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February 16, 2009
Episode Number
5.15 Rating
Guest Star(s)
Final Diagnosis
Zebra Factor
Daniel: "Eh, nice try. I don‘t think you‘re looking for somebody to prove you right, I think you‘re looking for somebody to prove you wrong to give you hope. You want to believe, don‘t you?"
House: "Yeah, I want to walk out and find myself in a forest of whore trees, but I don’t think it‘s a good idea to tell people to go fornicate with fruit."

Unfaithful is a fifth season episode of House which first aired on February 16, 2009. When a priest who runs a homeless shelter sees a bleeding Jesus hovering at his doorstep, he is admitted to the ER. House takes on the case as a distraction for the team while he confronts Foreman and Thirteen about their relationship and tells them to split or quit. The team soon learns the priest had been involved in a molestation scandal that caused him to lose both his position and his faith. However, just as they are about to dismiss his case, the patient’s condition takes a drastic turn for the worse. House grapples with his past and his beliefs while trying to determine if Cuddy really wants him at Rachel’s naming ceremony.

With respect to character development, the episode focuses on exploring House and his atheism. House has treated religious people in the past and has usually debated them vigorously (and not always respectfully) about the basic tenets of their faith. Here, he seems to find a kindred spirit - a person who has been religious in the past, but now has lost their beliefs (perhaps like House himself, who had a religious upbringing of sorts). However, even though the patient no longer believes in God, he’s equal to House’s challenge and pegs House as someone who desperately wants to believe - a challenge House quickly brushes off. In the end, when the patient regains his faith, House completely loses interest in him. In addition, House is given the opportunity to participate in Rachel Cuddy’s Jewish naming ceremony, and uses his atheism and his belief that all religion is hypocritical to dodge the invitation.

The episode moves forward the Story Arcs of Huddy and Foreteen. House, and the audience, are kept guessing about Cuddy’s motives when she invites him to Rachel’s naming ceremony. In the end, we learn that Cuddy herself is uncertain whether she is trying to keep House from ruining an important occasion (either by isolating himself from the other partygoers or by making fun of the proceedings), or whether she really wants House to be involved in the life of both her and her daughter. Meanwhile, when Foreman and Thirteen face the choice of splitting or quitting, they have to face up both to how important working for House is to both of them and whether its important enough to risk splitting up their nascent relationship. In the end, they find a third option.

The episode also explores several themes that appear frequently on the show. The patient, a priest who has apparently lost both his position and his faith for molesting a teenage boy, appears first to have a diagnosis that punishes him both for his sexual transgressions and his continuing deceptions in insisting that he has never had sex with anyone. However, like many patients with moral failings, his illness isn't related to his vices. More rarely, it turns out that the patient not only doesn't have moral failings, but instead is the victim of circumstances beyond his control. In many ways, Father Bresson is like House himself - losing everything that he cared about due to events for which he was not at fault. Unlike House, Father Bresson is redeemed and his faith is restored. However, we also see another parallel - House can't give up being a doctor for anything, and despite his lack of faith, Father Bresson can't give up being a priest. There is also another important parallel - they both have spent their careers being kicked around from job to job. Keeping with the religious theme of the episode, we also see that, once again, House is a Miracle Worker - diagnosing a serious illness in a patient everyone else was ready to discharge. Finally, O. Henry`s Gift of the Magi rears its head again as Thirteen and Foreman try to prove to the other that they are the one who is willing to give up the most to keep their relationship together.


A priest at a mission is tidying up when he hears a knock at the door. It's a homeless man looking for a warmer coat. The priest finds him one and sends him on his way. He retires to his room for a smoke and a drink and after a few minutes, he hears more knocking. He goes to the door to find a figure who looks like a bleeding Jesus suspended in mid air.

House comes to work and Cuddy asks him to come to her baby's naming ceremony. House is unenthusiastic and tries to blow her off. Cameron finds House looking for cases in the emergency room. He finds the case of the priest. Cameron thinks it is a hallucination caused by alcohol or exhaustion. She thinks House wants the case to screw with someone.

House's team jumps to the same conclusion - alcohol. They think House is screwing with them or the patient. He orders tests for epilepsy and tumors, as well as an environmental scan. He then tells Thirteen and Foreman they either have to break up or quit. He gives them until the end of the case to decide.

The patient denies having more than two drinks. Kutner knows he has moved around a lot. The patient admits he was accused of inappropriate contact with a teenage boy and keeps getting sent away. Taub suggests syphilis, but the patient denies being sexually active - ever. He also says being a priest is now just a job.

