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TV Preview: Thirteen Returns to House, M.D. for “The Dig”

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She’s baaaack! As most of you are probably already aware, Olivia Wilde returns to the House universe Monday as Remy Hadley (otherwise known as “13”) rejoins House’s (Hugh Laurie) team.

The episode’s usual teaser is replaced with House awaiting 13’sHugh Laurie and Olivia Wilde in "The Dig" Courtesy of Fox Network release from a prison somewhere in New Jersey. He comes prepared, complete with do-it-yourself Martini kit, greeting the newly freed prisoner with a refreshing cocktail, which she hungrily downs.

To more observant fans, the timeline seems at first to be a little wiggy, but it makes more sense when you consider that House and Cuddy get together at the end of last season’s finale (“Help Me”) and the first episode of season seven takes place moments later. (And of course, as you know “time is not a fixed construct,” even in House’s world.) That said, we are reminded that 13 has been gone a year, around the same time House and Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein) got together.

Taking place “a couple of weeks” after House and Cuddy’s breakup, House is still pretty raw. This little side trip with 13 provides House a good distraction and an opportunity to begin to put the pieces back together. 

Although House knows that 13’s been in prison for six months, having plead down to an “overprescribing” charge, he doesn’t know what she really did. What happened during those six months after her disappearance in “Help Me” and her imprisonment months later?

This is the puzzle that House ponders during “The Dig” as he “digs” and probes 13 for clues. “I need to know” what happened, heOlivia Wilde and Hugh Laurie in The Dig, courtesy of Fox Network practically pleads at one point. I can’t tell you what she did (I’ll leave that for you to find out for yourself Monday night). But after the hedonistic bender of “Out of the Chute” and insanity of “Fall From Grace,” a puzzle to solve and a “spud gun” tournament to win may just be with the doctor ordered.

It turns out that 13 won a high school science fair with an experiment in clean combustion (let’s hear it for the geeky girls of the world!). House can use someone like her to beat his archrival at spud gun, who has come in first several years in succession. This side story has some surprises and a lot of fun, but leads to 13’s big reveal. Along the way, there is stop for clothes at Macys, a shared motel room, pie eating (like from a pie shop), and the big tournament.

The patient story is also exceptional this week. The patient has big secret, and it is only by digging into his past and his wife’s belongings that it comes out. The story has a lot of twists and turns, jumping to conclusions and and…digging. Hence the episode’s title.

Foreman (Omar Epps) does some digging of his own, trying to find out what Taub (Peter Jacobson) is up to, as he’s become evasive and secretive about his current love life. The reveal caught me off guard as much as it caught Foreman. Cool.

To me, House’s big adventure away from Princeton, away from Cuddy and Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard)—and away from the sour memories of the past two episodes…er…weeks, does much to rehabilitate him. A puzzle is less self-destructive than leaping from a hotel balcony, taking narcotics, and impulsively getting married (no matter what his motives, which I believe were probably more noble than he’d admit).

It is obvious in his conversations with 13 on their journey to the spud gun contest that House is still hurting a lot from the breakup. This is clear when 13 asks whether Cuddy is still with Lucas Douglas (of course she wouldn’t have known about Cuddy’s relationship with House). House tells her that he has been with her “until a couple of weeks ago,” acknowledging that it was almost their “one year anniversary” so wistfully (bravo to Laurie for that wonderful moment) that you know it hasn’t been far from his mind since they’ve broken up.

House allows himself the luxury of being vulnerable with 13, which then impels her to return the favor, haltingly providing him the clues he needs to figure out what happened to her.

There has always been something interesting going on between House and 13, and I don’t mean romantic or even sexual. He has always been protective or her, kicked her in the pants when she’s needed it. But she has always called him on his guardedness and deflections, certain that there’s something more to House than an irredeemable jerk. And in the end, 13 is correct. Anyone suggesting that House lacks humanity or believes that compassion is simply collateral damage to an incessant need to solve medical puzzles is wrong. Full stop. I’m going to stop here, lest I give away too much.

I will be on a conference call with “Power That Be” David Shore (House’s creator) tomorrow afternoon. I will likely only get in a question or two, but I will be back tomorrow with a full report. Meantime, enjoy the clip.

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About Barbara Barnett

Barbara Barnett is publisher and executive editor of Blogcritics, as well as a noted entertainment writer. Author of Chasing Zebras: The Unofficial Guide to House, M.D., her primary beat is primetime television. But Barbara writes on an everything from film to politics to technology to all things pop culture and spirituality. She is a contributor to the book called Spiritual Pregnancy (Llewellyn Worldwide, January 2014) and has a story in Riverdale Ave Press' new anthology of zombie romance, Still Hungry for your Love. She is hard at work on what she hopes will be her first published novel.
  • fatOlady

    OOOooohhhh! That explains why the guy from TV Guide was wanting HOUSE fans on Twitter to ask quesions about the rest of the season. I bet he will be on the same conference call with David Shore as our own lovely Barbara. Nope, not doing his work for him.

