Tuesday, January 12, 2010

House “The Down Low”: They’re Not Gay, It’s A Bromance

Photo from Fox

House “The Down Low” finally brought to the forefront what many fans have joked about for quite some time – the relationship between House (Hugh Laurie) and Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) that some believe is an intense “bromance.” While it addressed the heavy fan interest in the relationship between these two, the episode also tried to put to bed the whole “House and Wilson are gay” issue. This was a highly enjoyable episode, maybe the first one I really liked this season, with the right blend of light humor, dark humor, lots of House and Wilson interaction, and only a smattering of the fawning Dr. Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein). Even the “Patient Of The Week” provided an interesting case, and it was nice to see guest star Sasha Alexander, who I used to enjoy in her role on NCIS.

Here’s what happened:

During a drug deal in a parking garage in which eventual patient Mickey was participating, a scuffle occurs and a gun goes off, causing Mickey (Ethan Embry) to drop to the floor. Some of the participants in the drug deal run off, but Mickey’s friend Eddie (played by the usually creepy Nick Chinlund) sticks by Mickey and gets him to the hospital. House stitches up Mickey’s head cut that he got while falling to the floor, and House lets on to them that he knows that Mickey and Nick were up to no good as Mickey has gunpowder burns on his jacket. When Mickey tries to leave, House, who also noticed that Mickey seemed to have done nothing to stop his fall in the parking garage, let’s Mickey take a few steps to leave and then House bangs his cane against the bed, causing Mickey to drop like a stone again. It seems Mickey has a loud noise induced vertigo.
House talks to his staff about the case – his staff consisting of Drs. Foreman (Omar Epps), Thirteen/Hadley (Olivia Wilde), Taub (Peter Jacobson), and a “cleaned up” Chase (Jesse Spencer). (A side note – Jesse Spencer looked a little different to me and I think it was more than the haircut and the facial hair.) House seems to think that Mickey’s drug use has something to do with his medical problem.

While working on testing Mickey’s hearing, Foreman shows Taub a pay stub of Thirteen’s that shows that Thirteen makes more money than he does. To Foreman’s dismay, Taub tells him that he makes more than Foreman as well.

Meanwhile, Wilson is getting acquainted with another tenant in their building, Nora (Sasha Alexander) and Wilson finds out that she thinks he and House are a gay couple. At the hospital, House is talking to Eddie in order to try to get information about what drugs Mickey may have been exposed to, and they speak in “code” with using the word “culottes” for cocaine. Wilson bursts in and tells House that EVERYONE thinks they’re gay. House tells Wilson they are just two grown men who moved in together, and they are just “two tigers away from an act in Vegas.” House also realizes that both he and Wilson are interested in Nora, and you can see the wheels in his brain turning. He also asks what is a culotte, and Wilson quickly answers him, as if he were the stereotypical gay man who knows everything about fashion. When Eddie interrupts their discussion and tells House that Mickey hates “the stuff” and Mickey the only one that Eddie trusts with it, he also gets concerned that Mickey has been gone for an hour and asks if he is okay. House replies “It’s an ear test. Pretty sure he’ll live.” We are immediately cut over to Mickey in an apparent seizure, with Taub and Foreman trying to stabilize him. House’s comment, coupled with that scene, was a great example of the dark humor that I think this show had been missing for quite some time.

House’s staff don’t think that Mickey’s problems are due to drugs and decide to check his arteries. House still has a feeling that drugs are involved, and manages to bug Mickey’s room to see what he can hear, but he’s having some problem with reception. House thinks of another way to make Mickey talk by having the doctors tell Mickey it will be weeks before they can figure out what is wrong with him. Mickey decides he wants out and when he gets discharged, Thirteen and Chase tail him in Thirteen’s car. She loses him when she crashed a red light while following and gets pulled over by the police and her car impounded.

Meanwhile, Foreman, still upset that people working for him make more money than he, has approached Dr. Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein) and asks for a raise, but Cuddy refuses as Foreman has no competing offer as leverage.

Later, House, seeing Nora in the apartment lobby, unveils a large poster from “The Chorus Line” and starts fawning over it, only making Nora think even more so that House and Wilson are gay.

Then we find that Eddie has returned Mickey to the hospital, this time Mickey is rambling incoherently. House wonders if he has an infection that has moved to his brain. We also discover that the whole paycheck issue is a joke that the rest of the staff is playing on Foreman to bring him down a notch.

