Three Stories –Revealing the Backstory and Disability of House

This is the 21st episode of the first season of House which was aired for the first time on December 21, 2004. It was directed by Paris Barclay and written by David Shore.

In this episode of House, Cuddy wants House to deliver a lecture on diagnostics to the medical students. Despite a hesitation, House finally agrees when let off of clinic duty for a few hours. On his way to the lecture, House finds his ex-girlfriend coming to ask him whether he could treat her husband. After refusing and brushing her off, House heads to the lecture and one of the cases he represents looks very familiar.

In addition to this episode of House being one of the best, it is an important one as far as the development of the character of House and his backstory is concerned. In the previous episodes leading to this one, House easily jokes with Wilson, Cuddy, patients and family. Even while on a date with Cameron, House breaks the news that the reason he believes she likes him is because he is damaged. Inasmuch as there are no clear cut clues to the contrary, it may be logical to conclude that House is past the point where he needs or wants any human connection.

Despite this, the plot changes when Stacy Warner shows up. Stacy is House’s ex-girlfriend and he even confirmed earlier in the series that he is over her. Stacy is beautiful and intelligent. She greets House as Greg and this changes his reaction. His wisecracks all of a sudden disappear and he looks vulnerable. In putting up this defensive look, House has the intention of making Stacy realize that her presence was not welcome and her request would not be granted.

The lecture House delivers tells us more about him. Despite his slow start and reluctance, House is astounding and at every turn, he brings his students on board by deflecting their assumptions and letting them confirm their own biases. The lecture fulfills its desired effect of teaching the students the importance of thinking through initial diagnosis as well as introducing critical issues about medical ethics.

Contrary to what happens in many of the episodes in this series, Three Stories turns the tables. Three patients come to the emergency room with identical cases. One of the patients is the real House and he has tried to conceal as much detail as possible so as to keep everyone guessing. The moment House starts tackling one of the cases personally; it appears he is expressing anger about his own case.

This episode brings to the open other parts of House’s backstory particularly his near death experience, his earlier connections to Cuddy, and the entire story behind his disability. Even with this, no one can tell whether house went into drug addiction before or after the infarction that resulted into his disability.

Three Stories won the Emmy for Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series in 2005 and a Humanitas Prize in 2006.