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House: Frozen

House Episode 4-11C : Frozen

Airdate: Sunday February 3, 2008

The Hook:

A frozen wasteland that is NOT House's personality. This one has snow and ice and wind and... giant windmills? A parka-clad figure kneels at a service panel near one of the windmills, wrench in hand. He closes the panel and does something at the base of the windmill (think hundred-foot tall power-generating wind turbines, not wooden shoes, canals, and silver skates.) We hear the turbine wind up and the blades begin to move. The figure trudges to a nearby snow-cat. On another tower, the blades of the turbine begin to vibrate, the turbine tears loose from its mount, and disintegrates on contact with the frozen ground. A giant piece of a blade bounces over the ground in a direct line with the serviceman, and the jagged at the base of the blade hits his thigh, sending him sprawling. He screams as arterial blood spurts over the frozen snow. He makes a radio call. Another figure sprints out of the swirling snow. The blood flow slows as the frigid air freezes the wound. The new figure, a woman, tells the bleeding man he's severed his femoral artery. She drags him to a relatively sheltered tunnel. Where she glues his artery closed. She has him duct-tape closed the pants she ripped open to stop his bleeding, then examines his toes and tells him he'll keep his leg. But, as she tries to help him up, she gives a cry and collapses. She vomits and clutched her torso : now the rescued must become the rescuer. She says "I need help." Her companion asks "Who am I supposed to get?" Are the all alone on the station?

Act 1

House is standing on a chair in a coma patient's room fiddling with the television when Cuddy walks in. This is the opening of a sub-plot that's so stupid and uninteresting I'm going to mention it here and hardly again. Seems House goes into the coma patient's room to watch cable TV, and the hospital has decided that cable is a extra charge which nobody's paying for a coma patient, obviously, so House has lost his free source of entertainment. House will, throughout this episode but mostly unmentioned by me, conduct a petty, childish guerilla campaign to force the hospital board to restore free cable. Sorry, I'm not playing.

Cuddy tells House his newest patient is Cate, a psychiatrist who's an adjunct faculty member of PPTH, but currently trapped at the South Pole.

House discusses the case with the Hice. No possibility of evacuation for months. The team kicks around possibilities, discarding (as is House's wont) any that are hopeless or boring. Kutner shows his embrace of the house method by proposing not just a kidney stone but a struvite kidney stone (large and jagged) : more interesting and more painful. 13 opines that if it's struvite stones, Cate needs to break it up quickly before it leads to complications. Taub mentions that Cate is on birth control, and sexual activity can lead to urinary tract infections, leading to struvite stones. House briefly alludes to "excessive Antarctic drilling" being bad for the environment and bad for the urinary tract. I'm not sure it this means that the researchers are working for oil companies, or this is just a dirty old House allusion. I believe drilling in the Antarctic is against international treaty, and while I'm at it can I say that this environment is a stupid place for wing-generated energy turbines and I am not aware of any actually in use in polar regions. There, I've got that off my chest. Carry on.

House dumps a medium sized box on the table and announces that the contents represent all the medical supplies available to treat the patient. Kutner again demonstrates some thinking outside the box asking what else they have available, because he's been watching the Discovery Channel and knows that geologists use some equipment to break ice and rock similar to what doctors use to break up kidney stones.

The team has two-way video set up to the Antarctic post, and are watching Cate and the technician, Sean experiment with a sound wave device that (they hope) can break up Cate's theoretical kidney stones. Sean has crutches but is looking remarkably mobile for someone just recovering from femoral bleeding repaired with glue. House boggles a little at the remarkable clear picture from Antarctica, (as do I, compared to my cable company) then sends the three new Hice off to harass Cameron as part of the sub-plot that shall not be mentioned.

Cate calls "ready" and the sonic death ray is unleashed on a jar with something floating in it : an egg? Cate and Sean wear headphones : for sonic ricochets? House and Foreman observe with interest as the object in the jar breaks : just like a well behaved little kidney stone : just before the jar explodes. Cate's not unleashing this on her innards. She also denies having sex or urinary difficulties, discounting the possibility of kidney stones.

House snarks a bit about only one of them (him) being a real doctor, but Cate counters with the observation that only one of them (her) has any real control over the situation, thank you very much set and snark-match. The exchange intrigues House and rejuvenates Foreman, who asks "Dr. Milton" to run a chem-7 test to tell if her kidney function is declining. In the meantime House suggests she start an IV drip of Cefuroxime, but Cate signs off without acknowledging his ‘order'.

The tests show a decline, but Cate argues with House over the cause : could be coming from a gall stone she says. House correctly detects she isn't taking the Cefuroxime, because, she says, her crewman Sean needs it more due to his injury, and her need is only speculative and she has a limited supply. House detects Cate's breathing has become rapid and asks her to show her windpipe. As she moves closer to the monitor House and Foreman move closer to theirs and diagnose the beginnings off a collapsed lung. She reports chest pains as well. With no one else around at the time to help, House has her get a syringe and needle, pull out the plunger and stab it into her right chest cavity to allow the lung to reinflate. Dang. Intense. House uses the success of this to chide her for not listening to him, but Cate notes it means the problem is not a kidney stone.

