Season 3 Episode 2

Cane & Able

Aired Monday 9:00 PM Sep 12, 2006 on FOX
out of 10
User Rating
779 votes

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Episode Summary

House and the team treat a young boy who claims there is a tracking device in his neck and believes he has been the subject of alien experimentation. Cameron is outraged when she learns Cuddy and Wilson have been lying to House about the diagnosis on his previous case.moreless

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  • A missed opportunity for a season long sub-plot/arc.

    The writers/producers missed an outstanding opportunity for a season long sub-plot revolving around House's confidence.

    This episode winds up the story line started last season about House's confidence and leg pain. This aspect of House, while painful to watch, is interesting and allows the character and show to develop beyond the same cookie cutter storylines. Yet, we see the same House and possibility of the same storylines when House picks up his cane.

    A season long arc/plot would allow for some serious changes, multiple cliff hangers, and unique excitement during the season. The plot could be in three parts:

    1) During the first half of the season, Wilson and Cuddy allow House's confidence to fall. While getting dangerously low, they tell themselves it is for his best. They ignore and suppress the warnings of House's staff.

    Through out all these episodes one of his staff members keeps trying to raise his confidence.

    2) Half way through the season, a two part episode occurs where House decides to retire. These episodes give the show a chance to take a short break for (say) the winter holidays.

    At the end of the first part, House begins his retirement. We see him leave the hospital and see his first days of retirement are fun.

    In the second part, Wilson and Cuddy call on an old mentor of House to help them get House back to work. The mentor gives us additional House character development opportunities, now and in parts three of the arc. Appalled by Wilson and Cuddy's action, but keeping it to himself, he agrees to help. He turns to House for help in a case that has been stumping him for awhile and isn't made up just for House. Cuddy and Wilson aren’t sure because House might fail to find the cure. The mentor says House would see through that trick and he won’t trick House.

    House agrees to help as a favor and because he feels obligated. The mentor has the patient come to House's hospital and the saving of two lives begins.

    His mentor gets the old House to come back to life through an interesting case, his own codgity teaching, and getting House to hear the truth from Wilson and Cuddy.

    At the end of the second part, House comes back to medicine with a renewed vigor and confidence. He asks his mentor, though, for a job as he won't work at this place again. He leaves and only takes the staff member who was trying to tell him the truth.

    3) The remainder of the season is House working somewhere else. The mentor agrees to help Wilson and Cuddy to get House to come back as long as they agree to always support House. They must change their own character or he won’t help. Showing remorse and a willingness to change, they agree.

    The "old" gang and his mentor find ways to involve House and show him he wants to be “the big fish in the big pond.” Over time House realizes he needs to get out from under his mentor's wing again.

    At the end of the season House announces he is taking a job with the Mayo Clinic or John Hopkins as the chief of diagnostic medicine. Wilson, Cuddy, his old staff, and his mentor come up with a proposal so he’ll come back to the old gang. House realizes what they are up to and decides to extract his pound of flesh and quart of blood (interest) from Wilson and Cuddy. Not announcing his decision at the end of season, House leaves the viewers with another cliff hanger. There would be clues, though, that House will return to his home (for a price – see above). Vice-chairman of the board House has a good ring to it doesn’t it? He asks his mentor as they walk into House’s home. Fade to black and next season.moreless
  • this was a good ep

    in this ep of the show house cuddie and willson are tring to keep the lie to themselves about the case doctor house worked on last and they get a boy that thinks aliens have been in his system and installed a tracking device and they working on the case and they come a cross a metal in his neck and then come cross strange dna she finds out that they lied to house and she wants them to tell him and turns out about the case the kid had a second person inside him and they got rid of it this was a good epmoreless
  • House and co. take on the case of Clancy, a young boy who is certain that he is being watched by aliens. Although the team are certain that these sightings are just hallucinations, they can find no explanation for them.moreless

    This episode was, in my opinion, absolutely fantastic. The writers dared to stray away from what was expected in terms of plot line, and it really paid off. In this episode, we see House and his team take on the case of a young boy who believes he is being watched by aliens and apparently 'sees' them constantly. Whilst House is determined to find some rational explanation for what the boy is seeing, Chase can't help but think there may be some truth to the story. When we finally discover what is causing the hallucinations, it is a shocking and wonderful diagnosis. A few scenes really stuck out for me, for example: where Chase finds Clancy in the bathroom gouging a hole in his neck. Even though you knew that there were no aliens, when they found that chip... *shudders*. I was very impressed with Cameron's performance, because I like seeing her stick up for what she believes in and this was no different. Although it is true that sometimes her emotions and believes can hinder her ability as a doctor, she used this to her advantage in the episode and it made her, for me, thoroughly likeable.

