Under My Skin (House)

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"Under My Skin"
House episode
Episode no.Season 5
Episode 23
Directed byDavid Straiton
Written byLawrence Kaplow
Pamela Davis
Original air dateMay 4, 2009
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"House Divided"
Next →
"Both Sides Now"
House (season 5)
List of House episodes

"Under My Skin" is the twenty-third episode of the fifth season of House, which aired on May 4, 2009.


House and the team are given the challenge of diagnosing a ballerina, Penelope (Jamie Tisdale) whose lungs collapse during rehearsal. Initially apprehensive over the prospect of never dancing again, the ballerina faces an even more grim possibility when the treatment causes her skin to fall off. House must solve this daunting puzzle, even while going to extreme measures to rid himself of his continuing hallucinations of Amber.

Meanwhile, Cameron informs Chase that she wishes to keep her dead husband's sperm, which they had frozen before his death. She explains that while she wants to marry Chase, the future is uncertain, and she wants to retain her "insurance policy" in case things go wrong. Chase is affronted, responding that he is certain of their future, and does not like the idea of her having a backup plan for their marriage. He indefinitely postpones their marriage until Cameron feels the same way.

House confides in Wilson about his problem, and they create a list of potential diagnoses, ranging from MS to schizophrenia. While House tests for and eliminates diagnosis after diagnosis, Wilson consults on House's case, serving as a monitor to make sure House does nothing that goes beyond "House-radical" to "House-out-of-his-head-radical". Meanwhile, House eliminates all possible diagnoses but severe mental illness and Vicodin addiction—both prognoses bleak, as House would be unable to practice medicine if taking anti-psychotics, or if in continuous pain after detox. In desperation, House gives himself insulin shock as an alternative to anti-psych drugs or ECT. After recovering from the insulin-induced coma, House finds himself free of his hallucination and eagerly returns to the diagnosis of his patient.

Returning to the case, House finds Penelope's boyfriend's devotion suspicious, and believing it to be guilt-induced, tells his team to test him for gonorrhea. The test returns positive, but it becomes evident that the boyfriend was shocked by this, and that Penelope had been cheating on him, not the other way around. As House realizes that he reached the correct conclusion by accident rather than through accurate observation, he once again starts to have hallucinations of Amber.

This leaves House's Vicodin addiction as the final diagnosis for his hallucinations. Rather than go to a clinic or check into the hospital under a pseudonym, House reveals his situation to Cuddy and asks her to personally help him, because she won't let him get away with anything, she knows him.

Cuddy spends the night at House's home, destroying any caches of Vicodin and monitoring him as he detoxes, with Amber eventually disappearing. While they talk she reveals that back in medical school she audited a class he was in, just because she thought he was an 'always an interesting lunatic.' As she is at the door to leave, he stares at her. She smiles, 'You want to kiss me don't you?' He hesitates, but then confesses in a very un-House-like manner that he always wants to kiss her. The episode ends with House and Cuddy kissing passionately and disrobing.


  • The piece played during the ballet scene is "String Quartet No.2 (Company): II" by Philip Glass.
  • The song played in the restaurant is M. Ward's "Never Had Nobody Like You".
  • The song Amber sings is "Enjoy Yourself".
  • The song that plays at the end of the episode when Chase and Cameron have their conversation is Dawn Landes' "Drive".

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