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House Fodder

House: 507C - The Itch

House Episode 5-07C - "The Itch"

Airdate: Tuesday November 11, 2008

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

The Hook:

A man lies seemingly unconscious in the entry hallway of his home. A crowd of firemen/EMS look through the glass in his front door, break in, find a pulse and begin to load him on a stretcher for transport to the hospital. He is semi-conscious and begins babbling "No, no!" as they bring him out the door toward the waiting ambulance. He breaks through his restraints, leaps off the stretcher, bulls through his would-be helpers and slams the door with his back to it screaming "Stay out of my house!"


Act 1

Cameron explains the case to House's team - 35 year old man named Stuart with crushing headaches and three seizures in the last two days, he's an agoraphobe who never leaves his house. Along with her ER duties Cameron is PPTH's outreach officer, which is where she encountered Stuart, who's been in his condition since being shot seven years ago (his girlfriend was killed in the incident). So they must go to his house to diagnose him.

Cuddy stops by wanting to discuss last week's kiss with House, who resists and minimizes his feeling over the incident. Cuddy falls back on "I was emotional. It's over."

The team decides to go do an EEG and search the home for toxins.

One problem, Stuart doesn't want to let anyone in, only to talk through his door. They compromise that Cameron will examine Stuart alone in one room while the rest of the team searches for toxins. Stuart recognizes Cameron's voice as the one who talked to him though his door about the flu last year. He's nervous with her in the same room, and tells her about how he has everything he needs in his home, and makes a fine living writing tech manuals. That's two weeks in a row, loners with viable work-at-home schemes. Gee, if blogging just paid more (i.e.: at all).

Wilson stops by to talk to House about the Cuddy situation. Wilson is astounded at House's claims to have 'made out' and wants details. House is more interested in scratching a mosquito bite on his hand. Wilson is aghast at House's even thinking of messing around with Cuddy.

Taub breaks in with a call that the team has uncovered precisely nothing. House mixes his queries on Stuart with queries on the Cameron/Chase love connection, which annoys Hadley, but Cameron takes it in stride, telling her it makes things go faster if she just answers all his questions. Since Stuart's first seizure was in his front hall (near the outside) House prescribes taking him outside to stress him and provoke another. Kutner points out that Stuart's fear led him to punch out firemen, so nerdy doctors wouldn't stand a chance. OK, House says, then "bring the outside to him."

Late night. House leads strangers into the house. He's lured them in with tales of a half-price bank foreclosure. Only Cameron and Taub are still there, the rest have gone home. Naturally House thinks this means something in each case. When the strangers invade his room, Stuart begins doubling over with stomach pains. A seizure or something ensues.

Act 2

Stuart has a partial small bowel obstruction. The team sits around in Stuart's living room speculating on what could cause this, plus seizures. House tries to persuade Stuart to go to the hospital for a surgery to remove the blockage and make a diagnosis, presenting the alternative as death, but Stuart counters that he'd rather die than go outside. House says he has a surgeon with an annoying 'Strine accent who'll operate in Stuart's home. Stuart thanks him.

Naturally, House has an angle. Once he has the patient sedated, he can bring him to the hospital. Cameron opposes the unethicality of it all, but House persuades her that death is more unethical.

So, plastic strung all over his bedroom, Stuart is put to sleep by Chase who apparently doubles as anesthesiologist. The parade to PPTH begins.

Wilson asks Cuddy how she is. Cuddy correctly divines the source of his concern "Oh, God, you dragged it out of me", and says she's fine about kissing House. She says she doesn't "think of House that way." Wilson wonders why not. Cuddy can predict the inevitable course of such a relationship. Cuddy promises to be more careful. Wilson says maybe it doesn't have to end badly.

Cameron and Chase wheel the unconscious Stuart through the hospital and chat about their relationship. Cameron's feeling the sting of House's twitting and proposes a change, in that Chase stay at Cameron's instead of the other way around as it usually is. Cuddy stops them. She's onto the game.

Cuddy, Cameron and Chase discuss matters over the unconscious Stuart as House listens without voicing an opinion, idly scratching the back of his hand. Cuddy insists that Stuart get his post-op in the hospital, where there's less (well, debatably) chance of infection.

Cuddy asks House how he is. He says fine, but she's taking about his hand, which he's scratched bloody.

In the OR, Cameron gets a conscience attack and wakes Stuart up to tell him where he is. Stuart freaks, and pulls out the IV when she tries to sedate him.

Act 3

Stuart is wheeled out of the hospital and everyone's in Cuddy's office. Stuart has called his lawyer and now they can't make a move without the legal-beagle's concurrence. House predicts Stuart will be back soon when he crashes and is unconscious again (still scratching his hand.) Cuddy takes them all off the case.

