House, MD: Season 3, Episode 4 – “Lines in the Sand”

b0009wpm1q01_pe32_house-md-season-one_sclzzzzzzz_.jpgI keep adding shows to my list of reviews which, at some point, is going to bite me on the buttocks. And that right hard. But for now, I don’t mind doing little reviews of the shows I watch, when I watch them.

House is a show I started watching late last season. And for most of that it was more filler than anything I was particularly interested in. If it was on and I was bored I watched it with detached interest, but if I missed it, I didn’t really miss it. As per usual with my writings on television these days, it was the summer that made me a fan.

I was anxious for this season to start and then I became nervous after the preview for last week’s episode thinking House had already jumped the shark and landed in X-file territory. It didn’t and we all were relieved.

What I like about House is that it is a mystery that pretends to be a medical drama (or is that a medical drama pretending to be a mystery?) Each episode brings us an patient with unexplained symptoms. House and his team spend the episode trying every test imaginable to figure out the problem. Hugh Laurie, as House does a magnificent job playing the cantankerous doctor who just happens to be brilliant. Truly he is the reason to watch.

Tonight’s mysterious illness lied in a young autistic boy who suddenly begins screaming and is seemingly in pain.

01.jpgEverybody but House suspects that there is nothing to be worried about and that it was simply an autistic boy acting out. But House makes the team run a series of tests anyway.

The tests come back negative, but the kid coughs up fluid.

In a very enjoyable sub-plot, Cuddy replaced House’s blood stained carpet to which House complains and promises to never enter his office again until the blood-carpet is returned. It is a great showdown between the two and one that seems so silly and petty in its foolishness it would be hilarious were they both not so serious about it all.

Also the young jail-bait hottie from last week is back. She pretended to have the same chest symptoms of her father so that House would examine her (naked) chest. House plays along in his own little way and the girl continues to come to the hospital, and call him repeatedly until Cuddy is forced to issue a restraining order.

In a nice, intimate, and helpful moment, House, in order to get the autistic lad to breath in a sleeping agent, begins sucking on the tube himself and then putting it to the boys face. By doing this, the boy learns to trust House, and House gets high. But in his usual manner, House destroys the moment by telling the boy’s parents that it is a case of monkey see/monkey do, relating their son to nothing more than a primate.

Throughout the episode, House and his team set up shop in a variety of places including the main ward of the hospital, Dr. Wilson’s office, a conference room reserved by Cuddy and eventually Cuddy’s office. All of which is part of House’s plot to make Cuddy give in and give him his carpet back.

We discover that House has an affinity for the child for he never has to deal with all of the social niceties that House deplores so much.

03.jpgDuring a basic biopsy of the autistic child’s underarm they discover that the cells located there are in fact liver cells. This brings up many other issues such as the possibility of cancer and more tests are run.

The tests lead the team to believe the kid may have ingested something harmful. House immediately suspects the parents of poisoning, but this is ruled out through some tests. This lead to accidental ingestion and the team scours the house to see what may be a threat without anyone knowing it.

Sure enough there is jimson week on location and House takes pictures of it and various other items in the yard to the boy. Without treating him like a sick kid, House demands the boy show him what he has been eating, but the boy only points at the sandbox.

Finally having enough of the Lolita, House breaks up with her using lines from Casablanca. Looking into her eyes while doing his best Bogart impression, House notices her milky tears – a symptom of some type of simple disease – to which he subscribes a drug and leaves her alone. As often happens this small symptom leads to House discovering the large problem in the main patient. After looking into the autistic boys eyes, house discovers small worms. Worms that would be received through eating sand and could have cause all of his other symptoms.

The worms are removed and the boy is well again.

The bloody carpet is returned.

Man, House is a difficult show to cover. It has so many complexities that a plot analysis gets tedious, and I’m still unsure how to cover it critically. We’ll see if I can keep it up.

20 thoughts on “House, MD: Season 3, Episode 4 – “Lines in the Sand”

  1. yeah it was his blood from when he was shot…thats why he kept saying that it was his blood that he wanted to keep because it was his….great show though..and music at the end … agree?

  2. Thanks for the confirmation there Steven. I haven’t really seen the first two seasons so I sometimes get lost with all the particulars. I generally enjoy all the music they have on the show.

    Thanks for the comment

  3. I LOVED this episodes, not so much becuase of the sotry but because of Wilson’s theory that you might like for your website. H htinks House has Asburgerer’s(sp?) disease. “Asperger’s Disorder is a milder variant of Autistic Disorder. Both Asperger’s Disorder and Autistic Disorder are in fact subgroups of a larger diagnostic category. This larger category is called either Autistic Spectrum Disorders, mostly in European countries, or Pervasive Developmental Disorders (“PDD”), in the United States. In Asperger’s Disorder, affected individuals are characterized by social isolation and eccentric behavior in childhood. There are impairments in two-sided social interaction and non-verbal communication”. I thought that this fact might be interesitng to however cares.

