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House 520 - Simple Explanation

House Episode 5-20 - "Simple Explanation"

Airdate: Monday, April 6, 2009


The Hook:

An older man, obviously near death, lies in bed surrounded by friends and relatives and his wife and breathing with the assistance of an oxygen tube, asks to be alone with his wife. He tells her she deserved better than him. He wishes he could have taken her on her dream trip to Rio. She tell him all she wants is him. Then she gasps and collapses beside the bed. The man manages to roll up on one arm and call for help.

Act 1

Foreman briefs House and Taub on the case of a 54 year old woman, Charlotte, with acute respiratory distress and no history of apnea or sleep problems, nor any other common cause of respiratory distress. Curiously her husband Eddie, dying of lung cancer seems to have improved since Charlotte's collapse. House wonders where Kutner and Hadley are. Hadley's with the patient and Kutner's probably sleeping of a long comics convention, is the speculation.

House is on the point of suggesting some tests when Hadley comes in and says the patient is requesting to be sent home. So send her home House says. Taub says he has an idea "I thought up all by myself" to keep her in the hospital.

So Taub wheels Eddie in to Charlotte's room. Now she's staying.


In the clinic, House treats a child ballerina and prima donna who is ill on the eve of a recital. House quickly diagnoses the child has been sampling mommy's 'mouth wash'.


House is asking where Kutner is again when beepers summons the team to Charlotte's room. Charlotte is in distress, even as Eddie appears better again.

Hadley and Foreman go to Kutner's apartment to check on him. Hadley is amused by the man-boy toys in evidence, but reacts in distress when she sees him lying on the floor of his bedroom. The two doctors rush to his side and try to revive him, but we hear Foreman call 911 to report a "gunshot wound to the right temple" and they quickly conclude there's no use trying resuscitation - Kutner is dead.

Act 2

House's office: The team sits in glum silence contemplating Kutner's death. House wonders why "He didn't say anything." Taub reminds them Kutner's parents were "shot to death right in front of him" - reason enough for depression. House observes "There was no note."

Cuddy comes in and offers her sympathies and grief counseling and time off, the latter two of which she suspects none of them will take.

Finally she says "sorry for your loss" to House. He says it's not his loss. "Sorry you don't think it is," she says in parting.

Taub is running tests on Charlotte. She says "I just want the pain to stop." Eddie, trying to take her mind off the pain tries to talk her on a mental trip to Rio, but he can't bring it off - it was her dream not his. Taub says "I just want to run one last test - on you." (meaning Eddie).


House, Foreman, and Hadley interview Kutner's adoptive parents. House speculates on Kutner's pain fitting into two worlds and makes it sound like bad parenting was the source of it. The parents are upset. Foreman orders House to return to the hospital.

Taub's tests have ruled out the suspected cause of Charlotte's difficulties.

House enters Charlotte and Eddie's room and presents a totally BS treatment plan. When the patients react as he suspected, he accuses Charlotte of faking her symptoms to give Eddie a cause to hang on. Charlotte confirms this, then reacts to pain in her leg. On seeing visible signs of muscle dissipation in her leg, Eddie asks how she could fake that. "She can't" is House's reply.

Act 3

House has been going though Kutner's rolodex and calling all his friends. No one saw any sign of Kutner being in distress.

House sends Hadley and Foreman to MRI Charlotte, and Taub to do an echocardiogram on Eddie and confirm his diagnosis.

House goes to Cuddy and says "You let me hire a pervert!" He's found an 'indecent exposure' arrest on his record in his personnel file. Cuddy explains it was from streaking at a Penn/Dartmouth football game.

Hadley asks Charlotte how a it's been staying together for thirty years. Charlotte says it was great for him and good for her. He doesn't show affection as much as she does and she's OK with that. Then she goes into arrest and doctors and nurses come running,.

Eddie tell Taub that he wants a little more time to do better by Charlotte. Taub has to regretfully inform Eddie that the diagnosis is correct and he hasn't long to live.

Cuddy goes to Wilson and tell him House really needs a friend right now. And so does he (Wilson). Wilson says he can't handle House and this (presumably meaning his brother's situation) at the same time. Cuddy informs him House is telling the parents Kutner's death is their fault.

Act 4

Chase operates to repair Charlotte's spleen. Taub waits in the gallery for a piece to biopsy. Chase tells him to go home. "She's not your friend. Kutner was." Taub, who we've seen react coolly to suicides before, is adamant that Kutner's story is over and he'll try to save the patient who's still living.