House berates Wilson for going to the naming ceremony. Wilson tells House that he should show up.

Thirteen and Foreman discuss their options. Thirteen wonders why Foreman wants to keep working for House. He figures that House is screwing with them. Foreman plans on not doing anything.

Taub reports that the patient is a priest who no longer believes in God, and House is impressed. They discuss whether or not the patient is a pedophile. Taub doesn't think there is anything medically wrong with him.

House decides the case is over and when Thirteen and Foreman fail to comply, House fires Foreman. He sends Thirteen to find another case.

Taub and Kutner go to discharge the patient. He is now complaining about nausea and numbness in his left foot. Kutner examines him and finds that the patient's toe has fallen off.

House examines the toe. Kutner and Taub wonder where Foreman and Thirteen are and House tells them Foreman has been fired and Thirteen is angry. Kutner and Taub are too distracted to help with the differential. House tells them that Foreman and Thirteen are morons when they are together. He orders an environmental scan.

Foreman and Thirteen discuss their options again. Foreman thinks he should look for a new job. Thirteen offers to quit too, but Foreman reassures her. Thirteen's pager goes off.

Kutner and Taub do the environmental scan and discuss Foreman and Thirteen's relationship.

House runs into Cuddy in the elevator. He figures that Cuddy is pressuring him to attend the naming ceremony to keep him away from it. House thinks she's a religious hypocrite. Cuddy tells him she's sincere. He tells her he wouldn't miss it for the world. Cuddy goes to confront Wilson about how the plan backfired because House is now coming.

Kutner and Taub talk to Thirteen about the relationship. All of a sudden the patient tries to break out of the hyperbaric chamber because he can't breathe - he appears to be having a heart attack.

Foreman goes to see Cuddy for a letter of recommendation. She agrees that House should have fired him and won't give him a letter. He realizes he can't get a good job without one.

The patient wasn't having a heart attack. House thinks it might be a clotting disorder and orders an angiogram. He goes to see the patient during the procedure to ask if he's really a virgin. They talk about why he abandoned his faith. When they insert the catheter, they realize he's not feeling pain - it's a neurological disorder.

Wilson asks why House is going to the baby naming ceremony. House realizes that Wilson is speaking on Cuddy’s behalf and tells him that he's still going. Wilson wants to know why and House says its because Cuddy is trying to play him.

Thirteen goes to Cameron to ask for a position in the ER. Chase tells Thirteen to break up with Foreman so they can both get their jobs back, but Cameron thinks House is just playing and offers to see if she can't find a job for Thirteen at New York Mercy Hospital.

Kutner tells the patient that House likes the patient because they are both atheists, but also wonders if God isn't just testing his faith. Taub finds nerve trauma in the ribs which could explain the patient's symptoms. The patient reports that he has lost sight in his right eye.

The team starts a new differential, but there is nothing physically wrong with the eye. Thirteen talks about autoimmune, cancer and infection, but those have been ruled out. House thinks that the patient is not producing white blood cells and orders them to examine the patient's spleen. Thirteen asks House if he will re-hire Foreman if she goes. House agrees.

House goes to talk to the patient again about his faith. House thinks that the patient hopes he will gain his faith back as quickly as he lost it. House wonders why the patient is still working for the church. The patient thinks that House really wants to have religious belief, but House denies it.

House runs into Cuddy, who admits she doesn't want House at the ceremony. He agrees not to come. She thanks him.

The team discusses whether Thirteen should quit or break up with Foreman. They find the patient only has a few minor infections in his spleen, but that gets Taub interested.

House and the patient start talking again. Taub comes in to tell House the patient has pneumocystis - a generally harmless infection unless someone has a compromised immune system. House realizes the patient has AIDS.

They break the news to the patient who says it's impossible for him to have AIDS and he refuses the test. He realizes Taub will not believe him. Kutner and Taub discuss with House the ethics about the dangers treating the AIDS without confirmation and disclosing the AIDS diagnosis to the teenage victim. House reminds Taub that legally he can't disclose the diagnosis and orders them to treat for AIDS despite the risks posed by the anti-retrovirals.

Thirteen tells Foreman she has found a job and he can go back to House. However, they get into an argument.

House tells Wilson not to go to the ceremony, but Wilson tells House everyone is a hypocrite. He also accuses House of really wanting to go to the ceremony - he tells him to go, but be nice.

