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'House' recap: Everybody lies

October 4, 2010 | 11:01 pm


A writer, an imaginary friend, a suicide attempt.

This episode had it all, including a go-cart chase and cameos by Carly Fiorina and Meg Whitman.

Wait. Not those last two; they appeared in those campaign ads that are on an infinite loop on my TV. When is this election again?

But we weren’t kidding about the other stuff. Amy Irving, who elevates everything she’s in but isn’t seen as often as she should be, plays mystery writer Alice Tanner, the only 21st century writer who still uses a typewriter. (Do they still manufacture ribbons for those things? Oh yeah, you can buy them in a little shop right next to the one that sells buggy whips).

After polishing off her latest – and presumed final – novel in the Jack Cannon series, she speaks to a young man in the room who may or may not be there.

Turns out, he’s not. He’s all in her head. In her hand, however, there’s a pistol, and it’s real. She raises it to her head….

But – wait for it – it’s time for someone to have a seizure. And that someone is Alice, just as she’s awkwardly trying to insert the barrel of the gun into her mouth.

Bang! She misses!

Great opening. You had me at the typewriter and the imaginary friend.

Housekeeper/assistant calls 911. In the ER, we discover that House is a huge fan. But because she’s suicidal, she’s prickly and wants to be discharged. And because, well, she’s suicidal, House puts her on a 72-hour psychiatric hold, and the team’s meter is running in the race to unravel the mystery behind the mystery writer.

House and Cuddy take immediate action: They break into Alice’s house. Isn't it romantic? Exhibit A: empty cans of tuna in the trash. Housekeeper/assistant says Alice has eaten two a day for years. Mercury poisoning? Sorry, Charlie. It’s only quarter after the hour. Way too early for the solution.

House pulls something Sam Spade-y, Philip Marlowe-y. He lifts the typewriter ribbon out of the Underwood and takes it to the hospital—in part because he wants to read what happens to Jack Cannon, and in part he wants pick the brain of the writer.

Chase and Taub try to perform an MRI, but before Alice is placed in the tube, several metal pins are yanked out of her leg in a graphic detail. Old ski injury, or so the story goes. (The MRI—it’s a giant magnet, but it’s not the team’s fault. Alice is anything but a cooperative patient, and hasn’t mentioned the pins. I’ll see your seizures, and raise you a leg injury.)

So House decides to take a chance. (Shocker, I know.) He goes into her room, fills a syringe with a clear liquid, and says she can inject it anywhere and die. However, he adds that if he can cure her, she will want to keep on writing. She calls his bluff (shocker, I know) and injects the entire syringe into her leg.

The liquid’s harmless. Hey, he’s a gambler, not stupid.

Our B story this week is House trying to find something he and Cuddy have in common. He doesn’t want to lose her. Isn’t that sweet, like updating your Facebook status to “It’s Complicated.” Then there’s a double date with Wilson and Sam at the go-cart track. Cuddy hurts her shoulder, which gives House (another and incorrect) answer. It wasn’t a ski accident; it was a car accident. Alice hurt her thyroid.

House confronts Alice, who proceeds to fall into a paralyzed state. Hmm. Forget the thyroid thing. Taub offers: Syringomyelia. (Yes, I had to Google this. Even after I replayed the line over and over. And over.)

But there is an O. Henry twist that we didn’t see coming. A story to the back story and a devastating car accident and another huge lie from House, who isn’t above unethical behavior in order to save someone’s life.

Patients aren’t the only ones who lie. Everybody lies.

The writers reached the perfect balance of the classic POTW (Patient of the Week) formula wedded with Huddy’s budding romance. Hope they can keep this up.

-- Linda Whitmore

Photo: Alice (Amy Irving) and House (Hugh Laurie). Credit: Adam Taylor / Fox