In “House” Season 7 Episode 6 “Office Politics,” Cuddy finally puts her foot down and forces House to hire a female for his team. In this case, she is Martha Masters, a prodigy med student who graduated from high school at 15.
The better is that House will eat her alive. Spoilers follow.
The patient this week is one Joe Dugan, a political consultant for Senator Joe Anderson, Republican of New Jersey. Dugan was screening a proposed ad for his client that hit upon the threat of illegal aliens that would make Tom Tancredo seem subtle. Anderson, no fool, was somewhat reluctant to run the ad. But then Dugan developed bigger problems when a rash sends him to the hospital and hence to the tender mercies of Gregory House.
At first Masters is somewhat intimidated by House, as any young woman, introverted and smart, would be. But she has a quality besides genius that House and his entire team lack. That quality is ethics, which means she won’t do what Taub, Foreman, and Chase do on a regular basis, which is to break into peoples’ houses and lie to patients. This attitude sends House up the wall; he has no understanding of someone who will not lie or do other bad things, even if it is for the greater good, at least as he sees it. Cuddy is working something subtle here, sending House someone who is as smart as he is but in many ways his polar opposite.
Dugan’s symptoms progress from his liver to his kidneys, with bouts of paralysis along the way, which at first suggests food poisoning, then after the usual false starts, hepatitis C. How a man who is not gay and is not a heroin addict gets that is a mystery, until they discover that he and the Senator share a vice that involves a straw and white powder.
Masters’ refusal to compromise on her ethics irritates House so much that he winds up firing her several times. Her undoubted skills as a diagnostician lead him to hire her several times. This annoys her, though this is standard operating procedure for House, so if she wants to work for him, she had better get used to it.
Finally, they hit upon a way to treat the hep c, which is to give Dugan hep a. The idea is that the hep a will produce enough antibodies that will also cure the hep c. The downside is that the patient has an 85 percent chance of dying which, oddly enough, is better that the hundred percent chance of dying he has by not being treated.
Masters insists that Dugan be told, even though House’s instinct is to lie to him. Dugan, a man who can do math, decides to do the treatment. House, by the way, has to lie to Cuddy to get approval for the treatment, which she eventually finds out. The look on her face suggests that he will be sleeping on the couch for a while-at best.
Dugan is cured. However Senator Anderson, his client, throws him under the bus. Anderson leaks the anti-illegal immigration commercial, which has the effect of shoring up his conservative base. Then he denounces the leak and fires Dugan for it in order to mollify his Hispanic constituents. He wins the election thus. Dugan, far from being resentful, appreciates the strategy and even admires his now-former client for using it. Politics can bring out the strangest behavior in people.
And it seems that Masters is now officially part of the team. House admires her for standing up to him and for being smart. That is not to say he will ever cut her slack or stop playing games. He would not be House otherwise.
Source: House, Office Politics, TV.Rage