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Whatever It Takes

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Whatever It Takes
November 6, 2007
Episode Number
4.06 Rating
Final Diagnosis
Zebra Factor
Casey 1/10, John 6/10
House: "You know, I happen to have a position available on my penis. Wait a second, I think I screwed up that joke."
Samira: "You’re offering me a job?"
House: "I’d settle for that"
— Whatever It Takes

Whatever It Takes is a fourth season episode of House which first aired on November 6, 2007. A champion drag racer collapses after a race and Foreman is sure it is only heat stroke. When a CIA Agent comes to take House to a special case, Foreman is left alone with the rest of the applicants. The drag racer takes a turn for the worse and Foreman finds his authority with the applicants crumbling and the confidence of the patient disappearing. With House out of contact, Brennan comes up with a crazy idea and fights with Foreman on both the diagnosis and treatment. Meanwhile, House treats a spy with life threatening symptoms while trying to impress his attractive attending physician and undercut one of the world’s leading doctors at the same time.


An eight-time champion drag racer starts having perceptual difficulties during a race, but wins nevertheless. During a post-race interview, she starts having trouble hearing people speak and then collapses.

House is with his applicants, who are submitting ideas on possible cases, but House already knows one that he's interested in, and presents the drag racer's situation. Foreman thinks it is just heat stroke. At that point, a man in a suit enters and asks to speak to House. House tries to get rid of him, but the man has a photo of him and asks for privacy. House tells the applicants to diagnose the drag racer and tells Foreman he is in charge.

The visitor says he is with the CIA and wants House to work on another case. He assures House he is not joking, and asks House to come with him. House returns to the applicants. House orders some tests and says he will be back in 45 minutes.

House goes with the "CIA Agent", although he still thinks he is joking until he gets to the roof and finds a black helicopter waiting for him.

Brennan and Foreman examine the patient and take a medical history. Brennan finds her reflexes are abnormal. Foreman thinks otherwise, and still thinks it is heat stroke, but then orders an MRI just to make sure.

House enjoys the perks on the flight when his cell phone rings—it’s Foreman. House "jokes" about being on a mission for the CIA. They discuss diagnoses.

Foreman wants to release the patient, but Thirteen reports that she's had another seizure, which points to Miller Fisher syndrome. The patient stops trusting Foreman and asks why House is absent. The patient starts to leave, demanding to see House.

House is at another hospital and meets with a beautiful doctor from the CIA and a famous immunologist from the Mayo Clinic. House ignores a phone call from Amber and asks to see the patient.

Foreman is with the applicants, brainstorming for ways to convince the patient to accept treatment. Kutner suggests pretending one of them is House, but Foreman rejects the suggestion. Foreman visits the patient and admits he screwed up. However, the patient has a fever and becomes delirious—it isn't Miller Fisher.

House and the other doctors are discussing their case, but the beautiful doctor is withholding a lot of information. They come to a very sick patient in an isolation room. He is gaunt and his skin is sloughing off, although he was fine a few days before.

Foreman and the applicants discuss other diseases. Amber is still trying to reach House. Taub thinks it is lupus. Brennan challenges Foreman's conclusion that it is MS. Foreman gives the applicants three hours to run tests.

The CIA patient has been given standard tox screens. House is dismissive of the other doctors suggestions and keeps pressing the beautiful doctor for more details. House suggests the patient is a drunk and just has pancreatitis, but the two other doctors disagree, saying that the CIA patient is not an alcoholic. They then decide to treat him for radiation sickness, which would explain his skin problems.

They talk to the patient and House calls him a liar for not admitting to his drinking and the fact he’s a killer.

The tests on the drag racer all turn out negative, but it could still be Lupus or MS. Foreman decides to treat her for MS. Taub and Amber still believe it's lupus, so they run to Cameron. She reminds the applicants that House only cares about results. Taub and Amber give the patient steroids. The drag racer starts to improve, but Foreman is furious that Taub and Amber gave her the steroids. The patient then loses feeling in her legs.

The CIA patient seems to be improving with treatment. Without informing the other doctors, House has been treating him for pancreatitis while stopping the treatment for radiation sickness. However, the patient can't be brought back to consciousness.

Foreman thinks the paralysis is due to the combination of steroids and interferon. Brennan thinks she has polio. The rest dismiss him and Foreman kicks him off the case. Foreman decides to treat the patient for botulism and look for confirmation.

