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‘House’ recap: Lie, Masters, lie!

February 28, 2011 | 10:42 pm

Mariachi We interrupt our regularly scheduled 24/7 coverage of Charlie Sheen’s meltdown to bring you this week's "House." Viewer discretion is advised. (But it's a lot more credible than Charlie Sheen.)

When we meet Bert, a hard-working, 40-ish husband, he's scrubbing human blood off a floor like Mr. Clean. Nah, he's not a murderer, but he has been lying to his wife about his work. Seems he's lost his real estate firm during the recession and has been doing custodial jobs ever since: mold removal, septic tank repair, crime-scene cleanup. This guy has "future House patient" written all over him like tattoos on an NBA player.

And so during a romantic dinner of worms (or perhaps grubs; I turned away), he has Seizure No. 1 and ends up in PPTH.

Foreman and Taub check out Bert's vacant real estate office, which is packed full of toxic cleaners. (They also find a bottle of Vicodin.) The team initially diagnoses boric acid exposure, but at 12 minutes after the hour, he spikes a fever, negating that diagnosis. Meanwhile, the team awaits autopsy reports from the deceased he was mopping up after.

Bert has a rash, fever, joint pain (but he's still in better shape than Charlie Sheen … sorry, that was uncalled for. I'll stop). Next guess: meningeal toxemia. While having the lumbar puncture to diagnose that, Bert admits he's maxed out his credit cards, taken a second mortgage out on the house and sold off investments. Naturally, Masters (3M) thinks he should be totally honest with his wife. (Note to viewers: 3M has never been married.)

Bert's high lymphocyte count rules out meningeal toxemia. He's been taking the Vicodin because the physical work has left him in pain. And the autopsy won't help either: The deceased was stabbed. But before you can say, "It's 8:22, do you know where your next symptom is?," Bert’s feet swell up and turn blue.

House guesses serum sickness, takes him off antibiotics and puts him on cortical steroids. Except this sends Bert into the bathroom with raving hallucinations. (So happy to see that the Oscar-winning special effects team from "Inception" got some freelance work on the side.)

The skin rash disappears, and the team convenes a meeting in the men's room. (The "B" story has to do with the Taub-Foreman bromance, and well, they’re in the men’s room.) It's systemic antifungal infection, which means the wife's likely got it too.

But when it's explained to the wife what Bert has and why he has it, she loses it and bolts in a rage. (No….Charlie … Sheen …. Joke …. Here…. Must … Stay….Strong!) After she leaves, Bert's fever returns, and oh, BTW, he's deaf now.

Next guess: Brain tumor. But while being loaded into the MRI machine, Bert starts to shiver from cold, has another seizure, then lapses into a coma. And I'll see you that coma, and raise you kidney failure. The team wasn't able to complete the MRI, but House is still betting the rent it's a brain tumor: start chemo and bombard his head with radiation. If House is wrong, he'll merely be shaving a few hours off the poor guy's life, because he's a goner anyway. The catch: They need the wife's consent. House assigns 3M to get it.

The wife may have stormed out of the hospital in a tizzy, but now faced with the possible death of her beloved, signs the consent form. She tells 3M that she's heard that even coma patients can hear loved ones at their bedside. Will he be able to hear her? And here's where this girl is a woman now (as the song goes):  Masters lies! Yes, she tells the wife, he may be able to hear you. Mark your calendars!

Tearfully, the wife whispers to her husband that she was going to tell him during their romantic dinner of grubs: She's pregnant. Sniff, sniff. But 3M notices his rash has reappeared. What could this mean?

House brainstorms. Cold. Rash. Could it be Muckle-Wells syndrome (cold-induced autoinflammatory syndrome)? I know, I know, that wouldn’t have been my first guess either, but if they can just pump some Rilonacept into him in time…

Chase and 3M take a hypo of the stuff to the room, but the patient is in full arrest and the crash cart staff is pounding away on his chest. 3M joins in, but to no avail. He's dead, a rare black mark on House's record. And 3M doesn’t take it well either. (C'mon, the wife's pregnant -- manipulative, ya think?)

The "C" story this week revolves around a charity gala during which Cuddy is going to feted for 15 years of service at PPTH. After promising to attend, House ends up drunk at a bar, then staggers to Cuddy's place in a sorry state. He tells her, "Being happy and being in love with you makes me a crappy doctor. You have made me a worse doctor … but you’re totally worth it."

And he passes out drunk. One dead patient, one relationship resuscitated. Fair trade-off. Unless you're the patient, of course.

-- Linda Whitmore

Photo: House (Hugh Laurie) auditions a mariachi band for Cuddy’s gala.

Credit: Trae Patton / Fox