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House: 503C - Adverse Events

House Episode 5-03C - "Adverse Events"

Airdate: Tuesday September 30, 2008

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


The Hook:

In a studio, a painter is putting the finishing touches on a portrait. A nude portrait. The blushing woman posing speaks to her husband, off-screen, who's paying for the portrait. We see the painting through the artist's eyes, and it's a faithful portrait of an attractive woman, The artist finishes and invites the couple to see his work. The husband is incensed and insists that is not what they agreed on, nor what he's paying for. When the artist insists it's a painting of exactly what he sees, the husband punches him and storms out with his wife. A woman comes down the stairs from another level crying "Brandon, what's wrong? Brandon is mystified why the couple was so upset claiming he painted a portrait. But when the girl friend picks up the fallen portrait, she (and we through her eyes) see an ugly distorted picture. Guess Picasso-style portraits are only desirable if the signature in the corner is Picasso.

Act 1

The cafeteria. House and Lucas (yay, he's back!) go over surveillance results. Cuddy strides in and says the hospital will no longer pay for a PI or any phony repair bills. Lucas shyly compliments her shoes, non-plussing Cuddy. Lucas and House engage in a little jocular male bonding over Cuddy's retreating form.

House's office: the team puzzles over a set of Brandon's paintings. Rather average, slightly impressionistic, until we come to the distorted housewife. Foreman theorizes stroke or brain tumor. (As what neurosurgeon wouldn't?) Hadley suggests drugs. Admitting tests negate both theories, and House, in addition to shooting them down, begins to spill little tidbits of information he's gleaned from Lucas's reports on each team member. House maintains he needs to know everything about his team.

House says he has nothing on Taub, but "Taub's wife, on the other hand." Taub cuts this line of speculation off with a word and a strained glance.

Hadley and Foreman conduct a contrast MRI on Brandon. Brandon understands the meaning of "anaphylactic reaction", a fact which the doctors don't seem to notice. Brandon's girlfriend is present, as well. Brandon resists the tests but his girlfriend talks him into proceeding.

Taub and Kutner search Brandon's loft. House told them that Lucas had "higher priorities", presumably searching their houses, so the answer to Kutner's question of a week ago is apparently, "no". Kutner wonders if Brandon could have gotten lead poisoning from his paints, but Taub says no lead was apparent in his blood tests. No mold, no fungus, no toxics. Kutner wonders what House has on Taub's wife, but Taub trusts his wife and doesn't want to discuss it.

The team is back in House's office. No results from the search or the scan, and now House begins to swing toward the drug theory. Hadley predicts that Brandon will resist intrusive blood work, based on his reaction to the contrast dye injection for the MRI.

House tell Brandon he's got a massive brain tumor, and needs immediate surgery. Brandon says no. House deduces from Brandon's lack of concern and immediate answer that Brandon knows he's OK and the only way he could know and given his 'starving artist' condition is to have outside information, which House deduces means he's participating in drug trials. Three of them, it turns out. House says he's now symptom free, so they'll release him in the morning and in the meantime they want to know the details of his three trials. Brandon's only concern is "Are you going to tell Heather?" "Couldn't, even if I cared enough to want to."

Taub seeks out House, and House tells him that Taub's wife has been making secret deposits for a year in a one-person bank account. Taub says it wasn't a secret, they're saving up to remodel. 'Almost a hundred thousand dollars on furniture?" House asks. Clearly news to Taub.

Brandon begins seizing in front of all the doctors, as Heather looks on and House leers at Heather.

Act 2

In the hall, House and team discuss the three drugs Brandon has taken. The drugs have no names only numbers, so he gives them funny names. The first is a anti-coagulant (bisexadrine - because Hadley is introducing it. She modifies it to trisexadrine), the second (cuckoldisol - Kutner picks up on that right away and asks Taub "She is having an affair?") is an autoimmune treatment. The third (worldsauruskneesasil - zinging Kutner) is an anti-convulsive. House says they put Brandon on dialysis to clear all the drugs out of his system.

Brandon's reaction to the dialysis is only to worry that Heather will wonder what it's for - he's concealed the drug trials from her and is worried she might leave him if she finds he hasn't been completely truthful with her.

