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TV Review: House, MD – “Lucky 13”

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I have to admit that I wasn’t particularly looking forward to this episode. After last week’s brilliant “Birthmarks,” featuring a terrific reunion for House and Wilson, important character reveals both for their relationship and for House himself, and that sucker punch of a final scene, I was not so interested in this week’s presumed focus on 13.

I like 13, also known as Dr. Remy Hadley, and I think having a fellow with a dire neurological disease is an interesting plot thread. But the show is called House, after all, and I am most pleased (as are many viewers) when the series is focused on him. So, admittedly, after the network hype, press releases, promos (mental note: must stop watching them!) and previews, I was less than enthusiastic.

That said, I should know better. And trust the writers and show creators to serve up a good episode, if one that lacks the emotional punch I got last week. (Well, they can’t all deliver that sort of a sucker punch.) Episode five of this fifth season of House, MD, “Lucky Thirteen,” addresses life changes, the control (or lack thereof)) we exert over them, and how we deal with them.

In 13’s case, she is dealing with the life altering news that she has active Huntington’s Chorea, an aggressive and ultimately fatal genetic disease. She reacts to her disease by cruising gay bars for women (13 is bisexual), using drugs, and drinking heavily. She tells Foreman that she’s trying to cram as much “living” into her shortened life span as she can. And it’s also clear that her hard-living lifestyle is also designed to let her numb herself to the bleak reality of her mortality. If she’s “having fun,” she can’t think about her impending death. But her crash and burn choices can only hasten the inevitable, something that House sees (and understands all too well).

But when 13 shows up for work late and drunk — something House has said in the past he doesn’t tolerate — House saves her career by not forcing a drug test, but fires her. I don’t think he expects her to go home, but to do exactly what she does — stick around and try to prove that she still can work.

There is much about 13’s situation that resonates with House. Certainly, he’s not terminal, but I think that in some ways House sees himself on a long road towards death — a protracted death. His words to her: “You’re on a downward spiral; you slash away at anyone who tries to help until no one tries to help anymore. Till you hit bottom; until you’re dead.” These are words people have probably been saying to him for eight years. Words he doubtless tells himself, has told himself, particularly in those weeks that Wilson had tried to cut House from his life. For all of his manipulation and moralizing lectures, House not only loves Wilson for his friendship, but because even his lecturing confirms to him that someone still cares.

Eventually House rehires 13 after she has delivered the dire and terminal news to her dying friend. But why? 13 begins to say to House…”you’re trying to save me. You’re doing exactly the same thing to me that you think I’m…” House interrupts 13’s thought with an epiphany about the diagnosis. But I think 13 was about to suggest that House had rehired her because he was convinced that she could — despite her self-destructiveness and out of control downward spiral — still make some sort of human connection. And as long as she can still connect to someone, something (House says it’s to the diagnosis), she still has some hope (and hasn’t hit bottom).

This scene made me recall something 13 said to House last season (“You Don’t Want to Know”) regarding hope and House’s endless curiosity. She suggested to him that he constantly seeks answers, uses questions, his curiosity to keep his own connection to hope. “You spend your whole life looking for answers,” she said. “Because you think the next answer will change something, maybe make you a little less miserable. And you know that when you run out of questions, you don't just run out of answers, you run out of hope.” House’s words to 13 seemed to me a very apt bookend to that scene.

House has never been comfortable with major life upheavals. And he has good reason to distrust them — and to fear them. In season one’s finale “Honeymoon,” House tells Stacy, as he comforts her, unable to diagnose her husband, “One of the tragedies of life… something always changes.”

To House, change is always a difficult thing. He talks about change, asks about it, wonders about its effects all the time. “Dying changes everything.” “Almost dying changes everything… for two months.” “People don’t change.” And as much as people in his orbit try to change all the time (sometimes successfully), House is incapable of it. He is frozen in time; as if his life was stunted on the date of Stacy’s betrayal. The day when everything for him changed big time. And for him, when others around him change their life situation (for the better anyway) it’s really, really difficult for him. Because he cannot go along with them; he can’t change too. He’s stuck.

I think the most important line in “Lucky 13” is one that Foreman said to 13, once she finds out that her friend is going to live, while she continues to die. “I feel alone. And she hasn’t left,” 13 says to Foreman. 13 feels alone, left behind as the friend moves on with her life and there is nothing she can do to alter the course of her own life; at least nothing that will ultimately change the outcome.

Isn’t this exactly what House fears? That Wilson has moved on? House worries now about how his relationship with Wilson has altered over the four months since Amber’s death. He tests it and investigates it; but Wilson is one step ahead, turning House’s expected curiosity into an equally elaborate prank on House, which, more than anything should tell him that everything is okay with their relationship. “We’ll go bowling on Monday; I’ll be over for poker over the weekend…” Nothing’s changed.

I really loved Wilson in this episode. He knew that House would only believe that things had returned to normal through action, not word. So Wilson played House’s game, and one-upped him — something House always appreciates. I adore that playfulness so much more than the lecturing and manipulation that so often has characterized Wilson’s relationship with House.

So House, now content that his relationship with Wilson is fully restored, finally finds out why Wilson was late for work that morning. And the news shakes House’s foundation once again. Cuddy, who has never quite given up on having a child, apparently, is planning to adopt. She has confided in Wilson to be her character reference; but unlike House (who kept her secret) Wilson (the eternal yenta) couldn’t quite keep the news to himself. Drawing House to a baby furniture store, Wilson and Cuddy spill the news that she’s going to adopt, just having been approved in the morning. Expecting a “mazel tov” or House’s typical sarcasm, the two are surprised at House’s strange reaction. It is one of the episode’s most interesting (and revealing) moments.

