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House: Season 5 - Lucky Thirteen (Review)

Olivia Wilde in House

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4.5 out of 5

INDIELONDON singles out notable episodes from current television series for stand-alone reviews. On this occasion we take a look at the latest episode of House: Season 5 entitled Lucky Thirteen (as aired on Sky1 on Sunday, June 14, 2009).

What’s the story? Thirteen (Olivia Wilde) brings her one-night stand (Angela Gots) to the hospital after the woman has a seizure. However, the woman admits she slept with Thirteen so she could get to House (Hugh Laurie) and have him diagnose her condition. Meanwhile, House continues to pay Lucas (Michael Weston) to spy on Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard).

Was it any good? Hell yes. Lesbianism, grouchiness, surprise revelations, moral complexity… this latest episode of House delivered in spades.

What’s more, it continued to test House’s newfound vulnerability. Having been rocked by the near-loss of his friendship with Wilson, House seems to be more open to human suffering than normal… although there were times he attempted to mask this by becoming even more obnoxious than usual.

His constant badgering of Thirteen once it had been revealed she was bisexual bordered on the abusive… and then turned really nasty once he fired her on the spot for drugs mis-use. Let’s not forget, of course, that Thirteen is going through her own emotional upheaval, having been diagnosed with Parkinson’s.

Yet as self-destructive a path she was taking (complete with late night binges and random sex with attractive women), she needs help; not psychological battering.

House is nothing if not persistent, however, and the tension between them simmered throughout the episode, thereby enabling the viewer to glean fascinating insights into the psychological make-up of both.

Hugh Laurie continues to flirt with audience sympathy as the grouchy doc. We know he cares… but sometimes wish he’d show it more. Olivia Wilde, meanwhile, continues to come into her own as Thirteen… growing in confidence all the time in her dealings with House, yet quietly in despair over her illness.

If her scenes with Laurie were super-charged and volatile, her moments with both Angela Gots’ one night stand and Omar Epps’ Dr Foreman were extremely poignant and tender. It’s an interesting story arc that’s being developed in riveting fashion.

Fun, too, is the ongoing tetchiness and brinkmanship between House and Wilson. On this occasion, House continued to employ PI Lucas (superbly played by Michael Weston’s excellent new recurring guest star) to spy on his friend.

It led, inevitably, to a surprise revelation… but not before a screw had been removed from Wilson’s office seat, or Wilson had baited House by pretending to be in a relationship with a prostitute, or was using drugs. It’s a deviant friendship being played to the max by both men.

And then there’s that final revelation… no, not the one that Thirteen is continuing to indulge in random sex with impossibly attractive fellow lesbians even after getting her job back!

No, we’re talking about Dr. Lisa Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein)‘s surprise revelation that she’d been cleared to adopt a child. House’s reaction was typically priceless: “If you’re happy, I’m…. [silence]” Could it be that the good doc has had yet another emotional spanner thrown in his works?

Does he care for Cuddy so much that the only person he envisaged giving her a child was himself? Or does the thought of anyone else’s happiness rile him so much that he’s unable to show joy in the best of situations?

Keep on watching… it’s going to be immense fun finding out!

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