In addition to dealing with the pernicious influence of House on his ex-team, this season has periodically continued to explore House's alternating fascination and repulsion with the supernatural. In season four's first episode, House induced a near-death experience in order to test a clinic patient's claim that he saw God when he almost died. Tonight he receives a transfusion of tainted blood to aid in the diagnosis of a patient who foresees his own imminent death. And it's absolutely no coincidence that said patient is a magician, who spends much of the episode performing amazing tricks without revealing how they're done. Which of course drives House nuts, because he sees no reason to "preserve the mystery" of anything. He's gone to literally insane lengths in the past to figure out his friends' and colleagues' secrets. Why wouldn't he want to know how a two-bit conjurer palms the ace of spades?
Just like last week, I enjoyed this episode but thought it was a little too top-to-bottom with the theme–right down to the question of whether pretty, ultra-confident applicant "13" will find out if she has the same disease that killed her mother. (She insists she'll accomplish more in her life and career if she doesn't have a confirmed death sentence hanging over her, while House thinks her willful ignorance is borderline offensive. This is why I don't think she'll make the final cut to be on House's team and frankly, I could do without her anyway, since she strikes me as "Cameron II." If I had to pick one aspiring diagnostician to keep, it'd be Kal Penn, "Former Orphan," who doesn't have much going on as a thinker, but who brings a happy-go-lucky spirit that would be a nice change of pace.)
Perhaps I was nagged by the all-encompassing "magic schmagic" premise because it works against the other main idea I often get from House: that the show is really all about proving how doctors don't know what the hell they're doing. In the context of this episode, House's "test for everything but lupus" methodology is the work of a man desperate to know, not a man desperate because he can't know. Which makes sense both for the character and the show, I realize, but well, it's my problem, not House's.
This week's semi-B-story–which became the A-story by the end of the hour–had to do with House challenging the team to retrieve Dr. Cuddy's underwear. (Taub tries to put one over on House by handing him "Cutthroat Bitch"'s underwear instead, but it doesn't match Cuddy's bra-color of the day, prompting Foreman to cluck, "Do your research, people.") The surprise winner of the challenge is "Big Love," who in keeping with the concept of the episode, refuses to reveal how he did it. Naturally House, who insists that "If the wonder's gone when the truth is known, there never was any wonder," eventually figures out that Cuddy had to have given the studious Mormon her panties in exchange for him putting two of the weaker candidates on House's chopping block. Instead, House fires Big Love for violating one of his cardinal rules: Never give Cuddy the power.
-House is blood type AB, universal taker, while Wilson is type O, universal giver. Naturally.
-Wilson line of the week: "Your mutinous team is starting to worry about life on Pitcairn Island."
- I feel so bad for these applicants when they get fired. I mean, Big Love has a kid to take care of. And private school. I swear all this willful dismissal is going to come back to haunt our hero.
-This week saw the first significant appearance of House's Vicodin in a while. They're really toned down the "functional addict" side of the character this year, and made his gleeful sadism more paramount.
-The patient had a fungus in his lungs. Shouldn't that be a "lungus?"
"We finally got a case of lupus!"