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"House" Recap: Episode 21, "Family"

"House" Recap: Episode 21, "Family"

If last week's episode of "House" was about failure, then this week's was about redemption — or at least an attempt at it. Foreman is still reeling from the death he caused, so he's gun-shy on the team's next case: a boy who gets a mysterious infection just before he's supposed to give bone marrow to his older brother. House decides that the infection is like a needle in a haystack, so they need to "grow more needles" — the old "make him sicker before we can make him well" trick.

Foreman isn't sold, and he's not the only one with reservations. Wilson points out that he treats his patients for months and years, and he needs Matty and Nick's parents to feel like they're doing the right thing. House, of course, has different ideas about medicine, so to see where it goes from there,

Foreman and Chase go out to the family's house to look for clues, and Chase says (from experience) that it's not easy to get over the death of a patient. Foreman says Chase screwed up because he was distracted by his father's death, but Foreman made a calculated decision that killed someone. "You acted like a human being," he says. "I acted like House."

Speaking of acting like House, we get to meet Hector Does Go Rug, a yippy little terrier who's seen better days. He chews up House's shoes and even gnaws off the bottom of his cane, causing House to take a tumble in the hospital's hallway ("I just tripped over Wilson's self-righteousness.") He ends up with a hot new replacement: a black cane with flames on the bottom. Chase, meanwhile, informs Cameron that it's Tuesday, aka the day he says he likes her and wants them to be together. "You're really going to do this every Tuesday?" Cameron grumbles. My thoughts exactly, Cam.

Meanwhile, the doctors discover an infection in Matty's heart. House and Wilson want to take it out surgically, but Foreman says they should give him antibiotics and wait. House tells Cuddy that he thinks Foreman has "the yips" — he's like a great athlete who lost confidence and can't recover — so House is giving him four days to get himself together before he's fired.

Wilson takes a hard line with Matty's parents, saying that even though the surgery would change Matty's life, it could save both of their boys. He feels guilty for being a bully, but it doesn't matter, because the mass in Matty's heart isn't infectious. Cameron suggests the issue is autoimmune, but Foreman clearly gets a chill even hearing the word "autoimmune" and goes to check the bone marrow registry for another donor. Behind House's back, he tells the parents that he found a match that, while not ideal, should work. Wilson and House flip when they find out and explain the risks to the parents, but they insist on the transplant. House gets mad at Wilson for not being more aggressive and says if the kid dies, it will be because Foreman was wrong and Wilson was a coward.

Nick's body rejects the transplant while Matty gets sicker, and House has an epiphany that they could give Nick the infection Matty has; in his sick body, it will flourish, and they'll be able to diagnose it. House tells the family that they're either leaving with one dead son or two, but the parents refuse to experiment on Nick. House convinces Nick to talk his parents into letting him be a petri dish for his brother, but before they go through with it, Foreman — who's just learned from Wilson that House called him timid — figures out that Matty's infection was caused by playing in contaminated dirt.

Foreman gives Matty drugs to clear up the infection, then explains that Nick was willing to risk his life to save Matty — so will Matty do the same? He nods apprehensively, and Foreman draws bone marrow from Matty, without sedation, while Matty screams and screams. It's incredibly hard to watch, but it ends up working; both Matty and Nick survive.

Meanwhile, Wilson tells House that he doesn't have to keep the dog. House lets Hector go, but first we see that he now has a limp, or at least has learned to fake it for vicodin. As for House's other wayward puppy, Foreman tells House that he hated listening to Matty scream and realizing he didn't care. Echoing their conversation at the end of last week, Foreman says House will save more people than Foreman will — but Foreman will settle for killing fewer: "Consider this my two weeks' notice."

Photos courtesy of Fox

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