- House: "Ah! You’re getting confused by the hooker thing. No, of course not. I’m getting you!"
- Cuddy: "But you used to have sex with her."
- House: "Well it was a massage plus happy ending sort of thing. Now it’s more of a sad ending. Because of you!"
- — Massage Therapy
Massage Therapy is a 7th season episode of House which first aired on October 11, 2010. When a patient named Margaret McPherson is admitted to Princeton Plainsboro after suffering severe and uncontrollable vomiting, House and the team make unexpected discoveries about her identity as they assess her symptoms. When the symptoms don't improve, the team looks to the patient's medical history to unearth more about her past. Meanwhile, House gives Chase's new hire a cold welcome, and a visit from House's massage therapist forces House and Cuddy to confront the reservations in their relationship.
A young woman wakes up in a darkened house and starts looking for her husband Billy. She notices the front door was left open and she calls her husband, who tells her not to worry about it and that he will be home soon. However, when she hangs up she hears noises and grabs a heavy object for protection. She sees the back door is open too and she starts to panic, but she runs downstairs to find her husband. However, she soon starts vomiting and complaining about stomach pain.
House wakes up to find that Cuddy has already left for work. He arrives at his office and sees someone new in his office. Chase introduces her as the new fellow he hired - Dr. Kelly Benedict. She says how glad she is to meet him, but House comments on how hot she is. Foreman tries to turn his attention to the case, but House wants to talk about how Chase chose the new fellow to fill the emotional void left by Allison Cameron and not to sleep with her because Chase sleeps with lots of other women. When they turn to the case, House asks Dr. Benedict’s opinion first. However, Foreman shoots down all her theories. Taub suggests lead poisoning and House agrees to tests and an environmental scan. Chase shields Benedict from having to break into the patients home and says he will do the angiogram with her. He then tells House Benedict isn’t like Cameron.
Chase is trying to reassure Benedict. She says Foreman didn’t like her, but Chase tells her Foreman doesn’t like him either. They find something that indicates previous broken bones, but it isn’t in her medical history.
Foreman and Taub are doing the environmental scan and talking about Foreman’s treatment of the new fellow. Foreman finds a credit card receipt that shows the patient was in Trenton.
They confront the patient about not telling them about the broken bones or going to Trenton, but she says she didn’t tell them because she mixed up the dates and didn’t think the broken bones caused her stomach problems. However, Chase tells her that a surgical error could explain why she seems to have hepatic fibrosis. She tells them where she was treated.
House and Cuddy are finished playing videogames and Cuddy is getting ready to leave. House is fine with it because his masseuse is coming over. Cuddy goes to kiss him, but he’s distracted by his video game. Cuddy runs into the masseuse, Brandi, a beautiful young blonde.
Benedict has checked the hospital and didn’t find the patients records. Foreman thinks she may have been registered under her maiden name, but Benedict has checked and found that her social security number is probably someone else’s - the patient stole someone’s identity. At that moment, their pagers go off. They go and find Taub who tells them the patient has superventricular tachycardia and is not responding to treatment. He calls for a pacemaker.
House wakes up the patient and tells her that they know about her deception about her identity, but she says she doesn’t know what they’re talking about. However, she finally tells them she married someone five years ago who was jealous, used drugs, and was abusive. She ran away but he found her and broke her ribs, then poisoned her dogs. She changed her identity at that point, and she was in Trenton for a support group. Her husband demands the name of her abuser. She finally says it was “Carl”, but won’t tell him the last name because it’s too dangerous. House asks for her real name - she says it’s Jenny.
House starts a new differential and gives Benedict the chance to talk to him one-on-one. Chase thinks it’s a test. Benedict does not do well even when House prompts her that he is thinking of a toxin. Benedict dismisses the idea - violent ex-spouses don’t suddenly switch to poison. However, House points out that the abuser poisoned her dog. House orders treatment for pesticide poisoning.
Foreman tells Chase that he thinks Chase hired Benedict because he wants to sleep with her. They argue about how qualified she is and Foreman tells Chase he’s seeing what he wanted to see.
