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Season 4 Title Connections

Title connections for season 4 of House, MD are listed below.

4-01: Alone
The title refers to House, he is alone, he has no team, two quit and House fired the other one at the end of the last season. House claims he doesn't need a team, but the last thing House wants is to be alone. To not be alone, he finds whoever he can to bounce ideas off of, Wilson, Cuddy, a janitor, the ER staff, when he can get them to talk to him. Cuddy pushes House to hire a team, he refuses, he claims to want to be alone. Wilson pushes House to interview fellowship candidates, and stoops so low as to kidnap House's prized guitar. House doesn't react well to this, and in the end acquiesces on his level, he hires 40 candidates to start the first round of medical survivor. He's not alone.

4-02: The Right Stuff
The title references the astronaut story of the same name since Greta, the POTW, is an astronaut wannabe. In addition, House's fellowship candidates have to show that they have the right stuff to work for him. House taunts them all, sending them on various assignments to start weeding them out. The ones with guts bubble to top to continue to try to win a spot on his team showing that they have the right stuff. In addition, the POTW wins House over, he doesn't rat her out thinking she has the right stuff to "be the safest astronaut up there." Cameron has other ideas, she thinks House couldn't kill her dream. Either way, she does have the right stuff after all.

4-03: 97 Seconds
The title lists the time the clinic patient was technically dead after his car accident, it also implies sampling the great beyond. The clinic patient claimed that the time he was "dead" was the best 97 seconds of his life, which sends House on a quest to find out if there's anything there. His real POTW is dying, but believes that there is something there at the end of the line. House tries to convince him there isn't. Finally House tries to "almost" kill himself to find out once and for all if there's anything there. He says no. Curious though since there were two other times where he sampled death, once after his leg surgery, the other time after he was shot. From that perspective, the argument with both patients and Wilson seem specious. He should already have his answer and be able to argue from that without needing another 97 seconds. Then again, when House tried to almost kill himself this episode, Wilson said his heart stopped for almost a minute, it wasn't long enough, he didn't hit the 97 seconds.

4-04: Guardian Angels
This could be entitled "House's Angels" given the Charlie's Angels starting point and game House is playing, but Irene, the POTW, is seeing dead people, at the funeral home she seemed to know they were dead, in the case of her mother, she doesn't know, but in essence, in her mother, she seems to have a guardian angel, until they cure her and the "visions" go away.

4-05: Mirror Mirror
The POTW has Giovannini's - Mirror Syndrome, mirroring the dominant person present, but occasionally a bit of his self comes through. Numerous references to the looking glass (Alice in Wonderland) are made this episode. Each of the remaining fellows has to look in the mirror to see what is reflected back, although 13 tries not to be there to look, and House and Cuddy use the patient's mirroring to determine which of them is the alpha - no surprise, there, it is House.

4-06: Whatever It Takes
The title is literal, at least as far as the losing fellow is concerned. Brennan cheats, he poisons the patient with Thallium to make it appear that they are dealing with polio because he has another agenda, to get somebody to fund polio research, so he does whatever it takes to make that happen. He believes that's what House wants them to do, take risks, do whatever it takes to get the job done, just one problem, he's doing the wrong job. House keeps throwing out ideas on his CIA case as well, and there, the title refers to the patient's job assignment, to do whatever it takes to get the information he needs, which he was doing before he got sick. House too tries subterfuge, but eventually gets the right answer. In the end he also exposes Brennan for the criminal he is, it isn't a "whatever it takes" world entirely.

4-07: Ugly
The title is a direct reference to the patient's appearance, he is ugly due to a congenital defect that can be surgically repaired. House cautions his team not to stare directly into the photo of the patient in an attempt at humor, but the patient points out that because of his appearance, being ugly, he can't have a normal relationship with anybody, including his dad. Everyone treats him differently, some cower in fear, some ridicule, most just behave like idiots, making him think that they aren't acting - something he points out to Kutner when he acts the part. The POTW is ugly, but intelligent. The plastic surgeon on the team sees the surgery to correct the defect as necessary, that in his view, appearance does matter, aside from any other physical effects. The underlying malady, Lyme Disease, also has a cosmetic component, a target shaped rash, in this case pointing directly at the patient.

4-08: You Don't Want to Know
Magic is at the center of this one, and the title means that it's best not to know how the trick is done. House disagrees, but then he wants to know everything. Also, in medicine you DO want to know, otherwise, you can't fix it. The opening trick causes the initial problem when the POTW swallows his key, that tears things up pretty good internally. The team gives him the wrong type blood exacerbating the scope of his problems. Numerous card tricks harken back to the "you don't want to know" theme. And magic references plague the diagnostic process throughout. The other aspect of wanting to know how it is done, is in the challenge posed to the team before they take on the patient, getting Cuddy's underware. Cole manages the feat, House is intrigued, again wanting to know how he did it. He figures it out in the end though, and fires him. It would have been better for House not to know that one, at least for Cole.

