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House Recap: Season Five, Episode Four, "Birthmarks"

House Rundown: Episode Four, "Birthmarks"

The theme of this week's House is how parents can really mess a person up — mostly accidentally but sometimes on purpose. House has to confront his feelings (and suspicions) about his father, while his patient seeks out her birth parents and winds up at PPH fighting for her life. Meanwhile, House and Wilson explain the genesis of their relationship, and it's better than I ever hoped. Ready to talk about it? Just


A list of things House would rather do than deal with his family would stretch for miles, so it's no surprise that when his father dies, he has no intention of going to the funeral. Cuddy and Wilson won't let that stand, though, and essentially drug and kidnap him to force him to go. It's the kind of plot House himself might attempt, which explains the look on his face (bewilderment mixed with admiration) when he comes to.

What follows is a wacky road trip that reveals a lot about House's family life and even more about the House/Wilson friendship. As we learn when Wilson gets arrested on an outstanding Louisiana warrant, the two met when Wilson hurled a bottle through a mirror to get a piano player to stop playing a Billy Joel song at a medical convention; House was the person who bailed him out of jail. The first thing House ever said to Wilson? That he'd take care of it. Back then, Wilson didn't know enough not to believe him. But it explains a lot, doesn't it? Wilson wants to prepare for every eventuality and make rational decisions — and when he occasionally bursts out of his even-keeled box, House is there to bail him out. That's why Wilson clings to House despite his better judgment. No matter how much House aggravates Wilson, nobody else brings him nearly that much joy.

Meanwhile, House delivers a eulogy that's half-offensive, half-appreciative before snipping off a little piece of his father's earlobe to prove that he's not House's real father after all. That's the moment that drives Wilson nuts (and causes him to pitch a bottle through a stained-glass window in what I thought was too heavy-handed a reference to the New Orleans incident), and ultimately, it's the one that makes House admit he has feelings. He's been right all along; he's the product of an affair. But when he tells Wilson that he now has proof even his mother couldn't stand his father, there's some real emotion there.

This week's patient has parental issues of her own: She's traveled to China to find her biological parents, who rejected her. We get some nice moments between the patient and Kutner, whom we learn was adopted by a white family. I assumed the big reveal would have something to do with China's one-child policy but didn't expect attempted murder. It's the one case in the whole episode where the parents really are the only ones to blame.

Some other thoughts:

  • Foreman, Chase, and Cameron, all in one room! Is it my birthday?
  • House's ringtone for his team is "MMMBop," and the one for Wilson may or may not be "Dancing Queen."
  • Loved House calling Wilson on his lie about Amber giving him his keychain: "Not unless your pet name for her was Volvo."
  • Chase's suggestion for what to send to House's mom on behalf of House: a cookie shaped like a coffin.

Your thoughts? Was it good to have Wilson back? And would he really chuck a bottle through some expensive glass again?

Photos courtesy of Fox

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