“House” mini-cap: Head games and stripper poles

Stripper Cuddy! Stripper Cuddy!! Stripper Cuddy!!! There, now that we have that out of the way, we can begin this week’s House mini-recap. Stripper Cuddy! Oops, sorry, guess there was one more left in there.

Part one of the two-part season finale, “House’s Head,” gave us the aforementioned stripper Cuddy, a horrific bus crash, retrograde amnesia, Thirteen’s real name and one whopper of a plot twist. All in all, it was a-freaking-mazing.

The penultimate episode opened in, naturally, a strip club. A disoriented House watched a dancer do her thing, but realizes something is amiss. He can’t remember how he got to the club. He can’t remember what he did before he got to the club. And he can’t remember why he is bleeding. Wow, I hate that when that happens.


Photo credit:
Greg Gayne/FOX

But this isn’t just a booze-fueled bender for Dr. Vicodin. This is major head trauma from a bus crash. Why was he on the bus? Why is House’s first inclination after leaving an accident scene to get a lap dance? (Oh, wait, this is House.) But, most importantly, why does House think someone on the bus is dying (and not from crash injuries)?

Those questions and the rest raised in last night’s episode cut to the core of what makes me love this show. It is, at the bottom of its ink-black heart, a mystery. House is a whodunit, but the “who” is a disease instead of a murderer. Episodes don’t get more mysterious than “House’s Head.”


Photo credit:
Greg Gayne/FOX

As House tries to piece back together the four hours he lost and find the dying patient, we learn that his bump on the head is much worse. I could give you the precise medical terminology, but pretty much he has broken his brain, as in blood dripping out of his ear broken. His team worries that he can’t remember their names when he calls Thirteen (Olivia Wilde) “Lesbian” the first time he sees her.

Thirteen: He just forgot mine.
House: No, Thirteen. I just wanted to call you a lesbian.
Thirteen: I’m not a lesbian.
House: I was rounding up from 50 percent.

As funny as that sequence was, how about the writers give us more than one throwaway line about Thirteen’s sexuality each episode? We’re tired of breadcrumbs. Bring on the sandwich.


Photo credit:
Greg Gayne/FOX

But back to the drama. Cuddy wants him to rest his cracked noggin. House being House, he doesn’t let a little brain damage stop him from his diagnosis. To unlock the information trapped in his head, he puts himself in varying altered states. First via hypnosis (by Chase no less — hello, boundary issues). Then via scent (and a boatload of Vicodin). Then via sensory deprivation. Then via old-fashioned sleep. And finally, via Alzheimer’s medication.

It’s during one of these hallucinatory states that we get what is, without a doubt, the most awesome House sequence in the show’s four-year history. Let me set the stage for you: Lisa Edelstein. A schoolgirl outfit. A stripper pole. White panties. These are the scenes rewind buttons were made for.

But more than just prurient entertainment, the striptease also showed us something very interesting about House. Sure, he likes sex. And, yes, he lusts after Cuddy. But for House it’s really all about the puzzle. Sadly for the viewers (and happily for Fox censors), this means fantasy Cuddy snaps out of her dance when she realizes it isn’t helping House solve the mystery.


Photo credit:
Greg Gayne/FOX

As the dream sequences continue, a beautiful mystery woman keeps appearing (Ivana Milicevic, who throughout the episode I kept trying to place. Let me help if you were too — Casino Royale; Ugly Betty; Buffy the Vampire Slayer, where she played Riley’s wife). She is “The Answer” House is seeking. Also, what’s that necklace she is wearing made of?

House zeroes in on the bus driver who is getting progressively worse. House’s epiphany moment comes when he sees the guy’s shiny new dental work. An air bubble from his oral surgery has made its to his heart. The hobbled doctor commits his 4,749,582nd hospital policy violation by locking himself and Thirteen into the room to jab a needle into the guy’s heart. As Cuddy and company try to stop the procedure we learn, at long last, Thirteen’s name — Dr. Hadley. Cuddy keeps screaming it to get her to open the door.


Photo credit:
Greg Gayne/FOX

But just when you think the case is solved, oh how the plot thickens. The bus driver wasn’t, after all, the dying patient House couldn’t remember. And that necklace around The Answer’s neck? It’s made of amber. Yep, the mystery patient was Amber. She was on the bus with House and horribly injured in the crash. Regardless, she’s dying.

I think that might be one of the best House episodes I’ve ever seen. And we still have one more left. So, what did you think? Did you see the plot twist coming? Do you like Thirteen’s name? Do you think you’ll ever be able to reattach your jaw after it hit the ground during Cuddy’s stripper dance? Discuss.

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