4-09: Games
The title refers to the final challenge for a spot on the House team, solve the case and stay. The game is diagnosing the patient. House lays down a bunch more arbitrary rules on this one, saying who can order which tests, using a point system, which he ultimately throws out as Jimmy Quid, the POTW, keeps getting sicker. The team all gets sucked into the game of necessity. In the meantime, House is asking other staff for their opinion on who he should keep, and actually does what Cuddy suggests, playing her for all it was worth. In the end, he fires Amber, even though as he says, she plays the game better than anyone else there, but for the wrong reasons. So the game isn't just the process, it's motive as well, and character. As House points out, it's not a win at all costs type of game, it's being able to take chances, but also be able to be wrong, and lose sometimes. In the end when talking to Cuddy, she's glad the games are over, House implies they aren't with his final question "how long have you known me?"

4-10: It's a Wonderful Lie
All speculation on this one so far such as could it be a "what-would-the-world-be-like-without-House" in the style of "It's a Wonderful Life" type reference. The reference should point to a bunch of lies in the episode. Perhaps life is a lie? The Secret Santa game will parallel the puzzle of the POTW, with lies thrown in there as well. We'll find out for sure on 29 January.

The above was speculation after all based on a complete lack of information, so there were clearly inaccuracies, but based on the episode that aired, the title connects to lies, and the episode centered around lies, as Thirteen pointed out, House's world view is shaped on the axiom that everybody lies, so he can't fathom someone who doesn't. The POTW and her daughter appear to have a completely truthful relationship, neither would ever lie to the other, but of course House cannot accept that. He continues pushing, in an attempt to trick the POTW to root out possible psych causes for her illness, he tries to get the daughter to lie to her mother explaining all the "good" reasons to lie, to wit: a white lie to make the other person feel better, rationalizations to make ones' self feel better, lies of omission which could be all of the above. House eventually uncovers a most wonderful lie indeed, the fact that the POTW and her daughter are not biologically related. Of course, the POTW's lie was pursued for the most noble of reasons, a promise to her daughter's birth mother, but it's still a lie. House references the "wonderful lie" theme when he sends Foreman and Taub to talk with the POTW's last sexual partner for the simple reason that they are better liars which would better allow them to get to the truth. And of course they trick the fellow into admitting that he drugged the POTW by lying to him about possible negative effects he was exhibiting, lying to get at the truth as House predicted. More connections to the "wonderful lie" theme erupt when House runs a deceptive Secret Santa game against his team, his intention being to drive them apart, so his invoking the Secret Santa game in the first place was really a lie. In a parallel to It's a Wonderful Life, the House/Wilson - Holmes/Watson parallel shifts to Bailey/Odbody (Clarence) in one scene to match the title, almost. And of course, after House solves the case, he tells the POTW to have a wonderful life, completing the title connection full circle.

4-11: Frozen
Again speculation for now, the title refers at first to the region of the world where the POTW currently resides, the South Pole. It could also imply some chilling interpersonal relationships such as House's usually icy exterior melting rather than freezing toward the patient, but his demeanor may be frozen toward Wilson, who evidently has been holding out on him. More to come after the episode airs after the Super Bowl.

Title connections in Frozen start and end with direct references. The opening scene shows a lot of snow, a frozen landscape at the south pole, the site of the POTW. The resulting diagnosis is also a direct reference, it's cold, and Cate has cold feet, which is the reason for her not wanting to remove her socks when House examines her from afar earlier, and is a key to the final diagnosis. Her cold feet and frozen toe prevented her from feeling the broken bone, the proximal cause of her illness. Marrow from the break was leaking into her bloodstream depositing fat emboli in various organs which resulted in her varied symptoms. Along the way, other frozen references abound. To rule out an autoimmune disorder, one test they agree to run is to send Cate out in the cold, to freeze, at least for a little while to see if that has any positive effect on reducing her symptoms. The test is abandoned due to coma though, i.e. it was frozen out. And House unfreezes, as he opens up and warms to Cate. As Wilson so aptly points out, he likes her, so his normal cold exterior melts, and this causes a delay in diagnosis because, having new found sensitivity, he lets her keep her socks on during the physical exam he performs remotely via webcam. Moral of that story, House is better when he's cold, at least as a diagnostician. And lastly, House is "frozen out" in figuring out who Wilson's new girlfriend is as well - in a twist of fate, the ice queen he fired - CB, AKA Amber. House freezes at the end, speechless.

