- House: "Whatever’s wrong with you, it’s real. See, sick is good, sick means it can get better, YOU could get better. I don’t mean healthier I mean… maybe you don’t have to suck."
- Foley: "Just figure out what’s wrong with yourself, and leave me alone."
- ―The Fix
The Fix is a 7th season episode of House and the twenty-first episode of the season, which first aired on May 9, 2011. It is directed by Greg Yaitanes. House and Wilson bet on a boxing match, and after the fight, Wilson comes to collect the winnings because he backed the fighter who was given the decision. However, House refuses to pay up, because he claims the fight was fixed. Wilson gives him one day to prove he's right or pay up. House goes to the losing fighter to look for clues and winds up trying to restore the fighter's career instead. This leaves the team to deal with the case of a missile scientist who is suffering from mysterious symptoms without help from House, leading them to believe that House is hooked on a new drug.
Two men approach a concrete structure and one climbs on top of it to tape a picture of a woman on it, while the other tells him he‘s nuts. When they get away from the structure, they then tell a missile test team to go ahead with the test. The missile hits the structure and it disintegrates. The man who put the picture on the structure says he feels better. However, back in the bunker, the subject of the photo, the missile controller collapses with a seizure.
At the hospital, the team discusses the patient’s ethics - she designs missiles for the military. House wants to do an environmental scan, but realizes breaking into the patient’s office is going to be impossible so suggests her home. Foreman suggests just asking to look in her office and an MRI. House agrees. Taub wonders why House is distracted and House says he has another problem to solve. James Wilson bursts in because he won a bet for $50 from House on a boxing match and wants to get paid. However, House says the fight was fixed and won’t pay. Wilson tells him to prove the fix or pay up and gives him one day. House goes to prove the fight was fixed and leaves his team to treat the missile controller.
The patient says she never gets sick. When Thirteen is rude, the patient realizes she doesn’t like people who make bombs. She tells Thirteen that her family working on Wall Street doesn't like it either.
House goes to a diner where he meets the losing fighter, Terry Foley. He wants the boxer to admit he took a dive to Wilson, but the boxer insists he didn’t. When House says he doesn’t believe him, the boxer reminds him that he was the heavy underdog in the fight - it would have been insane for anyone to pay him to take a dive when he was likely to lose anyway. House says the other fighter barely touched him. The boxer says the guy who “barely touched him” weighed 230 pounds. The boxer also points out that he’s in a cheap diner in cheap clothes - he obviously hasn’t received any money lately.
House comes back with a picture of the boxer to show Wilson, saying he has proof the fight was fixed. Wilson doesn’t see anything, but House says the boxer has Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome. That means he was physically unable to continue and all bets should be off. Wilson reminds him that one photograph does not prove House’s diagnosis.
The patient’s boyfriend catches up to House and House tries to avoid him by speaking French but the boyfriend knows he's lying. He thinks that her ex-boyfriend Tony tried to poison her. However, the team tells House the patient has had tests for toxins and they were all negative. However, Taub points out there are hundreds of poisons they didn’t test for. Chase says it wouldn’t hurt to start her on activated charcoal. House also wants to send them on an adventure.
Chase and Thirteen are sent to the house of the ex-boyfriend, Tony. However, they get a call. Taub and Foreman are at the patient’s house and have found huge numbers of empty alcohol bottles.
Taub and Foreman confront the patient about her alcohol use. She maintains she doesn’t drink and only saves the bottles for a friend to use in art projects. They were hidden because her housekeeper keeps throwing them out.
Thirteen figures she’s lying to save her security clearance, but also points out that Foreman and Taub didn’t find any bottles with alcohol in them. Foreman decides to start her on valium for alcohol withdrawal.
Meanwhile, House has done an EKG on the boxer, but it’s normal. The boxer goes to leave, but House begs him to stay and talk for a moment. He tells the boxer that something is wrong with him and he can help him get better. The boxer tells him to figure out what is wrong with himself and to leave him alone.
The patient develops acute abdominal pain. The team starts a new differential, wondering if it’s a symptom of the underlying condition or just a side effect of the treatment. They argue about treatment and diagnosis until Taub says he’s paged House, but House isn’t responding.