Entre' Act

The "Lost" fondness for character music videos seems to be spreading to "House", as we are treated to a musical montage of House popping vicodin to the tune of Amy Winehouse's "They Tried to Make Me Go to Rehab". The link HERE is to the Winehouse video, I haven't found one of the House version : yet.

Act 2

House, to Foreman's amazement, includes the patient in his differential diagnosis sessions, as she sits in a bed : laptop on bed tray. She says tests taken before she went to the pole rule out TB. Foreman mutes the link for a minute to delicately suggest cancer could explain her symptoms. He suggests bringing in Wilson. House unmutes and discusses the possibility, and their lack of proper diagnostic tools. He asks her to x-ray every inch of her body and upload the images. She does, sucking on oxygen in between handling the giant apparatus. [Digression time. Are we supposed to assume that this is a two person Antarctic station? Cate and Sean are the only ones we see, and even Sean's not helping out here. What gives?]

House and Wilson pore over the uploaded x-rays. Wilson spots an enlarged mediastinal node, but it's too deep and hard to biopsy and anyway they have no surgical teams and no stains to make the analysis for lymphoma. Wilson and House engage in their usual banter on the topic of psychiatry and House's aversion to it. House proposes they find a node closer to the surface that Cate can biopsy. Wilson agrees, and House's suspicions are aroused by Wilson's agreeableness and his lavender shirt which he decides must by a symptom of... what?

House tells Cate to undress and conduct a self-examination for swollen lymph nodes. She resists undressing while he watches, especially since House is now watching from the privacy of his apartment. She engages in a little ‘you show me yours and then I'll show you mine' negotiation, only by ‘his' she means his apartment. If she's going to reveal her goodies she wants some insight into the guy on the other end. She's very perceptive and correctly scores hits on the Houseian psyche. "Great!" he says "You going to try to fix me now?" "I never said you needed fixing," she replies and House's interest grows.

Foreman and Wilson look for items that can be used as stains for lymph tissue that are available in the station and discuss House's unusual behavior. Foreman observes that House likes Cate. Wilson opines that she is the perfect woman for House - spunky and unavailable for a real relationship : and afflicted with a serious illness.

Cate is stripped except for her socks. She says it's freezing there and there are no lymph nodes in her feet. House says to start palpitating with her breasts, then move on to the ass... Cate interrupts to say she finds starting at her neck and working down to be a better plan. House says he'd never forgive himself if they find something before they get to her breasts. Cate does it her way. House puts on a little funky Marvin Gaye and Cate says "I can hear that." She finds an enlarged node just above the belly button. "Looks like we're doing a biopsy."

Act 3

Cate is lying on her back, syringe in hand, using an ice cube to numb the area she's going to biopsy as House and Wilson observe. [No topical anesthetics or just another consumable she refuses to use up?] She hesitates at plunging the syringe into herself, and House prompts "Cate, let's hurry this up." Wilson boggles over his using her name. She withdraws a few cc's of clear fluid with Wilson coaching her to "pull harder". House asks "Are you OK?" when the procedure is done.

Later in the elevator Wilson calls House on his sudden un-House-like compassion. House shifts the topic to where Wilson is going (to lunch) and who's he seeing there (none of House's beeswax)? House threatens to follow Wilson to his car, when Wilson breaks and runs faster than House can follow.

Later, Wilson talks to Cate, who asks how long the lymph fluid must marinate in the red wine. She projects the slide for Wilson to look at. She also reveals that she's emailed a couple of colleagues to check up on.... Wilson. Because she wonders how a responsible nice person like Wilson can be BFF with a nasty, brilliant ass like House? Wilson wonders if she thinks House has undetected niceness. Rather, she says, Wilson probably has undetected un-niceness. "Do you always insult your doctors?" he asks. "It's not an insult, she replies, "Indiscriminate niceness is overrated." "No wonder he likes you," Wilson says.

Wilson pronounces the slide cancer-free, but he does see some evidence of inflammation. Cate's relief is interrupted by shooting pains on her left side. Is the other kidney going? She thinks not but announces "I'm through."

Act 4

House is diagnosing again. Failing kidneys plus inflammation suggests auto-immune disease. He wants her to take prednisone. Cate declines to do so on only a theory : she wants to save the prednisone for others, such as an asthmatic who for sure need it. She wants proof before she'll take it.

Foreman proposes sending Cate outside into the extreme cold, which should tell them if her problem is auto-immune. (It should help control the inflammation). Wilson notices his wallet on House's desk, and examining it discovers House has taken his receipts. House analyzes Wilson's restaurant tab and bar bill to determine that Wilson was on at least a third date. Wilson comes up with a test for auto immune disease : put some blood in a test tube with a paper clip and shake it up : the damaged blood cells will swell as the immune system over-reacts to the damage. It'll be a couple of hours before the results can be read : in the meantime, the patient analyses the doctor some more.

