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House: Games

House Episode 4-09C : Games

Airdate: Tuesday November 26, 2007

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

The Hook:

An alley. A group of punk-looking people (leather jackets, short hair) are sitting around talking, smoking, and ...discussing fine wines? One punk proudly shows the others his brand-new replica guitar. Another punk asks to see the guitar, marvels over it for a bit, then drags it down the alley scratching the finish. Over the protests of the owner, he says the guitar is just a hunk of wood, and now it looks more like what it is. Wow, essentialist philosophy and nihilism in one package. A door opens and a stage manager calls the group to go on stage. We've been looking at a band. The guitarist hangs back as the others go in, then leans on a dumpster and begins coughing and spewing up blood.

Cue punkish House music...

Act 1

House is watching soaps as Cuddy barges in to demand that House cut the candidates to a final two by Friday, else she'll take the salary overruns out of House's pay...AND move his parking spot to lot E. (Isn't there something in the Americans with Disabilities act about this?)

House calls on Cameron and asks for her sickest patient. She says she just has garden-variety accidents and illnesses, nothing to test the great powers of House, or, more relevantly, the would-be Hice. House seizes on the case of the punk rocker, even though Cameron considers his diagnosis obvious: drugs.

We're down to the final four and there is no more immunity idol. House addresses the survivors. Just to recap, we have Amber, or "Cutthroat Bitch" (CB) attractive but ruthless competitor; Thirteen (13), even more attractive, though still unnamed, very empathetic, possibly a Huntington's Chorea carrier, but doesn't want to know; Kutner, or "Foreign Guy" (FG), somewhat naïve but enthusiastic; and Taub, or "Plastic Surgeon Guy" (PSG), sometime marital wanderer but still loves his wife.

House informs the group that the race to the finish is on, and he'll be picking the final two based on their handling of this case. The candidates spit out possible diagnoses right and left. House tells them to go with it, but Foreman objects that the patient is too sick for multiple invasive diagnostic procedures. House hands CB a totem and says only those with it can conduct tests, and not to worry about order, he's grading on correctness.

House invades Wilson's office to ask "What do you think of Amber?" Wilson ignores the question : he's got problems of his own: he told a patient he had three months to live, then discovered his diagnosis was wrong, a false positive and the patient is really OK. "Interesting," says House, which make Wilson worry.

House inserts himself into Wilson's conference with the patient. Wilson tell the patient "You're cancer free!" The patient, curiously, shows no sign of relief, but instead worries over having already accepted an offer on his house, meaning he's got a $6,000 realtor's fee to back out of the deal, plus he's already had going-away parties.

Meanwhile CB's diagnosis has proved wrong, and the patient has almost blown himself up sneaking a smoke when left alone while on oxygen. Plus the patient has blood clots moving around his body.

Act 2

Back to the symptom board. 13 proposes malaria, and goes off to test for that. House takes CB aside, giving her a new nickname, Manipulative Bitch (but I'll stick with CB) and asking her "Why do you hate drug addicts", a question CB avoids, and "Why do you hate to lose?", a question she attacks with pseudo-psychology.

PSG and 13 are going to test the patient, but discover the patient has disappeared.

Wilson finds House has gone though Wilson's desk and discovered his checkbook, correctly deducing that Wilson intends to pay the patient back his $6,000. 13 and PSG come in looking for the patient.

House talks to 13 asking "Why do you love drug addicts?" 13 says she likes him and scores a point on the vicodin-snarfing House by observing "Drugs are always a mask for something else, " an observation House dismisses as "....the damnedest thing I've ever heard in my life."

13 and PSG find their patient in a children's ward entertaining the kids. But in mid-act he collapses.

Cuddy comes to see house and he surprises her by asking who she would pick. Cuddy is flattered but flabbergasted he would ask, but replies "Taub and Kutner".

FG reports the patient's antibody tests for malaria were negative.

Two band-mates try to visit the ailing rocker, but House shakes down their coats and out falls a syringe. So add sharing needles to his sins. The patient collapses with labored breathing. "Congratulations," House observes, this symptom means, "definitely not drugs,"

Act 3

So now add respiratory arrest to the symptom list. PSG suggests infection. 13 posits spinal meningitis. FG suggests chronic pulmonary embolism.

House talks to the patient and they actually talk seriously, a rare event for both. House tells the patient he has "peculiar masses" in his heart.

Wilson apologizes to his patient, and offers the $6K check, which the patient tears up, saying it's not enough. For no damage, Wilson asks? The patient says he was happy with the finality of his original diagnosis, and that Wilson took that happiness away. (No one suggests, ‘Well how about it we just kill you, then?)