House is not simply surprised, not just shocked. He’s visibly upset. Really upset (as in choking back tears upset) — which he would probably ascribe to the onion he had just sliced to confirm his diagnosis of 13’s friend. Lucky he had those sunglasses, huh? (Hugh Laurie really sells this without saying a word. His expression changes from default indifference through 150 different emotions in the span of 30 seconds).

Why is House so upset? Is it that Cuddy confided in Wilson, not in House? Is it that he simply didn’t know? That Wilson and Cuddy were able to keep a (gigantic) secret from him again? House so much needs to control his situation. A man who was able to control so little as a kid, whose medical treatment was wrested from his control as a man, he needs to control what he can within his sphere to keep his balance. This threw him off his balance big time. And right on the heels of Wilson. Just when he thought things were back to normal, the rug is pulled out from underneath him.

The lyrics to the song that underscores the final scenes of the episode suggest House’s state of mind as much as 13’s. Cueing off House’s reaction to Cuddy’s news, the lyrics to Annie Lennox’s “Dark Road” play the story of 13’s loneliness — and House’s: “I cant find the joy within my soul/It's just sadness takin’ hold/I wanna come in from the cold/And make myself renewed again/It takes strength to live this way/The same old madness every day/I wanna kick these blues away…It's a dark road/And a dark way that leads to my house…”

But as much as the lyrics express the loneliness, they also express a glimmer of hope that change (for the better) is possible. In a sense, I think that’s what House’s new favorite, but odd, congratulatory phrase is all about. He uses it twice: “If you’re happy, I’m …” first when learning that Wilson may have a new girlfriend and is trying to accept that Wilson may still have a life apart from House, and second when he learns that Cuddy is going to adopt. House is trying, it seems, to accept that his friends’ lives can change, even profoundly, without shutting him out. He doesn’t quite believe it, but at least he’s trying. And, for House, that’s huge.

Okay. So. Next week. Everyone see the preview? Very, very provocative, indeed. More on that over the weekend, I think. But in the meantime, what did you think of “Lucky 13?” and what do you think might happen in next week’s episode “Joy?”

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About Barbara Barnett

Barbara Barnett is Publisher/Executive Editor of Blogcritics, (blogcritics.org). Her Bram Stoker Award-nominated novel, called "Anne Rice meets Michael Crichton," The Apothecary's Curse The Apothecary's Curse is now out from Pyr, an imprint of Prometheus Books. Her book on the TV series House, M.D., Chasing Zebras is a quintessential guide to the themes, characters and episodes of the hit show. Barnett is an accomplished speaker, an annual favorite at MENSA's HalloWEEM convention, where she has spoken to standing room crowds on subjects as diverse as "The Byronic Hero in Pop Culture," "The Many Faces of Sherlock Holmes," "The Hidden History of Science Fiction," and "Our Passion for Disaster (Movies)."
  • Rachel

    The very last scene, when House looks at Wilson and Cuddy with this expression of — despair, fear, what-the-hell –. Well, this has never happened to me before, but I couldn’t look at House’s face in that scene. It was too raw. I had to look away; I felt so much pity for the man.

    He really doesn’t handle change well at all.

    And, Hugh Laurie, for the love of God, would someone give him an Emmy already? He deserves it at least three times over.

  • Barbara Barnett

    It was a brilliant scene. Just brilliant. House’s goes from his default position of push-back to being sucker punched. I think the impact was all the greater since he’d really just begun to feel comfortable with Wilson back in his life and now—this!

    He just looked so damned hurt. You could see him really choke back the tears in that one small moment. Cuddy and Wilson were also stunned.

  • sdemar

    A nice review for an episode that was just OK for me. That’s OK, I can’t expect to fall in love with all of them. And as you said, Barbara, after “Birthmarks”, it would be hard to match up. The final scene though made it all worthwhile. I’m really curious as to how House is going to act toward Cuddy in the next episode. Will he be happy, sad, jealous, or what?

  • ValentineBaby

    Barbara, couldn’t wait to hear your take on the episode…great review as always. This was difinitley not my favorite episode. The only parts I liked were with Wilson, Cuddy and PI Lucas and of course the best..the very end. That’s the first time I remember House being so visably upset (except last season’s finale). I like his vulnerable times. IMO the writers are making House too much of a college frat boy. Getting keys to the team’s homes and doing whatever he wants is a bit over the top. But, this is still my absolutely favorite show and will always watch it. Hugh is such a great actor. Can’t wait till next week’s episode. PS-love PI Lucas character and his interaction with House. Wish he could be permanent.

  • Barbara Barnett

    I wonder if House is going to be (anonymously) protective towards Cuddy. Will he suspect that the birth mother may change her mind if they both survive? (based on the preview). How will he react then? And whose hand is that holding the baby’s? It makes no sense for it to be House, but it does look like his hand…

    As for that very interesting (and verrrrry provocative) profile shot of House and Cuddy…yow.

    It’s interesting about 13. My husband (who isn’t a die hard fan)understands that 13 is a stand-in for House in a lot of ways (only on a much faster trajectory down), but she’s got such a flat affect and such a guarded character, that the audience doesn’t really care about her. House, he says, is equally guarded (around his colleague and associates), but the audience gets to see him at unguarded times, so we see there is much, much more to him that a guarded wise-ass. We can sympathize with him because we see him suffer and see him care and feel (even though his associates can’t). We haven’t had the luxury of that with 13, so we don’t care as much (or at all) about her.

