A low key week after two weeks of high drama – House’s Ukrainian green-card wife shows up, the team fights for the privilege of taking on Foreman’s old job as team leader, and a touchy-feely marriage expert with a testosterone deficiency turns bright yellow and becomes a jerk. However, I am pleased to report that at no point did he cough or vomit blood. And the CSI/Fantastic Voyage-style animation of the disease of the week is back.
We open with the self-help expert presenting a “Marriage Rescue” lecture in which he’s urging men to develop their feminine qualities. After a minute or so wondering why he looks so familiar, I realize he was Patricia Arquette’s husband on Medium (Jake Weber, according to the credits and IMDb). Only he has really bad hair here. He looks like a pastor in a megachurch with a waterslide. The hair gets a bit mussed as he collapses.
House kicks off the diagnostic session by saying that it’s biologically impossible for men to become more feminine – men will “go extinct drinking scotch and driving muscle cars.” He tries a manly fist-bump with Chase and Taub, who are clearly not feeling it and take long, embarrassing seconds to respond. That out of the way, plots B and C are quickly introduced. House announces that the team needs someone to lead it, as Foreman used to. And Dominika, House’s green card wife, is here to enlist his help in persuading Immigration that their marriage is for real. She’s been selling knishes in Atlantic City, and apparently doing quite well – she offers House thirty thousand dollars in exchange for his cooperation.
In plot A, House diagnoses the patient’s abnormally low testosterone levels after he fails to respond to either Adams or Chase bending over in front of him (like the lecherous boss in a 30-year-old sitcom, House drops things for them to pick up). It turns out the patient, Joe, experienced what he calls a “spiritual overhaul” shortly after a bar fight in which he took a couple of knees in the groin. It was during his transformation that he met his current wife, who put him on a gluten-free diet and has helped nurture his current career in “Marriage Rescue.” The team starts Joe on testosterone injections; his wife wonders hopefully if it will jump start his libido, while he expresses fear about how the testosterone might change him. Meanwhile, he’s become incontinent, so he needs to stay for more tests.
In plot B, only Park expresses interest in the team leader position, but when it looks like she’ll walk into the job, suddenly the job becomes “the last limited-edition light saber at Comic-Con,” in Park’s words. Chase, fearing dissension among the team members, tries to get Foreman to intervene but Foreman refuses. This is a minor plot point, but Omar Epps wears another great suit while refusing.
Plots B and C intertwine when Park steps up her campaign by helping House and Dominika prep for the green card interview. She shows up at House’s apartment – now the happy marital home – just as House is learning that Dominika’s preferred high is “dance aerobics” to an 80’s pop soundtrack. “Amy Grant?” says Park disgustedly. Dominika has also hung an antique portrait of her “hot grandmother” – actually a famed Ukrainian poet (male). Park is well-prepared for their cram session – she’s even brought a protractor, because “you never know when you’ll need to make a pie chart.” Apparently in high school her mad test-prep skills brought her the nickname the “bookie monster.”
Joe develops double vision while having an MRI. Chase gets a TV for House’s office, and Adams has started flashing her cleavage. Taub is appalled by their lemming-like behavior, and mourns the loss of the team’s newfound camaraderie but, House explains, this is just because child-rearing has suppressed Taub’s own testosterone levels. Make of that what you will. (Also, what about the Krav Maga?) Joe is now turning bright yellow, indicating liver failure, as the team bickers over competing diagnoses of celiac disease and Lyme disease. He’s also munching burgers, commenting on his wife’s ass, and making business deals left and right, as the testosterone kicks in.
All this is put on hold for the green card interview, chez House. There’s a flower arrangement with a cute backstory, and delicious hors d’ouevres prepared by Dominika (knishes?), and it’s all going swimmingly until the interviewer announces he just needs corroboration from a neighbor. Wilson’s out in the hall, affecting a cap and a British accent, testifying to the domestic bliss of Dr. and Mrs. House, but then the actual resident of the apartment Wilson is hovering in front of shows up. He rejects Wilson’s story about delivering Chinese menus, and fingers him as the guy who comes over every Saturday night to play noisy video games with House. The man from Immigration tells them to be in his office tomorrow morning.
The next day, the team teleconferences with House as he and Dominika await their hearing (with House’s lawyer, a new face). Joe is still yellow, and even more of jerk. Wilson calls as well, pleading with House to throw Dominika under the bus and save himself from prison. But this isn’t necessary. Dominika gives a teary speech about how her feelings for House have become real as they’ve played at marriage for the last week. She loves him and can’t bear to see him sent back to prison, even if it means she gets deported. The agent listens gravely, then announces that he doesn’t believe a word of it, but a judge might. They’ve got six months, during which they can expect constant visits from immigration. House looks a bit dazed, until Dominika assures him she was acting – don’t worry, she’s too smart to fall for him. Then he looks a bit hurt.
Joe has the symptoms of celiac, but it’s not celiac. It’s also not Whipple’s or lymphoma or something I can’t begin to spell which he might have picked up in Puerto Rico. It’s an endocrine condition, abbreviated as PAS 3. I’m happy to stick with the abbreviation. We get a CGI view of blobs drifting through Joe’s circulatory system, causing mayhem. Question—do the animations show up when there’s not too much going on and they need to fill a few minutes?
Medical mystery solved, House pits the team against each other in a series of contests, beginning with a suturing race utilizing pigs’ feet. Taub walks out to check on Joe, who’s gone back to his normal color, and wants to cut back on the testosterone – his new life requires him to be the guy the hormone deficiency made him, however much he enjoyed being an alpha male again. Taub comes back to watch the latest challenge, which somehow involves centrifuges. House bemoans Taub’s newfound sensitivity ; Taub offers to split the extra fifty a week with House. So he’s our new team leader.
Final thoughts? I enjoyed seeing Park kick into high gear, playing to her strengths for once, and I really wish I could have seen the character develop beyond this season. I like the newfound stability in House’s friendship with Wilson. And I will never get tired of Taub. (But what about the Krav Maga? Did he quit? Was it an attempt to stave off the psychological effects of fatherhood?)
At last we see House return to his apartment, where Dominika has done some more redecorating. She’s aerobicizing again – I can’t quite tell if it’s Amy Grant she’s playing, or possibly Debbie Gibson , but it’s certainly not Blind Willie McTell.
Next week: House’s mother shows up.