"Deflect a personal question with a joke. Who does that sound like?"
--Cameron to Foreman in "Poison"
And so begins the beginning of the multi-season effort to establish Foreman (Omar Epps) as House's (Hugh Laurie) twin. It's an obvious effort, as everyone from the patient's mother to Cameron (Jennifer Morrison) comment on their similarity.
"Poison," the seventh episode of House's first season, is a fairly straightforward entry early in the series' history. A high school junior collapses taking his Calculus AP Exam. (If it was the Calculus "BC" exam, I totally understand, as my personal child recently sat through that ordeal, himself!) But it isn't the exam that causes the boy to collapse, it's something unusual enough to require the attention of diagnostic genius Dr. Gregory House and his trusty team of fellows.
Like many first season House episodes, "Poison" is heavy on the medical mystery, while also presenting a few (but significant) character reveals. The mystery (a which-environmental-toxin-dunnit) had me (with many years spent in the field of environmental health) figuring out pretty quickly that the first diagnosis was probably correct: pesticide absorption (in heavy doses) through the skin.
The episode highlights House's arrogance and ego in a way that other first season episodes do not. House is always confident about his test/guess/treat diagnostic path. Using his best educated guess, House treats; if the treatment fails and the patient gets worse or reacts unexpectedly, it's not a total loss. The team will learn something valuable: a new symptom; a new clue, or the elimination of a potential, but wrong, diagnosis.
But we seldom see him flaunting or touting that self-confidence either to patients or their families. He knows he can be wrong; it's part of his process. So to me it seems out of character, more to service the comparison with Foreman than to serve the story. "Who are they?" asks the patient of him mom as they leave the hospital. "Them? They're the arrogant jerks who saved your life," she quips as House and Foreman disappear into an elevator glancing at each others' identical shoes. Just a little bit too much Butch and Sundance for me.