This week’s House took a step back from the usual focus on House’s biting wit and diagnostic brilliance and instead dove headfirst into the world of morality, shoving the medical mysteries to the back seat. The episode was, for the most part, focused on how the various faces of the diagnostics crew grappled with the morality of treating their newest patient (James Earl Jones), a visiting Idi Amin-esque African dictator.
The episode starts off with the usual dramatic denouement that’s become House’s opening trademark –- the eventual patient, President Dabala (Jones), suddenly begins to cough up blood in the middle of a New York City street while being subpoenaed by a passing civil servant. Paging Dr. House.
Dabala arrives at Princeton-Plainsboro and instantly stirs up trouble in the diagnostics team (currently made up of House, Foreman, and the reinforcements, Chase and Cameron). Both Chase and Cameron become embroiled in the moral question of treating an inhuman dictator like Dabala, and are thrown against the wall of their own morals.
Amid the usual mishaps and misdiagnoses that the writers would be remiss to leave out, we see on the sidelines the head butting between Foreman and House. Despite the fact that House has yet to receive his renewed license, he still acts as the de facto head of the diagnostics team. Foreman, though, is still acting department leader and makes sure that everyone knows it.
Returning to the bedridden tyrant, we see that despite Foreman’s best efforts, the dictator is only worsening. After failing to find a diagnosis that fits snugly without making things worse, Foreman consents to allow Chase to check Dabala’s blood for scleroderma, House’s suggested diagnosis. The blood test checks out, and Foreman starts Dabala on steroids. Case closed.
Or not. Despite doing everything right and having the blood test check out, Dabala worsens. In a matter of minutes, Dabala begins spewing blood and eventually flat lines. With a failed resuscitation, the time of death is clocked. End of story.
Almost. The episode concludes with Foreman confronting Chase later that night. Chase reveals that treating Dabala put him at odds with his own morals. He explains that when Foreman had earlier asked him to get a sample of Dabala’s blood, he had instead taken one from a recent morgue entry who had died of scleroderma, thus causing a false diagnosis for Dabala. Cue dramatic music. Now the cat’s out of the bag and we have no idea what Foreman is going to do next.
The morality question of the episode added a new side to House that in general it had previously been lacking.
Enough with Foreman and Thirteen. Okay, we get it -– he fired her, she’s upset, he’s sorry, etc, etc. The side story of their relationship is already getting old.
Two words: legal ramifications. And so the question remains: will Foreman keep quiet, or will his own morals make him spill Chase’s secret?