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House Season 6 Episode 10: The Down Low

The underlying theme on this episode of House is that everyone is a big fat liar, and mostly everyone (or at least everyone who happens to be a doctor) has a lot of fun being a liar.  Thirteen, Taub, and Chase decide to play a prank on Foreman, while House and Wilson find themselves competing for the attention of the same woman who lives in their building — and who thinks the two housemates are gay. Meanwhile, the Patient of the Week has been living a lie, harboring a secret for the past 16 months of his life.

Speaking of the Patient of the Week, viewers are introduced to Mickey, a drug dealer who finds himself collapsing to the ground whenever he hears a loud noise. His concerned friend/fellow dealer, Eddie brings him to good ol’ Princeton-Plainsboro Hospital.  House, perplexed by his pusher patient’s sudden development of noise induced vertigo, nonetheless has a grand old time slamming his cane against things to make loud noises that drop Drug Dealer to the ground. 

As House orders testing on Mickey’s ears, he ponders testing his cocaine.  Meanwhile, I’ve pondered the fact that Season 6 of House seems to be the one where most of the guys in the cast are sporting new, shorter ‘dos.  House and Wilson have a shorter crop this year, and post-Cameron break-up Chase now has much shorter hair.

Back at House and Wilson’s new condo, Wilson chats with a cute, age-appropriate woman in 3-B.  Snappy banter ensues and she gives him recommendations on the best places to eat and tells him to come over for dinner.. And to bring his cute friend with the cane. For a split second, Wilson thinks she’s got the hots for House.  Actually, she thinks they’re gay… with each other.  Wilson’s epiphany prompts him to bust in on House during a diagnostic session, screaming, “Everyone thinks we’re gay!”  House then decides to play this up to the hilt with 3-B, using her supposition that he and Wilson are partners to lull her into a sense of security so he can eventually bang her.  He even goes so far as to purchase a gigantic, famed poster of “A Chorus Line.”

Back at the hospital, House is having slightly less fun trying to shake down Eddie as to if exposure to any of the drugs or chemicals Mickey may have used to cut them are causing his illness.  Using fashion and fabrics as a metaphor for drugs, and swapping out “Culottes” for “Cocaine,” House discovers what he’s been around.  House sends Thirteen and Chase on one of his usual missions to investigate the environment of a patient.  Thirteen takes it a step further and goes to investigate the cocaine storehouse with Eddie, narrowly avoiding the two getting caught but making a save when pretending to be a hooker and making out with Eddie.

After some investigative work on the part of Thirteen and Chase at the hospital, they find out that Mickey has a bug up his ass.  Literally.  He has a listening device implanted on him and in his room and is actually a cop who has been on undercover assignment for 16 months. He hasn’t seen his wife, home, or dog in that time.  He’s been on beta blockers and has been going through withdrawal to help him deal with the stress of this assignment and guilt over the things he’s been doing to help catch his “boss.”  He can’t stop now because his boss, who is one of the biggest cocaine dealers on the coast, is scheduled to have a very large deal go down that will expand his business to Philadelphia.  Telling House and his team this could potentially disrupt his planned bust and render the last 16 months of his life null-and-void.

While Mickey is still undergoing tests, Foreman finds himself as the butt of a prank cooked up by the rest of the diagnostics team.  Each of them finds a way to get Foreman to see their paychecks and realize that, even heading them up and as House’s second-in-command, he makes less than all of them.  Foreman takes the news to Cuddy and demands a raise.  She’s unsupportive, telling him that he has no other option than Princeton-Plainsboro, so there’s no point in offering him more pay.  She will, however, consider a raise when his review comes up in August.  Little does he know, Cuddy’s in on the plan, too. 

While Mickey is having a few nice pulmonary aneurisms and hooked up on anti-fungal meds so he doesn’t drown in his own blood.  House is laying it on thick with 3-B, much to the chagrin of Wilson.  First he has an “apartment picnic” with her, sipping wine and whining about how Wilson just doesn’t get romantic with him anymore… segwaying into back rubs as Wilson comes home.  Things reach a fever pitch when House goes out to dinner with 3-B, pulling his sensitive gay man routine. He’s about ready to have her plied with wine and ready to “straighten him out” when Wilson shows up and delivers the ultimate block: Wilson drops to one knee in the restaurant, ring in hand, and asks House to marry him.  3-B leaves in a hurry.

Later, House comes clean to 3-B that he had been pulling the whole faux-‘mo routine to get in her pants.  She’s fairly disgusted with him and the level he stooped to.  House decides to let her know that Wilson is no saint, either, playing along with his routine on top of the fact that Sweet, Sensitive Wilson has been divorced three times and once slept with a dying patient.  House and Wilson later seem to be okay with the fact that neither of them will be boning 3-B at any point and do guy things like watching hockey and quibbling over House’s “tacky” reclining couch and Wilson singing show tunes.  (I’m loving the “wink-wink-nudge-nudge”ing at some ho-yay here.)

As it turns out, 3-B wasn’t the only one who got played.  The rest of the staff feels guilty about pranking Foreman who’s all in a tither and ready to walk and offer to give up a chunk of their paychecks to Foreman.  Foreman drops a “Who’s your daddy” bomb of his own, turning the Tables of Pwnage and punking his staff at their own game.  He cites that he’s worked for House for far too long not to know when someone’s pulling his leg. 

In the midst of all this fun, Mickey’s actually dying.  House and the diagnostics department discovered too late what his malady was, an autoimune disorder that had been tearing him down for quite some time and now he was in the final stages.  If he hadn’t been undercover or so secretive to the team about who he was and why/what drugs or beta blockers he had been taking, there may have been hope. 

Yet, the show — and the bust — must go on.  Still undercover, Mickey gave the word to his police unit to bust his boss, and even his friend Eddie who had brought him to the hospital at peril to himself.  Eddie got busted and hauled off to the hoosegow with the rest of the hardcore dealers.  Some really awful guitar plays over a slow-mo montage of snow falling on the roof of the drug storehouse, police busting in, some fat dude we can only assume was “the big boss” getting shot at, and some guys and Eddie getting cuffed n’ stuffed into a cop car.  Interspersed in between slow-mo shots of the bust are equally slow shots of Mickey reunited with his wife after 16 months, watching TV with her by his side in the hospital bed, and hacking up blood and dying. 

House notes that Mickey died a hero in his own mind, which is probably the only thing that mattered to him anyway.

An interesting installment of this season.  I’m actually finding the focus on the Princeton-Plainsboro staff’s personal lives much more interesting than some of the Patients-of-the-Week, this week’s patient being no exception.  My sole gripe with this one was that Foreman didn’t already know just how much his ex-girlfriend Thirteen was making?  As a former couple, Foreman and Thirteen seem to be working well together, without an uncomfortable trace of relationship present.  (I’m not sure if I buy that actually happening and how believable that would be in a real life setting, however.)  Overall, a very good episode and refreshing to see a show with a new episode in the middle of the midseason drought. It’s short-lived, however, since viewers will have to wait another week to see a new episode of House.

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