House gets a patient who won't lie about anything, even going so far as to tell her daughter which sexual position she favors (apparently, her eleven-year-old daughter felt the need to know this about her mother, which is kind of weird, don't you think? Almost as weird as House's need to ask an eleven-year-old girl what her mother's favorite sexual position is, in fact). House is determined to prove to 13 that everybody lies, while their patient keeps right on dying as her lymph nodes close her throat up and her bones turn to stone. When it looks like Mom's only hope is a bone marrow donation from her daughter that Mom refuses to allow, House figures out that she has told her daughter at least one lie -- she's adopted and her real mother is a drug addict. But the joke's on Mom in the end, as it turns out that she doesn't have a terminal disease after all, but still-curable breast cancer, courtesy of some rogue breast cells hanging out in the back of her knee that House makes lactate and then FEEDS THE MILK TO THE ELEVEN-YEAR-OLD GIRL. GROSSSSS!!!!!! Also, it's Christmas in late January, so House manipulates the Secret Santa so that everyone has to buy him awesome presents, and even though they figure it out (thanks to 13, who has all of House's moves down pat even though she's only known him for like two episodes), they do it anyway and then he goes to church (!!!) to see a prostitute ride a donkey. Never thought I'd see the day where a donkey got more screen time than Cameron, but there you go.
After a way-too-long absence, let's welcome House back to the airwaves even though it's January and not February sweeps when they're burning off the precious few new episodes this season has left. They must know that I'm moving this weekend and that therefore having to recap a new episode this week would be disastrous to me. And there's even a special bonus episode this Super Bowl Sunday! And another new episode two days after that! AWESOME!
We open on an indoor climbing wall, where a mother is pushing her daughter to climb to the top. The daughter is slow and doubts she can make it, which is why the best motivation to climb a wall really fast is, of course, having an American Gladiator breathing down your neck below you. I swear some of those contestants flew up that wall for fear that Laser would grab their feet and pull them off. By the way, the Mom is really flat-chested. I say this not as a judgment, but because THIS WILL BE IMPORTANT LATER. For our MedicAlert fakeout, the daughter, Jane, complains that her calf is cramping up, and we see it looking very cramped indeed. So, of course, it's mother Maggie's hands that get the Magic Schoolbus Cam treatment: at the worst possible time ever, while she's belaying and Jane is hanging high up above the ground, Maggie's hand muscles go all zappy and stop working, sending Jane plummeting to the ground.
Um. I don't see new credits. Why no new credits? Didn't they add, like, three new cast members? And why bother even keeping Jesse Spencer's and Jennifer Morrison's names up there at all? And speaking of the new, credit-less Cottages, they're hanging out in the conference room, which is all decorated up for Christmas. Oops! Looks like this episode was destined for a Christmastime airing but the writers' strike forced Fox to push it back to the end of January. That's cool, though; I wouldn't mind doing Christmas again. This year I went home and visited my parents and friends and experienced snow and cold weather. It was a nice time. Kumar stirs his coffee with a candy cane (peppermint coffee? Ew) as he mumbles that he thinks House is still going to fire them, even though he said the game was over. "He lies," Kumar explains. "My ears are burning," says House, appearing behind Kumar, whose eyes bulge in horror. He's just...such a doofus. Why is he there? Doesn't Kal Penn have, like, a movie career? I buy him as a stoner. I'm still not seeing him as a doctor. House Grinches around the room taking down the Christmas decorations he assumes Kumar put up, since only Kumar is dumb enough to think it's Christmas in January. Kumar denies it, but House says he's ruled out everyone else since "Homey" Foreman knows better; "Hymie" Taub is Jewish and therefore hates Christmas and Jesus; and "Huntington's" 13 "would have done a better job." Not if she had Huntington's, she wouldn't! Kumar worries that his Christmas cheer is going to get him fired, but 13 reassures him that won't happen: she has House all figured out since she's just so clever. Plus, firing Cottages is so last year. This earns her an admiring smile and a nod from House. "Good," says Kumar, who then dumbly requests that they do Secret Santa even though he was just told that Taub is Jewish and probably wouldn't, like, be into that and might even be insulted. Although I guess if he cared about being insulted he wouldn't be working for House.
Taub runs down the details of their latest case, with 13 helpfully supplying that Maggie claims no drug use, and 13 is absolutely sure she's telling the truth. House says that Maggie must be an alien, then, which doesn't really make sense since we've all seen Romulans lie before. Like the time they told Captain Picard that they were hanging out in the neutral zone for a science mission but then Captain Picard found out they were really there to goad the Federation into attacking them and starting another war! "Everyone lies, but there's an exception to every rule," says 13. Shut up, 13. And go buy some volumizing shampoo or check the water pressure from your showerhead, because your hair is looking flat, dull, and lifeless. Also, get a real name. You're not a Number anymore, and you're not Agent 99 on Get Smart, because if you were you'd be a lot cooler. If you refuse to get a real name then I'm just going to give you one, and you won't like it. 13 says that Maggie made a promise to her daughter that she would never hide anything from her after her own mother died of breast cancer at a young age and never even told Maggie she was sick. Oh, for Christ's sake. We're going to have to deal with 13's Dead Mommy issues, aren't we? Anyway, Maggie cleverly avoided this possibility by having both of her breast chopped off, never to return even in silicon form. Taub points out that double mastectomies aren't foolproof -- there will always be a few cells left behind. So Maggie could still have breast cancer, and her hand paralysis is being caused by cancer's best friend, paraneoplastic syndrome. Paraneoplastic syndrome can cause, like, any symptom on this show. Tiredness, sore throats, paralysis of extremities -- anything! House tells the crew to throw Maggie in the MRI of DOOOM!! and be sure to set the machine to detect irony. I hope for Maggie's sake that irony isn't as magnetic as iron.