House: "Lucky Thirteen"
B+

House: "Lucky Thirteen"

B+

House

"Lucky Thirteen"

Season 5, Episode 5

So, bisexuals, then. Bisexuals.

Squee!

I was worried about this week. "Birthmarks" was so very, very excellent, and the preview of "Lucky Thirteen" seemed to be selling some kind of Silk Stalkings style fantasy. We accept a certain level of exploitation on our favorite shows (if we didn't, we'd be reading more), but given the struggles House has had with personalizing the new team, reducing 13's situation to pure titillation just to score some easy ratings would be a bad play. As House says, it's "Penthouse Forum meets medical mystery," and intriguing as that sounds, this really isn't the place for it.

Thankfully, "Lucky" isn't really about sex. There are a few intimate scenes between 13 and her one-night-turned-one-week lover, Spencer, but they're honest enough. It's still two physically attractive people doing some photogenic groping, but, as we've come to expect, the characters are more important than their fluids. At least, some of their fluids.

Lots going on tonight. We've got the main case: after sex, a woman named Spencer has a seizure in 13's bed. Cameron gets House involved because that's what Cameron does, and House starts poking around so he can get under 13's skin. He and Foreman take a trip to 13's apartment, and while House is fiddling with inhalers and making deductions based on the lack of sex toys, Foreman finds a some of 13's test results that show her condition is further along then they'd initially believed. 13 isn't dying today, but she doesn't have quite the distance she thought she had; to deal with impending mortality, she's been hitting the clubs and playing Barney with a world of willing women.

Wilson's back to work, and on his first day, House pranks him with a collapsing chair. While on the floor, Wilson finds a donut and coffee waiting for him behind a bookshelf; it's a nice moment, with House getting to play his joke and make a peace offering at the same time. Of course, House is immediately suspicious that Wilson, after claiming he'd had breakfast elsewhere, eats the donut. He calls Lucas back in to do some investigating, but thankfully we're back to the dynamic the two of them had in "Not Cancer." No Cuddy flirting, just a few plot-relevant scenes and then adios.

Back to Spencer–it turns out she's been trying to get House to take her on as a patient for months, even to the point of following 13 to a bar just to ask her some questions. Spencer claims she had no plans of seducing anyone, and it's fairly obvious she's telling the truth. 13 takes it poorly, regardless, but her anger is more like an excuse; Spencer is clearly interested in a relationship, but 13 doesn't want connections, she wants distractions. The fact that a disposable hook-up has now invaded her work space is not what she had mind.

But hey, no worries; because of her apparent downward spiral, House fires 13. It's obviously a ploy on his part–given House's hatred of change, it's doubtful he'd fire her after spending so much time making sure she was right for the job. 13 buys into it, though; she tries a brilliant deduction to get re-hired, saves the patient's life, but still gets the cold shoulder. When House gets test results indicating that Spencer has her own slow-release death sentence, he asks the non-hired 13 to deliver the bad news. Given someone in a near equal situation to her own, 13 starts to bond with her formerly disposable friend. There's some lovey-dovey stuff here that gets a bit much, but at least they're happy.

It's all a little too convenient, though; just like Wilson's stories about a ex-hooker girlfriend are tailor-made to fit both Wilson's weak spots and House's understanding of those weak spots. House goes along with it until Lucas discovers drug paraphernalia in Wilson's trash. It's so obvious a ploy that the whole game falls apart. The big question at the end of last season was how Wilson and House's relationship would change after Amber's death. Initially, it looked like there'd be all sorts of drama and bad feelings, but now that that's largely resolved, the status quo is back, and it's not entirely the status quo as we're used to. Wilson is happier, and the fact that he's willing to play the games–that he enjoys playing them–is a good sign. (House: "You invoked your dead girlfriend's name to sell me." Wilson just smiles.) The two of them are back to the friendship they had in the first two seasons of the show, and it's a lot of fun to watch.

Oh, and that diagnosis that gave 13 a play buddy? Thankfully it's wrong. While 13's problems were more interesting this episode than they've ever been, the mini-arc she went through with the PotW was too easily personalized. If Spencer actually had been terminal, "Lucky" would've collapsed entirely. But she isn't; she's only got Sjogren's Syndrome, an auto-immune disorder that blocks the functioning of her exocrine glands (tears, saliva). With treatment, she'll be right as rain in no time. 13 doesn't take this too well; she tells Foreman she feels "alone," and the last scene of "Lucky" has her back at home, staring at nothing. There's someone else in her bed, but it doesn't matter. She'll be gone soon.

Grade: B+

Stray Observations:

--The Wilson/ House dialogue was great, but I think my favorite exchange was:

House: "People interest me. Conversations don't."

Foreman: "Because conversations go both ways."

Both: "Like Thirteen."

--House on Wilson's bleeding heart: "First wife had a wooden leg. Second was Canadian."

--Cuddy's adopting. And House is–confused. Interesting.