How can you tell a sweeps month episode of House from a regular episode? Well, add in a dash of epidemic, put House in danger, kill a patient, and mix in a scantily clad woman. 

In this week’s episode, “A Pox on our House,” we have all four pieces of the sweeps puzzle.  Of course, never for a second did I worry that House was in actual danger. The real Housian parts of this episode were his reactions to the possibility that he might die. And Cuddy’s piece in that brought over from last week’s episode. Now, there’s no way that this argument is the end of their relationship, but it did throw an undeniable kink in the way things have been going, which I’m assuming will be resolved by next week’s episode aptly named “Small Sacrifices.”

A Very Sick Man

Guilt is not an emotion we’re used to associating with House. The only other times I recall seeing House feel guilty is when he’s dealing with deaths, like Amber’s and Kutner’s. But, here he is, volunteering to do clinic hours to appease his guilt over lying to Cuddy. In season 5’s “Simple Explanation,” the episode where Kutner killed himself, Taub says to House, “You can’t feel that much guilt without love.” This is all the more apparent as House attempts to be extra nice to Cuddy to move past his feeling of remorse regarding his lie during “Office Politics.”

Early in the episode, he goes to Wilson, clearly conflicted about his lie, especially because he thinks Cuddy knows he lied. Now caught, does he come clean? Wilson’s bro-y advice is to continue lying; it’s no wonder these two are so successful at relationships. Love that he also sought out Masters’ advice, but skipped over the marriage expert, Taub. Given the opportunity to make things right with Cuddy, who “of course” knows what’s going on, House sticks by his principles and doesn’t apologize. House’s words and actions are in major conflict here, and I have to wonder if House will ever be able to admit real fault where his medical principles are concerned. 

Sam I Am

I’m not sure how to connect the “Sam is bad with children” storyline to House’s bout with the pox, but its objective was simple: Let’s see how Sam does with children, and by the end of the episode, let’s get Wilson to propose having a child. Wilson as a dad? I cringe. He is good with children sometimes, but he can be so terribly needy, and I can’t imagine his character being able to handle something so permanent. Who knows, though? I could always be wrong. On a side note, every time Sam agrees with something House does, I realize just how perfect she and Wilson are together. They balance each other well. 

Masterful Diagnosis

Um, excuse me Foreman? Remember when you were dying in season 2’s “Euphoria”? And instead of House just giving up on you and reading the paper, he literally did everything in his power to try and keep you alive and out of pain. Why was the team so resolved to believe in a diagnosis when all of them know better? This is a House case; the final diagnosis is never the most obvious. Luckily for House, Martha decided to grab the bull by the horns and call the Dutch sex worker back to get some more data, which of course turned out to be useful. Love that this is the fourth episode where a cat has helped with the diagnosis. She may be annoyingly persistent, but so is House, and he knows he did the right thing in hiring her. Without her, they may not have saved the daughter in time, which was the best motivator for House to again risk everything and look for eschars (pronounced “S” scars) on the dad’s body.
“Almost dying changes nothing. Dying changes everything.”

The above quote is taken straight from season 5’s post-Amber’s death’s opener, “Dying Changes Everything.” I’m convinced this whole episode was designed so we could see House’s new take on death and dying. He’s played with the idea before. In past episodes, he’s gone to great lengths to either bring on death (“Merry Little Christmas” in season 3) or attempts to see what it’s like on the other side (“97 Seconds” in season 4). In this episode, he’s not nearly as curious. In fact, he wants out of isolation; he wants to live, and it’s clear by who he’s talking to on the other side of the glass why he wants to live. When the dad was dying, House’s desperate attempts at revival showed us his concern for his patient, but they also showed us his concern for his own life. Granted, Cuddy isn’t his only reason for living, but it’s obvious when she puts her feelings aside over his lies that she is putting House’s life first and he would do the same for her. Cuddy’s forgiveness of House’s lies is of the utmost importance to House. He wants to be pardoned without having to apologize, which is why he brings the incident up so many times in isolation. 

It’s rare to see House on edge, and the scenes between him and Cuddy were really well done during this episode, especially when he told her to get his team and you could hear her heels running down the hallway. We didn’t need to see her to recognize the urgency in which House needed answers. In the end, Cuddy isn’t letting the lie go. She’s offended, wants an apology, and won’t move forward with House until she gets one. At this point, I’m getting a bit frustrated with Cuddy. House lying to her was something so in character and was done for the good of his patient. Sam was right. Cuddy is using their relationship as a bargaining tool, and House honestly thinks he was doing something to save a life. She’s right; he does owe her an apology for the lie, but I’m not sure not speaking to him until she gets that apology is effective. Or maybe it is the only way he’ll come around.  Either way, it’s definitely not the end of these two as a couple. This is more of a minor bump in the road.


1. “I have to deal with a very sick man.” -Wilson

2.  Check out Robert Sean Leonard’s highly inappropriate Lamby videos:

3. “Those slaves could have lived long fulfilling lives mowing my ancestor’s lawns.” Think Foreman was still annoyed at this remark, and that’s why he was so unwilling to look for other options when Masters was pushing for a different diagnosis?

4. The blurry camera angle from House’s perspective when he’s being told he was wrong works well. Reminded me of “Locked In.”

5. In case you were curious, the other cat related episodes were season 1’s “Detox,” season 3’s “Airbourne” and season 5’s “Here Kitty.”

6.  When House walked into Cuddy’s office knowing she was angry with him, they were both  in the same physical positions as the episode “Both Sides Now” from the finale of season 5 after Cuddy fired House.    

Next week marks the last episode until January, and it’s an episode that I saw film in downtown LA. Lots of formal wear and dancing always make for a strong episode. Meanwhile, expect something fun and possibly Huddy-related in the dreadfully long hiatus us fans have to withstand.

(Image courtesy of FOX)

Lisa Palmer

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV