- Donovan: "Point is: you rub people the wrong way. But House is okay with your lack of bedside manner. He’s okay with your willingness to argue any point with anyone - even if they outrank you. He’s okay with your peculiar fashion sense."
- Masters: "It’s peculiar?"
- Donovan: "House doesn’t think you’re weird - which is weird. But good weird."
- — Last Temptation
Martha Meredith Masters, M.D, Ph.D. . was a major character on House during the seventh season of the series, with a special appearance at the end of the series. She was a third year medical student who graduated medical school in Last Temptation and became a medical intern. Masters filled in for Thirteen for a time while Thirteen was on leave from the hospital. Masters quickly became a fan favorite and a darling of the critics, creating a character who was a true match for House’s intellect and abusive behavior. She also provided him with two challenges. Unlike his other team members, who were all board certified before they reached him, House has to deal with someone bright but untrained. Masters also challenged him with her unfailing honesty and belief in the better nature of people.
Masters was portrayed by actress Amber Tamblyn.
Masters' father is the classics chair (head of department) at Columbia University who met her mother, who is nineteen years his junior, when she was his student in or about 1979. Her parents have been happily married for thirty-two years. Masters describes her mother as "gorgeous" in the episode Small Sacrifices. Masters graduated high school at the age of 15 and entered college as a freshman. Before entering medical school, she obtained doctorates in both applied math (with a specialty in statistics) and art history. She entered medical school in about 2008. She was interviewed at Johns Hopkins Medical School by Chris Taub.
Although she initially said she lived alone and refused to discuss whether or not she was in a relationship, she has a roommate, Donovan, whom she has lived with since they were first-year students together. It is revealed Masters has difficulty entering romantic relationships and she is unattached throughout her appearance on the series. Due to the age difference between her and most of her classmates during school (who were, on average, at least three years older than she was), she has always had difficulty forming social relationships.
Introduction to the team
Lisa Cuddy is impressed enough with Masters’ accomplishments to insist that Masters be the woman on House's team when House delays in hiring Thirteen's replacement and then goes through Dr. Kelly Benedict, Dr. Christina Fraser and Dr. Cheng in quick succession.
During her initial case, Masters has difficulty adjusting. She refuses to join the other members of the team in breaking into the patient's home and insists on presenting all possible options to the patient and telling him the truth, even though House argues that this will harm the patient. House fires her, rehires her to use her as a sounding board, then fires and rehires her again. He challenges her that she will lie to a patient and violate her principles in other ways by the time she's finished her training with him. She tells him he's wrong.
In addition, although Chris Taub interviewed her for an hour when she applied at Johns Hopkins, she does not appear to remember him when she encounters him again in House's office. This upsets Taub, who snipes at her throughout her first case. Later she tells him that she did remember him but felt too awkward in bringing it up. Eric Foreman thinks she will make a good addition to the team because she is unspoiled and hasn't picked up any bad habits. Robert Chase is entertained by watching House needle her and compared it to watching a rabbit walk into a buzz saw. Cuddy thinks she is a rising star and wants Masters at her hospital. She refuses to let Masters quit when she becomes discouraged and gives her advice about how to get along with House.
Performance on the Team
Masters lived up to Cuddy's expectations, providing insights in all the cases she worked on.
- In Office Politics, it was her idea to give Hepatitis A to a patient with Hepatitis C in order to build up antibodies.
- In A Pox on Our House, she came up with the correct diagnosis: Rickettsialpox.
- In Small Sacrifices, she realized before the rest of the team that House was talking about a rare form of multiple sclerosis.
- In Larger than Life, Masters starts blood cultures against House’s instructions, proving the patient has an infection six hours after House begins treatment.
- In You Must Remember This, Masters is the one who convinces the patient’s sister to donate one of her kidneys.
- In The Dig, Masters finds the root of the patient’s hoarding, which eventually leads to the correct diagnosis.
However, Masters' habit of unwavering honesty poses House with some challenges, although even he must admit at times it hasn’t been a hurdle. House tried everything to get Masters to be deceptive, or at least keep her quiet. In Family Practice, he sets her up to unwittingly assault a patient in a coma and threatens to have her thrown out of medical school and into jail if she tells Arlene Cuddy that they have been going behind her back to treat her. Despite vomitting from the resulting stress, Masters steadfastly informs Arlene’s attending physician of House and Cuddy’s deception. However, even this turns out well.
