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‘House’ recap: Cannonball run

March 14, 2011 | 11:14 pm

Skirt After Cuddy dropped House last week like a handful of Vicodin, our hero takes immediate action: He checks himself into an expensive hotel and hires a series of hookers (sorry: high-class call girls) who make the Sports Illustrated swimsuit models look like girl scouts. A bottle of booze, a couple of pills and thou.

Meanwhile, his Patient of the Week is riding a raging bull (literally: the guy is a professional bull rider on the circuit). Lane stays on for the full eight seconds, but after the ride, freezes in the ring, giving the bull the opportunity to treat him like a pinata.

Lane’s list of injuries is like keeping up with Charlie Sheen’s Twitter feed: ruptured diaphragm, cracked sternum, broken nose, partial hearing loss, low-grade fever, neurological disorder, nausea, muscle weakness, Adonis DNA. … Wait, that last bit is from Sheen’s Twitter feed. Sorry.

In addition, he’s had so many on-the-job injuries, he’s being held together with chewing gum and baling wire.

At this point, Martha M. Masters (3M) discovers that House was/is a Vicodin addict. The “secret” comes out because the team has to conference call House in the hotel’s bathroom, where he and a brunet of certain repute are scrubbing each other’s backs. The team gives Lane a balance test for what may be an inner-ear problem, but he passes with flying colors. The colors are mainly shades of red, as his mouth fills with blood. 3M is quite taken by the young man. In fact, for the rest of the episode, she fumbles around him like a schoolgirl meeting Justin Bieber.

House suggests scoping Lane’s G.I. tract and biopsying his parotid. Of course it’s too early for any diagnosis to be correct: The young whites of the young man’s eyes turn yellow.

I lost track of the hookers (six? seven?) and the symptoms. Could he have a tapeworm? A detached cyst? Intermittently swollen lymph node? Whatever the reason, the team sticks a needle in his brain only to find out there’s no inflammation. But it’s not a total loss: Lane fights for breath, so they have to give him a tracheotomy. And he presents with another symptom: smelly feet.

The smelly feet can’t be diabetes, athlete’s foot of gangrene, because those don’t explain the other symptoms. Perhaps a fungal infection could cause ulceration between the toes, and his bleeding could be caused by recurring abscesses. But the problem with sliding Lane into an MRI machine is that he has a steel rod holding his ribs together. It could heat to 300 degrees in 15 seconds in the machine, so Taub and 3M have to pump his stomach full of ice water. After half a minute in the machine, Lane begins to smoke (and I don’t mean Marlboro Lights), yet the test comes back normal.

I know what you’re thinking: This guy was better off in the ring with the bull.

House thinks Lane’s hearing problem is masking another symptom. He thinks the young man is having mini-blackouts. So House sets up a metronome and asks him to sing “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean.” He blanks at one point. They CT his brain, but there’s no infection. The problem is in his heart, House determines, and tells Lane, “We’re going to increase your blood pressure until your aortic wall explodes. Hopefully, We’ll be able to fix it before you bleed to death.” Again, dancing with a bull is looking better and better.

And so Foreman and Chase crack the young man’s chest, crank his BP, and as expected, splotz, the aorta bursts, sending blood all over the room like one of those water snake geysers the kids run through in the summer. But the boys sew like the wind, and our young man will live to ride bulls again. Or at least eat steak.

While this is going on, Wilson acts as go-between for House and Cuddy. “Fun doesn’t excite you. Puzzles don’t excite you,” he tells House, the subtext being there’s only one thing that does, and she wears form-fitting skirts. Wilson tells Cuddy that House needs her in his life. Cuddy stands her ground: “I can’t fix his problem. I am his problem.”

At the hotel, House, sitting among the empty booze bottles and other detritus of his hooker liaisons, goes to the balcony -- five, six floors up? -- stands up on the railing, and jumps.

As a shocked crowd –- and Wilson –- watch in horror, House cannonballs into the hotel swimming pool, seemingly quite pleased with himself. But it’s not like the old House. The old House did stuff that annoyed people, like younger siblings do to their elders. This House is doing things to fill a void. There’s a desperation –- and danger -- about it.

Is Huddy over for good? Too soon to tell.

-- Linda Whitmore

Photo: Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein) and House (Hugh Laurie) face off about a dangerous medical procedure. Credit: Michael Yarish / Fox

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