PSG comes up with a possibility of congenital defect : what if the patient has a blood vessel wrapped around his trachea? But they can't use normal diagnostic means, which I guess involves running a tube down a blood vessel : the patient's too compromised.

House and PSG go to Chase and suggest that Chase open up the patient's chest so they can get a direct look. Chase resists, but PSG suggests with some subtle Machiavellian reasoning that Chase will look bad if he refuses, and Chase reluctantly agrees. House asks Chase who he should pick and Chase says ‘PSG and Amber'. The operation disproves the congenital defect theory but almost kills the patient.

Act 4

House chides the group "Come on people, the patient is almost dead." He now has respiratory failure and enlarged lymph nodes.

Abruptly, House tells 13 and FG to go home. They begin making rapid-fire suggestions and he rescinds the firing.

CB talks to the patient, trying to get him to give up his dealer. (So they can find out if his drugs are contaminated?) He won't. CB asks him "You don't regret anything?" He replies "Drugs, drinking, fighting... I regret everything else."

House is in Wilson's office, playing some of the punk's unlistenable music (editorial opinion, here). Wilson comes in and discusses the patient's ‘wrongful life' lawsuit. House is shocked, shocked, I tell you at what some lawyers will pull. Wilson strongly suspects the patient's advisor had a medical degree, not a law degree.

FG pokes his head in to report the ‘bad drugs' hypothesis is not being born out because dosing the patient with Dimercaprol is not working. He also reports the patient volunteers at a home for abandoned kids, a report House derides as irrelevant, so of course we know it won't be.

Now House fires PSG and Amber, then adds 13 and FG too : "you're all wrong," he says. He tells Wilson "I need to do a brain biopsy." The problem, he says, is plain ole measles, caught from the kids the rocker volunteers with, compounded by the debilitation from a lifetime on drugs. Cuddy says he can't biopsy the patient's brain unless he can first induce a seizure, to prove one's needed. FG sets out to conduct a seizure test with blinking lights, but House wheels in a huge honking speaker and says ‘let's use sound instead.' Then he apparently plays the patient's own music at him until he does indeed get a seizure. Heck, I'd seize too, if you played that stuff at me.

Back in the lecture hall, House delivers his final verdict. Amber, he says, is fired. "You play this game better than anyone, but for he wrong reasons."

13 is also fired. No reason stated, but "If I had three slots, I'd keep you."

CB visits the patient on her way out, telling him. "You'll grow old after all, You've got the measles. We're blasting you with steroids." He commiserates on her firing. The ‘hard-hearted' CB has tears in her eyes.

Cuddy confronts House. She can't believe he hired two men and no women. How will this look on the EEO reports? She gives him a third slot, telling him to hire 13. (Does this mean she'll finally get a name?) Then she realizes this was House's plan all along. "Well, at least the games are over," she sighs. "How long have you known me?" House asks.

- Cecil

Next Week:

Very generic previews as the voiceover announces "New episodes", "New staff". In JANUARY? Does this mean no more new episodes from now ‘til New Years? I dunno, but look for more info in House News when I find out.

Late Add: Yes, apparently it does. Next week is a rerun of the episode from season 3 where House and Cuddy are trapped on an airplane over the Pacific with a mysterious infection apparently spreading through the passengers.

Last Episode: 11/19/07 4-08 You Don't Want to Know
Next Week: 12/04/07 3-18 Airborne (rerun of a great season 3 episode)
Next New Episode: 01/??/08 4-10 ???

Guest Cast Ep. 4-09, "Games" Aired 11/27/2007

Writer............................. Eli Attie

Director.......................... Deran Sarafian

Recurring Roles:

Olivia Wilde................Thirteen
Peter Jacobson.............Taub / Plastic Surgeon Guy / PSG
Anne Dudek.................Amber / Cutthroat Bitch / CB / Manipulative Bitch / MB
Kal Penn.......................Kutner / Foreign Guy / FG / Alice
Bobbin Bergstrom........Nurse

Guest Stars:

Jeremy Renner................Quidd
Matt DeCaro....................McKenna
Nick McCallum...............Fred
Eli Bildner.......................Chris
Alex Weed.......................Ian
Boris Kievsky...................Club Owner
Raf Mauro........................Doctor
Dina Defterios..................Luisa Maria
Darren S. Kim..................Parent #1
Tanika Brown McKelvy..Parent #2
Kes Reed Miller...............Kid #1
Olivia Everhard................Kid #2
Spencer Bridges...............Kid #3

Posted by Cecil on November 28, 2007 3:28 PM
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