  • Rachel

    You’ve got it, Barbara. House *can’t* change, and when his friends leave him behind, he’s hurt beyond belief. It kind of reminds me of what it’s like to suffer from a mental illness, like depression or bipolar disorder: you see everyone around you maturing, growing, living, marrying, and so on, and you can’t change. Same old symptoms, same old setbacks. So that’s why House is scared.

    I thought his handling of Thirteen was also very typical of House: rough, brutal, but with an acutely sensitive undertone of compassion. I mean, he gets her out of Cuddy’s office so that she doesn’t have a drug test on her record and lose her medical license. Why the hell do that if he’s going to fire her?

  • Barbara Barnett


    Thanks. The frat-boy stuff has never been my favorite House-trait, but he’s been that way since nearly the beginning. I think he gets more that way when he’s upset and trying too hard to distance himself from his feelings. That’s when we get the big mood swings from frat-boy sarcasm and antics to vulnerability so quickly (the vulnerability is very close to the surface, I think). I like the PI too, but I think that last night was his last gig on the show. A bit sorry to see him go, but…

    Agree with you about Hugh–and I can’t wait for next week. I’m going to try to do an article tracing House and Cuddy’s long relationship before the episode airs, with maybe a bit of a preview (no real spoilers–don’t have any of those)

  • mem

    It was an alright episode. Not as bad as the season opener where there was A LOT of 13 too, but it was also rather boring. Thirteen doing drugs in the face of a terminal disease, having reckless sex is a recycled plot from season 2 when Cameron did the same. Except in Cameron’s case it lasted for one episode, with 13 we have at least a year to go.

    Anyways, the review was lovely, I can’t wait for House to get more exciting.

  • sdemar

    “I’m going to try to do an article tracing House and Cuddy’s long relationship before the episode airs, with maybe a bit of a preview”

    Oh, please, do. I would love it.

  • Barbara Barnett

    Thanks mem. I do think House is about to get more exciting (although, on the whole, I can’t complain too much about this season) as we enter November “sweeps.” I’m sure they have much prepared for this important ratings period.

  • Kizmet

    I hope Lucas and Wilson have a chance to interact before Lucas disappears forever. I think House was doing better at taking the first steps toward developing a new friendship than would have been expected. It might be interesting to have Wilson realize that House isn’t completely incapable of forming other friendships.

    I think some of House’s investigation of his new team might have been done with the ulterior motive of figuring out how not lose them (Because when Lucas points out that Taub took the job to save his marriage, House starts trying to be helpful). Also, House would probably consider using a PI to snoop to be a means of getting to know them better.

    Basically after Wilson left House reacted more healthily than might have been expected. He didn’t throw all his energy into resisting change and trying to get Wilson back. He didn’t withdraw. He tried to form new relationships and, in his own, thoroughly inappropriate way, to develop the relationships he had left.

    I think House might find himself in a situation which could mirror the one with Amber in “Joy”. It looks like something’s going wrong with the baby. Once again one of House’s closest friends is going to be looking to him to save someone vastly important to them. The birth-mother’s well-being will almost certainly come into the equation and in other episodes with pregnant patients House tends to favor protecting the mother’s health over the fetus’, but this time the fetus is the Cuddy’s future child.

  • JL

    Regarding the similarities between House and 13 –

    House wanted to see whether 13 could connect with the dying patient – and she did – but then the patient moved on (i.e. wasn’t dying anymore) and 13 was left feeling very alone.

    This was spelled out. I read a random article suggesting the writers had set up a parallel at the end of the episode:

    that House has been making tentative efforts towards making a connection with Cuddy, and that his cataclysmic reaction to her moving on in life is that he will be left alone.

    What do you think?

  • Barbara Barnett

    kizmet– you said: I think House might find himself in a situation which could mirror the one with Amber in “Joy”. It looks like something’s going wrong with the baby. Once again one of House’s closest friends is going to be looking to him to save someone vastly important to them. The birth-mother’s well-being will almost certainly come into the equation and in other episodes with pregnant patients House tends to favor protecting the mother’s health over the fetus’, but this time the fetus is the Cuddy’s future child.

    What you say is validated in one of the clips posted at the House on FOX site.

    JL–I agree with you. I think House has been off balance emotionally (more than his norm) for months. When Amber died, House was left alone (without Wilson)–and House let him be, but wondering if anything could go back to normal. House’s worst fears were realized when Wilson walked away from him (and so easily). I think those weeks are still having a big impact on him and informed what he said to 13 about people simply no longer trying to help eventually. But he regained his balance when Wilson played the prank and all was right with his world (as much as it can be) until the end, when WHAM. Something else in his life has sprung a leak.

    I agree that House does run a silent scenario in his head. He feels very connected to Cuddy on several levels, but he can’t (or is afraid to) allow those feelings to surface. So she doesn’t know–because she can’t. So I think that’s part of his sadness at the end. I think you’re also right in that he sees Wilson and Cuddy–a happy couple (not romantic)–but Uncle Jimmy and mom Cuddy. He sees the rightness of it, but he’s completely left out of this domestic picture. the rug’s pulled out from under him just as he’s gotten some semblance of balance restored to him.

    He’s not only excluded. He’s alone as Cuddy (and Wilson) have moved on (like 13’s friend in misery, Spencer). And that’s a really scary place for House. He needs to connect to something real, and Wilson and Cuddy provide that for him (and he does let his guard down with both of them). If they are gone, he loses that connection, he completely adrift.

