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House: 502C - Not Cancer

House Episode 5-02C - "Not Cancer"

Airdate: Tuesday September 23, 2008

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


The Hook:

Two women play tennis, vigorously. One collapses. A crane operator lifts a heavy cargo pod. It falls and he collapses. Two full contact boxers fight in a ring. One collapses. A sousaphone player warms up in a rehearsal room. He coughs blood and collapses. A teacher writes on a blackboard. Dr, Hadley strides into the room, announcing "Class is over!". She asks the teacher if she's had cornea transplant. The teacher confirms this. All the other people who received transplants from that person have died," Hadley says, "you need to come with me. Now."

Act 1

People with completely different organs donated from the same donor are dying. What's the common factor? Four deaths and one almost, House says and one still living (the teacher, Apple). The team debates. Cancer seems a possibility. House assigns the members to various tasks.

Apple is examined and asked to read an eye chart. She stumbles, not reading it very well. The eye with the cornea transplant is her only working eye. Nevertheless Foreman suggests removing it to protect her from whatever's killed the others. House says that it's her brain, not her eye that's malfunctioning, and suggests taking her head off, and Apple hallucinates House doing just that. "Hallucinations, that's a brain thing, right?" House asks Foreman, the neurosurgeon.

Act 2

The team tries to think of all the things that can cause hallucinations, while watching a tape of the boxing match in the doctor's lounge. House is upset because he can't see the dead boxer's eyes to check for neurological symptoms. In the background, a workman fixing the coffee machine kibitzes the doctors' theories. But wait, he's not a coffee machine fixer, but a private detective House has hired to investigate everything there is to know about the organ recipients. Among other things, the PI says, the boxer had been exposed to mercury, something and hydro-something acid (these terms fly by too fast). Also he's managed to secure videos of the boxing match from four different angles. Kutner wants to know if having the PI means they don't have to break into people's homes any more.

House delegates Taub to interview the almost-a-widow of Frank, the transplant recipient who's not doing so good. They want a piece of his brain. But the 'widow' won't consent to surgery, even when Apple tries a little emotional blackmail. Frank seizes, and the doctors try CPR, then defibrillation, but Frank dies despite their efforts.

Now House sends Taub to the widow-for-real to get consent for a brain autopsy.

Act 3

Autopsy room. Brain in a bowl. But they've learned nothing. House is still pushing cancer as the only agent that could affect so many different body systems. Kutner comes up with a possible alternative explanation, a perforated bowel spreading infection through the body. Since they can't do a colonoscopy of the original organ donor, House thinks they can learn something from examining the colon of someone with the same DNA - his now four year old daughter,

House and the detective, Lucas, chat. Lucas has analyzed House thoroughly and concludes he really want to know about Wilson. Right in one.

They learn nothing from the colonoscopy of the young girl. Kutner suggests a method for examining the colon of the late Frank - using a machine to keep the pressure up and the fluids moving in the intestine. Kutner and Foreman perform this grisly task, but they find nothing and there's a gross moment when the pressure bursts the colon though the skin, splattering Foreman with fecal matter.

Lucas reports that Wilson has a new job, attends grief counseling, has visits from Cameron and Cuddy, phone calls from Foreman, and never talks about House.

Act 4

Apple is throwing up. She's getting sicker. House says she's going to die if not treated. The tuba player (he says) lasted longer than the others because he was taking an anti-cancer drug for an off-label use for arthritis. He no longer thinks it's cancer, but since anti-cancer drugs have some effect, he wants to treat Apple with them.

House shows up at Wilson's house, offering him a consulting fee to listen to the facts about the case and provide input. Wilson throws him out.

House and the PI talk some more. I'm thinking Lucas is being set up to become the new Wilson - House's sounding board. He's tougher than Wilson and can hold his own with House. In the course of their conversation Lucas says "anything can be anything". Trust me it makes sense in context. House takes off on this, "Brain, but not brain." Something hiding in Apple's head, taking the place of brain matter, but not doing the job.

House goes to Cuddy requesting permission to chop the top of Apple's head off - to examine her brain. Cuddy says no - the anti-cancer drugs are working. Apple's feeling better. House predicts that the chemo is just hiding the real cause and Apple will crash. Cuddy predicts House will cause a crash just to test his pet theory, and she won't let him.