Cameron pursues House from the office to ask why he's not arguing with Cuddy. "Bad loving gone bad." House says fliply. Cameron will try to clear Stuart's blockage with drugs before he gets worse.

Chase pursues Cameron to find out why she's behaving strangely.

Cameron apologizes to Stuart. Through his door. She talks her way back in again.

Wilson pursues House who's changing his hand bandage. Wilson analyzes House as being afraid of risking a relationship with Cuddy. House naturally figures Wilson is interested in Cuddy himself.

Cameron reports the drugs aren't working, so maybe they need to do the surgery in Stuart's house for real. Cameron wants House to convince Chase to do the surgery, but House drafts Taub instead.

Taub begins the surgery. Kutner assists but gripes about it. House observes. The blood-sucking lawyer observes as well. Thinks go OK until Taub, apparently unfamiliar with bowel surgery as opposed to more ruminative locations, goes to cauterize a bleeding artery and catches Stuart's bowel gasses on fire. Whoops.

Chase brings supper for two to Stuart's place. Cameron's is grateful, but still apparently planning to sleep over there again, annoying Chase. Stuart calls urgently for Cameron. His legs are numb, he can't feel them at all.

Act 4

Peripheral neuropathy. Now what? Not the Whipple's they'd thought. The team is all in Stuart's living room, except House who listens from his office on speaker phone, while playing with his giant tennis ball. They're thinking celiac, allergy to wheat. Cameron proposes a blood test, House says force feed him wheat. The point is, House's test will cause pain if there's a wheat allergy, forcing Stuart back to the hospital.

Wilson talks to Cuddy. Sort of, possibly, just perhaps asking her for a date, maybe? Cuddy proposes just hopping straight to sex, in front of House's office. After all, Wilson was only trying to make House jealous, right? "You're an idiot," is Cuddy's conclusion.

Stuart is eating wheat. Cameron tries to talk about his shooting. Stuart puts her right off that. He says he was afraid of going outside before his shooting. Panic attacks and physical pain. His girlfriend was the only reason he wanted to go out, back then. After her death, he had no reason to. In the midst of explaining, he seems to cramps with pain.

Taub is in the lab finishing the blood tests. House pours out all the blood. House wants Stuart in pain from the wheat force-feeding. But he's currently on a morphine drip. House tells Taub to substitute saline for the morphine, to force Stuart to the hospital. House thinks Taub will do whatever House tells him to because Taub's marriage is falling apart since his confession of infidelity, as indicated by his spending long hours at Stuart's house or in the lab. Taub says he's only sleeping on the couch for a few nights, and he'll do House's bidding not to save his own job but to save Stuart's life.

Late night. House is in his apartment fiddling with some sort of machine connected to a propane tank when his mosquito harasser whines around. House tries to swat it with a newspaper only to knock a propane hose loose in the process. House continues assaulting the mosquito into the kitchen, where he swats a gas burner into operation. Oops. BOOM!

The preceding was all a dream (just the preceding paragraph, not all the ones before it). Pace, Dallas fans.

[By the by, from the excellent word-a-day email by Anu Garg, I've just learned that "Pace" in this sense is not the word "Peace" as I'd always assumed - old Latin student that I am - but rather a preposition meaning "With due respect to". Subscribe free HERE if interested in expanding your vocabulary. We now resume your regular blog.]

House wakes with a start, and so naturally goes to Wilson's apartment at 3 AM to discuss. Wilson says House should really prefer to be at Cuddy's about now. House says he's here to escape the killer mosquito. Wilson says the mosquito is a figment. More psychoanalysis on both sides. Wilson throws House out. Politely, of course.

House instead goes to Stuart's where Cameron is sleeping on a cot near the patient. All the tests, including endoscopy: negative. So do another one, House says, apparently RIGHT NOW! Cameron obediently wakes Stuart to do another, Stuart flatlines. Cameron wants to defibrillate, House wants to call the lawyer, while performing CPR, but Cameron defibs and Stuart's heart begins beating again. Cancel the ambulance.

Act 5

Taub has inserted a temporary, external pacemaker in Stuart's heart. House wishes Cameron worked for him again so he could fire her. She responds that in the ER they like to resuscitate people, not just let them die. House now thinks the cause must be a poison of some sort. He asks the toxin searchers what they found - nothing, the house is impeccably clean, perhaps even OCD level, Hadley speculates. This gives House an idea and he goes to Stuart's bedroom and asks how often the washes his tub. "Every couple of days." "Bleach and ammonia?" "Yeah." So now we're supposed to believe that a guy who 'writes tech manuals' for a living, and apparently is good enough at it to make a comfortable living, despite his eccentric ways, hasn't realized - or noticed - that he's dosing himself with chlorine gas?

