House on FOX

2004, TV Show

House Episode: "Locked In"

Season 5, Episode 19
Episode Synopsis: After being hurt in a motorcycle accident in New York State, House shares a hospital room with a bicycle-accident victim (Mos Def) who's unable to move or communicate in any way. He has locked-in syndrome, House tells the doctors treating them both (more often than they want to hear), then he gets the man transferred to Princeton Plainsboro (these segments are told from the patient's point of view). Meanwhile, House won't tell Wilson why he was in New York, arousing Wilson's suspicions.
Original Air Date: Mar 30, 2009
Guest Cast Faune Chambers: Molly Bobbin Bergstrom: Nurse Scotty Noyd Jr.: Drake John Kapelos: Dr. Kurtz Mos Def: Lee
Full Episode
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Season 5, Episode 19
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Length: 43:59
Aired: 3/30/2009
Also available on Amazon Instant Video
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House Episode Recap: "Locked In" Season 5, Episode 19

This week on House, a patient (guest star Mos Def) suffering from "locked-in syndrome" offers a literally unique point of view as he draws the interest of House & Co. Wilson, meanwhile, tries to solve a mystery of his own. A special episode calls for a special recap, so let's get on with it!

The patient's name is Lee, and for a long stretch, we only see and hear things from his hospital-bed vantage point. Lee, we learn, was riding his bike when an open car door got in his way. Was he simply unable to stop in time or was he utterly unable to stop in time? That becomes a question.

Lee's doctor is ready to write him off as brain dead and hand out his organs. Fortunately for Lee, House also was in a bit of a scrape — in Middletown — and is in the ER bed next to him. Shoving Lee's quack aside, House pegs the patient for "locked-in syndrome," whereby he is alive and kinda well, yet "trapped" inside a body unable to move or speak.

House pilfers some hospital forms to admit Lee for an MRI. Heading into the procedure, Lee is encouraged to imagine a relaxing scene — and he comes up with himself and House on an idyllic beach. Really?! Lee reckons, "God put you in the hospital bed next to me," to which House counters, "He also put that car door in front of you."

Back in reality, the MRI suggests that Lee has cancer — and thus the meds the quack has him on could kill him. House lets that near-death happen, to prove a point. "Nicely played," he tells the patient with a wink. "You did exactly as we planned." Lee OKs House taking over his case.

At Princeton Plainsboro, Lee is privy to the assorted dynamics among House and his team/peers. Case in point: When House tells Cuddy, "I bought you an ancient Victorian corset. Come by later and I'll tie you up," Lee takes note of the flirting — especially when Cuddy turns to watch House walk away. He also gets wind of the "Foreteen" romance and Taub's self-worth issues.

Speaking of the latter, here comes the C-story where I start getting a weird vibe. House tells a repentant and increasingly despondent Taub that he has accepted his resignation unless he can come up with a "great idea" to save Lee. More on that in a bit.

Wilson presses House about his Middletown excursion, suggesting that his bud was frequenting a pain clinic. House hushes Wilson by threatening to tell his ex-wife about his lecture-circuit income. Wilson doesn't back off, later forcing House to "admit" that he was visiting the correctional facility where Foreman's brother is being held. When Wilson disputes even that "explanation," House claims that he was looking into Wilson's own "dirty little secret": that he's bedding his brother's caretaker!

When Chase comes in for a consult and starts to run a series of questions by Lee, the patient's one form of communication is eliminated when he no longer can even blink! This development shifts the show's storytelling back to a regular point of view.

House is frustrated because had his team been wiser, they could have made better use of Lee's blinking to obtain clues as to what was wrong with him. Here, Taub — who is really starting to dread his job/life — steps up and manages to hook Lee up to a BCI, through which brain waves can effectively train and ultimately move a cursor to point YES or NO. Will that be the "great idea" that saves his bacon?

Using the BCI, House quizzes Lee about places he has traveled to. Lee is caught by his wife in a lie, when it's revealed that he was not on business in St. Louis when he said he was. Was Lee getting some "strange," as House puts it? Switching from the "beach" to a Numb3rs-like "alternate reality," Lee narrows down his whereabouts to a small radius within his home. We eventually discover that he lost his job and had been taking odd jobs, including janitorial work at a battery factory riddled with contaminants.

As the docs proceed to clean the metal out of his blood, Taub thanks Lee for "thinking up" and validating the value of the BCI. Though Taub feels that the BCI saved the day, House says the device was its inventor's great idea, not his. "Maybe you don't matter?" House says, cruelly, to Taub, further cementing my idea that Taub isn't long for the team — one way or a grisly other.

The news is even worse for Lee — he does not have cadmium poisoning, so they were wrong about what's ailing him again! When he flatlines, he asks on the beach, "Am I dead?" "Not yet," says House, "but you're about to be." When Lee indicates an itchy right foot, Foreman deduces liver failure. When all is said and done, it's concluded that Lee almost died from a "paper cut" through which a basement rat contaminated him. Put on the proper regimen, Lee is urged by Kutner to not give up hope, and soon enough he can elevate his hand on command.

Taub tries to take credit for the rat link, and Kutner lets him. House, though, has been electronically eavesdropping on his team, and knows the real deal. Still, he says, it's enough to see that Taub cares about his job.

The hour's second mystery is solved when Wilson tells House he knows he was seeing a shrink in Middletown. House all but confirms, adding that he won't be going back anyway, "because it doesn't work." Wilson warns House that if he doesn't get the help he needs, "you'll end up alone."

Some bullets:
• House telling Lee about Thirteen: "She's the smart one. I just keep 'Dumb' [Foreman] and 'Dumber' [Kutner] around to fill out the quota."
• Lee, when House lets him (almost) die: "I get it — you're a little nuts, aren't you?
• House on the beach: "If [God] had done everything right, there would have been zero plagues and one great flood."
• As Foreman unspools his rambling story about girlfriends and jewelry, Lee thinks, "Would you tell this story to someone who could walk away?" (But once Foreman gets to the Thirteen part, Lee's interest perks up.)
• House to a recovering Lee: "Suddenly you're not so fascinating." 

What did you think of this "special" episode, which was told largely from the patient's point of view? Did you enjoy Mos Def as a guest star? What do you think about the "House goes to a shrink" reveal? And does anyone else suspect that Taub is just one more blunder away from, um, dire despair?

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This week on House, a patient (guest star Mos Def) suffering from "locked-in syndrome" offers a literally unique point of view as he draws the interest of House & Co. Wilson, meanwhile, tries to solve a mystery of his own. A special episode calls for a special recap, so let's get on with it!

The patient's name is Lee, and for a long stretch, we only see and hear things from his hospital-bed vantage point. Lee, we learn, was riding his bike when an open car door got in his way. Was he simply unable to stop in time or was he utterly unable to stop in time? That becomes a question.

Lee's doctor is ready to write him off as brain dead and ... read more

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Premiered: November 16, 2004, on FOX
Rating: TV-14
User Rating: (6,749 ratings)
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Premise: He has little patience for patients, but misanthropic Gregory House is a brilliant diagnostician who probes life-and-death medical mysteries while 'CSI'-style graphics follow each disease's progression. 'X-Men' director Bryan Singer is one of the executive producers.

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