"House M.D." Massage Therapy (TV Episode 2010) - Plot Summary Poster

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  • When a patient named Margaret McPherson is admitted to Princeton Plainsboro after suffering severe and uncontrollable vomiting, House and the team make unexpected discoveries about her identity as they assess her symptoms. When the symptoms don't improve, the team looks to the patient's medical history to unearth more about her past. Meanwhile, House gives Chase's new hire a cold welcome, and a visit from House's massage therapist forces House and Cuddy to confront the reservations in their relationship.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • A young woman is home alone. She hears a noise, notices the front door was open and calls her husband who is a few blocks away. It turns out to be nothing but the wind, but when she runs into her husband downstairs, she begins projectile vomiting.

    House (Hugh Laurie) is introduced to Kelly Benedict (Vinessa Shaw), the new fellow Chase (Jesse Spencer) hired. Not surprisingly House doesn't give her a warm reception. A few ideas are tossed around about our vomiting 30-year old, one of which is lead poisoning.

    House tells Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) he and Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein) aren't spending the night together at her place and he isn't spending any time with Cuddy's daughter yet.

    While working on Margaret (Erin Cahill), the vomiting woman , Chase assures Kelly not to worry about the cool reception she got from House and Foreman (Omar Epps). They notice multiple broken ribs, something she never told the doctors about.

    At Margaret's house, Foreman denies having lasting feeling for the departed Thirteen (Olivia Wilde). They find a credit card receipt from a lunch Margaret never mentioned.

    Margaret tells the docs the lunch was an honest mistake and the fractures are a decade old.

    House is less than romantic the next time Cuddy leaves his place. As she leaves, an attractive blonde masseuse is arriving.

    Doing research into her past histories, Kelly finds Margaret is using the social security number of a woman born in the 1940s. Cut to Margaret seizing with a heart attack and being worked on by the whole team.

    Margaret wakes up to House asking who she is. She tells her current husband that five years she was married to an abusive man. She left him, but he found her, stalked her and poisoned her dog. She took a dead woman's identity to escape the man (named Carl). She tells them her real name is Jenny.

    House grills Kelly for answers about Jenny's dueling stomach/heart issues. She doesn't come up with anything. House suggests perhaps the ex used the poison he killed the dog with on Jenny.

    Foreman isn't convinced Kelly is talented enough to work with them. He thinks Chase wants to sleep with her.

    Jenny's husband is upset she never told him about the abusive ex. He leaves her room.

    Cuddy asks about the masseuse. House says she is a hooker he is used to get "happy endings" from. After going through 15 different massage therapists, this is the only one he likes. Cuddy says she won't see him any more unless he stops seeing the hooker/masseuse.

    Chase learns from Kelly she was not, in fact, the lead editor for the paper at her medical school. She asks if he's regretting hiring her but he says no. Chase gets a page. Jenny's current husband was just admitted to the ER.

    House tells Wilson the hooker/masseuse issue will set a principle for the entire relationship. Wilson thinks he needs to make this sacrifice to save the relationship.

    Jenny's husband (whose face has been beaten thoroughly) tells the docs he found a guy named Carl in Jenny's address book and went to see him. When Carl denied everything, the husband got upset and then got his butt whooped. Carl is not pressing charges, but Kelly thinks the husband should. Carl said he was just a guy Jenny used to work with.

    Jenny's temperature begins to spike.

    House shows a picture of Chase's mother on a projector and suggests the similarity in appearance to Kelly is why he hired her. Kelly mentions Legionnaires' Disease. House decides they should look into it. Foreman figures out Chase actually came up with the Legionnaires' Disease idea during prep.

    In the hallway, Chase wants to know why Foreman is so fired-up about Kelly being unqualified. He guesses Foreman is picking on her because he's scared to take on House.

    House hires an attractive man to give Cuddy a massage. She tries to get out of it but ends up getting the massage. During the massage, she figures out he is a male prostitute.

    Kelly is stressed-out and tells Chase she's considering quitting. Chase counters she should lean on her background in psychiatry.

    The husband tells Kelly he found out the abuse counseling center in Trenton Jenny had gone to is nonexistent. He's worried she could be lying about any number of things, but Kelly tells him to relax for the time being.

    House tells Cuddy he isn't bothered by a male hooker giving her a massage and she should treat him the same way. She points out the difference in the situation and wonders whether this is House's way of sabotaging the relationship. House responds - she should invite him over and introduce him to her daughter. She says she wants to protect her daughter and this makes House think she's holding back.

    When Jenny wakes up, he calmly asks her about the lies. During this conversation she begins to hallucinate, seeing flames and snakes all over the room.

    We see House waking up alone.

    The docs assume whatever is happening has hit Jenny's brain. Kelly is the only one to suggest these latest symptoms could be unrelated, simply the first sings of mental illness. House orders a biopsy.

    During surgery, Jenny's temperature breaks. House talks with Kelly, Taub (Peter Jacobson) and Chase and we realize her temperature could have been gone since the day before and she hasn't thrown up since being admitted. House goes to the OR and turns off Kelly's pacemaker. Nothing happens. All that's left are the delusions. Kelly wonders if maybe they were prompted by the physical symptoms. House thinks it was just the opposite and orders several treatments.

    House talks to the still-hallucinating Jenny. He walks through all of her lies (former husband, treatments, etc.) and has her admit to her husband that she has schizophrenia. On his way out of the room, House makes a crack about Kelly not being able to figure this out from the beginning.

    Jenny's husband goes to House and tells him he thinks it may be too hard to live with her now. "It's always hard," House says.

    In the elevator, Chase tells House he should probably get rid of Kelly. House disagrees, since she was the only one to get him to the right answer.

    House agrees he will stop seeing his hooker/masseuse. She invites him over.

    Chase finds Kelly packing up her stuff to quit. She is going to leave, but asks him out.

    House, Cuddy and her daughter have dinner together. "Aren't you adorable," he says to her when Cuddy leaves the room.

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