LL Cool J is on death row, and when his heart starts beating so fast that it pumps air instead of blood, he's put in the care of the Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital. Cuddy, sporting the latest line of Puritanware blouses, assigns the case to someone else, but not even her clever computer password of "partypants" nor her brand-new male assistant can keep House from demanding the case for himself. She relents on the condition that House do a few extra Clinic hours, which he turns right around and assigns to Cameron, which was stupid. Because as bad as House is with patients, Cameron and her ridiculous compassion are a lot worse. She gets the female equivalent of her Tragic Dead Husband, and refuses to believe that the woman has an obvious case of terminal cancer. The patient, on the other hand, doesn't get a choice about what she believes, as Cameron refuses to tell her about it until Wilson practically forces her to. Since Cameron is not legally allowed to marry another woman, she has to settle for giving her patient a big ol' hug. As for LL Cool J: after being treated for overdosing on copy toner with some of that Gold Label fake brand alcohol (which House has plenty of fun administering to both the patient and the doctor), he's found to have a tumor on his adrenal glad that's causing his real problems, and might even have contributed to his murdering four people. But he'll still go back to death row, just like Cameron's patient is still going to die. And Jeff Buckley's version of "Hallelujah" is still going to play for the sixteen thousandth time a show has needed a sad closing, and that's the most disappointing thing of all.
Welcome to Season 2! It seems like only a few weeks ago that I was recapping Season 1, and here we are again. While most of House's patients begin the episode on a metaphorical Death Row, this time, we get to go to a real one. One inmate is ordering his last meal of lobster, a strawberry malt, and "those chocolate donuts that come in a box," proving conclusively that 1 out of 1 Death Row inmates prefer Entenmann's to Sara Lee when it comes to last-meal pastries. Another inmate, played by LL Cool J, sits and thinks. Then he paces around as the warden tells the last meal guy that he can have the spiritual advisor of his choice and a chance to say his last words. Then the warden leaves, and both Death Row guys laugh at the idea of their needing a spiritual advisor because they're both going to hell. Last Meal Guy wonders if he'll get "another" stay of execution, and then a guard comes to take LL away for his daily exercise hour. He's walked into a cinderblock-walled courtyard with a basketball hoop and no basketball, and he proceeds to mime a game by himself until he gets some company. It's a bloody woman, and she wants to know why LL hit her all the time. "You know why!" he tells her. "You could've stopped," she answers, like she's talking about getting teased about her bad hairstyle as opposed to being beaten to death. Then an inmate appears and accuses LL of stabbing him in the back and not fighting fair. And then a guard appears and is able to tell LL that he had a wife and three kids despite the gaping slash wound in his throat. LL runs to the exercise room door and pounds on it, beginning for help, when another inmate appears, his throat also slashed open, and asks LL what he did to deserve being killed. LL freaks out as everyone talks over each other and then the Magic School Bus Cam shows his heart pumping just a little too fast and furious, and he collapses.
House -- the hair on his head, if not the hair on his face, having had a slight trim over the hiatus -- heads for Cuddy's office, where she's meeting with unbearable Stacy. He immediately pops a few pills (perfectly understandable) and heads inside, but he's stopped in the outer chamber by a bright young man who claims to be Cuddy's new assistant. House is jealous that Cuddy gets a secretary and he doesn't, like he'd even want one or be able to keep one, and the assistant responds that he's not a secretary -- he's an assistant. "I graduated from Rutgers," he finishes, as if this were proof of non-secretariness. House says he hopes Rutgers offered some sexual harassment law courses, because he's going to need them working for Cuddy. ["Shout-out!" -- Wing Chun] And then House walks right into Cuddy's office. That's the last we see of Cuddy's Able Young Assistant for this episode, but I hope it's not the last we see of him, period. He might be fun.