Foreman goes to see Wilson to pay off the bet and to ask Wilson to tell House he was right. Foreman says that otherwise, he only has bad ideas, one of which he has to pretend is a good idea. Wilson tells him that House’s current crusade is actually a sign of improvement - he’s doing stuff that’s less crazy than what he did right after his break up with Cuddy. Foreman gets back his $50 and leaves to see the patient.
House is back doing his physiotherapy exercises. However, he gets a white powder and syringe and injects himself. We see several injection sites on his arm.
The patient has another seizure. Taub is leading the differential and points out that everyone else’s guesses have been wrong. They’re out of theories. Finally, House comes back to ask about his boxer. The team ignore him and Taub suggests treating her for a urinary tract infection. As the rest of the team leaves to treat the patient, Foreman points out to House that he’s not sleeping or answering pages. He asks if he can help. House thinks of something, ignores Foreman and leaves the room.
House goes to see the boxer again. He tells him he has sympathetic overdrive and he can treat it. The boxer knows about the bet, but House says he’s doing it to prove a point. He injects the boxer with epinephrine, inducing tachycardia. He then hits him lightly in the chest near the heart. He expects the boxer to collapse, but he doesn’t. He hit’s the boxer again, but when he tries a third time, the boxer throws House to the floor.
Foreman tells Cuddy that House is avoiding them because he’s really avoiding Cuddy. Cuddy thinks House is just acting the way he always does. Foreman thinks something is really wrong with House, but Cuddy thinks House is fine. Foreman accuses Cuddy of avoiding House just as much as he’s avoiding her and that it will result in the patient’s death. Cuddy tells him to do his job.
House gives himself another injection. He sees Thirteen standing in the doorway. He explains his that pain is getting worse and he feels increasing his use of Vicodin would send him back to the mental hospital. Thirteen was just there to tell him that they are implanting an automated defibrillator in the patient, but it won’t help her underlying condition. She also admits that both Cuddy and Wilson asked her to go over. However, Thirteen also realizes that what House had wasn’t heroin so that he knew that someone would come over. She figures he’s just screwing with them. However, House has been injecting himself with an experimental drug that re-grows muscle. Thirteen realizes it hasn’t been tested on humans and calls him an idiot.
Taub denies that anything got perforated during surgery. As they go over the differential, they instead turn back to House’s behavior. Foreman notices Thirteen isn’t saying anything, which is out of character for her. She tells them House won’t help them, but won’t tell them why. Taub goes to treat the bleeding while they discuss the differential.
House is still doing his physiotherapy exercises. He goes to inject himself again. However, he’s run out of the drug. He goes to see the research physician. He sends the doctor to get coffee so he can steal more of the drug.
House is doing his exercises again but instead of injecting himself with the compound, he takes Vicodin. He realizes something. He’s getting dressed when he finds Wilson at his front door to challenge him about using experimental drugs. House says he quit them because they don’t work. Wilson says that House thinks all of his problems are due to his leg. House leaves.
The team starts a new differential including the gum problems. Suddenly, Thirteen thinks of something - her symptoms match radiation sickness. They take her for treatment but when they tell the boyfriend the diagnosis, he insists she would never work with nuclear materials.
House goes to chase down the boxer again. He tells him he needs a drink.
They take the patient to an isolation room and prepare her for a bone marrow transplant. The patient wants to see her boyfriend, but they won’t let him in. The nurse points something out, the patient’s genitals are engorged, but she has no pain there.
House gets the boxer to drink a lot of water, to show his kidneys aren’t working properly. When the boxer resists, House confronts him and says although he’s resisting, he really wants House to be right. After the boxer drinks nine bottles of water, he still has no adverse reaction. The boxer calls House an ass and runs off.
House pays Wilson the $50 and trashes his desk. When Wilson tells House he has a problem, House smashes the glass on Wilson’s Vertigo poster with his cane. When he threatens to smash the Ordinary People poster, Wilson agrees to stop talking.
The team starts arguing about the diagnosis and whether the genital inflammation rules out radiation sickness. Some of the patient’s symptoms have improved with treatment, but she’s still dying.
House is at a bar getting drunk. The bartender stops serving him. House confronts him about it. Another patron tells the bartender to serve House to shut him up. When the bartender gives in, House insults him for not standing up for what he believes. House then picks a fight with the other patron. House whiffs his first punch, but is surprised when he realizes his disabled right leg is supporting his whole weight without difficulty. The patron decks him.
