Tuesday, October 13, 2009

House “Instant Karma” Comes Back to Bite Them

Photo from Fox
“Instant Karma” felt very comfortable, like the earlier episodes of House(Fox). The original team is back working together and House (Hugh Laurie) is back with them, although he can’t technically practice medicine. The patient of the week is the son of Roy (Lee Tergesen), a ultra wealthy man who can seemingly buy anything he wants except a cure for his ill son. Drs. Chase (Jesse Spencer) and Foreman (Omar Epps) have trouble looming when Dr. Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein) tells them that the death of Dibala (from the previous episode ”The Tyrant”) will be discussed at the next Morbidity and Mortality (M&M) meeting. Since Chase killed Dibala and Foreman covered it up, one can understand their concern.

As always, the patient of the week is a backdrop to the personal drama between the doctors. They run the usual battery of tests on the young patient, they try a few failed treatments, and House has an epiphany, which later gives him the correct diagnosis. Too bad it was after he already told Roy that his son was going to die. Roy thinks he is a victim of bad karma, and he is getting payback for having enormous wealth and his son’s illness is balancing things out. He has a team of lawyers in the hospital to sign papers, which will essentially destroy his business and bankrupt himself. I don’t understand how one can do that so quickly with one swipe of a pen. His son is cured and Roy is broke. Too bad that Roy completely misunderstood karma – it isn’t a balancing out like he explained, it means if you do something bad in life, bad will come back to you, and vice versa. It doesn’t mean that if you are wealthy, that your family will have nothing but pain and suffering. If he would have realized this, maybe he wouldn’t have given away all his money, especially now that House’s correct diagnosis means his son will live. Now how will he pay all those hospital bills?

Meanwhile, Chase and Foreman are trying to figure out what to do at the M&M to prevent Chase’s actions with Dibala - the fact that he murdered him - from coming out. Chase seems to think that it’s up to Foreman to fix it, which I thought was a little nasty of Chase. Sure, Foreman did cover things up and he has a lot to lose, but Chase is the guy why actually killed Dibala. Things get complicated when the blood Chase used to test for Dibala has abnormal cholesterol levels, something of which Chase was not aware. He enlists Foreman to tell more lies to cover that up, and instead, Foreman tries to get out of doing the M&M. No luck; Cuddy tells him he must do it, but wonders what is going on. Even Cameron noticed Chase’s weird behavior and calls him on it, and he explains it away. Chase gets dangerously close to confessing to Cuddy but is interrupted and never gets the words out. Lucky for Chase and Foreman that House appears to have figured out what happened and secretly leaves a file for Chase that indicates one of Dibala's previous doctors had been prescribing drugs for high cholesterol. This gives them an explanation for the cholesterol readings and gets them off the hook for the M&M. When Chase finds out it wasn’t Foreman who left the file, he goes straight to House, who then tells Chase "better murder than a misdiagnosis."

Intermingled with these stories is Thirteen, who tells House she is planning to travel and head to Thailand. On her way to the airport, she finds that her reservation was somehow canceled. She blames House but he denies it. Cuddy tells House that Thirteen also talked to her about it, and she also asks House if he really wants Foreman running the team. He seems to be comfortable with his role of advisor without actually having the power to lord over people. Thirteen later tells Dr. Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) that she found her computer was hacked and the email to cancel her flight came from his computer. He gives her the appearance that he did it, telling her that she is good for House and he doesn’t want her to throw her career away over a bad break up. Wilson tells House that he confessed to doing it and of course House admits that he knows he didn’t do it, because House did. No matter, Thirteen gets on a plane, and I can only hope she never returns.

At the end, as the penniless Roy now has his healthy son, and Thirteen gets on her plane, Foreman is at the head of the conference room for the M&M. It looks like crisis has been averted.

It was a satisfying episode, with it familiar formula: several misdiagnoses with a cure at the end, conflict with the doctors, Cuddy in tight clothes and cleavage, Wilson and his attempt at fixing things that he didn’t break. The only difference is a more tempered House, but make no mistake, the edge is not gone. Hopefully House’s painful rehab was his “bad karma” coming back at him, and he can start fresh. But for Chase and Foreman, while they managed to get through the M&M, bad karma may still be forthcoming.

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