  4. Yeah, I caught that and laughed hard. Its an interesting idea too.

    Thanks for the comment, and sorry for long wait to get it posted. I’ve got spam filters which makes me have to approve all new comments from strangers. You should be able to comment at will now.

  5. Just a quick question, this seemed like a good place to ask. Does anyone know the artist that does the song at the very end of the show?


    Nice website by the way

  6. The theme song is “Teardrop” by Massive Attack if that’s what you mean. I do not remember what song played at the end of this particular episode, sorry.

    Thanks for the comment.

  7. Great episode but guys, he doesnt have that syndrome! It was House’s plan to tell Cuddy he had that thing. That’s why Wilson gives him back the book.

  8. Thanks Shaun. I should have known that, as it is a really great song. In fact, I’m sure I did know it when I watched, but as the question was asked weeks later, my faulty memory had forgotten.

  9. Hi, I heard a song and I don’t know what it was, but I liked it. One of the lines was “I have a basket full of lemons and they all taste the same…” I like the song, just have no idea of who it is by, or the name.

  10. Loved this episdoe,

    Thats not a true definition of aspergers either. I’m sorry but I have 2 children who both have autism. The episode was great for getting awareness out there.

    And pdd-nos is not the same thing as autism or an autistic spectrum disorder. Pdd-nos, means there is a pervasive developmental delay- not otherwise specificed (so not autism or aspergers or something that can fall into one of those categories). I’m sure I am coming across as a know it all, but with so much sterotyping and misconceptions of autism out there, and so many people putting up websites and defining it for others but not really being true to what it is- i wanted to share the official terms as given to us by a psychologist… and as quoted from a website they referred us to that is accurate and up to date with research. People with pdd-nos, its basically what it says, a delay, its not lifelong, and its not adhering to the same qualifications. people with aspergers are often missed, and it is possible to be a doctor to be a lawyer to be someone of significance and have aspergers and not have a diagnosis, its easier to cover up and usually appears in social awkwardness or saying what you think without filtering it… i’d say that dr house actually really could have aspergers, but i don’t know for sure, just from his interaction and all of that – which i’ve seen on the show! :p (i know hes not real)

    Autism is:

    “Autism is a lifelong developmental disability. It is part of the autism spectrum and is sometimes referred to as an autism spectrum disorder, or an ASD. The word ‘spectrum’ is used because, while all people with autism share three main areas of difficulty, their condition will affect them in very different ways. Some are able to live relatively ‘everyday’ lives; others will require a lifetime of specialist support.

    The three main areas of difficulty which all people with autism share are sometimes known as the ‘triad of impairments’. They are:

    * difficulty with social communication
    * difficulty with social interaction
    * difficulty with social imagination.

    These are described in more detail below.

    It can be hard to create awareness of autism as people with the condition do not ‘look’ disabled: parents of children with autism often say that other people simply think their child is naughty; while adults find that they are misunderstood.

    All people with autism can benefit from a timely diagnosis and access to appropriate services and support.

    There is a form of autism called Asperger syndrome. For more information, see our leaflet What is Asperger syndrome?

    What are the characteristics of autism?

    The characteristics of autism vary from one person to another but are generally divided into three main groups.

    Difficulty with social communication

    “For people with autistic spectrum disorders, ‘body language’ can appear just as foreign as if people were speaking ancient Greek.”

    People with autism have difficulties with both verbal and non-verbal language. Many have a very literal understanding of language, and think people always mean exactly what they say. They can find it difficult to use or understand:

    * facial expressions or tone of voice
    * jokes and sarcasm
    * common phrases and sayings; an example might be the phrase ‘It’s cool’, which people often say when they think that something is good, but strictly speaking, means that it’s a bit cold.

    Some people with autism may not speak, or have fairly limited speech. They will usually understand what other people say to them, but prefer to use alternative means of communication themselves, such as sign language or visual symbols.

    Others will have good language skills, but they may still find it hard to understand the give-and-take nature of conversations, perhaps repeating what the other person has just said (this is known as echolalia) or talking at length about their own interests.

    It helps if other people speak in a clear, consistent way and give people with autism time to process what has been said to them.

    Difficulty with social interaction

    “Socialising doesn’t come naturally – we have to learn it.”

    People with autism often have difficulty recognising or understanding other people’s emotions and feelings, and expressing their own, which can make it more difficult for them to fit in socially. They may:

    * not understand the unwritten social rules which most of us pick up without thinking: they may stand too close to another person for example, or start an inappropriate subject of conversation
    * appear to be insensitive because they have not recognised how someone else is feeling
    * prefer to spend time alone rather than seeking out the company of other people
    * not seek comfort from other people
    * appear to behave ‘strangely’ or inappropriately, as it is not always easy for them to express feelings, emotions or needs.

