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House

Instant Karma
Episode 6.05 - Oct. 12, 2009

Lee Tergesen played Roy Randall, a wealthy businessman who brings his young son, Jack, to Princeton Plainsboro and insists on having Dr. House handle the case.

Jack is suffering from inexplicable stomach pains, which Roy believes is the karmic penalty of his financial success. He thinks the answer to his sonís medical mystery lies in a reverse of fate rather than medical treatment.

Lee-Related Episode Synopsis

The show opens with Lee -- as Roy Randall -- in quiet contemplation in the garden of a huge estate. It's a beautiful setting, but he's clearly in despair. He is called to a business meeting inside his palatial mansion. At a large table in an ornate, cavernous room, Roy orders his directors to complete an oil production deal. It is clear that Roy is a man who does not take no for an answer.

He leaves the meeting abruptly, dismissing his underlings. Quietly determined, He goes upstairs to his son's room, which is filled with a bounty of toys and sports memorabilia. However, the boy, Jack, is in bed surrounded by medical monitors. A doctor tells Roy that the latest treatment has not helped his son. A trip to the hospital is inevitable, but the boy doesn't want to go. Jack asks, "Am I going to die." Roy tells him no. Jack asks how he can be so sure. Roy responds, "I'm always right aren't I?" Jack smiles. Yes, it appears dad always is right.

After the credits, Roy says calmly but firmly, "I want House." Hospital administrator Lisa Cuddy tries to dissuade him, but Roy persists. "My son has already been in good hands and he's still dying. I'm through dealing with good and I want the best." And that's House.

The complication that Cuddy does not reveal to Roy is that House has only recently returned from rehab. His medical license is on suspension. So, Jack will be Dr. Foreman's patient but House will be calling the shots.

House's first decision is that -- after 17 doctors and no correct diagnosis -- the team must run new tests. They find a blockage in Jack's intestines, so they treat for that.

After treatment, Jack is feeling better. Roy is smiling and grateful. But then ... Jack seizes. Big time. The pressure in his skull is too high, and it's not responding to medicine. They have to drill into his skull. A shocked Roy wonders where House is. Stunned, he agrees to the procedure. Which works.

A diagnosis of brain cancer is proposed, then shot down by tests. They they start looking for stomach cancer.

Upon being told of the latest diagnosis, Roy blames himself. "It's my fault," he tells Cameron. She tells him that the condition isn't caused by environmental or dietary things. Roy proceeds to explain that he inherited a pipeline business at 24 and has since made billions. "Everything turns to gold." Except for his family -- first his wife, now his son. There are exquisite close-ups of Lee as he explains, "It's karma."

Then, the boy seizes again. Foreman: "This isn't intercranial pressure!" Chase: "Then what is it?" Close-up on Roy and the unspoken answer: Karma.

The next scene, House is outside the boy's hospital room being briefed by Dr. Chase and the team. House determines it's definitely not cancer. Cameron proposes abdominal epilepsy.

The next time we glimpse Lee, House is watching Jack's room. He tells Cuddy that he's watching for whatever's going to go wrong. Sure enough, his beeper goes off, and he announces, "It's time for me to get off the bench."

He enters the patient's room and meets Roy for first time, telling him, "I understand you're a big fan. I'll have my guy send a signed glossy."

Cameron shows House that the boy has a rash all over his torso. House is baffled.

Later, he comes up with a grim diagnosis -- one that has no treatment.

"You're wrong," Roy tells House upon being told his son is dying.  We are treated to a rare display of bedside manner from House. With the camera focused on Roy's reactions, we see him (Lee) exhibit a range of distress, amazement and love.

Later, back in Jack's hospital room, a group of lawyers and businessmen are trying to talk Roy out of making deals that will ruin his life.

House says, "The billionaire thinks the gods will treat him better if he's broke."

Roy confirms this, saying, "There's got to be some kind of balance."

He signs the papers, declaring that, "He's not dying. I'm not going to let it."

Nevertheless, the boy flatlines, and the doctors go into action.

Later, during a conversation with Dr. Wilson, House has his usual epiphany, this time as he's joking about being born with a heart three sizes too small.

The real diagnosis has something to do with clogged blood vessels. House orders a new treatment.

The next time House visits the hospital room, Roy exults, "It worked!" He is laughing, the boy is smiling.

During the closing montage, we see the mansion with a for sale sign, and then the father and son sharing a pizza at the hospital.

Overall, it's a fine, sensitive portrayal by Lee in a top-quality show.  Can't beat that!

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