Monday, August 20, 2007

Mind and Body -- Episode 312, "One Day, One Room"

When this episode first aired, I got all jazzed because it was so different and yet fundamentally the same as the rest of the series. I put it right up there with "Three Stories" from Season 1. But my fellow "House" maven burst my bubble the next day with a disappointing and well-reasoned lack of enthusiasm. Fast-forward however many months to the lovely if extras-deficient DVD, and I'm all excited again. Hooray for creativity!

"One Day, One Room" puts House in two places he hates to be: in the clinic and in a situation where he has to get personal. Worse, his main patient -- a young woman who's been raped -- is not someone he's supposed to cure physically, but psychologically.

But the writers have it covered, and they spell out their point in a little exchange between House and Cuddy, when Cuddy tries to persuade House to actually treat his clinic patients instead of give them $50 to go away:

Cuddy: "I'll pay you $10 for every patient you diagnose without touching. You pay me $10 for every one you have to touch."
House: "You're making this a game for me. From which I can conclude this isn't a game for you."
Cuddy: "No."
House: "Why? You think if I deal with enough people I'll find some humanity?"
Cuddy: "Yes."

So without further ado, here are the clinic patients, with select commentary:

Clinic patients:
(Deep breath)
1. Guy who thinks he has an STD.
2. Young woman who thinks she has an STD.
We don't know it right away, but this one's our main patient. I said above that this episode is fundamentally the same as all the others, and it's true. There's a big mystery that needs solving: not a freakishly rare disease, but why, what with all his obvious compassion and charm, is House the one she chooses to talk to? For problems that pop up along the way, he goes to the Ducklings: Do we need to talk about what happened to her? What does she really want to hear about my sucky life? The various treatments are not medications, but soul-searching conversations about abortion, God, reason and rationality. When House first figures out the woman has been raped, he tells Cuddy to assign someone else, asking, "You think I'm the right doctor for her?" As it turns out, yes.
3. Old woman who thinks she has an STD.
4. Guy who runs around the clinic's waiting room, screaming bloody murder and clasping a hand to his ear.
Ah, the red herring. House has gone through three clinic patients and is trying to shoo the others away when this guy starts going berserk. And it's at the end of the teaser, so we naturally assume this is our guy for the episode. But he's dispensed with even before the opening credits are done. House has already figured out it's just a cockroach in the guy's ear, but he has the Ducklings run a series of tests just to buy him some time away from the clinic.
5. Cameron's patient with lung cancer.
Same day, different room. While sad, it's just another in a series of poor souls Cameron has to watch die.
6. Guy with athlete's foot in his nose.
7. Guy holding his own tongue depressor.
8. Woman feeling her own rash.
9. Guy trying to take his own pulse.
10. Hot chick.
House to Cuddy: "I owe you $10." Best line of the episode.
11. Guy who says he has hiccups, when all he really wants is a good time.
12. Father and son who took a $50 bribe from House to leave the clinic, but came back because the kid swallowed a magnet.
House's ingenuity is again on display, as he presses a scalpel to the kid's belly to prove the magnet is safely in the intestines.

House + coat + scarf = totally hot