Open and Shut (House)

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"Open and Shut"
House episode
Episode no.Season 6
Episode 19
Directed byGreg Yaitanes
Written byLiz Friedman
Sara Hess
Original air dateApril 26, 2010
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"Knight Fall"
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"The Choice"
House (season 6)
List of House episodes

"Open and Shut" is the nineteenth episode of the sixth season of the American medical drama House and it is the 128th episode overall. It is directed by Greg Yaitanes and written by Liz Friedman and Sara Hess. It originally aired on April 26, 2010.

House and the team treat a woman (Sarah Wayne Callies) in an open marriage.


Julia, a 35-year-old mother, suddenly feels fever and a strong abdominal pain after a slightly awkward encounter with both her husband, Tom, and her other sexual partner, Damian.

As soon as the team starts the differential diagnosis, the patient's open marriage becomes a major discussion topic, with many varying opinions being present. This proves to be so intriguing to House that he sets out to conduct the first diagnostic test himself. During the test, Julia adamantly claims that they are a perfectly fine and happy couple.

As a contrast to the patient's sex life, we see Taub subtly flirting with Maya, a nurse who works in the hospital. He is immediately confronted by Thirteen about this, but claims that he is doing nothing wrong. House decides to confront him with the patient and makes him conduct a night-long test, also keeping him from going home. Julia still holds on to her opinion, going so far as to claim that the openness of their marriage allows them to be happy. During the test, the patient shows a new symptom: arrythmia. At this point, a parasite is the leading theory, making it necessary for the team to question both Julia and Tom regarding their sex life, leading to a rather surprising discovery: Tom does not have sex with any other women. He claims that he is doing this for Julia and compares it to other mundane activities (going to a concert with one's spouse even though one hates the music) that one does just to make one's partner happy. House immediately concludes that he is lying and that Tom is somehow betraying his wife, not necessarily sexually, to even the score.

Taub has dinner with his wife, Rachel, who becomes suspicious when he casually mentions that his current patient is in an open marriage. Her first thought is that he is cheating on her (again), partly due to the recent night that he spent away from home (doing the diagnostic test). Taub is completely honest, mentioning Maya, who people say is attracted to him, but saying that he is not having an affair with her. He shortly thereafter leaves after he is called on his pager, with Rachel disapproving.

In the next scene, House deduces that Taub spent the night in the hospital, and he admits to it. Taub later talks to Thirteen who advises him to let himself go and enjoy the part of him that wants to have sex with more women.

Cuddy confronts House with a yet unknown detail: that Julia does not have health insurance. This leads to the revelation that she and Tom are behind on their premiums, caused by him losing a lot of money, including all of their savings, confirming House's theory that he was somehow betraying her. Julia sends Tom home.

Taub arrives home after staying at work for another night. Rachel says that the part that bothered her the most earlier was not the fact that he had had sex with another woman, but the fact that he had lied so many times to cover it up. She says that she does not want that to happen again, that she loves him and truly believes that he loves her. She allows him to have an affair, with strict limitations, believing that this is her only option if she wants the marriage to stay whole.

The next morning, House immediately deduces what has happened. The team spend some time talking about this. They quickly go back to treating the patient, but continue discussing the issue even while conducting a surgery. Taub claims that he would not mind his wife also having an affair, saying he'd rather be jealous than a liar.

Right after the surgery, Taub gets paged. He goes to the parking lot where a tearful Rachel apologetically takes back what she had said earlier, saying that all she could help but think all day about him being intimate with another woman and wouldn't be able to stand it. Taub reassures her that nothing happened and that all he needs is her, and goes home with her, relinquishing his "license" to date other women.

Thirteen and Julia have another talk. Thirteen reveals to her that Tom has not actually slept with any other woman in the past year, and has lied to her in order to not make her feel bad. This leads to her calling Tom back. He brings flowers, which are from their personal garden. This new bit of information leads to House developing a new theory, Henoch–Schönlein purpura as a result of a bee sting, which proves to be correct.

In parallel to the patient-related plot, Wilson's relationship to his ex-wife Sam continues to develop. Early in the episode, House points out to Wilson that she has left the milk in the door of the fridge instead of in the main body, something Wilson hates. Later, Wilson observes that there are seemingly quite a lot of tiny details around the house to which Sam does not pay attention (placing dishes in the washer improperly, throwing banana peels in the bedroom trash can). He confronts her regarding this, and they conclude that, while Sam was guilty of some of those things, it was mainly House who made it seem like that. Still, this eventually leads to a much bigger argument wherein they both mention details from their past marriage, and that culminates with Wilson calling Sam "a selfish bitch".

Wilson talks to House and accuses him of ruining his relationship with Sam. House, while telling him that he is sorry, denies that his actions had any effect, claiming that if his tiny disturbances have destroyed the relationship, it would have crumbled anyway. Towards the end of the episode, Wilson and Sam reconcile. They both acknowledge that they have changed in the years since they met. They wish they had this argument many years ago, believing it would have saved their marriage. They agree not to let House know about the effect he has had. He figures it out by himself though, and says "you can thank me later" the next time he sees them. As the episode ends, House is seen glancing over at Sam and Wilson, who are laughing and playing a game of poker, and furtively places the milk back into the door of the fridge.

In the final scene of the episode, Taub encounters Maya in the parking ramp by chance, and assists her in loading a cumbersome box into her trunk. Taub ultimately succumbs to his desire for an affair, and is shown kissing Maya and getting in her car to "go somewhere".


The song playing during the ending scene is "The Way That You Want Me" by Jude.

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