made six people happy and one person happy and rich - Chase won every one of those bets." (Seriously, this must be some sort of wager where no-decision goes to the little-"h" house. Hope for Chase's sake all those bettors have a sense of humor. Or at least the large ones.) "So are you really nice, or are you getting a cut?" "Fifty percent", House says, "So, how bad do you want to keep your job?" "I'll keep my mouth shut," Foreman says.

House has the insight that Foreman is really beginning to like his job. Foreman confirms this. House says that all the doctors got an insight into themselves from this case, but none of them changed : none of them except Foreman, that is. "You're a freak!" But House smiles when he says it, and Foreman smiles too, as they part.

- Cecil

Next Week:

House speaks on the phone to Foreman from an airplane, telling him he's on a top secret mission for the CIA. And, hey, we see real CIA agents with ID. One of their employees
may be the victim of an assassination attempt. He looks to be in pretty bad shape, too. Ricin or plutonium, I'm guessing. One of the agents is hot, too, and House notices.
Last Episode: 10/15/07 4-04 Guardian Angels
Next Episode: 11/06/07 4-06 Whatever it Takes

Guest Cast Ep. 4-05, "" Aired 10/30/2007

Recurring Roles:

Olivia Wilde................Thirteen
Edi Gathegi..................Cole/Big Love/BL
Peter Jacobson.............Taub/Plastic Surgeon Guy/PSG
Andy Comeau..............Brennan/Young Guy/YG
Anne Dudek.................Amber/Cutthroat Bitch/CB
Kal Penn.......................Kutner/Foreign Guy/FG/Alice
Bobbin Bergstrom........Nurse

Guest Stars:

Frank Whaley.......................Robert Elliott
Brendan Michael Coughlin..Mickey (Thug one)
Luke Baybak........................Tony (Thug two)

Posted by Cecil on November 2, 2007 11:17 PM
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