The other doctor chides House. House shows him that the CIA patient’s hair is intact—if it were radiation sickness it should be falling out. House thinks it is Waldenström's macroglobulinemia, a blood cancer. The beautiful doctor agrees to stop the radiation treatment. The other doctor is appalled that she trusts House, but she says she doesn't have to trust him to think he's right. House points out that even though he's been wrong, the good looking doctor always agrees with him.

Foreman pretends to release one of Cameron's patients in retaliation for interfering with his case, infuriating her. Cameron goes to Chase, but he sides with Foreman and tells her to stop interfering with House's cases.

The CIA patient's blood pressure returns to normal. House makes another pass at the beautiful doctor, but she says they have to consult an oncologist. House calls Wilson for the latest treatment for blood cancer. Wilson doesn't believe House is with the CIA, but agrees to call the CIA and ask for House's extension. House offers the beautiful doctor a job, but she knows that Foreman, Chase and Cameron all abandoned him. Wilson calls back and is amazed House is at the CIA and gives him the information he needs to treat the cancer. When they start talking about background checks, House tells Wilson that the CIA already knows about that Wilson smuggled heroin out of Afghanistan, and hangs up. Wilson, flustered by this prank, stammers his innocence into the now-dead line.

The drag racer's fever rises despite the botulism treatment. Brennan presents Foreman with the results of the polio test—it's positive.

Cuddy comes to Wilson looking for House. Wilson tells her he‘s consulting for the CIA. She doesn't believe that House is at the CIA and assigns Wilson extra clinic duty.

The CIA patient's hair starts falling out, but it's too quick to be due to chemotherapy. House admits the patient doesn't have cancer, and accepts that someone tried to kill him, most likely through radiation poisoning.

The other doctor starts screaming at House and the beautiful doctor, accusing House of being a stubborn, arrogant, reckless fool. House ignores him and proffers a treatment of an herbal remedy, derived from ophiocordyceps sinensis, a fungus that parasitizes caterpillars, that showed success—with monkeys.

In light of the polio test results, Foreman admits that he was stubborn and arrogant, but the team pile on the insults. The team discuss what to what they can do for the patient, knowing that polio is incurable. Brennan suggests massive doses of Vitamin C, based on experimental and unfinished clinical tests in the 1950's. When Foreman tries to dismiss him, Brennan challenges him to learn from his previous failure. Although pessimistic, Foreman allows Brennan to treat the patient with Vitamin C.

The CIA patient is given the experimental treatment of herbal tea and chelation. The patient tells House about his experiences with a woman in the country in which he was stationed. House is puzzled because what the patient says doesn't make sense: the patient says he attended a 40-day carnival festival. House confronts the beautiful doctor—he's angry that they told him the patient was in Bolivia, but the Bolivian carnival festival only lasts 8 days: in fact, he was in Brazil. The CIA agent in the room was the culprit, ignorantly claiming that one country was the same as the other. The patient has selenium poisoning from eating too many Brazil Nuts, which are called "Castanhas do Pará" in Brazil (literally translates to "Chestnuts from Para"). House had dismissed an earlier diagnosis of horse chestnut poisoning for this reason. House then reveals that the treatment for radiation poisoning will work for selenium poisoning as well.

The drag racer starts improving with the Vitamin C treatment.

House tries again to get the beautiful doctor to join his team. The other doctor rants about House's conduct, but he beautiful doctor agrees that being right was what it was all about.

Cameron admits to Foreman that she misses the excitement of doing whatever it takes to get the job done, although she's glad she changed jobs. She apologizes for interfering with his case. Foreman apologizes for getting everything wrong. Cameron reminds Foreman he never gets everything wrong, he just doesn't get everything right.

House returns to Princeton-Plainsboro two days after having left. Foreman arrives, announcing to the group that the patient does not have polio. Foreman thinks it is porphyria. House quickly realizes that Brennan faked both the polio with thallium then the cure with Vitamin C—Foreman was right all along about heat stroke. Brennan says he did it because he's seen the treatment work in the third world and that with proper testing in a reputable lab they can possibly save thousands of lives. House insists that Brennan quit. He tells Foreman to call the cops after Brennan gets far far away from them because he's obviously nuts. He tells the applicants to listen to Foreman next time he is in charge.

Cuddy confronts House about his absence. He lies about where he was, claiming that an investment banker persuaded him to take a look at his son's mysterious illness. Cuddy agrees to forgive his hours, but realizes that he was lying again and gives him 24 hours of extra clinic duty.

