Last week, House was all about obfuscation. This week, it was duplicity. In a way, House himself is almost always at least somewhat duplicitous, isn’t he?
The patient of the week is a painter and not a very good one. That may or may not be a lack of true talent on his part, but it is especially clear when a portrait he was commissioned to create looks like it spent a week soaking in turpentine. It is up to the team to find a reason for his visual agnosia. 13 immediately thinks drugs, for which House declares her a moron. It’s a claim he backs up by pointing out she is paying 12% interest on her car loan. Yup, he’s had Lucas (PI Guy) investigating each of them. He reveals that Kutner is in the Guinness book of World Records for crawling 20 miles. Kutner asks what he found on Taub and House replies "Nothing. His wife on the other hand…" , but Foreman tells him that’s enough. That’s right, there’s a patient to treat! There’s also a PI to pay, but that is a task Cuddy refuses to let to hospital take on, no matter how many compliments Lucas pays her.
Kutner and Taub go to the check out the painter’s studio, but Kutner seems more interested in finding out what Taub thinks House found out about his wife. Far more interested than Taub is, in fact. Meanwhile, Foreman and 13 run several tests on the POTW’s head. When the studio and the head come up clean, House declares it’s drugs. Not the kind of drugs 13 suspected. Rather, House has deduced that the POTW is a human guinea pig, undergoing pharmaceutical testing to supplement his income. It’s that lack of talent thing again and it’s driven him to participate in 3 trials at the same time. To complicate matters, he’s been keeping this all a secret from his girlfriend.
Speaking of secrets, Taub asks House what he found out about his wife. Despite wanting the whole team to hear, House tells him that she’s been keeping a secret bank account for the last year and making deposits in it each week. Taub claims to know about it, stating it is budgeted for her to buy new furniture. House disputes his claim on the basis that nearly $100,000 is an awful lot to spend on furniture. I just want to know what the heck Taub’s wife does for a living!
In the interim, the POTW has taken a turn for the worse and begun seizing. They stop all his trial medications and put him on dialysis to clear his system. The next morning, the POTW is doing better and Taub demands that House leave his wife alone. House says he will, but also foretells that Taub is going to confront her about the account, forgive her for it, then confess his own infidelity and beg for her forgiveness. It’s a plan House tells him will serve no purpose while simultaneously telling him that he’s going to do it anyway. House is like Nostradamus! Lucas, gets in on the predictions by telling House he is making Taub miserable in order to drive him away. Which is a less impressive prophecy since we already saw House do that with Wilson and the rest of his former team. And the POTW gets worse. In fact, he gets so puffy from anaphylactic shock that his tear ducts and throat swell shut. This is chalked up to more effects from the drug combinations, or rather the sudden withdrawal of them. So, they put him back on the harmful cocktail to slowly wean him off again.
During all this, Lucas has kept busy with his investigations. Which have brought him to Cuddy, supposedly not because House wants him to, but because he is interested in her. Which is not entirely true, yet not entirely false. House does actually want dirt on her so he can blackmail her when he wants to do something she’ll really hate, however Lucas is also really interested in her. He manages to convince her to hire him to get embarrassing information on House, a plan which he works into a lunch date of sorts.
Back at Taub’s house, he and his wife eat a quiet meal. Until he tells her he was looking for a letter opener and was going through her desk drawers, where he came across the bank statements. He braces himself for the horrible news, only to have her tell him that she wanted it to be a surprise. She bought him the car he has always wanted and it will be delivered on Friday. You can almost see his guilt growing. It almost grows as much as the POTW’s libido, which gets him a solid punch in the nose after he practically attacks 13. Horniness is one hell of a neurological condition!
As the team debates what this new symptom could be, Taub demands an apology from House while revealing the gift his wife planned for him. House points out that Taub must be feeling pretty bad about being given a gift he doesn’t feel he deserves and then tells him to call her up, tell her he’s going to be late due to performing a cranial angiogram, say good night and hang up. The clearer meaning being that he shouldn’t do what House knows he wants to do; tell the truth.
Another truth is the one Lucas admits to House, namely that he is having a hard time lying to Cuddy because he likes her. House asks if he has a problem getting paid twice to facilitate blackmail. Lucas says he doesn’t, because the real truth is that House wants information about her for the same reason he does – because he likes her too. So now it’s a matter of "who gets there first". Are we accepting wagers in this war of hearts?
