Wednesday, October 22, 2008

House: “Lucky Thirteen” Unlucky In Love

In this episode of House, “Lucky Thirteen” was almost as if the viewers were walking into a Dr. Greg House fantasy. At least, it seemed that way for Greg House (Hugh Laurie). It also seemed to bring back some normalcy between House and Dr. Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard.) Here’s what happened:

The patient of the week happens to be a one night stand, female lover of Dr. Hadley (Olivia Wilde) – who House refers to as “Thirteen” from her days of trying out for her current job. House probably wishes that his private investigator friend Lucas (Michael Weston) was stalking Thirteen when she brought over a lover that night. He would have enjoyed the pictures. But the situation wasn’t so enjoyable for Dr. Hadley, when her companion – whose name she didn’t know – has a seizure. Making matters worse, the woman had also been taking ecstasy with alcohol.

To make a long story short, the woman with Dr. Hadley, whose name I don’t think was ever revealed in the episode (she was played by Helena Barrett), goes through a whole host of treatments at the hands of House and his staff. Of course, the show can’t seem to get away from House and his gang taking educated guesses about what is wrong with the patients. At one point, he speculates the patient was a drug user, which annoys Thirteen. In fact, Thirteen seems to want to rule out many issues as not being diagnostically relevant. In typical House fashion, he also makes several sexual innuendo-laden comments (example: his "huge, throbbing ... diagnostic skills") during the differentials and some of the tests. House also seemed utterly thrilled to find an excuse to snoop through Thirteen’s apartment.

Dr. Hadley gets a rude awakening when her one night stand rates her as a 7, and also when she finds out that the woman sought out Hadley in order to get in to see House for her previous medical problems. Hadley seems unaffected. and tells her that she didn’t expect to see her again anyway. Still, when the team determines (of course, incorrectly) that the patient will die from what they think is wrong with her, Hadley determines that she, not House, should be the one to break the news to the patient. And she does so with what seems to be genuine care and concern. This may be because she knows her own disease – Huntington’s – is more advanced than she originally thought, and her own time may be short. This is also why Hadley seems to be engaging in somewhat risky behavior, and she tells Forman (Omar Epps) that having sex with strangers was her way of having some fun, that she’s "cramming as much life into my life as I can."

To make matters worse for Hadley, Dr. Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein) catches her giving herself an IV. Cuddy wants Hadley drug tested, but oddly, House defends Thirteen and takes her out of Cuddy’s office, leaving Cuddy to smolder. But, House says he did that only so he could fire her. He said he did so to save her from a drug test, which would have killed her career, and adding he’s "already taking responsibility for one doctor with a drug habit," popping a couple of Vicodin in the process.

House is also glad that Dr. Wilson has returned to his job, so glad that he played a prank on him and then laid in wait to see how it turned out. When he doesn’t seem to get the complete reaction he wanted from Wilson, he decides to have his PI Lucas look into what Wilson had been up to lately. During the course of their spying on Wilson, they see what looks like a prostitute enter Wilson’s apartment. The PI also thinks he’s hit pay dirt when he hands House a bag of Wilson's trash, which had some used syringes. "He's using," the PI concluded. House, happy, walked into Wilson's office and praised him for his craftiness. He knows that the syringes and the prostitute were made up because Wilson knew that House was having him watched. Wilson's prank may mean he's back to normal. House is even more impressed that Wilson invoked Amber's name in his elaborate deception. But, House still didn’t get the answer as to where Wilson was that morning. Knowing House would not let up on the surveillance, told House to be outside his house at 8 o'clock that night.

House later noticed that Thirteen's lips were cracked and concluded that the patient was suffering from Sjögren's syndrome, an autoimmune disease that causes tears and saliva production to dry up. It also made her mouth vulnerable to a yeast infection, which she had passed to Thirteen. Sjögren's syndrome also explained the patient's other symptoms, including the lung cysts. It also meant that the patient was no longer going to die. Of course, later, House un-fires Hadley.

House followed Wilson that night they were supposed to meet. He finds Wilson at a baby store where he and Cuddy was shopping for a crib. Cuddy reveals that she is adopting a baby and used Wilson as a character reference - that’s where Wilson was that morning. House looked stunned by the news. Cuddy asked if he was going to congratulate her, he responded, "If you're happy, I'm..." and he left the store.

Later, we see Hadley back at home, and she’s hooked up with another strange woman.

In this episode, the patient’s problem was not really the central focus. That’s usually the way it’s been with the show as of late. This was perfectly OK to me. The issue wasn’t the patient; it was Dr. Hadley and her own illness and her resulting behaviors. The whole woman-to-woman affair did seem rather gratuitous though. As I said before, it was as if we were walking into one of House’s fantasies, and he seemed to be enjoying it that way. In some way, I found the whole scenario just a little too forced. But, that may be because I just don’t care for Thirteen/Hadley. I was very disappointed when House rehired her. She seems to be overly depressing, and I don’t think it’s just her illness. Are they also making her character look shabby, maybe to make it seem like she doesn’t care about her appearance pr her own life. Maybe it’s just me, bit with her hair plastered to her head, it looks dirty and it makes her head look immense. Her appearance is actually a distraction to me and to the story.

The episode did seem nice to have some of the House/Wilson playfulness back. But the PI guy has got to go. His presence and his whole premise for being there is ludicrous. And frankly, it takes away from the House’s edginess. I also think the show is suffering from two many supporting doctors. Hadley got all the attention in this episode, but it seems that everyone else is fading into the woodwork. I find myself wishing that they would just cut some of them loose – maybe Cameron (Jennifer Morrison) and Chase (Jesse Spencer) as it seems their story lines have run their course.

Somehow, the show needs to get the drama back. It reminds me in a way of what happened to the USA Network Show Monk – when it first came out it focused on the drama, and now seems to be more of a comedy. (I stopped watching Monk long ago.) I hope House doesn’t go the same way, but it seems to be headed in that direction. Don’t get me wrong, I like the show and watch it because Hugh Laurie does such a fantastic job as Greg House, and he has a solid (but overstaffed) supporting cast. They need to get rid of the silly distractions – the PI for starters - and try to make House less of a comic character. I want his edge back, I want the drama back.

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Music Wench said...

Caught part of this but am still not able to reconnect with House. I did see a preview where it looks like he and Cuddy will kiss? Please dear God I don't want to see House trying to play daddy to Cuddy's newly adopted child. Sorry, just thinking out loud.

I did want to ask if you've watched Life on Mars? I looked for a review but didn't see one - but I'm kind of blind sometimes.

I Like to Watch TV said...

I can't stand the whole House/Cuddy thing and I agree with you, I wouldn't want House involved with her kid.

I haven' watched Life on Mars yet. I started to watch Eleveth Hour and hated it, didn't like ER, so I guess my Thursday 10 PM time slot can now handle a new show. But something about the premise of the show seems so silly that I can't bring myself to watch it...yet!

samfan said...

I agree with you, the PI has to go. I am just so happy that Wilson is back. They need to do something with House's army of docs. Get rid of a few of them, the choice you made Cameron and Chase would be perfect, because I can't stand Cameron. Great review.