Back to Mickey, who had no heart rate spike during a lumbar puncture. He is confronted and admits he beta blockers to control stress. House suspects Mickey had gone through a beta blocker withdrawal when he was first brought into the hospital because he didn’t receive his medication and his body may be producing extra adrenaline.

When Wilson gets home, he finds House and Nora sitting on the floor, eating food and Nora massaging House's shoulders. Wilson decides to ruin House’s chances by plopping himself down on one of their moving boxes and helping them eat the food.

Foreman, still on the pay issue, tells Taub that he made up a job offer to Cuddy and she called his bluff. He now plans to leave the hospital after Mickey’s case is over. This worries Taub, Thirteen, and Chase, as they had no intention of the joke going this far. When they later approach Cuddy and offer some of their own salaries to help give Foreman a raise, she tells them she hadn’t seen Foreman in a few days and doesn’t know what they are talking about. As they leave her office, Foreman is waiting for them and they realize he figured out they were joking with him.

When the adrenaline theory proves wrong, they are left with just vertigo and a fever. When Thirteen also tries unsuccessfully to get House’s bug to work, House realizes it’s because there is already another bug in the room. After House gets Eddie, who has stayed by Mickey’s side, to leave the room, House confronts Mickey with the other bug and realizes Mickey is working undercover. As Mickey has been under for 16 months and has not seen his family in that time, he doesn't want to give up any information as they are only a day a way from a bog drug bust that he has risked his life for. He wants to be kept alive for at least 24 hours and then he will tell them everything about himself. When Eddie returns to the room, Mickey suddenly grabs his stomach in great pain. It turns out to be a GI infarction due to a blood clot in one of his arteries, and a foot of Mickey’s bowel had to be removed. They only have environmental causes left, and Thirteen thinks that Eddie can help. When her attempt to drug him to make him think that he is also suffering from a similar illness fails and he realizes what she is up to, he finally caves and says he will show her where they have been working the drug deal. It turns out to be a dry cleaning facility, full of all kinds of chemicals. While she takes samples, she and Eddie get caught by someone who walked into the facility, and Thirteen makes it seem like she is a hooker and they are just there for some fun as a cover.

But hilarity ensues when House is at dinner with Nora. He implies that he and Wilson are having some issues, saying “I need some time.” She offers House the option to stay at her place. But Wilson walks in and decides to turn the tables on House’s trick, announcing to everyone in the restaurant that “I love this man” and drops on his knee to propose, with ring in hand. House says, with a grin, “Wow. This was unexpected. “ Nora makes a quick exit.

The samples Thirteen brought back from the dry cleaner turned out to be a dead end. As four embolisms appeared in Mickey's lungs over the last 12 hours they think it is a fungus and start him on anti-fungal medication. When Eddie leaves the hospital for the big deal, Mickey sadly tells him he can’t go with him. It seems Mickey almost feels bad that his friend Eddie, who stayed with him this whole time, is going to get arrested.

When Nora shows up at House's office, he admits that he is not gay and was only messing things up for Wilson. When she asks if House was only spending time with her to get back at Wilson, he says “God no. I was spending time with you ‘cause I want to touch your boobs.” Nora moves to make another quick exit, somewhat pissed, and House tells her that Wilson has been divorced three times and slept with a dying patient, adding that Wilson is no boy scout. It’s here where House gets his epiphany. He goes to Mickey's room and tells him, along with Thirteen and Chase, that Mickey has Hughes-Stovin syndrome. Mickey is going to die and there is nothing they can do, Thirteen telling him it wouldn't have mattered if he had been open with them from the beginning. Mickey wants to see his family now.

We then see Eddie and his cohorts being arrested as Mickey dies, with his wife present.

Back at their apartment, House and Wilson are watching TV, sitting on a new couch that reclines. Wilson says he ran into Nora who no longer thinks they are gay, now she thinks they are mendacious dirt bags. House tells him being a mendacious dirt bag comes more naturally to him. House suggests they get rid of the giant “The Chorus Line” poster, but Wilson says he likes it, just like the sofa. As Wilson begins to sing the theme from “The Chorus Line, ” House wants him to stop but Wilson says only if he gets rid of the sofa. When House says no way, Wilson continues to sing the theme as the episode ends.

All in all, this episode kept my attention, kept me involved in the case, and kept me laughing. And while House and Wilson are not gay, it’s nice to know that the bromance still lives!

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