When House leaves he finds the beautiful doctor waiting for him outside. She tells him she is going to take up House's job offer and says, "I'll see you 9 o'clock Monday".

Major Events Edit

  • House leaves the hospital to work on a case for the CIA.
  • House meets Dr. Samira Terzi and Dr. Sidney Curtis who aid him on the case of a sick agent code-named John.
  • Wilson discovers that House is actually at the CIA headquarters.
  • House offers Dr. Terzi a job on his team.
  • Wilson tells Cuddy that House is consulting for the CIA but she doesn't believe him and gives him 24 extra clinic hours instead.
  • House learns that John was stationed in Brazil instead of Bolivia and was poisoned by the selenium in Brazil Nuts, which were mistranslated as Chestnuts.
  • In House's absence, Foreman is put in charge of the fellowship applicants.
  • The fellows clash with Foreman over their current patient, Casey Alfonso, and what kind of disease she has.
  • Taub and Amber go behind Foreman's back and put the patient on steroids after consulting Cameron.
  • Brennan thinks that the patient has polio but Foreman dismisses it as impossible before kicking him off the case
  • It is revealed Brennan faked the polio symptoms by poisoning the patient with thallium to get funding for clinical trials for treating polio with Vitamin C.
  • Foreman confronts Cameron over her giving advice to Taub and Amber.
  • House returns to the hospital two days later and learns that the patient has apparently been cured of polio.
  • Foreman runs a blood test on Casey which shows that she never had polio in the first place.
  • Dr. Travis Brennan is exposed as having poisoned the patient to test his theory of a Vitamin C cure for polio. He is forced to quit the program in disgrace. After leaving the hospital, he presumably either goes on the run or is arrested by the police.
  • Dr. Terzi shows up at the hospital and agrees to take House up on his offer.

Zebra Factor Casey 1/10, Zebra Factor John 6/10 Edit

Two different factors for this episode. Casey’s diagnosis of heat stroke was easy and Foreman hit it on the nose. Thallium poisoning is somewhat more rare (although being poisoned by one’s doctor isn’t unheard of either). Selenium poisoning isn’t terribly rare as any plant grown in soil contaminated with the element can pass it on. It’s becoming increasingly common anywhere there is increased industrial production.

Trivia & Cultural References Edit

  • Drag Racing is a motorsport where high performance automobiles race on a quarter-mile (400m) straight course. Top fuel dragsters can cover the distance in well under five seconds and reach speeds of over 300 mph.
  • The song played during the opening is "One Big Holiday" by My Morning Jacket.
  • The CIA is the chief foreign intelligence gathering agency in the United States. It is headquartered in Langley, Virginia near Washington D.C.
  • Another reference to the Village People. Victor Willis played the police officer in the group.
  • House’s ring tone is Whatta Man, a 1994 hit for Salt-n-Pepa and En Vogue.
  • The reference to Lee Harvey Oswald sleeping with Marilyn Monroe is another reference to JFK assassination conspiracies. In this case, the theory is that the CIA was behind the assassination.
  • Bolivia is a landlocked Spanish-speaking country in the middle of South America. Pay attention Agent Smith!
  • Brazil, on the other hand, is a Portuguese-speaking nation on the east coast of South America.
  • The reference to Ginger & Gilligan is from Gilligan’s Island, a popular situation comedy from the 1960s about a group of people stranded on a desert island.
  • FDR is Franklin D. Roosevelt, President of the United States from 1933 until his death in 1945. Roosevelt contracted polio in 1921 and was paralyzed below the waist for the rest of his life.
  • Inspector Gadget is a cartoon character about a dim-witted police detective who has many different useful devices built into his body.
  • The Brazil Nut is a type of large edible seed and is not technically a member of the family of nut plants. It is related to the plants that grow blueberries, cranberries and kiwi fruit.
  • House's comment about Wilson's experience in Afghanistan is probably a reference to Dr. Watson's service in Afghanistan, as mentioned several times in the canon of Sherlock Holmes (House and Dr. Wilson are modelled after Holmes and Watson, respectively)


Blunders Edit

  • House apparently gets his clue that the patient was in Brazil when he realizes that Brazil’s Carnival is forty-six days long. Actually, it lasts only four days; forty-six days is the approximate lapse from Carnival to Easter. He was, however, right about the Bolivian Carnaval de Oruro lasting eight days and being heavily associated with the “Devil Dance” or “Diablada”.


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