However, it appears his team is doing fine. Thirteen and Chase tell the boyfriend he probably has radiation poisoning as well and will need a bone marrow transplant too. When he continues to object, Chase tells him he’s either suicidal or isn’t telling them something. Chase realizes that the boyfriend knows exactly what’s wrong with her. Thirteen says they know he’s been poisoning her and she’s been getting better ever since she was kept away from him. Taub and Foreman are on their way to do an environmental scan of his house. They convince him to tell them what he did.
House goes back to his physiotherapy. He starts spinning his cane and he accidentally hits himself in the back of the head. He thinks of something. He goes to see the boxer again. When the boxer has his back turned, House taps him on the back of the neck with his cane. The boxer turns to hit House, but as House counts down, the boxer collapses on cue.
The patient asks for her boyfriend and is told he’s in jail. Thirteen tells her that her boyfriend found out she was seeing another man, Glenn, which shouldn’t have surprised him because he met her while she was dating Tony. He was poisoning her with cantharidin, which is often sold as an “aphrodisiac” called “Spanish Fly”. It can mimic radiation poisoning.
House comes to Wilson in triumph. The boxer had a glomus tumor (He meant a paraganglioma, once called a glomus tumor due to the origin from glomus cell, but they are not the same and neither causes syncope. Paraganglioma, however, can cause symptoms resembling a pheochromocytoma) at the back of the neck. Every time he was in a clinch, the tumor would press against his nerves, causing unconsciousness. Wilson gives him back the $50. The boxer needs surgery and will not box again, but should live a normal life. Wilson asks about his black eye, but House says he’s fine.
House digs out the experimental drug from the trash. The research doctor finds one of his rats dead in its cage.
- House goes to great lengths to prove that he was right about a boxer he bet on was ill.
- House starts taking an experimental muscle growth compound that actually seems to work on his disabled leg.
- It is revealed at the very end that the rats undergoing the experimental drug treatment are dead.
Zebra Factor 3/10, 6/10
Two for this episode. Cantharidin poisoning is actually fairly common as, despite the danger, hundreds of people deliberately ingest the material every year, in the belief of its aphrodisiac effect. On the other hand, glomus tumors are fairly rare.
Trivia & Cultural References
- The title refers to several themes in the episode:
- House’s belief that the fight was “fixed”, that is, set up with one of the boxers agreeing to lose.
- House’s attempt to fix his leg.
- Wilson’s pointing out that House believes fixing his leg will fix everything that’s wrong with his life.
- The man in the opening credits taping up the picture is implied to be Tony, Wendy's ex-boyfriend. While the characters never explicitly say so, the picture he tapes up is of Wendy, and when investigating the home of Wendy's ex-boyfriend, a picture of the man can be seen briefly.
- Another discussion about Karma. There have been several in the history of the show, particularly in the episode Instant Karma.
- Wall Street in this context is a reference to the New York City financial district, not just the actual street in New York it surrounds.
- House's French phrase, 'Désolé, je ne parle pas anglais' translates to, 'Sorry, I don't speak English'.
- "Her Milkshake brings all the boys to the yard" is a reference to the song Milkshake by Kelis.
- "Scarlet A" is the second time "The Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne has been referenced and is about a woman who commits adultery.
- The Seder is the traditional meal served at Passover. The transliteration of the Hebrew is “Ma nishtana ha lyla ha zeh mikkol hallaylot?”
- The experimental drug was called Compound CS804.
- Hugh Laurie as Gregory House
- Lisa Edelstein as Lisa Cuddy
- Omar Epps as Eric Foreman
- Robert Sean Leonard as James Wilson
- Jesse Spencer as Robert Chase
- Peter Jacobson as Chris Taub
- Olivia Wilde as Remy Hadley
- Linda Park as Dr. Wendy Lee
- Kevin Phillips as Terry Foley
- Kevin Daniels as Ceaser
- Brian Huskey as Dr. Riggin
- John T. Woods as Tony
- Drew Cohn as Glenn
- Ken Olandt as General Spain
- Frank Drank as Bartender
- Robert Kariakin as Patron
- Jeff Wolfe as Guy On The Next Stool
- Denice Sealy as Nurse Gibbs
- Helena Apothaker as Nurse Ellen Hoffner
- Bobbin Bergstrom as Nurse
- Robert Lee Bell as Irish Bar Patron