House prescribes prednisone and sodium bicarbonate, but it's only a temporary stopgap, and Taub worries about the temporariness of that pacemaker. He hasn't the skills to put in a permanent one.

Chase and Cameron discuss putting in that permanent pacemaker. Chase doesn't think he can do it with the precision necessary in Stuart's house. Cameron is upset that Chase won't do the surgery there, but Chase correctly divines that she knew that he'd say 'no' before she asked and wants to know what's really going on. Chase says they always spend nights at his house because Cameron is unwilling to make so much as a drawer available for Chase in hers, because that might imply some commitment, making him feel like a visitor instead of a lover, and he wants, and has always wanted, more.

House, in his office, is awakened by a phone call from Cameron. Stuart is getting worse. House says to call the lawyer and say they're quitting the case, and to call Taub and tell him to bring over some real morphine drips. But, Cameron had anticipated House's trick, brought her own bags, and Stuart has been on morphine all along. This gives House an idea. House re-looks at all the x-rays. "I was right, he is being poisoned."

Act 6

At Stuart's, House shows Cameron the x-rays of Stuart's hip. Lead fragments from the bullet from his mugging seven years ago have lodged there. Lead poisoning. House makes an incision in the groggy Stuart's hip, and reaches in and begins removing lead particles. The mugger's hollow-point bullet, House explains, exploded and left fragments all over. Now they've started to dissolve, causing Stuart's problems. At least the physical ones. Cameron want to know it this could have caused the agoraphobia, too.

House says "No", any effect wouldn't have begun until years after the mugging. Stuart says he doesn't want to change. Cameron tries to talk him out of a seven year habit of mind. House breaks in and says Stuart is lying about this and everything - about his life, they he's really miserable - citing the evidence that Taub found rose petals in the entryway - evidence that Stuart tried to go place flowers on his dead girlfriend's grave and couldn't leave, the stress being the genesis of his original seizure. His diagnosis: "Yeah, he's got PTSD, yeah he's agoraphobic, but he's also a coward. If you want to change your life, do something. Don't believe your own rationalizations. Don't just lock yourself up and pretend you're happy." Stuart looks thoughtful. Chase looks thoughtful. House looks thoughtful - after all hasn't he just described himself, as well?

Cut to the hospital. Cameron invites Chase over to her place. She's cleaned out a drawer. Smiles.

Cut to House's apartment, House strums a guitar. He looks at his hands. They no longer itch. He puts down his guitar, pick up the motorcycle keys, and walks out the door. He parks in front of Cuddy's house. We hear guitar music and a female voice singing on the sound track.

Cut to Stuart's. He stands in front of his door summoning his courage.

House gets off his motorcycle and hobbles toward the house.

Cameron and Chase sip wine and laugh as he fills 'his' drawer.

House approaches Cuddy's door.

Stuart approaches his door.

Taub's wife goes to where he's sleeping on the couch and crawls in with him, the two contentedly snuggling.

Stuart stares at the doorknob. Grasps it. Turns it and opens the door.

House sees Cuddy sipping tea through her front window. Stares.

Stuart stands in the open doorway, trembling.

House look at Cuddy. Looks down.

Stuart takes a step.

House frets, turns away.

Stuart walks to the front of his porch.

House walks back down Cuddy's walk.

Stuart approaches the street.

House limps back to his bike.

Stuart turns down the sidewalk.

House, the one coward tonight, limps into the darkness.

- Cecil
Next Week:

Wilson asks House if he asked Cuddy out, but won't give an opinion. We see an accident on a construction site. A dying young girl. References to "a secret no one could ever imagine." [Don't we have about one of these a week?] Quick cuts. House asking "What did you do?"

Last Episode: 11/04/08 5-06 Joy
Next Episode: 11/18/08 5-08 Emancipation

To all vets and service men and women:

Thank you for your service.

Cast and Crew Ep. 5-07, "The Itch"
Aired 11/11/2008

Director:... Greg Yaitanes
Writer:...... Peter Blake (IV)


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

Recurring Role:

Bobbin Bergstrom........Nurse

Guest Stars:

Todd Louiso.................Stewart Nozick
Jennifer Crystal Foley..Rachel Taub
Jack J. Bennett.............Fireman
Yoyao Hsueh...............EMT
Jim Vickers..................EMT #2
Frank Noel...................Hal
Marcus Eley.............Larry Ruseckas (Blood Sucking Lawyer)
Diarra Kilpatrick........Sally
Kelly Michaels............Guy


I'm In Love With a Girl....Big Star

Posted by Cecil on November 12, 2008 11:17 AM
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