4-12: Don't Ever Change
Again, speculation only so far on this one. Based on promo information, this could go many directions. Don't Ever Change could refer to the fact that despite appearances people really don't ever change. This seems to be paralleled by both the POTW and Wilson, who's current girlfriend is a female version of House, i.e. Wilson's choice in friends doesn't seem to change as well. More to come in February.

Title references to "Don't Ever Change" include several variations on that theme. Obviously, the premise is that people don't change, but throughout the episode, this axiom is chipped away, first by the patient who really does seem to change her life with her religious conversion and dedication to her new husband, and throughout the episode, Taub develops a newfound respect for faith. Next House's examination of the Wilson/Amber pairing, while initially mocked as Wilson dating him, or at least him incarnate morphs as House realizes that Amber has changed, and in return House changes as he accepts the relationship between her and Wilson - but he won't admit to changing because that would challenge his world view.

4-13: No More Mr. Nice Guy

This is all speculation since the episode won't air until 28 April (and it's only the 19th). The possible title connections, based solely on supposition and promo material include mostly cliches. House is certainly not Mr. Nice Guy, so it's hard to imagine him being more negative than usual, but as the title suggests, his goal in this episode is to remove Mr. Nice guy, in himself with respect to Amber as he competes for Wilson's time, in himself with respect to his team as he writes their performance appraisals, and from the POTW who's the poster child for niceness. House can't stand Mr. Nice Guy and as the title suggests, he must eradicate him.

All of the above speculation turned out to match the episode, although additional title connections include Wilson not being Mr. Nice Guy either as he divulges House's secret (of not actually having Syphillis) to Amber, which she (never having been the nice "guy"), uses against him by telling the team. Chase too stops being Mr. Nice Guy when he suspects that Cameron may have slept with House, at least while the team thinks he's sick. In his case, they assume, based on observation of House's drummed up symptoms, that eradication of the illness will make him Mr. Nice Guy. Another extension of the title references goes to nice guys finishing last - House wants to win Wilson back and will stoop to new lows to do so. In the end though, it's Cuddy who's no longer Mr. Nice Guy, when she punishes both Amber and House for breaking the "Wilson custody agreement" conditions. That whole agreement is a big stretch, but goes to show how far out House and Amber will go to both be the least nice, to win. And as the team cures the POTW, he does indeed become less of the nice guy, so House gets his wish there.

4-14: Living the Dream

Once again, nothing but supposition and promo material since this one won't air until 5 May. The title suggests that sometimes one gets to live in their imaginary or fantasy world, i.e. have their dreams come true. For House this means treating a character on his favorite soap opera, and breaking up Wilson and Amber, or at least successfully throwing a wrench into their relationship, something he's dreamt about since he found out about their relationship. For Cuddy, she's been living her dream, being dean of medicine at the prestigious Princeton-Plainsburo Teaching Hospital. She doesn't want to lose her dream, she has to maintain it and will do what's necessary to continue living her dream.

Living the Dream refers to many things, having a life that meets one's dream, or in some cases mirrors someone else's dream, so person A could be living the dream of person B. That seems to be the case in this episode. House sees his POTW, Evan Greer, as living the perfect life, appearing on a great soap, able to get the girls, and has all the perks and accolades in his profession. For House, Greer is living the dream. Greer sees it much differently, he is not living the dream, he's going through the motions and isn't happy with his life, sees it as meaningless. The team takes turns stepping into the ring to measure whether their lives are their dream lives, and the net is that if one is happy, then it doesn't much matter what he or she is doing, he or she will be happy doing it. If one is depressed, or dissatisfied with his or her life, it also doesn't much matter what one does, one will be unhappy.

House partially gets to live the dream in this episode as he steps into part of the dream life, while investigating possible causes of Greer's every widening symptoms, and he's happy as he comes up with one diagnosis after another, satisfied momentarily until it's shown that he's wrong. The title harkens back to Human Error at the end of season three, when Foreman responds to House's claim that he's happy solving the puzzle with a never before seen heart defect in his patient. Foreman claims that House is happy for two minutes until he's jonesing for his next fix, and for House, that's part, but not all of his dream. Solving the puzzle is a large part of what drives him, his dream. And at present, Wilson points out that most adults don't indulge themselves with every want and desire like House does. Given that House can do that, he should be living the dream, but he's not, he's miserable, so the real connection is that living the dream is an internal concept, not an external one. A person can be living the dream in any profession, in any circumstance (within reason), it's what that person makes of those circumstances. Thirteen points this out to Kutner in their discussion about Kutner being happy at one point in his life when he had a lousy job, before he became a doctor. He was happy selling men's fragrances, despite the fact that the pay was lousy and the job was not reaching his potential. Thirteen has one of the top jobs in the country, but she's not particularly happy, of course we know some of her demons, and those get sorted out in part in a future episode, at least in part. Wilson too gets to live the dream as his and Amber's relationship continues, and they are happy. As for Cuddy, living the dream harkens back to the previous episode, No More Mr. Nice Guy as House points out that she hasn't figured out what she needs. Maybe she will eventually, and we get another glimmer as House calls her in the middle of the night with the actual diagnosis, a quinine allergy. That scene harkens back to season three's Insensitive when House does his level best to keep Cuddy's date from working out. Is that House Living the Dream in messing with Cuddy, or is he just a step closer to messing around with her? Season 5 should tell us more on that score.