This is the first episode she appears. Since House didn't hire a new medical student after several intents following the sudden departure of Thirteen, Cuddy forces him to accept Masters, even if House doesn't want a medical student because she hasn't graduated yet. Cuddy explains some accomplishments that Masters has done through her life, including the fact that she started university at the age of thirteen and two doctorates in Arts and Maths. House is against this, but Cuddy leaves him no choice but to work with her.
Even House had to admit how valuable Masters was to the team. When Masters graduates, he offers her an internship on the condition that she falsify that she has performed her tenth lumbar puncture as part of her practical training. Instead, Masters performs her tenth LP on Thirteen. House figures it out and fires her. Masters winds up in the surgery intern program and, during her short time there, manages to favorably impress Dr. Simpson despite her nature. However, she returns to work on House’s case and accidentally points them in the right direction. However, when the patient’s parents refuse treatment so she can complete a round-the-world sailing trip, Masters induces symptoms which convince the patient’s parents that they should consent to treatment. She then decides she has to take time off to decide what she will do to make herself exceptional. This is the last episode to feature Masters in a regular basis.
More than a year after she left PPTH, she is notified off-screen that House died, so she attended his funeral and made a eulogy saying "He gave me the confidence to quit". She was wondering why Wilson was talking about House in that manner. It is unknown where she was working or what she has been doing since the previous year.
Tamblyn said in interviews that her character has an unusual dress sense, is prone to blurting out anything that comes into her head, and will not be afraid of saying no to House. Her intellect rivals that of House and some reviews have speculated that she might seem like a young version of the doctor; however it has also been said that Martha has an I.Q. that is twenty points lower than House. Tamblyn said Masters likely has Asperger's syndrome and said House probably does too.
Tamblyn said Masters will be like the little sister of the men on the team and they will not find her intellect sexually appealing. Tamblyn describes the character as an outcast and a "cute little nerd."
Donovan notes that Masters will always speak up even when she’s outranked, she makes and displays paper airplanes for fun, and is obsessed with facial symmetry. She reminded her those traits bother most people, but House wouldn’t care about them as long as she performed well.
On her first appearance, Masters reveals that her favourite mathematical constant is Euler's number.
Prior to Tamblyn's first appearance on the show, she indicated in interviews that the character was based upon one of her own friends, a medical student named Martha Meredith Masters. Tamblyn described the character as an exaggerated version of her friend, who signed a legal document promising not to sue the network due to its use of the character. Fox also revealed Masters would be in a recurring and temporal capacity, replacing Olivia Wilde as Thirteen until Wilde finished filming Cowboys and Aliens, a film released on July 2011. After Wilde's return, Tamblyn's character was retired from the series. However, she returned in a cameo appearance in the final episode of the series.
|#01||"Now What?"||#09||"Larger than Life"||#17||"Fall From Grace"|
|#02||"Selfish"||#10||"Carrot or Stick"||#18||"The Dig"|
|#03||"Unwritten"||#11||"Family Practice"||#19||"Last Temptation"|
|#04||"Massage Therapy"||#12||"You Must Remember This"||#20||"Changes"|
|#05||"Unplanned Parenthood"||#13||"Two Stories"||#21||"The Fix"|
|#06||"Office Politics"||#14||"Recession Proof"||#22||"After Hours"|
|#07||"A Pox on Our House"||#15||"Bombshells"||#23||"Moving On"|
|#08||"Small Sacrifices"||#16||"Out of the Chute"|
|#01||"Twenty Vicodin"||#09||"Better Half"||#17||"We Need the Eggs"|
|#02||"Transplant"||#10||"Runaways"||#18||"Body and Soul"|
|#03||"Charity Case"||#11||"Nobody's Fault"||#19||"The C Word"|
|#04||"Risky Business"||#12||"Chase"||#20||"Post Mortem"|
|#05||"The Confession"||#13||"Man of the House"||#21||"Holding On"|
|#06||"Parents"||#14||"Love is Blind"||#22||"Everybody Dies"|
|#07||"Dead & Buried"||#15||"Blowing the Whistle"|
|#08||"Perils of Paranoia"||#16||"Gut Check"|
|July 2011||August 2011||September 2011|
|Season 2||Martha M. Masters||Season 1|
This article was the featured article for August 2011.