House saunters toward Apple's room, only to find two security guards at the door. Foiled.

But next we see Lucas's argyle socks under nurse's scrubs entering the room and changing her IV bag, followed by a crash shortly after.

Act 5

As Chase operates on Apple, slicing the top of her head off and exposing the brain, House calls down from the gallery that they might want to check her IV, he suspects someone switched saline solution for her chemo drugs. Chase installs a "neural net" over the exposed brain which will measure her brain activity and find any areas not functioning properly. Chase finds such an area and removes it.

House sits with Apple, now recovered with her head swathed in bandages including her eyes. He tells her that her brain never did work properly to interpret the visual data her new cornea delivered, and that's why she found the world so ugly when she could see for the first time. The cancerous cells from the original donor settled in different area of the different recipients and mimicked the cells of the areas they landed in, but not well enough, so people died. "So now the world will be beautiful?" she asks. It is what it is, is House's answer. He unwraps her eyes. She sees House and he asks how he looks to her. "Sad" is her reply.

Act 6

House talks in his office with Lucas. I think this is the beginning of a beautiful relationship,

- Cecil
Next Week:
Again there's no logic to symptoms with no cause. PI Lucas is in the picture. I think I'm right about him becoming a recurring character,
Last Episode: 09/16/08 5-01 Dying Changes Everything
Next Episode: 09/30/08 5-03 Adverse Events

Guest Cast Ep. 5-02, "Not Cancer" Aired September 23, 2008

Cast and Crew

Director:........................David Straiton
Writers :........................ David Shore
......................................Lawrence Kaplow


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

Recurring Roles:

Olivia Wilde................Dr. Remy Hadley (Thirteen)
Peter Jacobson.............Dr. Chris Taub
Kal Penn......................Dr. Lawrence Kutner

Bobbin Bergstrom........Nurse

Guest Stars:

Felicia Day.............Apple (the patient)
Michael Weston.......Lucas (PI)
Christine Lucas..........Emma
Denice J. Sealy........Nurse
Tyler Patton............Neurosurgeon
Eric Kaldor.............Frank (dying patient)
Aimee Bell.............Holly
Dennis Keiffer.........Danny
David Buglione........Rico
Mark Beltzman........Tibalt Oyylant
(Sousaphone Player)
Mike Gaines...........Morgan
Jamine Alvarez........April
Melissa Loprire........Girl
Elaine Kagan..........Belinda
Tim Conlon............Dr. Laibson


You Might Die Trying........Dave Matthews Band

Posted by Cecil on September 23, 2008 12:22 PM
Permalink |

Cecil - not sure I care how the full review goes but wow... I chuckled, snorted, and guffawed more in this episode than any other. Lucas the PI was a perfect foil for House. Laibson feared being courted as the next Wilson - worse than any horror movie imagineable to mankind. Apple stood toe-to-toe with House as well as any patient (would you lie if you were going to die?). And Wilson... still doesn't give a flying Fujitsu about House's feelings - - life is good.

-- 1. Posted by: DocH at September 24, 2008 2:39 AM

I feel somewhat sorry for House for losing Wilson... But love the new guy! Do you think this is just a fill in character and that Wilson will return? Or are they writing him off and this PI Lucas will replace him? Either way, House isn't the same without a "buddy" to play off of.

BunnyLover of Lost is:

-- 2. Posted by: HouseHater at September 24, 2008 5:16 PM

House's interaction with Wilson was beginning to feel a bit cruel, so maybe they've brought in Lucas to be a stonger Wilson.

If I was writing the show, I'd keep Wilson around for his fans to see him recovering, yet keep Lucas as House's main foil, since he's not so emotionally damaged, and is better able to hold his own with the brilliant but abrasive House.

Anybody think Cameron/Wilson would be a perfect matchup, if Chase could be eased out of the picture? They could heal and fix each other.

Yeah, I thought Apple's lying without a second thought was a hoot, and I'd do the same with any ammo I had or could imagine. At the same time I liked Holly (I think that's the wife) seeing though the lie so quickly.

-- 3. Posted by: Cecil Rose at September 25, 2008 5:39 PM

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