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'House' recap: Back in the swing

September 27, 2010 |  9:15 pm

House2 A return to formula this week. And by that, I mean that before the opening theme:

1) The person you least suspect will collapse.
2) The person you least suspect will have a seizure.
3) Bus or plane crash and/or building collapse.

After the credits, of course:

4) Misdiagnosis; incorrect medication/therapy (Note to House’s team: It has NEVER been sarcoidosis, amyloidosis or lupus. If it was, “normal” doctors could cure the patient, so don’t bother pitching those!)
5)  Seizure/heart stoppage/vomiting/anal bleeding (come on, you know it's happened!) in the hospital bed at or near the bottom of the hour.
6) House solves case, coming up with the solution during a conversation unrelated to the medical mystery: Wilson’s taste in women, Taub’s marriage, Thirteen’s sexuality, Cuddy’s shapely derriere, etc.
7) Singer-songwriter musical interlude, then a happy ending. (Except this week, not so much.)

The person who collapses in this case is a teenage girl, Della, whose wheelchair-using brother happens to have muscular dystrophy. Besides that, the girl’s healthy as a horse (of course, of course, because helllooo, otherwise House wouldn’t be interested in the case).

Meanwhile, House+Cuddy (Huddy) report to HR, to come clean about the relationship. The HR flack asks: “How would you describe the exact nature of the relationship?” To which House chimes in: “You ever seen ‘Wild Kingdom?’”

Huddy must sign a “love contract.” Put your John Hancock here and here, initial there and there, and promise never to show favoritism or bias toward the other party. (Remember when interoffice romance merely resulted in snitty e-mails, stalking, transfers and lawyers? Oh, wait. That’s later.)

Cuddy’s budding relationship with House is similar to Delilah’s with Samson: House seems fitfully cowed. No more snitty comments about J-Date, mood swings or low-cut blouses. It’s yes, ma’am, no ma’am -- and don’t think the team doesn’t notice. The turning point is when the two explode in a very public mongoose-and-cobra fight.

By the way, where’s Lucas? Cuddy tells House in last season’s finale that she’s broken it off with Lucas. Shouldn’t we see him soon?

The B-story is an amusing tete-a-tete between a father and son -- but not like any father-son duo you’ve ever seen.

The scales fall away when House has a conversation with the sick girl’s brother, presenting their parents (the mom is played by Progressive Insurance’s Flo, Stephanie Courtney) with a “Sophie’s Choice”-like decision: shorten one’s lifespan to lengthen the other’s. Sorry, Flo, the Progressive price gun won’t help with this decision, and the clock, unfortunately, is ticking. It’s agonizing, and a bit manipulative, but then, that’s “House."

It will be interesting to see where the writing staff takes the Huddy office dynamic. Sex changes everything. And will Cuddy’s daughter, Rachel, cotton up to the prickly new boyfriend like she did with Lucas? Onward.

-- Linda Whitmore

Photo: Omar Epps, from left, Peter Jacobson, Stephanie Courtney and Dwier Brown. Credit: Adam Taylor / Fox