Taub finds the man who accused the patient and tells him the priest has AIDS and to get tested. The man thanks him and says he has been tested and it isn't any of Taub's business what the result was.

Foreman comes back to House to ask for his job back. Foreman and Thirteen get into another argument because Thirteen turned down the other job. When House tries to intervene, Foreman tells him to shut up. Thirteen calls Foreman an idiot and leaves. When Foreman doesn't follow, House gives him his job back.

The patient develops another symptom - a patchy rash on his chest.

House thinks it is Hyper IgE syndrome, also known as Jobs syndrome. However, the patient's IG levels have been tested and are normal. Foreman and Thirteen start arguing with each other. House orders the genetic test.

As Kutner and Taub treat the patient, the accuser comes in to see him. The man apologizes to the patient and starts crying. The patient comforts him and tells him “I know, I know“.

House is examining the whiteboard when Wilson comes in to ask House to reconsider by giving him a rational reason to go. Wilson discusses the nature of truth and House gets an idea. He starts eliminating symptoms one by one and crosses out ‘’hallucinations‘’, leaving four others on the board. He goes to the patient to tell him he has Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome, a genetic immunosuppression condition that mimics AIDS. It explains all the symptoms except hallucinations, which can be explained by alcohol and exhaustion. It was just a coincidence. House realizes that the patient might be regaining his faith. The patient is just trying to explain how his life turned around in a single day. House says there are rational explanations, but the patient says he realizes that, but there are still a lot of coincidences.

The test confirms Wiskott-Aldrich. Cuddy goes to see Cameron about the case. Cuddy is amazed that House took a case just to stall and not only found that the patient was really sick but found the diagnosis and saved another life when every other doctor would have just discharged the patient. Cameron realizes Cuddy wants House at the naming ceremony. Cameron tells Cuddy to ask House to come to the naming ceremony. Cuddy and House meet at the exit, but House leaves telling her to have fun at the ceremony.

The ceremony goes well. Thirteen comes to Foreman's apartment and gives him a theatrical bow, suggesting that their fight in House's office was an act to trick him to hire Foreman back. House goes home to have a drink and play the piano. Not being able to stop thinking about Cuddy, he eventually finds himself playing klezmer.

End Credits MessageEdit

Male Announcer: The most explosive season of 24 continues next on Fox.


Daniel: You want to talk hypocrisy; What about you? You act like you don't care about anyone, but here you are, saving lives.
House: Solving Puzzles. Saving lives is just collateral damages.
Daniel: Yeah, nice try. I don't think you're looking for somebody to prove you're right. I think you're looking for somebody to prove you're wrong, to give you hope. You want to believe, don't you?

Thirteen: We are adults. We can handle this. You just have to give us a chance.
House: No, you are not. No, you can't. And no, I don't.

Cuddy: (in Wilson's office): You idiot! I was free and clear. Now he's coming and it's your fault.
Wilson: Since when has your failed attempts at communication through lies become my fault?
Cuddy: Since you forgot how to keep your mouth shut! You messed it up, and now you fix it! And you're gonna keep my name out of it!

Kutner: But then maybe the hardship will bring them closer together, she'll invite friends over for Foreman to share.
Taub: She's not a nympho, she's bisexual. Which by the way means she's accustomed to partners who don't need a map to find the treasure...
Kutner: ...Even if you know where the treasure is, it can still be pretty hard to dig it up without a shovel.
Taub: You can *buy* a shovel.

House:... So you admit you have no idea which?
Cameron: I admit, I'm too busy to care who you're screwing with.

Thirteen: So you want to quit?
Foreman: No. I want to stop a stupid stunt. He doesn't want either of us to quit, he wants this. He's got two lab rats in a maze, and throws in one piece of cheese.
Thirteen: ...So what do we do?
Foreman: Nothing.

Cuddy: House for better or worse, you are part of my life. It isn't a ploy. It's a sincere invitation. I honestly want you to come.
House: Wouldn't miss it for the world.
Cuddy: I'm glad.

Chase: [to Thirteen] Office romances are a *bad* idea.
(Cameron glares at him. Chase looks at Cameron.)
Chase: We beat some very long odds.
Cameron: Wow. Save the gushy stuff for the wedding.

Taub: Funny the two people in the room who think that relationships are easy, are both single.
Kutner: I don't think they're easy. That's why I think if you find something that could be good, that you should hang on to it.
Taub: Everything could be good. Very little ever is.

Wilson: Are you eliminating symptoms?
House: We can know everything.
Wilson: This is medicine not metaphysics!
House: Truth is truth.