    I really have to applaud both the writers and the actors for handling the sci-fi aspect so well. I was worried that it was just going to look cheesy and compeltely unrealistic, but although it was a more fantastical storyline, it still kept the foundations that make House such an amazing medical drama. Some brilliant lines from both Chase and House, with particular mention going to Chase's pathetic attempt at back talk: "Hey Foreman, yo mamma's so fat, when her beeper goes off people think she's backin off." Truly terrible but it still made me burst out laughing. Also, House's line: "I could smell what the Rock was cooking." ended me. It was so random, and yet it just fitted so well! Kudos Hugh Laurie. All in all, an episode that stands out on it's own because it dares to be different. It was good to see the medical drama do something which could be risky, and still pull it off. Well done.moreless
  • Classic House.

    This episode was brilliant. The case, although a little weird, was interesting enough with the theories of false DNA and the twin living inside of him. I guess it was pretty obvious he WASN'T being abducted, but the twists and turns of the case made it more believable.

    I thought Chase's reactions to the whole episode were hilarious, especially with House's quip "You are believer, aren't you?". I think Chase has begun really growing into his own character now, and he always seems to get on with the younger parents.

    The case was balanced out with good drama as House's leg pain begins to worsen. When Cameron discovers he actually cured his last patient, we see her show her affection for House by confronting Wilson and Cuddy. Cameron's character can be annoying at times, but in this episode she was quite noble. I loved House and Wilson's discussion at the end, and to get more explanation into why Wilson did what he did- he was trying to protect his friend. It was so sad seeing House pick up his cain again after a brief glimpse of life without it.

    Overall, a very decent episode, much better than the occasionally slow Season premiere- brilliant.moreless
  • "You're a believer, aren't you?"....

    Plot: A young boy named Clancy hallucinates and is convinced that he has alien implants and that they are permanently out to get him.

    Why you need to see this episode: The writing team really did a number on "Cane & Able" - the episode has one of the most interesting cases of season three and the entire House M.D. series. Aliens are not usually a cause of someone's disease in the show but, because of the nature of the unexplainable illness and Chase's own belief in UFOs, even the audience begins to wonder if aliens are behind what is killing Clancy.

    Also making this episode great and interesting is the story arcs continued from the previous episode "Meaning" that deal with the state of House's leg and the secret that Cuddy and Wilson are hiding from House - and the struggles House goes through because of both of those things.moreless
Hugh Laurie

Hugh Laurie

Dr. Gregory House

Jennifer Morrison

Jennifer Morrison

Dr. Allison Cameron

Jesse Spencer

Jesse Spencer

Dr. Robert Chase

Lisa Edelstein

Lisa Edelstein

Dr. Lisa Cuddy

Omar Epps

Omar Epps

Dr. Eric Foreman

Robert Sean Leonard

Robert Sean Leonard

Dr. James Wilson

Edward Edwards

Edward Edwards


Guest Star

Skyler Gisondo

Skyler Gisondo


Guest Star

Sheryl Lee

Sheryl Lee


Guest Star

Stephanie Venditto

Stephanie Venditto

Nurse Brenda

Recurring Role

Bobbin Bergstrom

Bobbin Bergstrom


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • Cameron suggests they make an antibody to a protein on the surface of the "alien" cells so that they can tag them for the PET scan. No problem there, monoclonal antibodies are widely used for purposes such as these ... but generating, screening, purifying and labeling a new antibody is a process that takes around six months at the very least. The show seems to suggest this only took days at most.