4-15: House's Head (Season Finale, Part 1)

More speculation. The title, House's Head connects to the main story line, House's memory, inside House's head. The title connects to House's puzzle this time, piecing his memory back together.

Title connections for House's Head extend beyond this episode, but as speculated, many center around House's missing memory. The title also connects to House's process, how his brain works. In trying to regain his memory, he pieces together bits of what happened from a combination of hallucinations, dreams, and actual memories that are all jumbled, within his head. The title also connects to House's Head injury, so it's a literal connection to his anatomy, his longitudinal skull fracture of the temporal bone, his concussion, and a nasty headache from the injuries. House's Head also refers to how he reasons things out, the hallucinations and dreams seem to be part of his normal process, this time a few more puzzle pieces are injected since his reasoning is a bit more circuitous than normal. His observational powers are still as keen as ever, recovering the meaning is the trick. The arguments within his subcontious are also puzzles, so House's Head contains whole convoluted conversations as he personifies concepts in his head. He also hides there, and the connection to the next episode extends all the way to the end when he doesn't want to come out of his coma because he reasons it will hurt if he leaves the safety of his head, but in his escape into his subcontious, it doesn't hurt, nothing changes.

4-16: Wilson's Heart (Season Finale, Part 2)

And yet more speculation. The title Wilson's Heart connects to House and Amber, or more likely Wilson's feelings for them both. Which is stronger, love or friendship in Wilson's Heart?

Title connections to Wilson's Heart start in the previous episode, early on when House doesn't objectify Amber when describing the scene in his memory to Wilson, and at the end when House figures out that Amber is the real dying patient, Wilson's love is dying, but that's not the only connection to Wilson's Heart. House doesn't want to lose Wilson's friendship, i.e. his place in Wilson's Heart, for as much as they torment one another, Wilson is House's closest friend, his love in a non-romantic way, and House is terrified of losing his place in Wilson's Heart. In essence the title connection here has been evident throughout the last story arc with the House-Wilson-Amber triangle, with both Amber and House vying for their place in Wilson's Heart, each trying to be first, in what's turned out, unintentionally, to be a fight-to-the-death for that special place. In the end though, Wilson's Heart is broken, he's lost his true love, Amber/House incarnate, and at this point isn't sure if he can forgive House for being the proximal cause of that loss, for breaking Wilson's Heart.

Last Updated: 26 May 2008


OpenID awwsnapitsaj said...

Well in the episode Ugly, House also had issues with "pretty" girls. I think that had A LOT to do with the title as well. Its the 1st time that House really truly respects 13 when she solves the case. the last thing he says is "she looks uglier already".

and also for Dont Ever Change, the last thing he said was to Foreman and he said "you've changed". I think there was good character development in that episode for house and foreman. It sort of put a hole in both of their theories about change.

July 14, 2008 3:39 AM  
Blogger Ande said...

Good point on Ugly, House and Wilson both commment on 13, and Cameron for that matter. When House checked with Wilson earlier in the episode, House pointed out that Cameron was smart, Wilson countered with his not being sure. The point being that pretty girls couldn't be smart, or the converse that smart girls are ugly (also challenged in House's mind by Cuddy), which actually harkens back to the first season, where Cameron wanted to know why House hired her in the Pilot. His answer was that she was very pretty - that wasn't the only reason, but he pointed out to her that beautiful women didn't go to medical school, they take the easy way out, but she defied that. She didn't have to though.

And the comment about Foreman changing didn't happen during "Don't Ever Change", it was at the end of "Mirror, Mirror", but the title "Don't Ever Change" certainly harkens back to "Mirror, Mirror" in that case, and does indeed challenge House's world view, but that time, House saw it as an aberation, and tells Foreman that he's a freak (because he did change), and it doesn't really change his view, his POTW though, that's a bigger challenge. Of course in "Clueless" from season 2, the POTW's wife also points out to Cameron that people don't change, at least not in any way that matters. The title "Don't Ever Change" is really a lietmotif in House, it's a common theme (not necessarily forwarded by music in this case) throughout the series.

July 14, 2008 6:21 AM  
Blogger Ande said...

You were right about House saying that someone had changed in the episode Don't Ever Change though, but the comment was directed to Amber not Foreman.

July 19, 2008 10:48 PM  

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