This was an episode so packed with greatness that they had to abbreviate the opening credits! A piano savant with an IQ of 55 has a variety of things wrong with him, culminating in bleeding into his brain from an unknown source. Also, half of his brain appears to be dead, although it isn't completely dead, since he can still play the piano, which requires both sides of the brain. And he's played by Dave Matthews. College kids circa 2001 cheer wildly. House is initially interested in Dave's case because they can play piano together and make the viewers swoon. Alas, the Cottages hate music, so they quickly distract themselves with House's imminent death from brain cancer, discovered when Cameron opens House's mail and breaks into his apartment. While viewers try to figure out how this show can kill off its titular character within the year, the Cottages look for ways to save, or at least prolong, House's life. House orders the Cottages to work on the real case, but they just keep right on working on House's brain cancer lab stuff, taking time out only to give House heartfelt farewells. Cameron's is a kiss and an attempt to steal his blood. Foreman's is saying "I like you." Chase's is a ten-minute-long hug, and tears. Let's all take a second to laugh at Chase. And then, another second to love his sensitive side. Wilson is kind of offended that House didn't tell him about his cancer, since he's an oncologist and all. And Cuddy hugs House and even allows him to grab some ass, but stops short of letting him into her bedroom. Damn! Damn! Damn! The Cottages' work actually bears fruit, as they discover that House doesn't have brain cancer after all -- he has neurosyphillis that just looks like brain cancer. That's embarrassing. They're thrilled to bits when they tell House the great news. He doesn't share their happiness, since it turns out that the lab stuff didn't come from him at all, but from some random oncology patient at PPTH (who doesn't have cancer after all. Way to diagnose, Wilson and staff!). Yes, House was faking brain cancer just to get into a drug trial that would shoot happy medicine directly into his brain. And he let everyone think he had cancer because he's an asshole. Which is pretty awesome. But also wrong. He doesn't get the happy medicine, but he does learn a very important lesson about friends. As for Dave Matthews, he has some autoimmune problem that's easily cured. What isn't so easy is the choice House presents to Dave's father: they can remove the dead half of Dave's brain, allowing the remaining half to function better and even take over some of the duties that the dead brain half couldn't perform. Dave will be smarter, more capable, and have a better quality of life. The downside is, he won't be able to play music anymore. Or they can keep the dead brain half in, and Dave will be able to play music, but he'll still have the mental ability of a four-year-old. Nothing on this show is ever easy. After a heart-wrenching scene, Dave's dad chooses to remove the dead brain, and Dave Matthews gains the ability to button his shirt.
Well, it's been three weeks, so it's time for a new episode of House! First off, props to whoever thought of the title for this episode, which I believe is a play on the name of that Emma Thompson TV movie about being brave in the face of terminal cancer. They really do a good job with titles on this show. Very clever. (Except for "Who's Your Daddy?") The show begins with a guy trying to button his tuxedo. As he fails, we see that he's played by Dave Matthews. Like many of you, I was nervous that this would be an all-too-common case of stuntcasting gone wrong, but I think they did a good job of keeping Dave Matthews's part easy enough so that if he were terrible, it wouldn't ruin the show. And he wasn't terrible at all, which is hard for me to admit, since I spent the second half of high school and the first half of college surrounded by people who loved his band with the violinist who thought he was such a bad-ass even though he was a violinist. Everyone had the same giant poster of Dave Matthews playing guitar. The image is burned into my brain. Hey, speaking of brains, Dave Matthews's character is a little short on them. His father buttons up for him while Dave says that the talking in the audience is A-flat. Psssh, I think it was a G-sharp. "Look how smart you are," says Dad, sounding a little bit sarcastic. They walk out on stage, where there's a piano and a huge audience waiting for Dave. Dad makes a short speech introducing the crowd to his son, Patrick, who was a normal boy until an accident when he was ten years old left him with "neurological disabilities" and an amazing musical talent. I wonder if people with brain damage feel ripped off that they didn't get a new skill from it like Patrick did.
Patrick sits down to play, and his dad walks off to watch from the wings. Patrick starts, playing a song that I can't identify because I have no class. It's not long before there's trouble: Patrick plays a wrong note. Dad frowns and tells the stage manager that his son has never missed a note before, so something must be wrong. The stage manager doesn't seem to care. Dad runs out as Patrick starts seriously fumbling the notes, and then slams his hands down on the keys. He says that his hand hurts. Dad checks it out, and, indeed, something very bad is happening: Patrick's hand has turned into a CGI effect! Also, his fingers are all bent backward. Either he's double-jointed, or it's time to call House.