Cuddy asks about the patient, then announces she's fired Cameron (this is a working out of the plot that shall not be mentioned and is a lie, which House correctly deduces.)

The paper clip test was negative, but Foreman breaks in against House's will to suggest the freezing-outside test. Cate agrees to do it, despite House's repeated urgings to "Just take the prednisone." But before she can do it she collapses in a coma.

Act 5

Sean has dragged his becrutched self in to put Cate on a table. Wilson, Foreman, and House discuss the case, although Wilson's not sure why he's still there. ‘To discuss your girl friend' House says, dying to know who, in their limited set of mutual acquaintances, Wilson is covering up and why. Since more complicated tests are ruled out, House proposes a simple but yucky one. Sean should drink Cate's urine. A strong taste indicated the problem is in the kidneys, a watery one that it's in her brain. Foreman begins to talk Sean through a catheterization, but House interrupts, wondering why Sean isn't asking more questions. He concludes (correctly) that Sean is nursing a crush on Cate and will do anything to save her.

In the unmentionable sub-plot House harasses the Hice for "getting Cameron fired", then threatens to fire them if they don't say the right thing, which turns out to be "N-O", meaning they never should have let him harass them into the ridiculous sub-plot in the first place, which is to say stand up to him, challenge him, and stop worrying about getting fired.

Sean performs the test, choking only a little, and reports a watery taste : bad news, the problem's in her brain. Self-brain surgery next?

Sean's next task : drill a hole in Cate's brain to relieve the (possible) intercranial pressure. If it works, that's what's causing the come. The other possibilities are worse, as in fatal. Sean panics at the possibility of hurting Cate, but House becomes all tender and reassuring, telling Sean he's not going to let him hurt her, a facet of House Foreman has never seen before (and neither have we.)

Act 6

Hey, what's up with this? House is always four acts, and here we up to six already? Post-Super bowl madness?

So Cate is strapped to a table and a drill (fortunately with some sort of holder) is placed to hit the proper place on the left side of her head around the corner from the forehead. Foreman talks him through the procedure. The hole is made. Fluid drains. Cate wakes up. She's not cured, but they have more time to diagnose and treat now. The full team meets in the hallway away from the patient's video to discuss the case. With the additional symptom of intercranial pressure, the team concludes the most likely culprit is some sort of blood clot, but can't come up with a promising source of them.

Kutner, agin thinking outside the box, asks "What if the clot's not a clot?". As in, a fat embolism breaking off and plugging blood vessels. House dismisses the possibility since she has no risk factors for atheroschlerosis. Kutner sticks up for his diagnosis and suggest a different kind of embolism : one from a broken bone. Ridiculous, House says, he's seen every inch of her body.... except for those stockinged feet.

Sure enough, when her sock is removed, there's a broken big toe on her right foot, which she never felt because of the cold. Sean is talked though setting and splinting the toe, and she should be fine. She thanks House, but he points out that Sean is the one who saved her life. Cate and Sean share a hug as soft music plays.

Wilson is in a restaurant ordering when House barges in. Wilson's date is not present yet. House speculates some more. And at last Wilson's date shows up and the mystery is solved it's.... Cutthroat Bitch! (Amber). She and Wilson kiss. House controls his emesis, but not his amazement. And she's looking good. "Was she on your list?" Wilson gloats. House is, for once, at a loss for words.

- Cecil
Next Week:
"House is rapidly losing friends and patients as he has to treat a Hassidic Jewish woman, and at the same time endeavors to break up the Wilson-Amber romance."
Last Episode: 01/29/08 4-10 It's a Wonderful Lie
Next Episode: 02/06/08 4-12 Don't Ever Change

Cast Ep. 4-11, "Frozen" Aired 02/03/2008

Cast and Crew

Writer:..................................Pamela Davis

Director:................................Matt Shakman

Hugh Laurie.........................Dr. Gregory House
Robert Sean Leonard...........Dr. James Wilson
Lisa Edelstein......................Dr. Lisa Cuddy
Omar Epps...........................Dr. Eric Foreman
Jesse Spencer.......................Dr. Robert Chase
Jennifer Morrison................Dr. Allison Cameron

Also Staring:

Kal Penn..............................Dr. Kutner
Peter Jacobson.....................Dr. Taub
Olivia Wilde........................Thirteen/Huntingdon's

Recurring Roles:

Bobbin Bergstrom................Nurse
Anne Dudek.........................Amber

Guest Stars:

Mira Sorvino........................Dr. Cate Milton
Jeffrey Hephner....................Sean


Let's Get It On....................Marvin Gaye
Alone.................................Mungal and Nitwin Sahwney
Human...............................Civil Twilight

Posted by Cecil on February 12, 2008 11:17 PM
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