Well, that was a busy episode. After three weeks’ hiatus (NASCAR, double dose of Alcatraz, rerun) House hit the ground running – a young blind man with a complicated love life has to choose between probable deafness and certain death, while House’s mom shows up to tell everyone she’s betrothed to the man House thinks is his biological father. Some partial truths about House’s paternity are partially revealed, and there’s still time for Park to accidentally sample the patient’s LSD and spend a few hours hallucinating the others as rabbits.
I have to say I do not really understand what NASCAR offers that watching traffic from the nearest highway overpass doesn’t. A slightly higher chance of flaming death, I suppose. Which was not intended as a segue, but works fine anyway, because as we open, our patient of the week, who’s just purchased a diamond engagement ring, becomes disoriented and overwhelmed by traffic noise and stumbles into the street.
House and the gang are discussing the patient, but first I’m distracted by the appearance of Scottish actor/comedian Billy Connolly’s name in the credits (he plays House’s possible bio-dad) and then House is distracted by the sight of Wilson shepherding his (House’s) mom into the hospital. House bolts, instructing the team to pretend he’s currently attending a conference out of town, and that prior to that (i.e., when he was in prison) he spent a year tending the sick in Africa. House’s mom’s name, we learn, is Blythe.
Secrets and lies also turn out to be the order of the day for the patient, but we don’t know that yet. However, when the team goes to talk to him, he mentions that he and his girlfriend have been “on a break” in that seemingly casual way that means this information will be central to the episode. Park, eager to do the right thing, introduces herself by explaining that she’s 5’2”, Asian, and “totally cool” with him feeling her face.
After the girlfriend, Melissa, shows up, Taub opines that she’s hot, and expresses surprise that the patient talked her into a break. It has to have been his idea, says Taub, because when women call a break, it’s a prelude to breaking up, but when men do it, it’s a prelude to settling down (so they can sleep with as many other women as possible before that happens). Park volunteers a similar explanation and connects it to the patient’s symptoms: poisoning could easily explain his symptoms, and Melissa is clearly the prime suspect, as only a bitter woman with terribly low self-esteem would give her a boyfriend a “free pass to pork other women.” Park gets the best lines. It turns out later she’s speaking from experience – a college boyfriend called a “break” so he could sleep with three of her friends and then dump her. In the aftermath, she gained 82 pounds and was known as Park-ing Lot. I wish her character hadn’t been introduced so near the end of the series.
Taub and Park do a quick sweep of the patient’s apartment after he asks them to pick up his laptop – and hide the engagement ring from his Melissa. Rationalizing that they’re doing him a favor, Park samples his ice cream, which tastes strange, and swipes a few Gummi bears.
Meanwhile, Wilson thinks Blythe has come to visit because she’s been diagnosed with terminal cancer. He finds House, who’s hiding out in the children’s ward playing video games with Dominika. He’s tricked the kids into producing a years’ worth of drawings of Africa (fewer Transformers, more flies) to back up his story. Dominika worries that he just doesn’t think she’s good enough to meet his mother. Urged on by Wilson, House goes to Blythe’s hotel room, where he finds her hale and hearty and sharing a bed with Billy Connolly — family friend, Unitarian minister, and suspected bio-dad (see Season 6, Episode 14, “Private Lives”). She’s here to announce their marriage.
Taub tells House that the patient’s apartment was clean, but Park dissents from this opinion, explaining that either some of the food she tasted contained hallucinogens, or Chase really is a rabbit. And Adams is a curvy girl rabbit who’s his wife, because they’re always flirting, and Taub is a tooth fairy, or Rainbow Brite. House is just House, though. The patient explains that he tried LSD in hopes of getting a taste of visual experience (no pun intended). The drug was acquired by a girlfriend, who is not Melissa. Oh, yeah, and the engagement ring is also for not-Melissa.
He later says the engagement ring was for Melissa, “originally”, which raises another question. So, he’d been making payments on the ring before he’d even met this other girl, and now he’s just repurposing it? That should go down well. This information comes out when he’s explaining to Adams that he has yet to tell Melissa about his new future wife because he “doesn’t want her to hate him.” Adams explains that that’s probably not how this will work out. The patient explains that Melissa acts more like a mother than a girlfriend, hovering over him and making decisions for him, including the decision about their “break.” She makes him feel helpless. And given how the promos emphasized the deafness-added-to-blindness angle, I now see where all this is going.
Blythe and Billy Connolly find a tripped-out Park attacking Wilson with a chair, because he’s a rabbit who’s stolen her teeth. Billy Connolly chides Wilson for his lack of tact in handling a bad trip, and talks Park down in no time – he had plenty of experience back in the day. He’s the touchy-feely, swinging-sixties kind of minister, with photos of the antiwar protests he and Blythe attended during the Vietnam war in his scrapbook. (Wilson to House: “No way is that guy related to you.”)
Meanwhile, the patient starts coughing up blood, which means the team’s previous diagnosis was wrong, and I won’t have to use Google to learn how to spell it. He nevertheless has enough energy to tell Melissa the truth. Adams, while doing more tests, starts free associating about how little she’s understood of the inner lives of the disabled, causing Chase to look around in bewilderment before asking if she’s talking to him or just composing a Facebook post. Again, when did Jesse Spencer’s comic timing get so good?
Dinner with House, Wilson, Dominika, Blythe, and Billy Connolly, and various truths are coming out. House introduces Dominika, who happily calls Billy “Dad.” Blythe reveals that she knows House was in prison, because she’s been reading the local police blotter since he moved to Princeton (there’s a mother who knows her son). She also reveals that she and Billy were actually secretly married two months after House’s father’s funeral. House pushes her to go further, and reveals (literally) the matching birthmarks that led him to suspect his real paternity. Blythe is silent; Billy Connolly explodes – if he’d known House was his son, he’d have prevented him growing up into a “pill-popping psychopath.”
Not that that’s ever prevented House coming up with the correct diagnosis. The patient has a fungal infection caused by inhaling its spores, which thrived thanks to an immune system compromised by diabetes. “Inhaling spores”? Too X-Files for my comfort. And, unlike all the worm infestations we’ve had on this show, it can’t be cleared up with a couple of pills. There’s medication, but he’ll need such a high dose it will, in all probability, leave the patient deaf. Crushed by the thought of being deaf as well as blind, he refuses treatment. Adams calls in Melissa, but she refuses to try to change his mind, as she’s done enough of that. She just came because she loves him. He agrees to the treatment, then proposes to Melissa as soon as he’s able (he’s communicating via hand squeezes). Which is where I knew this was going as soon as the caretaker nature of that relationship came up. It turns out his hearing’s not gone permanently, but … an ambiguously “happy” ending.
More ambiguity – House saw Wilson snake Billy Connolly’s cutlery, so he could test the DNA (just as Wilson did with Taub, as we saw again in last week’s rerun). House says that Wilson’s subsequent silence can only mean one thing – the test was negative. Billy Connolly’s not House’s father either. Which means – “Your mom’s a slut”, says Wilson. Yes, says House, but also less boring than he thought.
Two weeks until the final episodes begin — House has a fatal illness? Wilson has a son? Only eight episodes left, and anything could happen.