Billy is angry that his wife didn’t tell him about the abuser. She says she just didn’t want to talk about it. Billy says he has to leave.
Cuddy asks House about his masseuse. He admits that she’s a prostitute too and that they used to have sex before he started dating Cuddy. He’s sticking with her because she does the best job making his leg feel better. Cuddy wants him to give her up, and threatens to stop seeing him until he does.
The patient stabilizes and Chase finds Benedict studying. He also finds out she wasn’t the chief editor of her university paper like he thought, just one of the writers. He tells her to check volume two of the book on infectious diseases. Their pagers go off and they find that the patient’s husband has just been taken to the emergency room.
House asks Wilson for advice about his masseuse, and Wilson tells him to give in. However, it just gives House an idea.
Chase and Benedict start discussing theories and Chase tells her not to suggest a coincidence. However, they find that Billy has just been assaulted. He confronted who he thought was her ex-husband. However, the man denied knowing what he was talking about and, after the fight, agreed not to press charges. Billy tells them the man didn’t really know what was going on and was just defending himself. However, they get another page and Foreman tells them that the patient now has a fever, which rules out poisoning.
They start a new differential, and this time Benedict is shooting down Foreman’s suggestions and has already done tests to rule out diagnoses. However, House just wants to show everyone a picture of Chase with his mother and how Benedict resembles the mother. However, Benedict ignores them and suggests legionellosis because of the old air conditioner in the patient‘s house. House agrees and orders treatment. However, Foreman gets suspicious because the air conditioner that Benedict said pointed to Legionnaire’s wasn’t in the written report, and Taub only mentioned it to Chase. Benedict admits it was Chase’s idea.
Chase asks Foreman why he has it in for Benedict and Foreman says he’s only doing it because he doesn’t think she’s well qualified. However, Chase thinks it’s because House didn’t give Foreman the chance to hire someone and Foreman still thinks he’s senior to everyone else. Foreman denies it, but Chase points out that Foreman’s responsibilities, title and salary are the same as everyone else’s - only his attitude is different. He tells Foreman that he’s picking on Benedict because he’s afraid to stand up to House.
A handsome male masseuse goes to see Cuddy, but despite Cuddy’s attempts to get rid of him, House has anticipated every move she could make to get rid of him. Cuddy decides to enjoy the massage, but he lets slip he is a male prostitute. Cuddy stops the massage .
Chase finds Benedict outside smoking in the rain. She’s thinking about quitting, but Chase tells her to use her skills as a psychiatrist instead. Benedict reviews the patient’s records and talks to Billy, who says that the patient lied about her support group. Benedict reassures him that the patient’s behavior is typical for an abuse victim. When Billy goes to confront the patient, Benedict points out that the patient will probably withdraw instead.
Cuddy goes to see House about the male prostitute, but he says he’s not bothered by it. He wants to know why she’s so upset about it and she thinks he’s trying to sabotage the relationship. He asks why she hasn’t let him sleep over at her house and meet her daughter. Cuddy asks if he really wants to. He said he didn’t really want to until now, but they can’t be a couple if she hides Rachel from him. Cuddy says she needs to protect Rachel and if House leaves Rachel will get hurt. House tells her that he’s not the only one holding back.
House wakes up and finds the bed empty again.
House realizes the disease has now hit the patient’s brain. Benedict suggests that the symptoms might not be caused by the same disease - she suggests the onset of bipolar disorder is causing the brain symptoms. House tries to shoot her down, but this time even Foreman stands up for her. Foreman apologizes for putting so much pressure on her earlier. House agrees with Chase that they need a brain biopsy.
They get the patient ready for the procedure and start drilling into her skull. However, just as Chase starts, Taub notices her body temperature is back to normal even though she was taken off the cooling blanket over an hour before.