    • When House asks Cameron to put her diagnosis in the form of a metaphor she talks about making nerves 'light up like lightbulbs'. This is a simile not a metaphor.

    • When he goes into the machine that looks for the tagged proteins, Clancy goes in head-first. However, the computer shows Clancy's results feet-first.

  • QUOTES (27)

    • House: Unfortunately, his brother is... like a bad doubles partner. Guy just takes up space, gets in the way. Clancy's body thinks he's gonna put away the easy winners; his brother just keeps swinging balls into the net. We have to get him off the court.
      Stephanie: So does that mean you can find the bad cells in his brain or not?
      House: Sure, abandon the metaphor, fine.

    • House: Either you screwed up the test, or I screwed up my analysis of this case. If you screwed up I don't have to cry myself to sleep.

    • Dr. Cameron: Maybe he cheated.
      Dr. Chase: Right. Kids always cheat on their bleeding time tests.
      House: She was being metaphorical. Trying to sound like me. I have no idea what you meant, but I could smell what the Rock was cooking.

    • House: Anybody watch any X-Files that inspired an explanation?
      Dr. Foreman: There are ways DNA could become mutated. Extreme UV radiation.
      House: That much sun, he'd be dying with a healthy bronze glow.

    • Clancy: So I am kind of weird?
      Dr. Chase: We're all kind of weird.

    • Dr. Cameron: Is your leg hurting?
      House: Is that question helping?
      Dr. Cameron: You're leaning.
      House: You're sitting.
      Dr. Cameron: You're evading.

    • Dr. Cuddy: We need another plan.
      Dr. Wilson: Don't talk about it that way.
      Dr. Cuddy: What way?
      Dr. Wilson: Plan. Sounds like we're conspiring against him.

    • House: So... you're saying Chase did screw up.
      Dr. Chase: Or Foreman screwed up.
      Dr. Foreman: Big hand points the minutes. Maybe you got them mixed up.
      House: Oh... snap!

    • (after Dr. Cameron suggests that the boy has been sexually abused and Dr. Foreman says there is no evidence of that)
      Dr. Chase: I think we should talk to the kid.
      House: Why? In case he's telling the truth? You're a believer, aren't you?
      Dr. Chase: I'm just not arrogant enough to think that of the 50 billion galaxies, hundred billion stars per galaxy and ten million, billion planets in the universe, that we're the only ones with life.
      House: No, but I'm guessing we're the only ones who like shoving things through our backdoors.

    • Dr. Cuddy: If you did your morning run and showered at home, you'd be later than usual.
      House: Thought of you in the shower!

    • House: Is this an intervention? It's a little late since I'm not using drugs anymore. I am however, still hooked on phonics.

    • Dr. Chase: How could I screw up a simple bleeding time test?
      Dr. Foreman: Maybe you were abducted and lost time?

    • House: Why don't I have high-def in my office? I'm the department head!

    • House: So what was the plan? I'd feel so humbled by missing a case, that I'd re-evaluate my entire life, question the nature of truth and goodness, and become Cameron?
      Dr. Wilson: Something like that. More that if we told you the truth, that you'd solved a case based on absolutely no medical proof, you'd think you were God. And...I was worried your wings would melt.
      House: God doesn't limp.

    • Dr. Chase: Hey, Foreman! Your mama's so fat, when her beeper goes off, people thinks she's backing up!
      (awkward silence as everyone stares at Chase)

    • House: The results came back. The lab cannot identify the metal. Said it might not even be terrestrial.
      Dr. Chase: Really?
      House: No, you idiot. It's titanium.

    • House: I know I get worked up when I cut microchip tracking implants out of my neck.

    • House: I need the laser pointer.
      Dr. Cameron: We don't have a laser pointer.
      House: Well why not? Who's going to take us seriously if I don't have a laser pointer?

    • Dr. Cuddy: What's going on with the leg?
      House: First tell me what's going on with the boobs.
      Dr. Cuddy: If you're feeling pain…
      House: They're firmer.
      Dr. Cuddy: It's called an underwire. I want to get a PET scan of your brain.
      House: I think it's hormones.
      Dr. Cuddy: As long as there's no increased activity in the thalamus…
      House: Looks to me like those puppies are going into the dairy business.
      Dr. Cuddy: …then the pain could be good.

