Series 4 - Episode 4: Guardian Angels

Episode 4: Guardian Angels

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House’s team rallies to treat a young woman who believes she can see the dead. Meanwhile, Foreman struggles to get his career back on track.

House borrows a trick from ‘Charlie’s Angels’ this week as he addresses the seven remaining applicants for his team over the phone. “Good morning angels,” he says. “We have quite the interesting case. It’s not often you get a patient who sees dead people.” The patient in question is a Ukrainian funeral parlour assistant named Irene, who went into a seizure after hallucinating that two cadavers were attacking her.

House dispatches some of his team to Irene’s funeral parlour to search for clues about her condition. When they discover that one of the deceased in the morgue died from symptoms resembling BSE – or mad-cow disease – they speculate that Irene could have contracted the disorder while she was working on his body. The only way to be sure is to biopsy the dead man’s brain by disinterring him. “Don’t think of it as digging up a body,” House tells his stunned entourage, “think of it as keeping another one from being buried.”

The candidates grudgingly carry out their gruesome task – all the while seething with resentments about each other. Taub the plastic surgeon is incensed that House has allowed Henry to stay in the running even though he is not a licensed doctor, while Amber resents 13’s refusal to reveal anything about herself – including her name. “Why are you hiding everything?” she snaps.

Unfortunately for the applicants, the test for BSE proves negative, and they are flummoxed to learn that Irene is now imagining that she can see her dead mother. The fact that Irene refuses to believe her mother is dead adds a further complication – not only is she hallucinating, she is also delusional. “Her neurological symptoms are getting worse,” House growls to his team. “It would be nice if one of you angels/morons had a clue why.”

Irene’s visions take another alarming turn when she claims to see a man in a wheelchair with a dog, who complains that the doctors did not save his life. “She’s seeing Stark, our last patient,” Amber says.

House now theorises that Irene may have some kind of inherited disease, and tries to narrow down the possibilities by asking her to recall what she can about the illness that killed her mother. From what she describes, House deduces that her mother suffered from Parkinson’s disease, and starts treating Irene for the same condition. However, the doctors are forced to return to the whiteboard when Irene’s arm begins to bleed – a new symptom that cannot be explained by Parkinson’s. As pain spreads to her stomach, Irene is rushed to surgery, where Chase finds she has an enlarged spleen and liver failure. “She’s dying from the inside out,” he says. Can House’s applicants put aside their squabbles and diagnose Irene’s illness before she becomes the second patient to die in their care?

Also this week, Foreman endures a series of interviews after losing his last job for behaving in a House-like manner. He is surprised when Cuddy offers him a position back at the hospital – with a very specific responsibility. “I need someone that can control House,” she says. Foreman is reluctant to return, but with his job prospects diminishing at each turn, can he really afford to refuse the offer?

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