Later Hadley and Taub discuss his wife and her bank account. Taub says he's perfectly happy with his wife and sees no reason to question their relationship. Subject closed.

Next day, in the lobby, Taub intercepts House to say the patient made it through the night without any more seizures or visual symptoms. House speculates Taub has found him there to talk about his personal situation. Taub resists the suggestion. House says he's offering not advice, but a prediction: Taub will forgive her, confess, and beg her to forgive him.

In the elevator, House talks to Lucas of a communication system in his ear. Lucas claims to be at the track, six miles away. Passersby give him odd looks as he appears to be talking to himself, but you'd think cell phones would have cured folks of that. Lucas analyzes house that he likes making people miserable and driving people away. We see that Lucas, holding a newspaper in front of him and with a ball cap on his head is actually in the hospital lobby, and Cuddy is in the background. Lucas ducks behind his newspaper, but Cuddy spots him anyway and gives a look, then moves off. (To call security?). Lucas gives House a new thought when he asks if, since Taub left his last job to save his marriage, does House think he'll work harder for House if his marriage falls apart? (This kid is sharp, I tell you.)

In his room, Brandon begins seizing again, his face so swollen it's almost unrecognizable. Foreman does an emergency tracheotomy.

Act 3

House's office. Kutner reports that Brandon's face is so swollen his tear ducts have dried up and his eyes must be irrigated by hand. Theories fly, but House is more interested in bringing up more embarrassing information about the team. House think the new symptoms are withdrawal symptoms, caused by the dialysis. House says they'll have to put Brandon back on his drugs, then wean him off of them slower this time. The three newbies look to Foreman for approval before going off on this outlandish task,

A figure in a baseball cap lurks behind a newspaper in the lobby. Cuddy, walking by, snatches the newspaper with an accusatory gesture. But it's not Lucas. Cuddy apologizes and scurries away.

In her office, she finds Lucas going though her desk. He complements her clothes, but it doesn't nonplus her this time. Lucas maintains he's not working for House, now, but trying to find out more about her because he wants to ask her out. He demonstrates what he's found out and says it's all innocuous information but it still seems creepy and stalkerish. He gets up to leave, but as he starts out the door turns back. (Obviously the kid has been watching Lt. Columbo reruns.) He offers to dig up embarrassing info on House to help her keep him in line. He offers to do it cheap, too.

Taub and wife Rachel eat dinner. The atmosphere is strained. Taub tells her he found bank statements in a desk drawer while looking for a letter opener. Rachel says the eighty thousand dollars was to buy him the car he's always wanted. The tension breaks and they cuddle.

Hadley tells Brandon that now that they've got him back on the drugs, everything seems normal again. She asks him to sit up and as he does so he grabs her and gropes her. She has to sock him in the nose to get loose. Nurses and Foreman rush in.

Act 4

Brandon lies sedated in his bed as the team debates the reason for Brandon's latest new symptom. Kutner thinks that two cleansings definitely rule out the clinical drugs. Taub speculates on the drugs having set off a dormant neurological condition. House takes off on Taub's thoughts to turn the conversation back to Taub's wife. "My wife's buying me a car." Period. End of story. They talk about the patient for a little while, then Taub, still steaming, demands an apology from House. House apologizes. Sort of. More talk about the patient, then House challenges Taub to call his wife and tell her he's not coming home because he's running tests on the patient. Uneasy silence all around.

House returns to his dark apartment. Lucas is waiting for him there. He's been snooping around House's apartment - "looking for something embarrassing". The 'embarrass House' tactic was totally House's idea. Lucas is uncomfortable with the assignment - he likes Cuddy.

Next day, in the lab, House, Kutner, and Taub aren't finding anything. Taub wonders about a heart arrhythmia. House says it's the head we're looking at. Taub defends his case - it could be causing a blood pressure drop that starves the brain, triggering all the other symptoms.

Taub and two orderlies wheel the patient to the OR where, Taub tells him, they are going to insert three electrodes in his heart. All the patient worries about is having offended Hadley and lied to Heather. Brandon wants to confess. Taub advises against it, figuring only pain for both can result.

