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'House' recap: Enter the Tamblyn

November 8, 2010 |  9:30 pm


House’s immovable object (everybody lies) meets an irresistible force in the new replacement for Thirteen, Amber Tamblyn as Martha M. Masters (doesn’t lie to patients---ever---not gonna do it). She’s a genius third-year med student who, after graduating from high school at age 15, spent her down time getting PhDs in applied math and art history. Do you think God helped her write her dissertations? (Sorry, lame “Joan of Arcadia” joke.)

“She’s like the Internet, with breasts,” House observes before correcting himself. “Oh wait, the Internet already has breasts.”

Patient of the Week is Joe Dugan (none other than Jack “Save the Cheerleader, Save the World” Coleman of “Heroes” fame), campaign advisor to incumbent New Jersey Sen. Harold Anderson. Dugan’s got a rash on his arm that’s well beyond the Gold Bond powder stage.

House’s team diagnoses liver damage and, of course, do what all doctors do in that situation: Go break into Cheerleader Dad’s home in order to uncover the truth. Foreman and Taub take Martha M. Masters (3M) to the abode. When she sees Foreman pick the lock, she figures something’s afoot she wants no part of. She refuses to cross the threshold.

Hey, Diogenes! Yeah, you, you moldy old Greek! Shine that lamp over in this direction—we got a live one here!

Oh, wait, you were looking for an honest man, weren’t you. Yeah. Good luck with that.

Inside the house, Taub and Foreman find a large tropical fish tank, but more important, an empty apple cider bottle. Perhaps one of the apples fell in some animal fecal matter, then was squished into the cider. E coli? Could B.

Cheerleader Dad is treated for that, but seeing as it’s not even half past the hour, becomes paralyzed. A tumor? A CT scan proves negative.

Meanwhile, House has already had it with 3M. He goes to his girlfriend –- sorry, Dean of Medicine Lisa Cuddy -- to tell her it’s not going to work out, but Cuddy defends her, saying 3M deserves a chance. As she later notes, House and Masters have a combined IQ north of 300. But House observes, so do five morons.

The B-story this week involves Foreman trying to figure out why Taub doesn’t like 3M. Taub challenges Foreman to a one-on-one hoops game in the hospital’s court. The game isn’t what you’d expect, but the outcome is.

The patient now has blood in his urine. Could be Henoch–Schönlein purpura, and there are two avenues of treatment: steroids or chemo. House says chemo is the scarier, but better option. 3M believes the patient should be told of both options, and will chose chemo, because it’s the better option.

Quick cut to patient’s room: “I’ll take the steroids.” Chemo’s gonna have side effects; the election is looming, and he needs to get back to work. (This would have made more sense if it had aired the night before the election, but the San Francisco Giants were busy winning the World Series on Fox that night.)

3M’s on-the-job training results in her being fired and re-hired, oh, three or four times in about 44.5 minutes. It's like "The Apprentice," only without Donald Trump's cyclone-effect comb-over. I like the chemistry between Masters and House, but I miss Thirteen. I'll catch her in theaters next month, though, in "Tron: Legacy."

Patient develops pulmonary edema, so it’s not HSP. His symptoms jibe with a disease that can be contracted in a Third World country. The patient hasn’t traveled abroad, but, as Taub notes, he’s got a huge tropical fish tank in his living room.

More breaking and entering, in order to find the fish or snail carrying tropical bacteria that might be causing the problem. Only there’s a wrinkle: The “man” shows, busts  Taub, Foreman and Chase, and things take a “Shawshank Redemption” twist.

With the rest of his team in the hoosegow, House turns to 3M to solve the case. Well, he could bail his team out of jail, but that’s so un-House.

While seeing Sen. Anderson speak on TV (thank God for high-def), House notices the senator has a red splotch on his hand. That, coupled with the senator’s flop sweat, has Hep C written all over it. And Cheerleader Dad’s illness could be explained if he had sex with the senator.

Absolutely never.

Or shared a needle.


Or a cocaine straw.

Weeeellll..... Cheerleader Dad's liver has been producing cryoglobulins that mask the Hep C test.
House gives him a hypo of  Interferon, but it fails to do the trick. With his team in Shawshank, House picks 3M’s brain again. She notes: A German study showed 15% of patients with Hep C were cured after contracting Hep A. But other studies show 85% die quickly if doubly infected.

Those slim odds are just too dire for House to pass up. All he has to do is prove that  Cheerleader Dad has Hep C. So House does, by persuading the senator to come in for a blood test, saying he’ll run the test under an assumed name. The assumed name happens to be Joe Dugan. The test, of course, comes back positive for Hep C.

3M is totally honest with Chearleader Dad: The odds are only 15% that infecting him with Hep A will cure him, but seeing as House faked a blood test and then tried to bribe her about lying about the risks, he’s risking his career on this treatment, 3M tells the patient.

3M’s very proud she didn’t have to lie. How will House wear her down? Writers, prepare for a field day. “It’s not that I want you to just lie to a patient. I want you to want to lie to a patient,” he tells her.
Do you realize how much trouble House would be in if Cuddy found out he faked a blood test? (I think we’re gonna find out next week. Thanks, nurse Tattle Tale.)
--Linda Whitmore

Photo: Masters (Amber Tamblyn) tends to Mr. Dugan (Jack Coleman). Credit: Byron Cohen / Fox