Wilson finds House searching Kutner's apartment for clues. Wilson says he's not happy to intrude on a dead colleague's privacy. Wilson proposes they go get drunk and tell stories about the deceased setting patients on fire instead. Wilson accuses House of not caring about Kutner, just wanting to solve another puzzle. House keeps looking, moving to the bedroom. "What am I missing?" He glances at Wilson, then says "You've got that look. You've figured it out." "He didn't kill himself. He was murdered."

Act 5

Charlotte's epiglottis, muscles, spleen, and now her liver are involved. Two more possibilities have been eliminated. House notices Foreman is not present. He took Cuddy up on her time-off offer. House wonders why Taub isn't as obsessed with Kutner's death as he (House) is. Taub says he only wonders "why a man who embraces the rational is now pursuing the irrational" so avidly. House snaps back to the case and orders a test of AET proteins for an anti-tripsan disorder.

Charlotte questions Taub about transplant procedures - can the donor override the transplant committees about where their organs should go? That confirmed, she says if she goes first she wants to her heart to go to Eddie.

Hadley goes to Foreman's apartment. Foreman tells her thanks but no thanks, he needs to work through his feelings about this death solo.

House tells Wilson that the killer of House's parents was coming up for another parole hearing and Kutner had testified against him in all the previous ones, giving someone a motive to kill Kutner.

Charlotte is in arrest again, but this time from self administering something she's gotten hold of. Taub says she wasn't trying to get a response from Eddie, she was trying to kill herself.

Act 6

Taub reports that Charlotte is stable but her liver is shot and she won't live long without a transplant. They can't get a liver without a diagnosis, but House is prepared to lie to the transplant committee to obtain a liver. Taub says Kutner would say they should just come clean to Cuddy. House gets a look in his eye.

House goes to Cameron - "I need an incurable romantic to talk to another incurable romantic." His plan - ask Eddie to donate a part of his liver to Charlotte. But a part of his liver wouldn't be enough. Ah, but if he dies on the operating table, as he would, she could have all of his liver which would be enough. And Cameron is the perfect person to get Eddie's agreement.

It works, Eddie signs. (Yes, knowing he's expected to die on the table). And of course this has to be kept secret from Charlotte, because she wouldn't accept Eddie's sacrifice knowingly.

But Cameron notices nodules on Eddie's fingers that could indicate that Eddie's been misdiagnosed, and his condition might be treatable.

House tells Eddie that his condition is not what was previously diagnosed, is caused by a mold, and is treatable.

But Eddie refuses the treatment. He wants his liver to go to Charlotte. He says if they won't do the operation, he wants to be released, then when he 'gets hit by a car' and ends up back in their morgue, he wants his liver to go to Charlotte.

House proposed to Hadley and Cameron that they go through with the operation anyway since it's Eddie's will. In the middle of the discussion, House gets a call from the police - the murderer of Kutner's parents died several months ago in prison - there goes House's murder theory. Cameron and Hadley both refuse to schedule an operation that will kill a man that isn't already dying.

Taub says he'll do it - there's already been one pointless death.

But then Taub wheels Eddie into Charlotte's room and spills the whole plot, to Charlotte's distress and Eddie's ire. Charlotte collapses with a high fever.

Now the team's looking of a source of infection, and finding none, but something somebody said about "people, places" gives House an idea, and he says "both."

House then goes back to Charlotte's room and asks her - in front of Eddie - who she went to Rio with, and when. He tells her the "who" isn't really important to him but it might be to Eddie, he (House) just needs to know that she did - his hypothesis is that she contracted visceral leishmaniasis there. At last Charlotte confirms she took her long-wished-for trip to Rio - with somebody else - somebody, she assures Eddie, he doesn't know, last year. With a diagnosis, they can go to the transplant committee with clean hands. House tells Taub to start her on antimony while they look for a liver.

As they leave the room , House comments that they were both motivated to give their own lives for each other out of guilt, not love. Taub, wiser in emotional matters than House, says "You can't have that much guilt without love.


Cuddy comes to tells Taub that a liver has been located and is on the way. Taub tells her to turn it around, Charlotte is not responding to treatment and can't use the liver. Cuddy offers Taub a ride to Kutner's funeral, but Taub says he's staying with Charlotte.