Taub, Kutner and Hadley conduct the tests. House is observing Taub asks him how long House plans to keep Taub from going home. Now House is being all conciliatory, and Taub wonders why. After one of the stimulations to his heart, Brandon goes into fibrillation and Kutner breaks out the paddles. One shock. House leans in to ask the patient if he's dyeing his hair. "No" the patient says. Second shock. His heart returns to normal, but House says the roots of his hair are coming in red. Why would a dying man be lying about dyeing? House wonders, sighing and eyeing the patient. OK, I was lying about that last part, just to get another 'eye-ing' sound in there.

Act 5

In the hallway, House and crew wonder what the 'red hair' clue is telling them. "Melanin affects color", House says, "what affects melanin?" Hormones? But the hormone panels tested normal. Age? Genetic disorder? More speculation on what doesn't work for the patient.

"Pete Best!", House suddenly declares. Don't any of the babies know any history he wonders? "A bunch of nerves control the heart, they're all playing in time except one dude can't keep the beat, wrecks the whole thing. So.... We hire Ringo." Kutner is offended by the analogy. "Pete Best was actually a great drummer," he declares "but I assume you mean the patient needs a cardiac sympathectomy." That would be cutting the 'bad nerve' so the others can work. Risks a lot of side effects.

A restaurant. Lucas watches as Cuddy is munching pizza and looking at a photo of a very young House with a cheerleader on his shoulder, another at his side. House was a cheerleader in his college days, it seems. He told Cuddy he was on the lacrosse team (not at Duke, let's hope). Lucas asks her about her family. She gives a short uninformative answer and tells him he has three more questions. The third is "When did you lose your virginity?" "Not something I'd discuss with coworkers in an elevator," she says. Lucas abruptly says "You know, don't you?" Cuddy professes not to understand the question. Lucas infers from the fact that she's not suspicious about the photo that she's seen through it already and realizes it's a Photoshop job. Cuddy, I think, does a good job of disguising the fact that she had no such notion and says she knows the photo's a fake. And she knows it's a game. Lucas mumbles an apology and gets up to go, but at the last second does that Columbo thing again, turning around and reasoning that if she went though with the meeting even though she knew he wouldn't give her anything useful, she must have had another reason, implying that if was her interest in him and wrapping Cuddy around his little finger with all this praise of her intelligence, and she can't deny the interest in him without negating the 'super-smart Cuddy' premise so she smiles and accepts his interest in her and I think we've got the beginning of another beautiful relationship. And it's wonderful to see how Lucas can manipulate someone in such a nice way, and this makes him the anti-House and I really hope they keep this kid on the show.

Back in Brandon's room two strange doctors who sound exactly like Taub and Hadley explain the risks of their proposed surgery. He wants to know where his regular doctors are. Brandon says he's never seen them before in his life. From the opposite point of view, we see Taub and Hadley turn and look at each other.

House arrives, and Taub tells he they can't do the surgery because they're back where they started - visual agnosia. At least the doctors didn't look as ugly to Brandon as that painting did. Taub want to know how a symptom can be intermittent. House says still do the sympathectomy. Taub says there must be a toxin they missed. House wants to know where? Maybe some paint he used up a month ago? Taub says the patient has lost weight in the hospital. Maybe the toxin was fat-binding and came out in the bloodstream as Brandon lost weight. So where would we find this old toxin, House want to know. Find his old paintings is Taub's suggestion. House gives him one hour.

Heather is talking to Brandon as Taub runs in, and asks to talk to Brandon alone. Heather wants to know why she has to leave for them to discuss Brandon's paintings, and asks Brandon to tell her what's going on. Brandon breaks down and confesses he's only sold two paintings in the three years they've been together, and he's been making money enrolling in drug trials, three at a time. Why did he lie to her? He wanted to live up to her image of him. Heather tells him it doesn't make any difference - she's in love with him, not his talent. Taub is touched, but still needs to know where those paintings are, fast.

Act 6

The OR. Brandon is about to get cut. Meanwhile Taub, flashlight in hand, looks at paintings in a dark warehouse. He finds a several normal ones, then a distorted one. He checks the date.