House: Don't worry your life will go back to sucking soon enough. Everything that happened can be rationally explained.
Daniel Bresson: I know. It's just a *lot* of coincidence.

House: If she invited you to a ceremonial lynching, would you go?
Wilson: It would depend on what she was serving.

Daniel: Einstein said, "Coincidences are God's way of remaining anonymous."
House: Woman in Florida said, "Look, Jesus is on my cheese sandwich."

House: Wow, wish I could but I've already put down a deposit on sixteen crates of jello.

House: Religious hokum or sponge bath. Can I get back to you?

House: Let me put it in terms you might better understand: If you don't split, you must quit.

House: (To Wilson) You are a wuss: part wimp, part puss.

House: World's most boring case just became a page turner and you want to tear out the last chapter?

House: Must be my lucky day; new symptom means old symptom was a real symptom and I get to keep our pederast priest after all.

House: So the good news is he didn't have a heart attack. Bad new is, I apparently fired the only guy who actually knew what a heart attack looks like.

House: So the man of God who doesn't believe in God had a heart attack that wasn't a heart attack. Do I know how to pick awesome case or what?

House: And you don't want to work so just go buy me a lotto ticket. The sicker he gets the luckier I feel.

House: She's trying to play me; if I let her succeed, then the terrorists win.

House: So, other than it can't see, it's a perfectly good eye.

House: (To Cuddy) Hey I was just talking about you. Well, not about you specifically—about whores and hypocrisy.

House: Why do people suddenly find religion when they have kids? They don't believe it but why do they want their kids to?

House: So the fact that it makes no sense makes sense?

House: Father Nietzsche has AIDS.

House: Religion is not the opiate of the masses; religion is the placebo of the masses.

House: The fact that I was wrong is NOT a proof of God.

Cuddy: Are you doing anything Friday?
House: Taking a lovely young lady to the Philharmonic.
Cuddy: Is that your way of saying you're having sex with a hooker?
House: Two. Can't create a harmonic with just one.

Kutner: God gave the Church and the kid free will. Their exercise of that free will hurt you, means you're just a victim of God's gift to mankind.
Daniel: Oh yeah, God wants life to have meaning. Life's meaningless without free will. With free will, there's already suffering. So God wants suffering. I got tired of that argument before I even finished saying it.

Wilson: If you want to go, just go and act like a human being.
House: Wow, solid advice, except for two things. I'm acting like I don't want to go because I don't want to go and... (steals food from a kid's tray) I'm incapable of acting like a human being.

Wilson: Any second thoughts about Cuddy?
House: Nope. But please, feel free to blather on.

Major Events Edit

  • House gives Foreman and Thirteen a choice: split or quit. House’s decision to take Father Bresson’s cases is directly related to his wish to screw with their lives, as he felt it would be quickly solved and would force them to decide quickly.
  • When they do neither, House fires Foreman.
  • Cuddy refuses to give Foreman a recommendation letter due to his misconduct during Thirteen’s drug trial.
  • Cuddy invites House to a baby-naming ceremony but it is soon revealed that she doesn't even want him there.
  • Foreman and Thirteen appear to break up.
  • Foreman is rehired.
  • It's shown that Foreman and Thirteen managed to fake their separation and they're still together.

Zebra Factor 7/10Edit

Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome occurs about once in every 100,000 to 250,000 live births, and is far more common in males than females due to the fact that it is recessive and carried on the X chromosome. In females, a second normal X chromosome will allow the normal dominant gene to function.

End Credits Message Edit

Male Announcer: The World's Most Explosive Season on 24 continues next on Fox!



The episode received generally positive reviews. However, many of the critics did not like the amount of time Olivia Wilde and Omar Epps were given on-screen in an attempt to develop their characters. Many of them thought the Foreteen story arc was strained, and one even surmised that it was only developed because someone thought the word "Foreteen" was amusing. In fairness, the relationship between the two becomes an important point in many plots in Season 6 and it's clear as late as Season 7 when Thirteen returns from her "rehab" that unlike the other fellows, who were merely worried about Thirteen and were glad to see her again, Foreman has continued to hide his feelings, which come out as a mix of anger and concern when she shows up again.

  • The episode received a B- from The Onion AV Club.
  • On IMDb it obtained a 8.5/10.
  • Polite Dissent gave the medical mystery a B+, but only gave the solution and the medicine a C- due to the symptoms House skipped over to reach the final diagnosis. It did give the non-medical plot an A-.
  • Voters on TV Rage gave the episode a 9.1/10.
  • IGN users rated the episode an 8.3/10.