Wilson tells House he was wrong. Now he realizes that House is inwardly terrified at missing the signs of Kutner's distress, fearing that he's losing his ability to see to the core of things. House says "don't you have a funeral to go to?" House isn't going.


To the strains of Pete Yorn's "Lose You" We see the funeral proceeding intercut with shots of...

House sitting alone in Kutner's apartment, looking at photographs...

Wilson sitting with Cuddy, Cameron with Chase, but Hadley alone - she spots Foreman, alone over her shoulder...

Taub waiting with Eddie as Charlotte dies...

Hadley and Foreman as pall bearers - on opposite sides of the coffin...

Taub sitting alone in a hospital corridor, crying...

Foreman taking Hadley's hand as they stand with the crowd and watch the smoke rising from the Indian temple crematory...

The last scene fades to an announcement from the National Alliance on Mental Illness ( urging anyone with thoughts of suicide to call their national hotline, 1-800-273-TALK (8255), a noble cause and so I repeat it here.

- Cecil
Next Week:

A tragedy brings everyone closer together. Maybe too close? Are Cameron's motherly instincts toward House being stimulated again?

Meanwhile there's a young man that wants to save the planet, but first House must save him.

Last Episode: 03/16/09 5-19 Locked In
Next Episode: 03/02/09 5-21 Saviors

Cast and Crew Ep. 5-20, "Simple Explanation" Aired 04/6/2009

Cast and Crew



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:

Meat Loaf Aday________Eddie
Colleen Camp_________Charlotte
Mary Jo Deschanel_____Julia
Ed Brigadier__________Richard
Hart Boykin__________Arthur
Bob Rusch____________Phil
Debbie Campbell_______Katherine
Taylor Hardwick_______Rosabel
Liz Benoit____________Nurse Anne


"Lose You" by Pete Yorn

Posted by Cecil on April 6, 2009 12:50 AM
Permalink |

I'm in tears..... I luv Kutner :(

-- 1. Posted by: Skipper at April 6, 2009 10:49 PM

Why is Kuttner off the Show?
Did something really happen to him?

-- 2. Posted by: Kim at April 7, 2009 12:09 AM

Yeah, Kutner was my favorite of the new three, as well.

No, as far as I know, Kal Penn is alive and well. Perhaps his movie career is driving him away from television? But I've really heard nothing about the reasons for writing him off the show and have no idea if this was at his request or not.

-- 3. Posted by: Cecil at April 7, 2009 3:35 AM

I keep waiting for a story line that can compare to the shock and fun of Season Three's Tritter arc. Killing off a great regular character like Kutner doesn't do it for me. I'm very disappointed. Although the character studies throughout the episode were interesting, I felt it was all very disjointed. Perhaps that was done on purpose, for it is the way one would feel after loosing a close friend in death. Or maybe it was just me.

-- 4. Posted by: Appookta at April 7, 2009 8:16 AM

It's been a long week at work and I am only up to the point in the episode where they find Kutner's body...but man I did not see that coming! While I do think there are too many principle characters on the show this season, I would have much rather kept Kutner and lost Traub, he still is the least interesting thing about the show in my mind.

-- 5. Posted by: FenwayBen at April 7, 2009 10:47 PM

I think we know now why Kutner had to die. For an explanation, see:

-- 6. Posted by: Cecil at April 8, 2009 1:22 AM

Wow. The idiocy of some people. I can;t believe the wife died because she refused to tell her husband she went to Rio without him...when he wanted her to go anyhow...

-- 7. Posted by: FenwayBen at April 9, 2009 10:13 PM

Remember the complicated storyline here. She first faked being sick to give him a reason to live, then was discovered to have a real illness. Did we ever see a proper history being taken?

Did anyone else get a "Gift of the Maji" feeling about this story? Each being willing to give up their most precious thing (their life) to save the other?

-- 8. Posted by: Cecil at April 11, 2009 12:14 AM

It was very noble, their intentions to die so their spouse can live, but in the end both had a curable illness. His was not discovered at first because his doctors were either poor or lazy, hers was not because she lied about going to Rio (saying instead she went to Hawaii).

As always, the moral to the story is everybody lies. And lying to your doctor is idiotic. She could have confessed to one of the docs when she was in a separate room from her husband, that would have saved her life.

-- 9. Posted by: FenwayBen at April 11, 2009 1:30 PM

Wow! I could not even guess about it)) Not bad.

-- 10. Posted by: Christian at January 30, 2013 10:11 PM

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