    Difficulties with social interaction can mean that people with autism find it hard to form friendships: some may want to interact with other people and make friends, but may be unsure how to go about this.

    Difficulty with social imagination

    “We have trouble working out what other people know. We have more difficulty guessing what other people are thinking.”

    Social imagination allows us to understand and predict other people’s behaviour, make sense of abstract ideas, and to imagine situations outside our immediate daily routine. Difficulties with social imagination mean that people with autism find it hard to:

    * understand and interpret other people’s thoughts, feelings and actions
    * predict what will happen next, or what could happen next
    * understand the concept of danger, for example that running on to a busy road poses a threat to them
    * engage in imaginative play and activities: children with autism may enjoy some imaginative play but prefer to act out the same scenes each time
    * prepare for change and plan for the future
    * cope in new or unfamiliar situations.

    Difficulties with social imagination should not be confused with a lack of imagination. Many people with autism are very creative and may be, for example, accomplished artists, musicians or writers.

    Other related characteristics

    Love of routines

    “One young person with autism attended a day service. He would be dropped off by taxi, walk up to the door of the day service, knock on it and be let in. One day, the door opened before he could knock and a person came out. Rather than go in through the open door, he returned to the taxi and began the routine again.”

    The world can seem a very unpredictable and confusing place to people with autism, who often prefer to have a fixed daily routine so that they know what is going to happen every day. This routine can extend to always wanting to travel the same way to and from school or work, or eat exactly the same food for breakfast.

    Rules can also be important: it may be difficult for a person with autism to take a different approach to something once they have been taught the ‘right’ way to do it. People with autism may not be comfortable with the idea of change, but can cope well if they are prepared for it in advance.

    Sensory sensitivity

    “Rowan loves art but he hates wearing a shirt to protect his clothing – the feeling of the fabric against his skin causes him distress. We have agreed with his school that he can wear a loose-fitting apron instead.”

    People with autism may experience some form of sensory sensitivity. This can occur in one or more of the five senses – sight, sound, smell, touch and taste. A person’s senses are either intensified (hypersensitive) or under-sensitive (hypo-sensitive).

    For example, a person with autism may find certain background sounds, which other people ignore or block out, unbearably loud or distracting. This can cause anxiety or even physical pain.

    People who are hypo-sensitive may not feel pain or extremes of temperature. Some may rock, spin or flap their hands to stimulate sensation, to help with balance and posture or to deal with stress.

    People with sensory sensitivity may also find it harder to use their body awareness system. This system tells us where our bodies are, so for those with reduced body awareness, it can be harder to navigate rooms avoiding obstructions, stand at an appropriate distance from other people and carry out ‘fine motor’ tasks such as tying shoelaces.

    Special interests

    “My art activity has enabled me to become a part of society. When there is something that a person with autism does well, it should be encouraged and cultivated.”

    Many people with autism have intense special interests, often from a fairly young age. These can change over time or be lifelong, and can be anything from art or music, to trains or computers. Some people with autism may eventually be able to work or study in related areas. For others, it will remain a hobby.

    A special interest may sometimes be unusual. One person with autism loved collecting rubbish, for example; with encouragement, this was channelled into an interest in recycling and the environment.

    Learning disabilities

    “I have a helper who sits with me and if I’m stuck on a word she helps me. It makes a big difference.”

    People with autism may have learning disabilities, which can affect all aspects of someone’s life, from studying in school, to learning how to wash themselves or make a meal. As with autism, people can have different ‘degrees’ of learning disability, so some will be able to live fairly independently – although they may need a degree of support to achieve this – while others may require lifelong, specialist support. However, all people with autism can, and do, learn and develop with the right sort of support.

    Other conditions are sometimes associated with autism. These may include attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or learning difficulties such as dyslexia and dyspraxia.”

    Here is a definition of aspergers:

    “Asperger syndrome is a form of autism, which is a lifelong disability that affects how a person makes sense of the world, processes information and relates to other people. Autism is often described as a ‘spectrum disorder’ because the condition affects people in many different ways and to varying degrees. (For more information about autism, please read our leaflet What is autism?)

    Asperger syndrome is mostly a ‘hidden disability’. This means that you can’t tell that someone has the condition from their outward appearance. People with the condition have difficulties in three main areas. They are:

    * social communication
    * social interaction
    * social imagination.

    They are often referred to as ‘the triad of impairments’ and are explained in more detail below.

    While there are similarities with autism, people with Asperger syndrome have fewer problems with speaking and are often of average, or above average, intelligence. They do not usually have the accompanying learning disabilities associated with autism, but they may have specific learning difficulties. These may include dyslexia and dyspraxia or other conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and epilepsy.