Trivia & Cultural ReferencesEdit

  • Daryl's reluctance to wear a sweater from the New York Rangers is understandable. Most people in New Jersey are fans of either the New Jersey Devils, who play in Newark, or the Philadelphia Flyers.
  • The Simchat bat is the Jewish naming ceremony for a newborn girl. Until the 20th century, the ceremony was short and straightforward, but later become more formalized and traditional. There is no exact equivalent for males, but newborn males go through both a welcoming and a circumcision.
  • House coins the word Foreteen to refer to the couple.
  • House’s line “if you don’t split, you must quit” paraphrases Johnny Cochrane’s line from his closing argument in the O.J. Simpson murder trial - “If it (the glove) don’t fit, you must acquit”.
  • Father Bresson is one of the few patients House has spent a great deal of time talking to, and one of even fewer he has spent a mealtime with.
  • Dave Brubeck was an influential jazz pianist.
  • Sir Edmund Hillary, along with his guide Tenzing Norgay, were the first humans to reach the summit of Mount Everest in 1953.
  • Duran Duran were one of the most popular New Wave bands of the 1980s. A modified line up still tours. New Moon on Monday reached #10 on the Billboard chart in 1984.
  • Frederich Nietzsche was a 19th-century German philosopher who coined the phrase “God is dead” (German - Gott ist tot)
  • A Telenovela is a long, but limited, soap opera type daily program that is popular in Mexico and South America.
  • Job is featured in the Book of Job in the Old Testament of the Bible. Job is a pious man who refuses to give up his faith in God even though his wealth, family and health are destroyed when God allows Satan to take these things away from Job.
  • When Wilson confronts House about Cuddy’s hypocrisy just before House figures out the right diagnosis, House holds his watch so that the time is clearly visible to the camera. In between different parts of the scene, the time jumps from 10:34 to 1:12.
  • House is playing a new piano in this episode - a Yamaha Grand.
  • Hava Nagila is the song House plays on the piano at the end of the episode. It is one of the best known pieces of Jewish folk music. The current lyrics were written to celebrate the British victory over the Ottomans in Palestine in 1918. Hava Nagila also features in the episode Control.
  • When House is speaking to Wilson about if he should go to Rachel's Simchat Bat, he says: "[Cuddy] is playing games with me. If I let her succeed, terrorists win". "Terrorists Win" is a reference to the videogame Counter-Strike.


  • The music over the episode’s teaser is “Firesuite” by Doves.
  • The music that plays when Taub meets Ryan is “Got to Be More Careful” by Jon Cleary. It was also used in the episode DNR - it’s the song John Henry Giles tries to play at the beginning of that episode.
  • The piano piece that House plays at the end was composed by Hugh Laurie himself and is now called “Cuddy’s Serenade”. It incorporates parts of You can't always get what you want, “Have I Told You Lately” by Van Morrison and “Hava Nagila”.


  • There is an error in the episode's continuity. In the last scene between House and Wilson we can see the House's digital wristwatch. The camera cuts to Wilson briefly, then back to House. But in that few seconds, several minutes have elapsed on the wristwatch.
  • A Fluoroscope is a good way to rule out pneumonia, but it can't rule out pleurisy or an embolism.
  • Although a problem with the spleen can cause a low white blood cell count, it's a bit of a zebra. There are many other diagnoses that would have to be eliminated in most cases before the spleen would even be considered.
  • A patient showing antibodies for pneumocystis is not an unusual result. Pneumocystis is so common and is usually asymptomatic, so the vast majority of adults would test positive for the antibodies.
  • More of a plot hole than a goof - Foreman goes looking for another job even though just one year ago he was unemployable outside of PPTH even with a letter of recommendation.
  • Although the "coincidences" quote is often attributed to Albert Einstein, the quote is actually unattributed.

In another languagesEdit

Spain Descreído (Eng. Infidel)
Latin America Infiel (Direct translation of "Unfaithful")
Germany Der Glaube geht fremd (Literally, "The Belief goes Alien", but can also mean "Belief is playing away".)
Czech Nevěřící (Meaning 'non-believer')

Premiere in another countriesEdit

Airdate Channel
Latin America March 19, 2009 Universal Channel
Australia March 11, 2009 Channel Ten


Previous episode:
The Greater Good

Next episode:
The Softer Side
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