  • [It’s a dark road / and a dark way that leads to my House..]

    It was a good episode, although it wasn’t as House-centered as it should, imho. It got the other two elements i adore in this show:

    Witty, humorous, biting house-isms (the whole lesbian-one-night-stand gave him SO much ground for some great, GREAT Laugh-Out-Loud innuendos and oneliners, and this season had lost some of its humorous edge -or at least that’s what some fans have been complaining about)
    -“You’re just upset that the whole time she was with you, she was thinking about my huge, throbbing diagnostic skills.”
    -“Like Thirteen!”
    -“Another life saved by girl on girl action.”
    -the way he delivered the line “I ..like to watch!”
    -“I assume my name came up last night in the form of a moan?”
    -“Unless this is the prelude to an actual spanking, there’s no reason for me to be here”

    And, secondly, those little, precious moments where House opens up just a little bit and shows this little but huge emotion -but never too much. This last scene, House’s expressions and how Laurie delivered them was just priceless. Just those two minutes keep me going and thinking about the whole episode for another week..
    What was he thinking? Still can’t figure it out, and my guess is, the writers don’t want us to figure out something specific.
    However, I think it’s more about his fear of change, his possessiveness, and not so much about hidden feelings (even if he has some for Cuddy, he isn’t ready to admit them, as a whole, yet. And, if I may, I personally wouldn’t want something too much to happen between them, I don’t want this chemistry and electricity to be gone). He knew Cuddy trusted him about the whole child thing, and know she changed, she trusted Wilson. He knew he was Cuddy’s mommy’s boy and know she is gonna change, all her attention and affection won’t be about him. It’s his possessiveness too, he won’t have her all by himself now (not necessarily in an “i love you” way, but still).

    To sum up, I welcome my two favorite elements on the show, (a) comic relief without being too much and (b) insight for the characters without getting the overwhelming soapopera effect, but, please writers, remember the show is about House and not the peripheral characters. That’s why they’re called peripheral. We get to them because of their interaction with the central character. He should be the beggining and the end of every episode (metaphorically, and, why not, literally). Everything else, it should just be a filler, a secondary story and and not the main storyline.

    Sorry, i could go on and on, i’m stopping now. It’s my first comment and wanted to fit everything in.

    On another note, thanks fot the Great reviews. Love your writing and the way you see the show as a fan -positively and respecting the writers’ choices.

  • blacktop

    Excellent review, Barbara. Like sdemar, I am looking forward to your summary of the long relationship between House and Cuddy. The multiple roles they play in each other’s lives are fascinating as is the charge (emotional, intellectual, erotic) they share with every encounter.

  • Laura

    Change might be difficult for House but he didn’t mind when his old team left.

  • Barbara Barnett

    Nice comments Marianna. Your comments are most welcome.

    Blacktop, I’m looking forward to writing this too. If I don’t post it this weekend, I’ll do in between “Joy” and the next episode “Itch” (which will run the week after the election.

    Laura, I do think that House had more difficulty with the old team leaving than he let on. It was clear that he didn’t want to replace them and only did so under duress. The fact that he “saw” Foreman (who wasn’t really there) in “The Right Stuff” suggests that as well. He was quite glad to see them returned.

  • Laura

    And now that they’re back he’s barely had any contact with them and Foreman is “office art”. House seems out of character since season 4.

  • Orange450

    Barbara, thanks for the great review – for an episode that IMO was just OK. I’m very excited to read your overview of House and Cuddy’s long relationship. I’m a staunch House/Stacy fan (who remains ever-hopeful that they’ll be reunited at the end of the series) but I really think that House and Cuddy have wonderful chemistry, a very strong friendship and a lot going for them – and they could be good together, too. (After all, Stacy and Cuddy have more similarities than differences, and House is nothing if not true to type.)

    I was wondering about the possibility that House’s intense reaction to Cuddy’s news was on some level caused by the realization and disappointment that she never asked him to be the father of her child – as she seemed to try to do way back when at the very end of “Who’s your Daddy?” (and he seemed aware of that). The storyline was dropped for such a long time that he may have thought that she’d dropped the idea too – and here he finds out that not only didn’t she drop it – but he’s not part of her plans at all.

    13’s reckless behavior was way too cliche, IMO. How much more innovative would it be to give her an entirely different reaction to an upcoming untimely death – like how many books can she read, how much music can she appreciate, how many people can she help, how many positive memories of herself can she give to others, before she has to die. Would that ever knock House for a loop – he could have a field day with it! But I guess that kind of behavior wouldn’t do much for the ratings 🙂

    I had a problem with this episode’s dialogue. Somehow everyone seemed to have to spell out everything they were doing, thinking, etc. Maybe the dialogue wasn’t subtle enough, or maybe there was just too much of it – but I felt like I was getting hit over the head with ideas that were fairly obvious. Could be that I’m just feeling the contrast with “Birthmarks” – which didn’t contain so much as an extra semi-colon!

    The best (overlooked) line was Taub’s comment to Lucas – “Mannix”. I laughed out loud at that one. PJ’s timing was impeccable! It reminded me of how much I enjoyed him in his recurring role as Randy Dworkin on Law and Order. That kind of OTT character may be a better fit for him than Taub – who doesn’t bring out his talent in quite the same way.

  • Ange

    I knew you would like it. There was some very shippy House/Cuddy stuff and that always puts you in a good mood.