    Barbara thanks for the preview, you made it sound like A LOT of fun. I am actually excited about Monday night now.

  • MusicandHouse

    I’m VERY excited for this episode. I’m glad to hear that the Taub story had some interesting surprises, because from the first time I read the PR for this episode I though that storyline would bring the episode down. PS. LOVE how you clarified the “pie eating” just so there would be no confusion for those of us with dirty minds.
    Hope you get in a question or two to DS tomorrow. I know Anthony Cassio is going to be talking to him as well and has mentioned that he will bring up the “will there or won’t there be a season 8″ debate as well as the fate of RSL. That whole situation is making me really nervous. Hopefully this interview tomorrow will give us some clarity.

  • http://barbarabarnett.wordpress.com barbara barnett

    Yeah, I think the will there or won’t there be a season 8 will come up pretty early as will the RSL/other actors question. My focus will be slightly different.

  • Milagro

    Barbara:

    Since you use the term “archrival” to describe House’s opponent, am I wrong to assume that House has been a regular competitor at this “spud gun” tournament? If so, then I’m a bit surprised since he has always given the impression of being something of a social recluse who barely even leaves his apartment except when dealing with the POTW, Wilson, Cuddy, and/or his assorted vices/addictions/interests.

  • http://barbarabarnett.wordpress.com barbara barnett

    Milagro–He’s never been a total recluse. I imagine that he’s gone to more Monster Truck rallies than we’re aware of; he plays poker (without Wilson), and he may even go listen to music, play chess… Probably all with strangers.

  • Milagro

    Barbara:

    I understand what you’re saying, and I mostly agree with you. It’s just that I’m still trying to comprehend how an obsessive super-genius who turns everything up to 11 cannot hold his own against some young punk in a spud gun tournament.

  • MusicandHouse

    I expected it would be! Your questions about the show always tend to be a bit more insightful/interesting. Perhaps because you are a true fan while many others are not.

  • http://barbarabarnett.wordpress.com barbara barnett

    Milagro–you’ll understand when you see it. I promise.
    MusicandHouse–thanks…

  • fatOlady

    #5 Barbara – That’s what I was thinking. House has a very healthy competitive streak and I could see him doing something like this year after year. It would be in character for him to develope an occasional but “intense” rivalry with someone who had the same interest. I could see House even more invested in the competition if the rival had an “attitude” as as the previews seem to suggest. I imagine just wanting to win against his arrogant young opponent was enough to send him off in search of 13. After all he knew she had the skills to help him win, and that was going to fill so good to his brused ego. And then on top of that he discovered a puzzle with her being in prison…and why? This part of the story sounds really fun.

  • Milagro

    Thanks, Barbara. As long as we get to delve a little deeper into the psyche of our favorite resident misanthrope, as we assuredly will, then I’m along for the ride.

  • @yahnis14

    Barbara! I am almost crying, reading your article, especially when you wrote about Lucas and how HL played in this moment. Just continue to write these amazing articles!
    I hope tomorrow DS will give some hope. I mean about S8 and about Cuddy House relationship coming back in certain time. It’s just so sad to see him in pain with broken heart. And I love this show not because Huddy, because genius and amazing plots and brilliant actors,but House and Cuddy and Wilson they 3 whale on which are standing this show, if one ot them will be out it will ruin all sharm.

  • huddycat

    @yahnis14 I agree with you : House, of course, but Cuddy and Wilson are necessary for the show, if one of them leaves, it will never be the same show that we used to like.
    I hope there’ll be a season 8 to see Huddy back at the end but I’m pretty pessimistic.
    However I really enjoy your preview and I’m impatient to see this new ep, I hope it helps to understand House’s reaction towards Cuddy and the breakup, and how 13 comes back in House’s team

  • vicpei

    Thanks for your input, Barbara. Especially the bit about Lucas. Knowing he was spoken of, I was dreading he could be back…Sadly, despite what you say of House bearing a part of him, I have to kick myself to watch it. I don’t care a little bit about 13, I tried, but…no. I know I will get caught nonetheless by watching Hugh , which is the main (and, I’m afraid the remaining) reason I get to watch.
    I hope DS interview will somehow clean the mess his former interview, the writers’s recent ones and the whole PR recent conduct have created. It may be one of the reasons for this conference. I have read less than happy reports on House, from many different perspectives, recently. I love this show so much that it has really saddened me and I really, really hope David Shore has fresh and interestings facts to tell us.

  • bob

    Although House knows that 13’s been in prison for six months, having plead down to an “overprescribing” charge, he doesn’t know what she really did. What happened during those six months after her disappearance in “Help Me” and her imprisonment months later?

  • Barbara barnett

    Can’t tellnyou that. You’ll have to wait till monday

  • Andreina

    Like most fans I like to read anything about house I can find. I’m sorry I did now because too many spoilers have leaked out.

    I hope I am wrong… but an overprecribing charge leads me to think that she really was invovlved in mercy killing. That her father was probally terminal with some disease and that she helped him die. House would relate to that because he was proud of Cameron when she did the same thing.
    I don’t think that I will read the spoilers anymore. It is far better to be totally involved in the show first hand.
    However I will always read your thoughtful insights in Blog Critics.