They discuss the disappearance of the fever and they realize that Benedict was lowering the power on the cooling blanket and the fever probably disappeared the previous day. Had she done nothing, they would have realized it earlier and saved time. Benedict realizes she’s made a mistake, but they go back to the differential. However, they also realizes the patient stopped vomiting after she was admitted. They go to disconnect the pacemaker too, and her tachycardia has disappeared as well. Benedict tries to argue that the bipolar disorder could have been set off by the physical symptoms. However, House thinks of something. He tells Benedict she got it backwards and puts the patient on haloperidol and lorazepam. He tells them to let the drugs work for a few hours.
The patient is still having hallucinations but is lucid. House has realized she was being treated for mental illness and was in Trenton to see a doctor her husband didn’t know about. She was lying to them to hide her underlying illness, figuring her symptoms would go away with the treatment she was on. House explains he's spoken to her other doctors in Trenton, her medications were causing her stomach pains and her doctor wanted her to taper off it. Her “symptoms” were the side effect of risperidone treating her schizophrenia. It's implied that rapid withdrawal from the risperidone lead to heart issues and the false stories about her past where presentations of her schizophrenia re-appearing. House is not impressed that a recent psychiatric resident missed it.
Billy goes to talk to House about the patient. He is wondering if he can stay with her. House tells him relationships are always hard.
Chase rushes onto the elevator with House and tells him he made a mistake hiring Benedict. House tells Chase that it’s up to him if they keep her or not. House admits he doesn’t like her, but on this case, she led him to the right answer. He asks Chase to determine if she deserves another shot. Chase still denies hiring Benedict to sleep with her.
Billy goes to see his wife and starts embracing her.
House tells Cuddy he will give up Brandi. She offers to let him stay at her place. He asks if she will get cable, and when she says no way, he wants more sex. She’s fine with that.
Chase finds Benedict getting ready to leave before she’s fired. Benedict tells Chase she’s interested in him. Chase offers to buy her dinner.
Cuddy, House and Rachel eat dinner together. He takes his cane out of her mouth when she starts chewing on it.
- Cuddy and House have their first fight - about whether House can keep seeing his massage therapist/hooker.
- Chase hires Dr. Kelly Benedict as the replacement fellow.
- Although Dr. Benedict helps House solve the case, she decides she’s not up to the job and quits. However, she agrees to go out with Chase.
Zebra Factor 1/10
Schizophrenia is one of the most common mental illnesses, and many of the symptoms are unique to the condition. In addition, most of the drugs used to treat it have severe side effects.
Trivia & Cultural References
- A "Happy Ending" in prostitution slang refers to masturbation to orgasm. Guest star Zachary Knighton was starring in the series Happy Endings when the episode aired.
- When House keeps saying “Dorothy” to the patient when she wakes up, he’s referring to the character in “The Wizard of Oz”.
- The student newspaper at Rutgers is not the “Daily Herald” but The Daily Targum. It has been published every day, Monday to Friday, since 1869 and is the second oldest student newspaper in the United States.
- Rosa Parks was an American civil rights activist whose arrest for sitting in the “whites only” section of a city bus led to a boycott of the bus company by African-Americans in Montgomery, Alabama.
- The video game House is playing is from "Epic Fail," a season six episode. The glimpse of the screen shown reuses footage from that episode.
- The song playing at the end of the episode is "End of the Day" by Doug Paisley.
- Hugh Laurie references this as his least favorite episode of House.
- Hugh Laurie as Gregory House
- Lisa Edelstein as Lisa Cuddy
- Omar Epps as Eric Foreman
- Robert Sean Leonard as James Wilson
- Peter Jacobson as Chris Taub
- Jesse Spencer as Robert Chase
- Olivia Wilde as Remy Hadley (credit only)
- Vinessa Shaw as Dr. Kelly Benedict
- Zachary Knighton as Billy McPherson
- Erin Cahill as Margaret McPherson
- Eddie Matos as Felipe
- Jamie Tompkins as Brandi
- The Colbert Sisters as Rachel Cuddy
- Bobbin Bergstrom as Nurse
- Episode page at IMDB
- Episode review at Blogcritics
- Episode preview at Ace Showbiz
- Episode transcript at Clinic Duty
- Episode article at TVIV
- Episode page at House MD Guide
- Episode article at Wikipedia