    This is the episode that jumped the shark for me. I understand that Thirteen is reflecting House’s self-destructive tendencies, that she is dealing with her diagnosis by drugs and promiscuous sex, I understand that House is trying to make her see that. But it is impossible in terms of the real world that anyone as unstable as Thirteen is would be allowed to work in most jobs, much less as a doctor making life and death decisions. It’s less realistic than a soap opera.

    They went too far trying to draw the parallels with House. She is a huge liability to the hospital and if House can’t see that, Cuddy should.

  • Barbara Barnett

    One of the things I try to do in my reviews is to try to understand where the writers are coming from: how does House fit into the story, even when he’s not the immediate focal point. (And it’s why it sometimes takes me longer to put my thoughts into a cohesive review).

    Yes, 13 is a mess, but it’s not as if she’s been habitual. And House (in his own convoluted way) is trying to help her–as he has. Maybe he sees the kindered wounded spirit in her, that makes him both mock her and help her. I don’t know.

    Ange–you know me so well 😉 But I liked the episode not for the House/Cuddy moments, but for the House reveals: the need he has to verify that Wilson’s friendship hasn’t changed appreciably–and his attempt to be accepting if it has changed.

    I don’t think the show has jumped the shark. And House’s behavior moves around unpredictably from episode to episode and season to season. I was watching some of season two,and found some of House’s behavior to be really nasty. Good example is Spin. Another is TB or not TB. But there’s always something redeeming about him that makes him sympathetic (not in those two episodes, however). In Acceptance, also in season two, House was a pig, but then there were other scenes that served as reminders that he’s not really a pig. Hope I’m making sense here.

    Orange–they can’t all be great. Some are average (and this was one of those), but average on House is pretty good anyway. There have been some really fabulous episodes in this nascent season, so I’m not complaining. Esp. not after Birthmarks. First two episodes also got to me in a very visceral way. Next week’s promises to do the same.

  • Veresna Ussep

    Dear Barbara,
    Please, please, PLEASE do the article detailing House and Cuddy, I would love to have you write a detailed, thoughtful analysis of this wonderfully complex relationship–including the times when Cuddy totally misjudged what was ‘best’.
    This was, by and large, a boring, wasted episode for me. I really do think that Olivia Wilde is a competent actress and the writers have spent a great deal of time on her character, but somehow 13 just completely fails to interest me. I had already heard some of the spoilers for the next episode, so the main surprise to me was that they revealed Cuddy’s intentions at the end of this episode instead of waiting for the next. But, what a scene! Of course Hugh Laurie was absolutely amazing, but I have found on rewatching (numerous times, I’ll admit it), I am also deeply impressed by RS Leonard. After Cuddy reveals the truth, you seem him start to grin a big old happy smile (“See, everything’s all right now!), but it freezes halfway-formed as he sees the look on House’s face. Cuddy, of course, is so thrilled that it takes her a few more beats to take it in, and she tries to throw him a light comment, trying to give him time to recover. When he swallows and replies with the “if you’re happy, I’m…” non sequiter and then beats a hasty retreat, she finally realizes how deeply hurt he is. That 90 second scene was far more interesting than anything else in the rest of the episode and, from the two clips posted so far, it appears that the next episode has the potential to be another stellar moment for this spectacular series.


  • Marisol

    Barbara: You have great reviews and I always read them. I have never posted comments before, but here it goes.
    What kept me up for hours: What was House thinking and feeling exactly in those few seconds right after Cuddy told him about adopting a baby?
    1) He was devastated because he did not realize how much he really cares for Cuddy until the precise moment Cuddy told him about the adoption. This was like realizing you had the best thing in the world exactly in the moment that you lose it.
    2) Major disappointment because he perceived rejection from Cuddy by not letting him be part of her plans about the baby. He had always been included in her plans to get a sperm donor and get fertility treatment before.
    3) Being upset because this ruins a possible fantasy in House’s head that somehow Cuddy’s baby should be his, too, even if in reality he might never agree to it or recognize that he is interested.
    4) Feeling stupid. House has so carefully monitored Cuddy’s status (pregnant or not pregnant) to a point of obsession that prevented him from considering the most obvious alternative of adoption. Her adopting a child was so obvious and he did not even consider it because his feelings for her distracted him from logic.
    5) A combination of all these?

  • L.Lilly

    Barbara, you quoted something in your review that reminded me of one of the reasons I dislike Thirteen so intensely. You wrote, “She suggested to him that he constantly seeks answers, uses questions, his curiosity to keep his own connection to hope. ‘You spend your whole life looking for answers,’ she said. ‘Because you think the next answer will change something, maybe make you a little less miserable. And you know that when you run out of questions, you don’t just run out of answers, you run out of hope.'”

    At that time, Thirteen had not worked very long for House. In fact, she was still one of the candidates. We know that Wilson and Cuddy seem to fail as often as succeed when it comes to analyzing House, and they’ve known him for many years. I simply cannot accept that Thirteen would know that much about House. If she is meant to be some kind of omniscient character, then I need a better actress to convey it, not a blank-faced supermodel. I know I was supposed to feel something for her when she made her “alone” speech to Foreman, but I couldn’t muster up any degree of caring. Perhaps it’s because there is too much of her. This is the second episode out of five where she has received as much, if not more, screentime than the title character himself.

    On the other hand, my heart broke for poor Cuddy when House was unable to come up with any congratulations for her baby news. Her face portrayed more gut-wrenching emotions in those few seconds than Thirteen has in 20 episodes.

