Series 4 - Episode 2: The Right Stuff

Episode 2: The Right Stuff

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House treats a fighter pilot whose confused vision and hearing cause her to hallucinate. Meanwhile, he begins the process of whittling down 40 applicants to become his new team.

House’s curiosity is piqued when Greta, a captain in the air force, appears in his office demanding his help. “I need you to find out what’s wrong with me,” she says. “I crashed a flight simulator because I started to hear with my eyes.” Greta reports a severe case of synaesthesia, whereby her hearing and vision have become confused, leading to extreme hallucinations. She is willing to pay $50,000 in cash if House treats her in secret and keeps no record of her stay. She is desperate to join the NASA astronaut training programme and fears that her condition will disqualify her.

House presents Greta’s case to his group of 40 applicants, all of whom are competing for a place on his team. To keep track of them, House has assigned each one a number, and proceeds to eliminate members seemingly at random – much to Cuddy’s annoyance. “This is stupid,” she says. “You can’t manage that many people! You’re just going to keep weeding them out arbitrarily?”

House sees Greta’s case as the ideal opportunity to appraise his prospective employees, and orders some of them to run a battery of tests, whilst sending three others to break in to her house and search for clues. At Greta’s home, they discover a faulty chimney flue that may have poisoned her with carbon monoxide – a possible explanation for her symptoms. Greta is moved to a high-pressure chamber to flush the poison out of her body, but in the process suffers a heart attack and needs to be shocked back into life. Unfortunately, the highpressure environment causes a minor fire that leaves burns on her chest.

Tests appear to rule out carbon-monoxide poisoning as a cause, so the doctors explore other theories. Greta, meanwhile, suffers another attack of hallucinations and flees her room. House’s team manages to sedate her, but not before Cuddy realises that something underhand is going on. She finds out Greta’s identity and orders House to keep a record of all her treatment and tests. However, Greta refuses to put her name on any tests – which means that House and his entourage have to become creative. “How can we test when we can’t test?” he wonders.

The team now suspects that Greta has a problem with her liver, but only a biopsy can confirm the diagnosis. Greta refuses to consent to any surgery that will leave a tell-tale scar, but one of House’s applicants, a plastic surgeon known as ‘39’, offers an ingenious solution. He suggests a breast enlargement operation would give them the opportunity to biopsy her liver, whilst leaving a scar that can be easily explained. Greta reluctantly consents to the procedure, which reveals cysts on her lung. With this additional symptom, the team moves a step closer to diagnosing her condition – but it takes a familiar face to solve the puzzle.

Also this week, House worries that he may be suffering hallucinations of his own when he sees his three former protégés – Chase, Cameron and Foreman – in the halls of the hospital. Wilson tells him that Chase and Cameron have moved to Arizona, while Foreman is in New York – and delights in speculating that House’s ‘visions’ betray his true feelings. “It’s always interesting when repressed guilt starts un-repressing itself,” he remarks. House scoffs at the notion, but his concern suggests that he is curious to know what has become of his old team...

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