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"House" Recap: Episode 17, "Fetal Position"

"House" Recap: Episode 17, "Fetal Position"

Now, this is how I like my "House": an interesting case that's relevant to the characters, a healthy dose of snarky House lines, and a few moments that make him seem almost human. I love all the character development we're getting along with our medical mysteries.


Our patient this week is a celebrity photographer who has a stroke while photographing a dude from All-American Rejects. (I'd like to think a photographer of this woman's status wouldn't be wasted on the All-American Rejects.) Emma's in her 40s and pregnant with a baby from a sperm donor. She also photographs every step of her hospital stay, which leads to lots of disbelief-suspending moments with the doctors looking at photos that have somehow been developed into high-quality 8 x 10 prints instantaneously. I'll let it go, though, because it is a nice touch.

We go through the standard misdiagnosis routine before the team figures out what's wrong with Emma, so read more

House diagnoses Emma with Mirror Syndrome, which means the baby is passing its medical problems on to her. House, of course, is the only person calling Emma's baby a fetus, while everyone else is using, you know, "baby." That detachment makes it easier for him to propose paralyzing the fetus in order to diagnose it, which everyone else thinks is a terrible idea. Cuddy tells House that both Chase and Cameron have concerns, and House says that's not surprising, given that those two have taken to heavy petting in the janitor's closet. House goes ahead with the paralysis.

Cuddy, meanwhile, tells Cameron that the thing with Chase will end one of two ways: They'll get married, or they'll have such a terrible breakup that they won’t be able to work together and one of them will get fired. Cameron says she hopes Cuddy's telling Chase the same thing, and Cuddy says Chase won't be the one getting hurt.


Cameron confronts House while he's in a pressurized oxygen tanks, claiming to be resting up for a trip to climb a mountain in Argentina. Yeah, we buy that. House, meanwhile, says Cuddy’s only interested in the case because Emma is basically her: "A woman in her 40s, single, using a turkey baster as the last gasp of motherhood." House tells Cuddy she can have the case; he's jetting off to Vietnam or the Galapagos or whatever. Meanwhile, Chase looks at one of Emma's photos of Cameron and gets all goopy; Emma then takes a picture of Chase looking goopy.

House tells Emma that at this point her fetus isn't a baby, it's a tumor, and they need to kill it to save her. Cuddy's convinced they can save Emma some other way, but House says she's dying fast ("I wouldn't advise her to buy any green bananas"). And this is where I develop my crazy theory that House and Cuddy once slept together and Cuddy got pregnant and aborted the baby. I know those of you who have been watching "House" longer than I have can poke all sorts of holes in the theory, but really, how crazy would that be?


House leaves for his obviously fake vacation, and Cuddy basically becomes House: making Emma worse before she get better; getting her theories shot down; having Wilson show up long enough to say she's doing everything wrong. Luckily, House is free to come back to the hospital for a nutso surgery that involves delivering the baby, fixing him, and putting him back in the womb. In the middle of the surgery, the baby's little hand reaches up and grabs House's finger, and even though they're whacking us over the head with the "House realizes it's a person!" moment, it's disturbingly cute.


After the surgery, Emma and baby are fine, and House even uses the word "baby," though he quickly reverts to "that thing that tried to kill you." Cameron sees the picture of Chase looking goopy and wonders what Emma did to make Chase glow. Cuddy and House have a heart-to-heart that ends with her giving him a first-class plane ticket to Vancouver Island, but because House is totally antisocial, he rips up the ticket and commences his "vacation" of Vicodin and TV.

We end with a shot of Emma, weeks or moths later, hanging the pictures of the doctors at her loft while her newborn son murmurs in the background. It's all very cute until Emma picks up the baby; I'm sorry, but that was the freakiest infant I've ever seen on TV.

Photos courtesy of Fox

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