Because of the nature of television and the tradition of filming episodes sometimes months before they air, shows are rarely able to comment on events that are happening in the present. This week’s episode of “House,” though, echoes many of the protests that are happening with the Occupy Wall Street movement. Even though the country’s economy wasn’t doing well when the episode was filmed in the spring or summer, it is surprising how timely “Risky Business” really is.
The episode opens with a very wealthy middle-aged man, Thad (Michael Nouri), coming out of his mansion to find his trees covered in toilet paper and a dummy made to look like him hanging in his tree. There are signs all over his yard declaring “Protect American Jobs” and other angry messages, but Thad doesn’t seem the least bit bothered. His daughter, Ainsley (Alexie Gilmore), arrives and we find out that Thad is the CEO of a major manufacturer who is about to move the entire company to China in an effort to save it. Ainsley encourages her father not to move the company, but before the conversation can get too far, we see from Thad’s point of view that he is seeing with extreme tunnel vision. He then asks to be taken to the hospital.
At Princeton-Plainsboro, House tells Park that her former boss, whom she punched after he grabbed her behind, sent out an email to the entire staff letting them know he is taking voluntary sexual harassment sensitivity classes. House says Park better get nervous because that will make him look sympathetic to the disciplinary panel. He then bets Park that she will get fired and Park takes the bet.
Adams, who is still volunteering her time at Princeton-Plainsboro, arrives late, a fact House can’t overlook. She immediately recognizes the patient’s name and accuses him of being a greedy businessman who is hurting American workers. Still without a full staff and still not having access to his old office, House perks up when he thinks about the money he might be able to get out of Thad.
House is able to convince Thad that mental illness is not viewed positively in China and that his company’s future could be in jeopardy if his Chinese partners thought his condition may be related to his mental health. Thad writes House a check which Foreman rips up knowing that House pushed him to do it. In another effort to get money, House pressures Adams to give him a large sum of money to invest in Thad’s company because while the stock prices are falling as a result of him being in the hospital, House is convinced he can save him which will make his investment incredibly lucrative.
Meanwhile, Park realizes she made a terrible mistake betting House because he will stop at nothing to win. According to Wilson, it’s not even about the money; it’s about the principle of the game. Park has to prove to House she is more valuable than his honor and so she deliberately disobeys him and orders a test for the patient which ultimately puts Thad in a coma. When House realizes what she did, he barrages into her disciplinary hearing and tells everyone that he is going to fire her so they don’t have to worry about it. (We find out later, of course, that this was House’s way of helping Park because he knew that every one of the doctors on the panel hates him and his actions would make Park look more sympathetic.)
House eventually realizes what is wrong with Thad and is able to cure him and wake him from his coma only to quickly shove a pen in his face making sure that the company’s move would still happen. House makes a significant amount of money from selling his stock and gives a check to Foreman to hire back Taub and Chase and to give House back his conference room.
“Risky Business” is one of the better episodes so far this season. The real reward, though, comes when House, finally figures out why Adams was late that morning. The result is a wonderful scene that shows us once again why we love “House” and House so much.