House's office. The phone rings. Taub says it's not the paint, it's the drugs. Brandon's painting were normal in April, June, and August, but distorted in May, July, and September, coinciding with the months when he was taking the drugs. House finds the patient was taking antacids before the present drugs, and this explains everything. He phones the OR and tells Chase to cut a little lower down - in the abdomen to remove a bezoar. Basically that's like a hairball (cat owners know what we mean) caused by the low stomach acid due to the antacid trial. The hairball grows in the gut and absorbs some of the experimental drugs Brandon was taking, but lately has been releasing all three at once, causing all Brandon's symptoms.

Taub explains all this to Heather and asks if she's glad Brandon told her the truth. "Yes, of course," she replies. "But", Taub continues, "were you happier before you knew? We don't get an answer as Rachel Taub shows up dangling the key to a new car.

Rachel leads a grinning, blindfolded Taub to his new car in a parking structure. She whips off the blindfold with a "Tah Dah!". Taub's reaction is not what she expected. "Baby, are you okay?"she asks. "We need to talk," a somber Taub replies. Rachel looks nervous. Remember this scene, I've got some questions at the end.

House's apartment. Lucas is inside playing House's piano as House enters. Lucas tells House "She didn't buy it." Then he confesses to doing a little research. The photo was real, he says. Wow, that is humiliating.

- Cecil

In Two Weeks (presidential debate next week):
"Birthmarks" House's father has died (oh, no - no more R. Lee Ermy!) but House must treat a young Chinese girl who has collapsed under mysterious circumstances.

Last Episode: 09/23/08 5-02 Not Cancer
Next Episode: 10/14/08 5-04 Birthmarks

Below the line analysis: OK, somebody tell me just what's going on with Taub.

1) He suspects his wife of infidelity, and the car purchase was a quick thinking cover-up for her real intended purpose for the hidden bank account?

2) He's been won over to truthfulness in marriage and wants no more secrets, even benevolent ones?

3) He really wanted a Hummer?

4) He hates silver cars?

5) Your own theory?

Remember he looked like he was going along with the event until the blindfold came off. What did he see that suddenly changed his attitude?

5-03 Adverse Events

Cast and Crew

Director:... Andrew Bernstein
Writers:..... Carol Green
...............Dustin Paddock


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:

Breckin Meyer........... Brandon (artist)
Marika Dominczyk.....Heather (girlfriend)
Michael Weston.........Lucas Douglas (PI)
Jennifer Crystal Foley..Rachel Taub (T's wife)
Sarah Knowlton.........Susan (portraitee)
Drew Powell ............Anthony (angry husband)
Liz Benoit................Surgical Nurse
Bart Tangredi............Man
Deanna Smith............Female Doctor
David Goldman..........Short Doctor


"Drown in My Own Tears " by Ray Charles

Posted by Cecil on September 30, 2008 6:03 PM
Permalink |

So Wilson is a meanie.
This PI guy is funny.
House is awesome... like always.

SO yeah. Wilson is being a selfish jerk. He used to be the only person that House could talk to, and now he's just giving it up because he wants to "move on".

I actually did have something somewhat insightful to say, but now I forget.

Lo siento.

-- 1. Posted by: ilovebenjaminlinusxx at October 4, 2008 7:54 PM


You're very young and I hope you've never had the experience of someone very close to you dying. It's not been made very clear whether Wilson and Amber were actually married or if House just claimed they were as a manipulation at the other hospital.

Either way, Wilson and Amber were very close, shopping for a bed together, and pretty obviously planning to live together if they weren't already.

When someone that close to you dies, it can take years for your feelings to return to something approaching normal. Wilson is doing the right thing to push away House's abrasive intrusions, and to try to heal in his own way and his own time.

So I'm glad that House has a new and stonger foil in Lucas, and that Lucas can give as good as he gets, in a low-key but assertive way. And I like the way he's toying with Cuddy, too, but I hope for her sake it's sincere flirting.

Thanks for stopping by, and what did you think were Taub's motivations for that "We need to talk." which seemed to contradict everything he'd said earlier and really unnerved his wife?

-- 2. Posted by: Cecil Rose at October 6, 2008 11:36 AM

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