Speaking of hearts, the POTW has an arrhythmia in his, literally and figuratively. He asks Taub if he should tell his girlfriend Heather the truth. Taub tells him that the best case scenario is that nothing would change and the worst case scenario is that it would hurt her. As such, while it may seem noble to confess, it’s actually selfish. It’s something he’s clearly been telling himself for a long time and is a convenient piece of logic for his needs. Logic starts to go out the window when the POTW goes into heart failure yet remains conscious, even when they have to use the paddles on him (ouch!). By the time House notices the POTW’s hair has somehow changed to red in its newest growth, rationality seems but a fond memory.
While the team tackles this new development, Cuddy and Lucas meet for lunch, where Lucas brings along a photo of House…as a cheerleader. In exchange, he gets to ask Cuddy 3 questions about herself, but when her answers don’t go further than one word, he deduces that she’s figured the photo was photoshopped. Which means she knows House’s real involvement in the scheme and he’s busted. He’s about to leave when he realizes that she knew their ploy and came to each lunch with him anyway.
Back at the hospital, the POTW is irritated when two strange doctors come to tell him they are going to sever the connections between his heart and his head to cure his symptoms. Unfortunately, the two doctors he claims to have never seen before are 13 and Taub, so the visual agnosia is back. The intermittent nature of the symptom gives Taub the idea that it wasn’t the drugs but a toxic element in one of his old paints that has been stored in his fat cells – an idea the writers have recently become enamored of.
Taub wants to test his old paintings and House gives him an hour to do so while they prep the POTW for surgery. Which means Taub needs to find out where all his unsold paintings are. However, when he goes to ask the POTW, the girlfriend is also there. Taub tries to phrase it in a manner that allows the POTW to keep up his lie, but the POTW breaks down and tells his girlfriend the truth. He’s only sold 2 paintings in the last 3 years and one of those was to his cousin, so instead he’s been participating in 2 to 3 drug trials at a time. She’s unhappy that he lied to her, but her love prevails. Taub’s wheels begin turning.
But first, he has paintings to find. As he goes through them, he notices a pattern. He calls House just in time to stop the surgery, revealing that it is the drugs and not some weird vascular breakdown, because every other month the paintings devolve into visual distortions. It fits the pattern of the drug trials to perfectly to be anything else. However, the drugs were not being stored in his fat cells. Due to a bad reaction to antacids, a bizarre collection of undigested food has formed into a gross ball of pure nasty. That hairball like thing contains the medications that have been recently flooding his system and wrecking havoc. The surgery changes from severing the connection between his brain and heart to removing the giant mass of ick from his stomach.
Afterward, Taub approaches the girlfriend to ask if she is glad the POTW told her the truth. She claims that she is, but when he asks her if she was happier before her face falls somewhat, as if it hadn’t occurred to her to wonder about that. We don’t get her answer, however, as the frame is broken by a dangling car key. Taub’s wife blindfolds him and takes him to the parking garage, where she reveals a brand new silver Porsche. She gets nervous when he doesn’t jump for joy or even thank her. She asks what’s wrong and he utters the words no one in a relationship ever wants to hear: "We need to talk".
Also talking are House and Lucas, while they jam on the piano an guitar. Lucas tells House that Cuddy figured the photo for being faked, adding that they probably overstepped since House isn’t exactly the cheerleader type. House tells him that he figured she was less likely to take him for the type to photoshop a picture and plant it in an obscure college newspaper. Lucas one ups him when he informs him that he conducted some research and found out that the picture was not faked. He asks House if he wants him to back off from Cuddy and House asks "Would you?" Lucas replies "I barely know you". Let the games begin! Er. Again!
My favorite moments of the night:
House: You like her legs.
Lucas: Yeah, but it sounds less creepy if I say I like her shoes.
House: Less creepy but more gay.
Lucas: That’s my firm’s motto.
POTW: Are you going to tell Heather?
House: I couldn’t even if I cared enough to want to.
Cuddy: How did you know I liked roses?
Lucas: I was in your house last night….No! I’m kidding. Who doesn’t like roses?
Does Cuddy like Lucas or is she just trying to irritate House? How will House eliminate his competition? Will Taub leave the team as his marriage falls apart because of House’s manipulations, allowing Cameron or Chase to return? If you could pick just one of them to come back, who would it be?