    • Dr. Cuddy: You're in denial.
      House: No I'm not! (pause) Oh, you got me.

    • Dr. Cuddy: (about Cameron) She's not nearly as delightful as she thinks she is.

    • Todd: I thought you got it all!
      Dr. Chase: Yeah, yell at me--that'll fix the kid.

    • House: Riding the short bus is better than not breathing.

    • House: (crossing his fingers) Tell me he's a mutant/human hybrid!

    • House: Foreman, you gotta steal this thing for me!
      Foreman: Let me ring up one of the homies.

    • Dr. Chase: House! Clancy has gone missing!
      House: Oh no! You take the Alpha Centauri, Foreman can look on Tattooine, and Cameron can set up an intergalactic checkpoint. Let's pray he hasn't gone into hyperdrive - we'll never catch him.

    • House: So it's a UFO. Unidentified Flowing Orifice.

  • NOTES (3)

  • ALLUSIONS (10)

    • Dr. Cuddy: I gave him one shot of Cortisol and he woke up like Rip Van Winkle.
      This is a reference to the 1819 short story Rip Van Winkle, published by Washington Irving. In the story a man falls asleep, only to wake up 20 years later, not knowing what's been going on for all this time.

    • Title
      Refers to the biblical story of Cain and Abel (Genesis 4:1 through 4:16). They are two brothers, each of whom offers a sacrifice to God. Abel's sacrifice is favored because he gave the best part of what he had and Cain only gave what he had left. Subsequently Cain murders Abel, presumably out of jealousy. Cain is then cursed by God to wander the earth. Cain beseeches God's help, because he is afraid of his fellow people's vengeance. God then puts the Mark of Cain upon him, so that he shall not be killed, for "whomsoever kills Cain, vengeance shall be upon him sevenfold."

    • Wilson: More that if we told you the truth, that you'd solved a case based on absolutely no medical proof, you'd think you were God. And...I was worried your wings would melt.
      This is in reference to the Greek myth about the death of Icarus. His father Daedalus created wax wings so they could escape imprisonment in King Minos' tower. Because of his hubris, Icarus ignored his father's warning about flying too close to the sun, and he fell into the sea when the wax melted.

    • Cameron: Then come up with a cunning plan…
      "Cunning plans" were a staple in another series Hugh Laurie appeared in – Black Adder.

    • House: Tell that to the guys on the Kursk.
      The Kursk was a Russian nuclear submarine which was lost on August 12 2000 when it sank in the Barents Sea. There were no survivors.

    • House: Oh no! You take Alpha Centauri, Foreman can look on Tatooine, and Cameron can set up an intergalactic checkpoint. Let's pray he hasn't gone into hyperdrive – we'll never catch him.
      Tatooine is a reference to a planet in the Star Wars series. The planet happens to be where Anakin Skywalker (Darth Vader) was from.

    • House: I have no idea what you meant, but I could smell what The Rock was cooking.
      Referencing the WWE wrestler and action movie star Dwayne Johnson, best known as The Rock with his phrase, "If ya smell what the Rock is cookin'!"

    • Nurse Brenda: The Artist Formerly Known as Gimp is back upstairs.
      Referencing the singer Prince, although you might also know him as The Artist formerly Known as Prince, or O(+>, or Jamie Starr, but he was born in Minneapolis as Prince Rogers Nelson. A contract dispute with his former record label temporarily prevented him from recording under the name "Prince", so he invented the symbol for "self-referencing". Since no one knew how to pronounce it, people began referring to him as "The Artist Formerly Known As Prince".

    • House: We're going to need a bigger boat.
      Referencing Roy Scheider's famous line in the movie Jaws (1975), when he sees the great white shark for the first time.

    • House: Anybody watch any X-Files that inspire an explanation?
      Referencing the 1993-2002 TV series The X-Files, starring David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson for most of its run. The show dealt with supernatural cases of all sorts, but focus primarily on alien abductions and government cover-ups.