    The House/Wilson scenes were gold, as was the final House/Cuddy/Wilson scene. Another scene I absolutely loved was the Foreman/Chase exchange. I love the way the old team play off each other so well. As for the rest of the episode, I have no interest in watching it again.

  • Marjohn

    I am surprised that no one has made mention yet that House has not has Lucas “dick out” Cuddy. If he had, then the adoption screening process would surely have come out. When Foreman found that there was nothing in his past of any interest, I wondered what else Lucas might have revealed about Cuddy besides the adoption. I don’t doubt that House would have gotten around to her after digging around on Wilson and his direct reports got to be a bore. Had he done so, though, and found out about the adoption, I suspect that he would have been just as surprised and hurt.
    Also loved Chase telling Foreman *just* how lame and uninteresting he really is. Classic…

  • bliffle

    Pretty good, but not great episode about 13. I always wonder when she’ll get voted off the island.

    Meanwhile, over on “Doc Martin” (on PBS) you can’t imagine the disgusted look on Docs face when a male person kisses him full on the lips in gratitude!

  • tyfoonb

    It might be a bit unfair to say Wilson couldn’t keep Cuddy’s secret (unlike House), since House didn’t have someone spying/trailing/obsessing over his every move. Yeah, it would be nice to have Cuddy tell him on her own terms (where/when/how), since it is HER news. But House, being House, that most likely wasn’t gonna happen.
    I wonder if Wilson was thinking ‘damage control’ when he told House where to be and when. He KNEW House would follow him and find out, but technically he didn’t TELL House anything and Cuddy did get to tell him herself.

    I don’t think Wilson and Cuddy were totally shocked at House’s reaction. They know he doesn’t react well to change. The bigger the change, the bigger his perceived threat from it…whatever IT is. Change of this magnitude has to downright scare him.
    I think the degree of his reaction may have surpised them. Not that HIS reaction to her news should be at the top of the list of Cuddy’s priorities right now either. Only the problems/worries HIS reaction/behavior will now probably cause.

  • Barbara Barnett

    Veresna said: After Cuddy reveals the truth, you seem him start to grin a big old happy smile (“See, everything’s all right now!), but it freezes halfway-formed as he sees the look on House’s face. Cuddy, of course, is so thrilled that it takes her a few more beats to take it in, and she tries to throw him a light comment, trying to give him time to recover. When he swallows and replies with the “if you’re happy, I’m…” non sequiter and then beats a hasty retreat, she finally realizes how deeply hurt he is.

    this is such a wonderful scene, and you’ve detailed it nicely. the acting from this trio is really top rate. Both Wilson and Cuddy are completely stunned by House’s emotional reaction. No sarcasm, no mocking (once it’s all revealed, anyway) just House’s shocked and hurt reaction. Whew!

    Marisol–glad you decided to make a comment. Welcome!
    So, as for your possibilities for House’s strange reaction to Cuddy’s news:

    1) He was devastated because he did not realize how much he really cares for Cuddy until the precise moment Cuddy told him about the adoption. This was like realizing you had the best thing in the world exactly in the moment that you lose it.

    Maybe part of it, but I don’t think it quite explains it. I do think he finally had his world back the way he wanted it–and then it came crashing down again.

    2) Major disappointment because he perceived rejection from Cuddy by not letting him be part of her plans about the baby. He had always been included in her plans to get a sperm donor and get fertility treatment before.
    Also a possibility, but I think that fundamentally House believes doesn’t deserve to necessarily be an insider in anything, even this–despite the fact that she’s let him in before.

    3) Being upset because this ruins a possible fantasy in House’s head that somehow Cuddy’s baby should be his, too, even if in reality he might never agree to it or recognize that he is interested. I think less likely because I don’t think House wants to be a parent (JMHO)

    4) Feeling stupid. House has so carefully monitored Cuddy’s status (pregnant or not pregnant) to a point of obsession that prevented him from considering the most obvious alternative of adoption. Her adopting a child was so obvious and he did not even consider it because his feelings for her distracted him from logic.
    I definitely feel that this is a big part of it. But it doesn’t explain the hurt part.

    5) A combination of all these?
    Probably it’s all of these things, and other stuff too. Maybe House, himself doesn’t understand his own reaction — or his feelings–or why it hurts him so badly. He’s clearly embarrassed at his obvious reaction (good thing for those shades–can’t let anyone see his glistening eyes). House has been on an emotional roller coaster for months now (since before Amber’s demise) trying to sort out a whole slew of feelings–for Wilson, for his dad, for cuddy…even Amber. Now this. He’s got to be near the breaking point for a guy who guards his emotions like Ft. Knox.

    L.Lilly–I’ve wondered about this too. I wonder if even last season 13 was projecting onto House her own angst. She feels House is wounded animal like herself. Her sensors detected it like Eve in One Day One room (which I know so many people really didn’t like).

    Like you, I loved the House/wilson/cuddy scenes. Gold, as you said.

    Marjohn–I wonder if House thinks he’s got Cuddy covered and knows all about her. She’s his special territory 🙂

    typhoonb–yeah, you may be right about W/C not being shocked so much by the reaction as by the degree of the reaction. They do know how badly he reacts to change, and he’s had a lot of them to deal with.

  • Orange450

    I had another thought about House’s reaction in the final scene. Not only have Wilson and Cuddy moved on – leaving him alone (like Spencer leaving 13 behind, as you’ve mentioned, Barbara), but they’ve moved on from major, life-changing setbacks, and he knows that there’s something in his own make-up (especially in the aftermath of his insights about himself after his father’s death) that prevents him from doing the same.

