As a tribute to the eight-season run of House, M.D., Welcome to the End of the Thought Process is running a poll to identify the best House episode in the series history.
For many fans, season three was among the most emotional as House spends the first few episodes dealing with the emotional aftermath of the shooting and his failed ketamine treatment. Following on the heels, or perhaps dovetailing with that first storyline, we have the “Tritter arc,” in which House is arrested for drug fraud. Some fans loved this long arc; others hated it. But it contains some of the very best episodes the series has aired, including “Son of Coma Guy” and “Merry Little Christmas.” The final series of season three episodes deal with the fallout of House’s brush with the law and its effect on the team, ultimately leading to its disintegration.
To aid in tickling your memories, I’ve included a brief episode guide to season three, adapted from the book Chasing Zebras: The Unofficial Guide to House, M.D. For brevity’s sake, they largely stick to the medical case, without going into the emotional core of each episode. The poll is at the end of the episode guide.
3×01″Meaning” House comes back from his summer of healing feeling exuberant and ready to find some meaning in his life. He treats Richard, a quadriplegic who cannot talk due to past brain cancer.
3×02 “Cane and Able” House’s fears about the pain returning are correct as the team treats a Clancy, a young boy found bleeding from his rectum.
3×03 “Informed Consent” Renowned cancer researcher, Dr. Ezra Powell presents symptoms pointing to both the heart and lungs. After a series of tests, House cannot diagnose Powell definitively; so the researcher requests him euthanize him.
3×04 “Lines in the Sand” House diagnoses the autistic boy, Adam, who cannot stop screaming and coughing. His resistance and unresponsiveness make him a particularly difficult patient to work with.
3×05 “Fools for Love” The team treats a young couple, Tracy and Jeremy, after Tracy collapses with severe stomach pain during a robbery. Shortly after, when Jeremy also develops stomach pain triggered by stress, House believes the cause must be either infectious or environmental. House runs into trouble with the law.
3×06 “Que Será Será” The 600-pound George is brought to Princeton-Plainsboro in a coma, and Cuddy asks the team to diagnose him while House is nowhere to be seen.
3×07 “Son of Coma Guy” House temporarily wakes Gabriel Wozniak from a 10-year old vegetative state so he can diagnose his son Kyle, in a coma after suffering seizures. House’s cocktail of drugs is effective in rousing Gabe, but knows it will only be effective for about a day. Surprisingly, instead of wanting to be at his son’s bedside, or provide House with the information needed to diagnose his son, Gabe wants a Hoagie sandwich. Wilson and House accompany him to Atlantic City to procure one in exchange for the needed diagnostic information.
3×08 “Whac-A-Mole” Jack, a busboy, collapses after vomiting at work. He is legal guardian to his two younger siblings. The young man exhibits infection after infection, and as soon as one is treated, another pops up. A bone marrow transplant from one of his siblings may cure him, but he refuses to put his brother at risk. Is his motive altruistic or is there another a factor? On the Tritter front, Wilson finds his car has been impounded as part of “ongoing police investigation,” and his prescription-writing privileges have been revoked.
3×09 “Finding Judas” Virtually cut off from his Vicodin supply, House tries to diagnose Alice, a little girl caught between her feuding divorced parents. As the parents lose sight of Alice’s best interests, the court appoints Cuddy as her guardian.
3×10 “Merry Little Christmas” Wilson has made a deal with the devil. Tritter will have the charges dropped if House agrees to go through drug rehab. Unsurprisingly, he refuses the deal. To force the issue, Wilson and Cuddy conspire to back their troubled friend into a corner by taking his meds away entirely.
3×11 “Words and Deeds” The team treats Derrick, a firefighter who collapses while fighting a blaze. But as House’s preliminary hearing nears, and facing the reality of what lies ahead for him, he checks himself into the hospital’s drug rehab program, leaving Derrick to the fellows.
3×12 “One Day, One Room” One of those episodes fans either loved or hated, it eschews the usual series formula and focuses on House’s encounter with Eve, a young rape victim.
3×13 “Needle in a Haystack” House and the team treat Stevie, a Romani (Gypsy) teen suffering from internal bleeding. He suffers a bleed in one organ, only for it to be replaced by a new bleed somewhere else.
3×14 “Insensitive” The teenage Hannah to House through the ER, injured after a car accident on a snowy night. She’s examined while her mother, much more severely injured, is elsewhere in the hospital. House notices that she notices that she cannot feel any pain (although she tries hard to hide it). House, intrigued, concludes that she has CIPA (Congenital Insensitivity to Pain and Anhidrosis), making her insensitive to pain. He insists that they test further to rule out internal injuries.
3×15 “Half-Wit” House treats Patrick, a 35-year old musical savant whose hands painfully contort, as he is about to perform at classical piano concert. Patrick’s musical genius appeared after the left side of his brain was damaged in an accident when he was 10. His musical abilities fascinate House, but as the team continues the diagnosis, they identify a bleed in Patrick’s brain, eventually suggesting an autoimmune condition.
3×16 “Top Secret” House’s dream about having his leg shot off in a war zone spooks him when one of the soldiers in the dream turns up as his patient. Perplexed that he can’t figure out how he knows the Iraq War veteran (because you “can’t dream someone you’ve never met”), House goes to great lengths to research everything about him.
3×17 “Fetal Position” House treats a pregnant photographer, Emma, who has a stroke with her baby‘s due date four months away. He diagnoses maternal mirror syndrome; there is something wrong with the baby manifesting in Emma. House’s solution is easy: abort the fetus. But Emma refuses, insisting that House diagnose what’s wrong with the fetus and fix it.
3×18 “Airborne” House and Cuddy travel to Singapore for a World Health Organization (WHO) conference where House delivers a speech. On the way home, an epidemic seems to breaks out on their flight, after one of the passengers, Peng, starts vomiting soon after takeoff.
3×19 “Act Your Age” House treats Lucy, a little girl exhibiting signs of premature aging, including problems with her heart, lungs, and kidneys. When the team finds a discarded blood-stained shirt, they suspect the widowed father of abuse.
*3×20 “House Training” The impoverished and out-of-work Lupe collapses on the street while running a “three card monte” scam. Foreman diagnoses a transient ischemic attack after Lupe reports she suddenly had become indecisive before the attack. As her organ systems fail one-by-one, Foreman believes she has cancer and decides to do a full-body radiation treatment.
3×21 “Family” House treats Matty, a boy with upper respiratory symptoms as he prepares to donate his bone marrow to his brother Nick, Wilson’s leukemia patient. The team needs to isolate the infection, working against the clock while Nick awaits the transplant in a clean room.
3×22 “Resignation” House and the team treat Addie, a college student who is coughing blood. A series of infections leads House to believe that she suffers from Complement H deficiency, a fatal genetic condition. Her apathetic reaction upon receiving this dire news leads him to reconsider.
3×23 “The Jerk” House treats Nate, a 16-year old chess prodigy who beats (literally) an opponent to a pulp after winning a match. In addition to unexplained rage attacks, Nate suffers severe headaches. The kid has been an obnoxious brat for years, and now with these symptoms, House wonders if there’s a physical reason behind the bad attitude.
3×24 “Human Error” A Cuban couple, Esteban and Marina, risk their lives to travel in a small boat from Havana to New Jersey to see the famous House. He diagnoses Marina, trying to distinguish symptoms caused by the trip from symptoms caused by her illness.