Was It Gu For You?
A man and a woman are having breakfast. The man is wearing a robe.
"Staying home again?" the woman says.
"I should be better tomorrow," the man says, sweating. "How long does the flu last, anyway?" He swallows a couple of aspirin, then vomits. The woman grabs his arm to help him to the sink, but he screams in pain. She pushes back his sleeve to show a large purplish reddish bruise spreading from his elbow. They look down and his knees show the same. THEME MUSIC.
Back at Princeton Plainsboro, House consults his team. The man is now peeing blood and shows signs of oncoming renal failure. What to do???
Cameron & Co check out his family history and learn he was having an affair with a Chinese woman. They try to take blood but can't, as his blood won't clot. Blood is beginning to pool in his brain, the clock is ticking.
Foreman breaks into the family's house. After searching, he learns the man's daughter was a Wiccan and graduated to darker arts. She has terrariums with scorpions, crazy looking caterpillars, etc. They test the critters for poison, but none of them are a match for the man's symptoms.
Chase mentions a book he once read about a Chinese empress who committed infanticide with gu, an ancient witchcraft. The traditional preparation of gu involved trapping several poisonous creatures into a box and letting them battle it out. The one that survived absorbed all of the toxins combined.
"That's stupid," House says, but it gives him an idea. "Check the mistress's credit card purchases." He pops Vicodin like Pez. "Let's see if the Orient Express was carrying any fuzzy passengers."
It comes up clean, but Cameron has a hunch and goes through the family's trash. She finds a receipt for the purchase of a Giant Silkworm Moth Caterpillar, as well as the dead, fuzzy body of one. It was the daughter all along.
The daughter meant to poison her father's mistress, but accidentally ended up poisoning him.
House is able to order an anti-venom from Brazil, where the caterpillar originates from. The daughter is arrested while glaring at House through a glass partition, and Foreman asks House if he believes in curses. House says something depressing and cynical. "The only curse is living" or "trusting other people" or something. He rides off on his motorcycle, alone.
A Tree Grows In Jersey
Two teenagers are talking by a school. One of them is smoking a cigarette. "Dude, that's the bell," the other one says.
"Just give me a minute," Smoky says. His friend runs towards the school. Smoky takes a drag and flicks the butt into a neighboring yard before heading in after him.
Switch to the yard's house, where a woman is watching daytime television. Presumably, her husband is at work, her kids at school. She sees smoke coming from the backyard and runs to put out the fire. But as she hoses the yard with water, she starts screaming---her skin blisters where the water touches her. The smoke engulfs her, and she passes out, using her last ounce of strength to put out the fire. A fire engine is heard as we zoom in on her face and the Massive Attack theme song begins.
House and his team try to treat her for the fire damage, but when she wakes up, it turns out that she's blind---nothing to do with the fire. The blisters on her skin are also not fire-related.
Foreman and Chase inspect the house for toxic cleaning products, but the family is a bunch of hippies and only uses Seventh Generation. They go out into the yard to see if any plastic or paint was burned. "This is a pretty weird tree," Chase says Australianly, and touches the bark. His finger blisters.
They learn that the woman and her husband bought a manchineel tree seed on their honeymoon twenty years ago. They knew the fruit was poisonous, but had no idea the tree itself was dangerous. Smoke from it can cause blindness and throat swelling, and even standing beneath the tree while it rains can produce blisters on the skin. After three days, the woman regains her sight.
"Maybe hire someone to destroy that tree," House says. "Unless you plan on building a treehouse in it."
Afterwards, the team puts on their coats and gets ready to go out to a bar. Cameron invites House to go with them and grab a drink. "Thanks, but I'll just throw these in a blender," he says, shaking a bottle of Vicodin.
At home, House is seen coaxing jazz notes from a grand piano. He pauses, takes a bite out of a green apple.