    Cuddy’s fertility issues could be considered to have similar physical/psychological/emotional ramifications for her that House’s leg have for him. I wonder if part of his reaction was a sudden pang of realization that she could prevail against this sort of problem, while he can’t. Because there’s a solution for her, but there’ll probably never be a solution for him – physical or otherwise.

    I think he *is* happy for her (he tried to tell her, and I think he meant it, even if he couldn’t get it all out), but also very sad for himself – and even though I sometimes come down hard on his self-pity, I think in this case it may be justified.

  • Sheelagh

    Barbara, I think your reviews of House MD are unsurpassed on the Internet. You really ‘get’ the show and draw my attention to subtext I may have missed. I love that you appreciate the psychologically driven, character stories. My biggest fear is that the writer’s may feel inclined to ‘fix’ House. I dread him morphing into ‘amusing and kindly eccentric Uncle Greg’. I want the writers to keep bashing sway at House’s mental health issues; his addictions; his inability to reach out for the help he desperately needs & sometimes even wants ; his uncensored and self focused view of the world. It’s more interesting in House’s’case if it’s one step forward & two steps back for him. Hugh Laurie owns the role like few others and the humor, real intelligence and humanity we see in House is, I suspect really Hugh’s better nature showing up in the character. An egoist acting that character would be insufferable. No one else could play House as well as Laurie (where is his Emmy ??). I enjoy watching Hugh Laurie’s face register various emotions just while his character ‘thinks’. Lucky 13 is sadly stuck being House’s darker side without his humor and talents( the juggling and music are cool character bits added due to Mr. Laurie; I would love to see more of the music side portrayed).I don’t actually care where the writers go as long asd they keep House as complicated as he once was and struggling for insight ( which is where I think Wilson & Wilson’s lectures come in). Carrying a weekly drama must be tough sledding for Hugh Laurie given he is a perfectionist but I only really enjoy House when Laurie or Laurie & Leonard are doing battle for what is ‘right’.

  • Barbara Barnett

    Orange–Clearly that’s true: House cannot move past the big things: his leg and Stacy have been two things for which it’s been nearly impossible for him to move on.
    I agree that he’s happy for Cuddy in his own way. But sad for himself. He’s pretty self-aware and I’m pretty sure he understands the irrationality of his stance, but powerless to do anything about it.

    Sheelagh–nice comments. and thanks for your kind words. I don’t think the powers that be are going to soften House or “fix” him. I doubt there will be an Uncle Greg-like future for him (except in fanfiction). He will remain the psychologically complex, intense, brilliant pain in the tush that he is. You are so right that HL owns the character, and that a actor who was also a jerk (James Woods for example) would come across that way, with little below the surface humanity that Hugh brings to the role each week.

  • Grace

    ALL of 13’s scenes=BORING!
    ALL other major scenes=LOVED!

    I have a question I hope someone can answer:
    If House were to have his leg amputated now, would the pain go away? If so, is that something he should think about doing? Cuddy said that House was pretty much the same before his infraction, so I wonder how different he would be if Stacy had followed his wishes.
    GREAT article, Barbara!!

  • Barbara Barnett

    Thanks Grace,
    thought I’d reply before I’m off to bed. Not being a doctor, I don’t know for sure, but I would think that amputation now would not help. As I recall, where the injury is would need to place the amputation point very high up, making prosthesis very, very difficult at best. I seem to recall some discussion somewhere about that at the end of the first season. Also, once his leg was amputated he could certainly be plagued by “phantom” pain, something that would be terrible for him potentially. The amount of rehab he would need; the fact that he might still not be off of pain killers–I don’t think it would work well for him.

    Actually it was Stacy who said that (in Honeymoon). But I don’t think she’s a reliable narrator–and we’ve seen plenty of evidence that House was able to connect with people, play golf, play paintball (in teams with other doctors), speak at conferences, etc. Wilson has said that he has changed–a lot.

    What Cuddy said (in Need to Know) was that House was the same after Staacy left (i.e. that he did not fall apart as Wilson suggested to her). I believe Wilson, given his statement to Cameron in love Hurts and his concerns about House’s fragility in Need to Know.

    Had Stacy followed his wishes, he could be dead; or he could have regained the full use of his leg. I think that House knew full well what lay in store for him should they either amputate or try the “middle ground.” He knew it and wanted to take a calculated risk. That choice was taken from him, no matter what the motives. And he has yet to arrive at stage five of grief over it, so many years later.

  • Kath

    I know there`s a lot of 13-hate out there already, but I just have to add that in season 4 she killed a patient and his dog and she got to keep her job because House knew she would never make a mistake like that again.
    But now she was so focused on keeping her secrets that she doesn`t want her home searched, and in doing that she ignores the significance of her inhaler. She also shows up stoned at work.
    She is fired. And then rehired because… House thinks she won`t make that mistake again? Or… Why was she rehired again? What?
    But I do realize that 13 will be the best doctor ever! …Once she has made every mistake that is possible to make, because then she wil never do them again! This is logic.

  • JL

    Barbara said, “I wonder if House thinks he’s got Cuddy covered and knows all about her. She’s his special territory :)”


    I’m noting that this may contribute to House’s shocked reaction to her news – thinking he knows her and suddenly realising that he had had no idea she was hiding something so major.

    On the other hand, House did ask Lucas to try to find out something about Cuddy (back in Ep. 3). Lucas said he was unsuccessful. Could House have had an inkling something might be going on with Cuddy that she was hiding?

    (I wish they’d had Lucas leave more definitely, rather than just having him disappear. What happened between him and Cuddy?)

