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'House' recap: Meet the parent

January 17, 2011 | 11:44 pm

Bergen Patient presents with symptoms of “acute superhero infarction.” Average Joe (actually, this week, it’s Jack, walking with his daughter in a subway) leaps in front of a train that’s barreling into a station, in order to rescue an average Jane (Chloe), who has fallen onto the tracks and is having an epileptic seizure. (Don’t worry, Jack, it’s “House.” Your time will come.)

Naturally, the Patient of the Week isn’t our unconscious woman on the tracks. It’s our hero, Jack, a bass player with a band no one’s ever heard of. A round of applause from his fellow commuters, and soon he’s flat as a pancake near the third rail like Sonny Liston against Muhammad Ali. (The second bout.)

Anyhoo, while Jack's being checked out at Princeton Plainsboro, we meet wife Eva, who isn’t nuts about her husband risking his life in front of their little girl, Daisy. Eva’s also not nuts about Jack being on the road all the time with his loser band. But this ain’t couples counseling, honey. The team has some serious misdiagnosing to do in the next 45 minutes, so stuff a sock in it.

Inexplicably, Princeton Plainsboro’s crack marketing team has made Taub the “face” of the hospital. His smiling countenance is on bus shelters and billboards all over town. As House says, “Now we know what Taub would look like if he were life-size.”

On the Huddy front, Cuddy’s birthday is looming, and she orders House to endure a dinner with, gasp, her mother. Normally, I’d say, “too soon,” but counting the number of times House has undressed Cuddy with his eyes, those two are nearing their silver anniversary. House tries to wiggle out of it by telling Cuddy that he is going to a film festival with Wilson. House then reports to Wilson, saying he can’t make the film festival, because he has to dine with Cuddy on her birthday.

But House is hoist by his own petard. Cuddy and Wilson confer with each other, and decide it will be an intimate dinner for five.

While on clinic duty, House examines a woman in the clinic. A handsome, older woman. She’s perfectly healthy, he declares. What he doesn’t know until revealing himself to be, well, himself, is that it’s Cuddy’s mom, Arlene, an ingeniously cast Candice Bergen, looking great. House isn’t happy about the ruse and lets Cuddy know it. Turns out, Cuddy’s mom’s a shiksa. Converted when she married dad. Why didn’t you tell me, yadda yadda yadda--

Oh, right, there’s still a patient to cure. First the team thinks it may be the limbic system. Then in his heart. Then the nervous system. Or lungs? Sure, why not. Meanwhile, the patient’s wife would prefer to consult with Taub. After all, they wouldn’t have chosen him for the posters unless he was a good doctor, right?

Perhaps Jack's illness has to do with exposure to toxic materials, or exposure to the woman on the tracks? Chloe, the epileptic. Did they know each other before the accident?

Well, the team has to break into someone’s apartment, and the wheel this week stops on the epileptic’s place. There, Taub and Chase find a roach bomb and a CD by the patient’s obscure band.

Turns out to be red herrings. Her co-workers gave her the CD after subway hero Jack saved her life. Bug bomb? Irrelevant. Unless you’re the bug.

Martha M. Masters – yes, 3M is still with us, although not as annoying as before the holiday break -- wants to take a “sputum” sample (that’s Latin for snot or a loogey) because she thinks it may be an infection. She pats Jack on the back, to, uh, encourage a sample, and suddenly, his ears start to hurt. Sure, why not.

The team conducts an auditory test.

Taub spends the episode having sex with his wife until he’s sore. He should be ecstatic, but instead thinks Rachel longs for another man, a man she’s never met, the man Taub calls her “online boyfriend.”

Across town, a cozy dinner at home with House, Wilson, Cuddy, her daughter, Rachel, and Mom. It’s about what you expect. Mom asks House, when you two get married, are you going to convert? Mom asks Cuddy, why do you call him House? His name is Greg. She tells her daughter she’s a “certain age now” and needs to settle down like her sister. And finally, “I don’t want Rachel growing up thinking you’re a slut.”

There’s no "off" button, so House slips her a Mickey. A birthday gift for the GF, he says. He slips Wilson one too. What the heck.

Back at PPTH, the team is trying to take fluid samples from Jack’s lung and ear. A shot of Lidocaine to numb is back, and the pain in his ears disappears. Cancer is ruled out.

Perhaps it’s autoimmune hepatitis. A steroid regimen is started. As Jack is sitting in bed, teaching his little girl some guitar chords, he has a seizure. (Told ya. What surprised me though, was how close to the top of the hour this one was!)

It’s a race against time (it is every week on this show -- I’m just using that as a segue). Could he have been exposed to toxic gunk when he fell onto the tracks at the station? Rat urine (c’mon, folks, how many time can we go to that well)? Meningitis?

This week, it’s Cuddy who pulls the scales off House’s eyes. She’s leaving town ahead of schedule. Seems every time she visits either daughter, the little rugrats infect her with a head cold.

That's it: House visits the patient’s room, where the wife and daughter are waiting. Why isn’t Daisy in school? Turns out, Eva is holding the tyke out of school because there’s been an outbreak of chicken pox.

Jack doesn’t have any blisters, but in 5% of cases, patients never develop blisters. Little Daisy’s a carrier, and inadvertently nearly wrote dad’s swan song. A little anti-varicella gamma globulin, and he’ll be back playing four chords in no time.

Which is more than can be said of Taub’s marriage: Near the end of the episode, he asks his wife for a divorce.

And I always thought it’d be the other way around. 

-- Linda Whitmore

Photo: Arlene (Candice Bergen) consults with House (Hugh Laurie). Credit: Adam Taylor / Fox