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'House' recap: As luck would have it

May 3, 2011 |  6:13 am

Donal The themes this week are love, loss and luck. Oh, and betrayal. Can't forget betrayal.

Cyrus, a lottery winner (a stroke of good luck), is searching for his lost love (aided by his faithful sidekick, cousin Phil), a woman named Jennifer with whom he had a fling 23 years before. Sure, it's romantic, until Cyrus (always terrific Donal Logue) collapses (a plain old stroke?). Before you can say "HMO, PPO or cash?," he's resting uncomfortably at PPTH with leg paralysis.

He's a former appliance repairman, so Chase and Foreman search his former workshop seeking toxins and things that go bump in the night. The two begin an odd joust: Chase says he's saving himself for Ms. Right, (look, up in the sky –- yes, it's pigs on the wing!), and says that Foreman is a bundle of stress. The latter claim results in Foreman spending the next 40 minutes, give or take, hooked to a blood pressure monitor.

Meanwhile, Cuddy's mom, Arlene (Candice Bergen) is threatening to sue PPTH. (When we last saw Arlene, House and Cuddy were breaking every rule to save her life after her artificial hip went out of joint.) After Arlene's hip re-replacement, she can barely get around, so Cuddy offers to open her home to her while she recuperates. But an Ali-Frazier fight breaks out, and Arlene pulls out a lawyer. She wants 30 grand to make it all disappear. 

Back in the patient's room, the long-lost Jennifer shows up (cue the theme from "Letters to Juliet.") Says she read about him in the paper (hmmm, was that headline by chance "Repairman Wins $42 Mil Lottery"?) and just wants to see how he's doing. She even knows an old term of endearment, isn’t that right, Baby Bear? Cyrus is so touched that he vomits on her and has a focal seizure. That's how you know it’s love.

The team is perplexed. Is it neurological Lyme disease? Postural hypotension? Herpes encephalitis? House heads to Wilson's office for a consult: There’s a mass on Cyrus' pancreas, and yes, Wilson says, it looks like the Big C.

Foreman and Taub do an MRI and discover he also has tumors on his kidney and in his colon. One is vascular, one avascular and one calcified. Three kinds of cancer. Guess he shot his wad of good luck on that lottery ticket.

House votes to pump him full of vascular endothelial growth factor, to grow the tumors so they will be easier to trace the root cause. When he's told that the treatment is to give him more cancer in order to cure him, Cyrus proposes marriage to Jennifer, who by this time has showered off the vomit. She explains that he doesn’t really know her, not having seen her since, oh, I dunno, the Reagan administration? She reluctantly declines.

For no other reason other than to drive home the "betrayal" part of our theme, House digs up 13's high school boyfriend, who seems to be a nice enough guy. But Thirteen explains to House that he dumped her because she hooked up with his sister. (Didn't I see this in a Greek play once?)

Wilson arbitrates Cuddy's and House’s disagreement with Arlene. They drive to her house with a $30K personal check from Cuddy. House apologizes (in typical House fashion, kind of an "I’m sorry ... you're an idiot” thing), but Arlene's not buying any of it. In fact she threatens to write Cuddy out of the will.

After the team has finished pumping Cyrus full of tumor-growth juice, tests reveal that his tumors have shrunk. Perhaps the tumors were protein deposits?

Autoimmune is pitched, swung on and missed. Next pitch is amyloidosis. House orders a GI biopsy, then wants to start chemotherapy.

As Cyrus' hope slips away, he hands trusty sidekick Phil a check for $10 million. As Jennifer breaks down crying, dabbing her eyes, Thirteen notices that she's wearing contacts and glasses. "You mean your eyes aren't brown?" Cyrus asks. Then he tests her: Where does the nickname Baby Bear come from? She doesn't know, because it was the only detail Cyrus didn't reveal to Phil. Good, old Phil and "Jennifer" have teamed to scam him. This of course sends Cyrus into another event: cardiac arrest, lung and liver failure.

The fire alarm goes off. The building is evacuated, and the parking lot is crawling with doctors, nurses and fire trucks (sounds like Prince William's bachelor party). In the middle of all this is Arlene. She’s responsible for yanking the alarm, feeling that it was the only way to get House and Cuddy together. Turns out that Arlene was desperate to get House and Cuddy back together (I guess Arlene didn't DVR the episode in which House married some chick at Our Lady of Green Card.) "Look at you idiots," she says. “Who else is gonna put up with either of you?”

Cuddy tells her mom that she and House aren't getting back together. "Some things need more than a common enemy," she tells Mom.

Which is House's cue to solve our medical mystery of the week: Cyrus has a teratoma, which are tumors of primitive cells found in developing fetuses. They can develop different tissues. Cyrus has developed brain cells that leaked into his blood stream, triggering an autoimmune response. After that tumor is removed, and the other cancer growths, Cyrus should live long enough to eat, drink, snort and gamble his fortune away, like every other lottery winner worth his salt.

As the music swells, we see Chase in bed with a woman, Foreman taking his own blood pressure, and the real Jennifer meekly entering Cyrus' room. Thirteen reflects on love, luck and the cards we're dealt. She's broken, with Huntington's. House is handicapped and unloved. Send in the clowns.

-- Linda Whitmore

Photo: Cyrus (Donal Logue) gets some TLC from Thirteen (Olivia Wilde). Credit: Adam Taylor / Fox