Monday, September 26, 2005

House: Season 2 Episode 2

Complete episode synopsis is here.

Another great episode, as a sickly House opts to forego traditional recovery measures to wrestle with the issue of Andie, a terminal cancer patient (who also happens to be a 9-year old girl).

Some of the excellent points of this episode is House's cynicism coming face-to-face with the bravery of Andie. House actually is so disbelieving of Andie's inner strength, that he believes a tumor must be lodged near the amygdala (fear centre of the brain), causing the "irrational" bravery. The disbelief shown by the team members is equalled when they find out that Chase actually gave Andie a kiss prior to administering tests. The team gets great parts this week, especially Chase, who develops a special friendship bond with Andie, staying with her through the many procedures she undergoes during the episode. House even drops the cynical wall long enough at the end to share a hug with Andie before she leaves the hospital.

Two brutal surgical procedures are performed. The first involved the temporary removal of Andie's heart to shave a tumor off the exterior wall. The decision to perform the surgery was based on House identifying an irregularity in Andie's heartbeat. He convinces his team of this in typical House-ian fashion, recording her ECG on an i-Pod and replaying Andie's heartbeat through speakers in the shower room. During the procedure, Chase notices a bleed in Andie's eye, which leads to House's amygdala argument. The decision is made to induce cardiac arrest, lower the body temperature and drain and replace two pints of blood to identify the location of the tumour. The last 30 minutes of the episode is non-stop tension, punctuated by moments with Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) talking with Andie's mother and seeing her emotional reaction to the whirlwind going on around her.

The successful surgery is the end of the episode, but it is a pyrrhic victory, as Andie is still left with only a year to live. A terrific, emotional episode that continues House's winning streak and further convinces me that it may be the best show on TV.