Tuesday, March 16, 2010

House “Blackhole “Recap & Review: Sometimes an Organ is Just an Organ

Photo from Fox

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen an episode of House (Hugh Laurie) where the patient’s story kept me interested, and “Blackhole” was a nice break from the usual patient ennui. While the outcome of the case became somewhat obvious midway during the episode, it was a wild and interesting ride getting there, filled with visually interesting hallucinations. Dr. James Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) is also being forced by House to find himself through the task of picking out furniture, something far more entertaining that the usual drivel that we get from the ever annoying Dr. Cuddy (thankfully with a minimal role in this episode). OK, it’s obvious that I prefer the stories of House and Wilson over episodes dealing with Dr. Cuddy, maybe that’s because it’s far more interesting to watch House and Wilson discover each other's inner selves than anyone else on the show. One thing we discover in this episode comes at the very end, when Wilson seems to make it clear that he knows more about what House wants than what he wants. It also shows that Wilson still seems intent on pleasing other people, and maybe he really is the doormat that House says he is. I have to wonder, though, if there was any symbolism in the fact that Wilson gave House an organ? I suppose that since Wilson already gave an organ (a part of his liver) to another friend, this was just his way of giving his friend House the only other – ahem – organ he could give? Then a again, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, and sometimes an organ is just an organ.

A little draggy on the episode was the plight of Dr. Chris Taub (Peter Jacobson) who tries to convince his suspicious wife that he’s not having an affair. To make a long story short, he parrots something that he sees the patient’s boyfriend doing, and this seems to work with his own wife. House, however, may be wondering if Taub really is dedicated to his wife when Taub immediately seems to fall into an old pattern of flirting. One minor flaw was when Taub gave medical information on a patient when he clearly had no idea if the people he was talking to were relatives who were authorized to get this information. Something about Taub in this episode made me dislike him a lot – not only did he seem sloppy with protocol in this case, but he seemed more interested in covering his ass with his wife than worrying about his job.

The only other issue I had with the episode was the use of what seems like more “science fiction” than actual science when they attempted to see what the patient’s brain was seeing. I doubt that there is anything even in the experimental stage that does this.

The patient in this episode is a high school girl, Abby (Cali Fredrichs) who, while watching a show in a planetarium with her boyfriend (in an opening scene reminiscent of the film “Contact”) and sipping vodka, she becomes catatonic and begins to froth at the mouth. She’s taken to Princeton Plainsboro Teaching Hospital for evaluation by House and his staff. House is at home, with Wilson nagging him about leaving his toast with jelly right on the couch. This begins the battle over choosing furniture, which House thinks Wilson is ill equipped to do. House wants Wilson to pick some furniture on his own or “admit you’re empty inside”

The staff works on the patient, well, all but Taub, who lied about being late to work because of a flat tire so he can placate his wife, who has concerns about their relationship. I am quickly bored. Later Taub tries to get advice from his co-workers, who try to avoid the discussion like the plague.

Of course, they poke and prod and scan the patient like normal – even testing her boyfriend Nick’s (Nick Eversman) sperm to see if she is allergic – with no real answers. The patient begins to have very weird hallucinations, some while she is having the MRI when she gets sucked into a black hole, another when she is in her hospital room. Something about these hallucinations make me wonder about her boyfriend’s father, I don’t recall exactly what it was but the thought was there nonetheless. I think it was when the patient heard herself, as a little girl, tell herself that he has a secret and it is killing her.

Meanwhile, the furniture battle goes on and despite the fact that House comes home to a beautifully furnished place, he is on to Wilson and finds that the stuff is all rented and House has it returned. He admits to this under the glaring eye of Wilson, but Wilson also admits that he had a rental company just bring it in.

House decides he wants to have the patient undergo a Cognitive Pattern Recognition test but Foreman wants to try traditional methods first, since the Cognitive test is experimental. Eventually they have to go forward with House’s suggestion, and she goes through the test. As I mentioned earlier, I think this test was more science fiction than actual science, after all, I highly doubt that during any test like that a person could actually see an image of what the person was imagining in their brain. It’s here where we can see her mental images of stars in the sky, but I also see a flash of what looks like Nick’s father, Artie (Dennis Boutsikaris) and I am pretty sure I know where this episode is going. The doctor’s think they are seeing the patient’s father, who is long dead.

Meanwhile, Wilson struggles with buying furniture and realizes he is a complete loser at it. When he goes to Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein) for help, she blows him off and gives him the name of a decorator.

Despite all the tests on Abby, they are coming up with nothing, Foreman wonders about a parasite but House disagrees, since Abby does not travel. With all Abby’s systems failing, House, in a rare admission, says he has nothing. But he gets his epiphany while talking with Taub discussing whether Taub is or isn’t having an affair, and House realizes that Nick’s dad, who is a world traveler, may be the man in her visions and may have passed the parasite along to her via his semen. He confronts Artie about it, and, with Nick and Abby’s mom present, is forced to admit he did indeed have sex with Abby while she and Nick were on the outs. I have a major case of the "eeeewwwws" at this point, even though I knew that was coming.

When House gets home, he sees Wilson has the place furnished again, and gives him a hassle because he believes Wilson had help. Wilson points out a large covered object in one area of the room, and it’s the one item that Wilson really did pick out himself. When House uncovers it, he finds it’s an organ, and House, tickled pink to see it, begins to play as we hear also the Procol Harum song “Whiter Shade of Pale” playing. It’s interesting that the one think that Wilson picked out was not something for him, but something to make his best buddy happy.

Of course, back at the hospital, House ends the episode with a skeptical eye as he sees Taub apparently going back to his flirting and/or philandering ways. And I find that I still don’t care what Taub is doing, I’d rather watch House/Hugh Laurie play that organ = the musical instrument, to be specific.

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