  • Lily

    Andreina– I came to the same conclusion. I can’t think of anything else that “excessive prescribing” could possibly implicate that would merit the reactions its getting. But I think at the very least, we couldn’t be totally right about the circumstances surrounding it and hopefully this secret will just be one of many for us to discover.

  • ValentineBaby

    Regarding House’s competitiveness: remember he met Stacy playing paint ball.

  • troyica

    Thanks for the preview, Barbara! I really hope that David Shore tells us something that we haven`t already heard. Lately all I`ve been reading were negative comments from fans and critics alike, and I have to say I agree with them. I think the show`s quality has declined drastically and they`ve created quite a mess out of the show.

    Now for the next episode. I`m not all that fond of 13 and I haven`t missed her during this season, so I`m not exactly jumping up and down from excitement. But after the fiasco of the last 2 episodes, anything that doesn`t involve House sleeping with countless hookers and marrying one is an upgrade. But I have to admit – the next episode sounds kind of intriguing, full of interesting mysteries and adult conversations. I`m looking forward to House opening up and addressing his feelings about the breakup. I`m sure HL`s acting will be brilliant as always and I can`t wait to see that. If I`m being honest, his, LE`s and RSL`s performances are the only thing that keeps me from giving up on the show at this point. I really hope that this episode, unlike many this season, doesn`t make me cringe and I won`t have to force myself to watch it (granted, my expectations are not very high right now).

  • bluehue

    Okay..I’ll be watching “Dig-Dig-Dig” whilst eating my dinner of baked spud & martini with a “twist.” I was really counting on House entering the NJ state pillow fighting championships he seems equally fond of, but then a hoarder potw, fresh out of prison 13 & potato launching does sound promising. Can’t wait to find out for what crime she did the time. Thanks for the restrained sneak peek. LOL.

  • http://barbarabarnett.wordpress.com barbara barnett

    My report on the David Shore conference call

    House, M.D. Creator David Shore Talks Season Eight, Episode 150 and More on Blogcritics.

  • NLP

    OF COURSE she’s coming back! Like many other long-time fans, I hate 13; ergo, they bring her back and give her more boring face time. Two years of not watching, and counting!

  • espejoses

    Basically what you expose does not say anything not said before in other seasons, because he never to wet with any shipers. If anything the only difference is that you no longer qualify as an absolute selfish and a jerk, and talks about the character with certain degree of humanity (which we have always seen.) Of course this contradicts the categorical statements that all have been telling us that House for being such a jerk, he can not be husband material (and therefore in our view a reason very simplistic explanation).
    I think they made a mistake to think that we the viewers want complete happiness for the characters, far from it we have always pensadoo in a complicated relationship, sometimes funny, sometimes sad, moderately happy, not without problems, but yes functional in its dysfunctional way. I think they have underestimated the same hearing in which he is both amazed and proud.
    In any case, their opinions are quite biased and devoid of any hint of what really will come. We are so blind to what is going to give the final.

  • espejoses

    sorry the 23# comment was forhttp://blogcritics.org/video/article/house-md-creator-david-shore-talks/

  • espejoses

    First of all say I’m excited to see the chapter, whether Cuddy not appear in the chapter. To me, the most important is that she is present, it means that it still means a lot but is not there. I want to see the reaction and emotions that are going to show House, about her, and breaking away from their emotional, selfish and childish reation we saw in these two chapters and probably more about House.
    As you think your marriage is something that humanity that we have seen it with strangers and also in some form of back injury to Cuddy. Although I have to also say that given the reation of it (and God through the work of Hugh), ‘only caused him more pain.
    Clearly, as you say he needs to get out, away from its two pillars, they can not help you, nor can be their support for the obvious, but above all a part of him knows that they will face a reality that he also blame. Just as House is inhumane Lisa also has weaknesses, she can not always be the strong person that looks for all, despite what her mother and House want to believe.
    I want to see if your your you have with 13 is the beginning of something positive for himself, or is just a selfish way to solve another
    puzzle.
    For me the sad part is that House can not be opened to the person you love.
    How you’ve rightly said, 13 and we have seen viewers
    That There’s Something More Than House to an irredeemable jerk, so perhaps I’m naive, I refuse to believe that House who struggles and fights for 13, is incapable of fighting for Cuddy.

  • Mercedes

    I can’t wait to see the episode. Personally I think she may have helped someone die. Like a Dr Kavorkian thing. Just a guess, but that’s what I think it is.

  • tahina

    Well regardless of how I feel about the show right now, the truth is I want to see what the final line/scene is all about. Maybe is that tiny ray of light we need to keep going or moving on.

  • wwttff

    @25 – espejoses
    That There’s Something More Than House to an irredeemable jerk, so perhaps I’m naive, I refuse to believe that House who struggles and fights for 13, is incapable of fighting for Cuddy.
    this!

  • Carol Phillips

    I think 13 adds to the show much more than the girl that replaced her. 13 and House have the love/hate connection