“Top Secret” answered the question House fans have been dying to know since the series premiere over 2 ½ years ago: Just how much urine can one episode contain? The answer: A lot.
In this episode, we – and he – are seeing that the negative consequences of House's Vicodin dependence are not just social and psychological, but physical too. In a series of lovely bathroom scenes and shots of Hugh Laurie's grimace when confronted by sloshing liquids, we see House's torture resulting from the fact that he hasn't been able to urinate for three days, likely a side effect of his pain medication. Yet he holds onto the Vicodin like a baby with its blankie – no other will do.
Cameron asks about his pain, Wilson futilely tries to convince him to stop taking fistfuls of Vicodin in order to relieve the pain that the Vicodin is causing, but House appears to have burned up a lot of the energy anyone's willing to devote to sympathizing much. Faking rehab and brain cancer does that, I guess.
But back to the beginning. The teaser shows a Hummer full of soldiers singing and joking before an ambush we get in full shaky cam glory. Because I am generally clueless about anything to do with the visuals of a show, I’ve gotten pretty proud of my ability to spot the work of frequent House director Deran Serafian before the credits roll.
The usual pre-credits bait and switch applies. Not only are we not seeing the injury of this week’s patient of the week, not only are we not being set up for House's take on the war in Iraq, but we’re not even in the show’s reality. Throughout, the camera has been following the point of view of one of the soldiers, one who was being treated by his Hummer-mate, when it pans away to reveal the injured soldier is a fatigues-clad House, gun in hand and leg blown off. Yes, that leg. That's gotta hurt.
He wakes up to Cuddy tossing him a file of his new patient, and he’s stunned to see that the picture in the file matches the face of the soldier who saved his life in the dream. Spooky.