Six people were the lucky recipients of donor organs when a man's head was cut off in an industrial accident. Five years later, five of them are dead, with one of their non-donated organs suddenly crapping out. The last transplanted standing seems fine, but who knows for how long. The Cottages do little except whine that the mystery illness doesn't make sense. Kumar at least offers a diagnosis, but that just ends up with an explosion of dead man poop all over Foreman. Meanwhile, the last transplanted is having problems with her brain and going downhill fast. House decides it's cancer, and chemos the patient up. This seems to work, which is even more puzzling to House, since he's convinced it isn't actually cancer. Now he's looking for something that acts just like cancer but isn't actually cancer.
With no one to give him his life-saving end-of-show epiphany, House swallows his pride and goes to Wilson, who has no epiphanies to give and slams the door in House's face. Fortunately, House has made a new friend in a private investigator he hired to check out the donor's background and also spy on Wilson, and he gives House the epiphany he so desperately needs: it's not cancer, but cancer stem cells. Apparently, the donor had them and spread them to the transplantees. The stem cells took root in various parts of the body where they looked just like normal tissue but didn't work, causing the organs to blow out when they were needed most.
That means the patient has non-working brain tissue sitting in her brain preparing to kill her -- unless they can chop off the top of her head and cut it out. But Cuddy says the chemo is working, so there's no need for a delicate brain surgery for something House has no proof of. After the usual rule-breaking and ethics-violating, House is able to endanger the patient's life to the point where her only option is the brain surgery. It works and she'll be fine. And House puts the PI on retainer because he's that lonely.
Can I just say that I hate Fox's "So (Adjective)" campaign? Last week they called House "So Fresh" and I had flashbacks to recapping 7th Heaven during The WB's "Fresh" campaign. Also, it's lame. Anyway, someone had fun with the opening segment this week! Two women play tennis, and there's all kinds of cool tricks where the tennis ball slows down and speeds up and flies towards the camera. I like it! If I find out my archnemesis Deran Sarafian directed this episode, I am going to be so embarrassed. The tennis player who actually looks a lot like Cuddy suddenly clutches her heart and falls to the ground while her opponent wonders if that counts as a point for her or not.
Over at a construction site, a guy operates a crane to lift a cargo container high up in the air. Suddenly, the container drops, almost crushing his co-worker. Well, he's fired. Actually, when they open the truck, he's dead. Either way, he's not working there anymore.
And two men are fighting in a kick boxing or mixed martial arts match or whatever is popular with the kids nowadays. The crowd roars as the bald guy appears to be winning. Suddenly, he falls backwards on the mat, bleeding from his ear. That's not going to do his win-loss record any favors.
But if it's real high-intensity action you want, look no further than this guy playing a tuba. There's another guy watching him, and the only question now is which one of them is the goner? Also, with the tuba guy playing while the soundtrack plays, it reminds me of Lisa in the opening of The Simpsons. Except that she didn't hack up a spray of blood onto her sheet music.
And now a woman is leading a class in some kind of horrible math problem (all math problems are horrible) when Hadley bursts in with a paramedic behind her. "Class is over!" she announces. There must have been a less dramatic way to do that, Hadley. Perhaps her Huntington's is affecting the drama center of her brain. The teacher asks what's going on. "I'm a doctor," Hadley claims, before telling her -- and her entire class (nice patient confidentiality there, Hadster) -- that the person who donated her cornea five years ago also donated organs to several other people, all of whom are either dead or about to be. "I feel fine," says the teacher, stunned. "I don't mean to scare you, but so did the others," Hadley says, because she totally meant to scare the teacher.
After the credits, Foreman exposits that the four organ recipients we saw in the beginning are dead, some old guy who didn't merit his own pre-opening credits segment is dying, and the teacher is wandering around the ICU scared out of her mind, although I don't know what she could possibly be scared of. House and the Cottages, on the other hand, are chilling in the morgue with the bodies of the dead, because why be with the living terrified patient when you can surround yourself with decomposition? In a bizarre twist, the guy who got both a heart and a lung (why did he need both? Greedy.) was killed by his liver. The tuba player, who got a liver, died because of his lung. The tennis-playing woman who got a kidney died because of her heart. The random old guy who isn't dead yet got some kind of intestinal graft, but it's his pancreas that's going now. And we are not told what organ the fighter got or what killed him, although judging by the bleeding, I'd say something brain-related. Foreman continues that they all died in the last eight months, which means some of those bodies have got to be pretty ripe by now. The construction guy especially is looking like a closed coffin funeral is going to be necessary. Besides receiving organs from the same guy, the only thing all four bodies have in common is that they had no symptoms before suddenly kicking the bucket.