    With the right support and encouragement, people with Asperger syndrome can lead full and independent lives.

    What are the characteristics of Asperger syndrome?

    The characteristics of Asperger syndrome vary from one person to another but are generally divided into three main groups.

    Difficulty with social communication

    “If you have Asperger syndrome, understanding conversation is like trying to understand a foreign language.”

    People with Asperger syndrome sometimes find it difficult to express themselves emotionally and socially. For example, they may:

    * have difficulty understanding gestures, facial expressions or tone of voice
    * have difficulty knowing when to start or end a conversation and choosing topics to talk about
    * use complex words and phrases but may not fully understand what they mean
    * be very literal in what they say and can have difficulty understanding jokes, metaphor and sarcasm. For example, a person with Asperger syndrome may be confused by the phrase ‘That’s cool’ when people use it to say something is good.

    In order to help a person with Asperger syndrome understand you, keep your sentences short – be clear and concise.

    Difficulty with social interaction

    “I have difficulty picking up social cues, and difficulty in knowing what to do when I get things wrong.”

    Many people with Asperger syndrome want to be sociable but have difficulty with initiating and sustaining social relationships, which can make them very anxious. People with the condition may:

    * struggle to make and maintain friendships
    * not understand the unwritten ‘social rules’ that most of us pick up without thinking. For example, they may stand too close to another person, or start an inappropriate topic of conversation
    * find other people unpredictable and confusing
    * become withdrawn and seem uninterested in other people, appearing almost aloof
    * behave in what may seem an inappropriate manner.

    Difficulty with social imagination

    “We have trouble working out what other people know. We have more difficulty guessing what other people are thinking.”

    People with Asperger syndrome can be imaginative in the conventional use of the word. For example, many are accomplished writers, artists and musicians. But people with Asperger syndrome can have difficulty with social imagination. This can include:

    * imagining alternative outcomes to situations and finding it hard to predict what will happen next
    * understanding or interpreting other peoples thoughts, feelings or actions. The subtle messages that are put across by facial expression and body language are often missed
    * having a limited range of imaginative activities, which can be pursued rigidly and repetitively eg lining up toys or collecting and organising things related to his or her interest.

    Some children with Asperger syndrome may find it difficult to play ‘let’s pretend’ games or prefer subjects rooted in logic and systems, such as mathematics.

    Other related characteristics

    Love of routines

    “If I get anxious I get in a tizz. I have a timetable; it helps me to see what I have to do next, otherwise I get confused.”

    To try and make the world less confusing, people with Asperger syndrome may have rules and rituals (ways of doing things) which they insist upon. Young children, for example, may insist on always walking the same way to school. In class, they may get upset if there is a sudden change to the timetable. People with Asperger syndrome often prefer to order their day to a set pattern. For example, if they work set hours, an unexpected delay to their journey to or from work can make them anxious or upset.

    Special interests

    “I remember Samuel reciting the distances of all the planets from the sun to a baffled classmate in the playground when he was five. Since then he has had many obsessions, which he loves to talk about at length!”

    People with Asperger syndrome may develop an intense, sometimes obsessive, interest in a hobby or collecting. Sometimes these interests are lifelong; in other cases, one interest is replaced by an unconnected interest. For example, a person with Asperger syndrome may focus on learning all there is to know about trains or computers. Some are exceptionally knowledgeable in their chosen field of interest. With encouragement, interests and skills can be developed so that people with Asperger syndrome can study or work in their favourite subjects.

    Sensory difficulties

    “Robert only has problems with touch when he doesn’t know what’s coming – like jostling in queues and people accidentally brushing into him. Light touch seems to be worse for him than a firm touch.”

    People with Asperger syndrome may have sensory difficulties. These can occur in one or all of the senses (sight, sound, smell, touch, or taste). The degree of difficulty varies from one individual to another. Most commonly, an individual’s senses are either intensified (over-sensitive) or underdeveloped (under-sensitive). For example, bright lights, loud noises, overpowering smells, particular food textures and the feeling of certain materials can be a cause of anxiety and pain for people with Asperger syndrome.

    People with sensory sensitivity may also find it harder to use their body awareness system. This system tells us where our bodies are, so for those with reduced body awareness, it can be harder to navigate rooms avoiding obstructions, stand at an appropriate distance from other people and carry out ‘fine motor’ tasks such as tying shoelaces. Some people with Asperger syndrome may rock or spin to help with balance and posture or to help them deal with stress.”

    —- thought the episode was really great, its nice to have a tv show actually show it from their perspective and the comments that they had seen 4 doctors and everyone puts EVErYTHING they experience down to autism, its very very true, no matter where you live. Its highly misunderstood and the communication problem they have can only heighten that! 🙂

  11. Can some1 post a download link for song that was played on House S03E04 at the very end of the show??
    “Waiting On An Angel” by Ben Harper

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