House
Damned If You Do

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Lord, Have Mercy!

Hello, everyone. Sara M is busy moving domiciles out in L.A., so to keep a steady stream of recaps coming until the new season starts, Wing Chun asked me to tag in for a couple of episodes. But Sara will be back soon to cut through the rest of the season like a scalpel through a screaming, horribly misdiagnosed patient. Or something.

We open on a shot of Wilson, which will make Sars happy. On a table next to him stands a ceramic Santa clutching a reindeer, among other modest Christmas decorations. The camera angle pans around to frame the Santa next to House, as "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer" plays. House complains about being "condemned to useless labor," and Wilson mentions the fourth circle of hell. Considering how much I hate Christmas music, I see his point. Turns out, though, House is complaining about having to chart all his cases, a labor in which he's apparently over two weeks behind. House flicks some paper toward the door, which almost hits the entering Cuddy. House snarks that he missed. Cuddy: "What are you, eight?" Wow, Cuddy, I'm impressed -- I do get that a lot, but we only just met. Oh, wait, she's talking to House, who asks if an eight-year-old could "do this," as he makes a grotesque, eye-rolling face. Well, I think an eight-year-old could do that, but it wouldn't be because of Vicodin withdrawal, so it does have a certain facet of originality. Cuddy cautions him that his face could stick that way. That eventuality has something to recommend it: House's patients would have proper forewarning of the bedside manner to come. Cuddy informs House that he has a patient waiting for him. House: "Yeah, but see, I'm off at 12, and it's already five of." Having spent a couple of years in England, I feel safe in concluding that Hugh Laurie derives a lot of his character's motivations from his own experiences with the NHS. Free health care does have its ugly side. Cuddy snaps that the patient has been waiting for House since 11, and walks off. House makes another comment about hell before walking off himself. I don't know -- sitting around on your ass making bitchy comments while high on Vicodin doesn't sound all that bad to me. In fact, maybe I'll try it myself -- just let me know sense recap if stops making the.

House limps into an examining room and discovers three nuns (or sisters; I don't really care about the difference) therein. He gives us an amusing wide-eyed look, as if he's afraid he's seeing triple or something. He introduces himself and asks what the problem is, and the eldest of the sisters instructs the one in the middle, Augustine, to show House her hands. House pops some Vicodin in preparation for his diagnosis. It's good to have little routines like that. You wouldn't want to mistakenly prescribe drugs under the banal influence of sobriety. Augustine is played by Elizabeth Mitchell, and I'll just get it out of the way and tell you that she's donned a horrible wig for the role, and it makes her look like Kes from Star Trek: Voyager's twin sister. Although if she were dating Neelix, it makes sense that she'd end up in a convent. Where was I? Oh, the hands -- they're flaky and red and gross, and when she turns them over to reveal her palms, there are dark marks in the middle of each one that look something like stigmata, or so says the third, rather young sister. The eldest one reproaches her, and House affably, for him, says that Elizabeth Mitchell must be the talk of the "holy water cooler." Heh. He asks if she washes a lot of dishes and, upon learning that she unpacked and washed a shipment of new pots and pans, tells her she has contact dermatitis, and that she must be allergic to the dish soap. The eldest sister -- whom we'll learn MUCH later is called Sister Eucharist -- says they've always used that soap. House: "I've been a doctor for years. Why do I have to keep assuring people that I know what I'm doing?" I could give you a few reasons, if I wanted to spend the next two hours hyperlinking to past recaps. He explains that allergies to substances can develop over long periods of time. He gives Augustine diphenhydramine, and encourages her to take it right away. Given what's to come, taking it before he leaves the room would be advisable. Good thing about the gimp leg. He asks if she'd like some water, but she says she has tea. And I'm not usually the best at calling these things in advance, but I knew on first viewing that that tea was going to be a major player in this episode. It should have been in the guest credits. House leaves the room...

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