    Anyone know how long the process of registering with an adoption agency takes? In Australia it takes YEARS, but I gather it’s not so drawn out in the U.S. I wonder how long Cuddy’s been hiding this for…

    (I have got another BIG post about all this, but I’ll save it…)

  • Barbara Barnett

    Hi Kath–I’m not much of a 13 fan either, but regarding House’s motives–he often sees or perceives things that others don’t. So his motives (which he keeps pretty guarded like the rest of his inner life) may be more complex than are readily understandable.

    I do think he sees something in her–maybe (as I said up there somewhere) he picks up on a vibe that echoes something in himself. He intrigued by her extreme guardedness; he wants to give a chance (House can be weirdly kind when he wants to be) because he sees a good (and fearless) doctor…

    JL–I think that’s a part of it–that Cuddy was hiding something so important–and he couldn’t figure it out. And, yes, I do wonder if House feels a bit betrayed by Lucas (are we sure he’s gone?) We shall learn more in a few short days.

  • New bromance Chase and Foreman. 13 on ‘drugs’-wasn’t that her prescription for Hunnington’s Foreman found?

  • Barbara Barnett

    NancyGail–that would be interesting 😉

    Foreman found a test results saying that 13’s huntingtons is more aggressive than she might have suspected.

  • Barbara Barnett

    just a note: I’ve posted a new promo for “Joy” (Tuesday’s episode) on my youtube space:

    FOX promo for the next episode of house (“Joy”).

  • Sue

    Until the last scene, I was totally uninterested in this episode. When House had that incredible reaction when he found out about the adoption, I had a “EUREKA” moment where I actually sat up and had a physical reaction in my body. It was like a flat-lined that heart suddenly had a strong beat!

    Barbara, you wrote a great review. I missed a lot of it in the episode because I was totally uninterested in anything that was happening with 13. Olivia Wilde is worse than wooden. She is expressionless in voice, face, and body. Her face looks like it has been botoxed to death, which I know hasn’t happened. I thought the lesbian kissing and groping scenes were excessive for a show that has been restrained in showing physical interactions between characters in the past. Exceptions were the gratuitous Cameron kiss in Half Wit and the gratuitous Cameron hug in Words and Deeds. We saw less between House and Stacy in bed.

    Foreman has been boring, and I find it interesting that the show would reflect this. They made him so, and fans have been complaining about this. I wish this was a shout-out from TPTB that they hear what the fans have been saying, but I realize that will never happen.

    Taub was again very bland in this episode. I don’t know what purpose he serves on the show. Unfortunately, Hugh suffers immensely when he is around these new actors and Foreman this season. There has not been one interesting DDX scene this year or last except for the one where Cameron was there in Living the Dream. It is just actors delivering dull lines in dull ways. Hugh has not been able to spark it up. He can’t carry it alone. When the original three actors were there in the DDX scenes, they were refreshing and original. Now, they just take up time. I tune out during these scenes. Until they replace these actors, the quality of the show will suffer.

    Cuddy never voluntarily told House about her fertility treatments. He figured it out. So he was included in her sperm donor search because he could help medically. Cuddy included Wilson because she considered him as a sperm donor. Even though House knew she might ask him, she never did. Also, in a later episode, maybe House Training, Cuddy went out with Wilson because she was looking for a friend; she didn’t seek out House. Now, again when she seeks out moral support, she goes to Wilson, the stable one. House’s unpredictable behavior has caused Cuddy to exclude him from the important moments in her life. He is the afterthought, at a time when House needs his relationships to be strong. He has been romantically interested in Cuddy for almost an entire season now. She rebuffs him at every turn. Now, when he is ready to take the leap and go all out, he finds out that she will be preoccupied with a baby. House cannot relate to a baby as he is now. He would have to change to do that, and he doesn’t want to change. House felt like an outsider when the two people who were closest to him made plans to get Cuddy approved for the baby and he wasn’t included. Rather than burst Cuddy’s bubble, he high-tailed it out of the store. Stunning acting! Everything that is missing from 13 and Taub.

    The lack of clinic patients is taking its toll. It provided comic relief and gave Hugh a chance to spread his acting wings with vignettes that break up the tension in the episode. Hugh is making House more one-dimensional, and it shows. He tried to deliver some of his lines in a more caricature-like way, like the line about the moan or the pulsating diagnostic skills, but they didn’t work. He needs the material to use that physicality, and that did not exist in this episode. In Birthmarks, House was out of the typical DDX scene in the hospital. He had a lot of situations to react in. He was more dimensional in that episode.

    Why should it be okay for House to have bland, boring episodes? This episode could have been better with better actors. The DDX scenes don’t ever get better because the actors are always the same. If they can’t improve on them with these actors, I say get rid of them. It is a real let-down when House episodes aren’t up to par. With this cast, they will never be as good as they could be.

  • Lisa Solod Warren

    The truth is I care much less for the diseases as the show goes on and far more for the relationships between the doctors and the docs and House…..

    And I am one of those who LOVE the pranks. I completely knew at the FIRST moment that the hooker was Wilson’s prank….. Too easy.

  • Barbara Barnett

    sue–As always thanks for your take. I know that you and I disagree about the new vs. old casts. I do agree with you (I think, at least, that we agree) that an episode suffers for lack of the central character, House. When he isn’t the overt focus, the episode always lack meatiness. That has always been the case.

    I would like to see more clinic time for House as well–it does provide comic relief in the more intense episodes. I do think that House (not Hugh) and his attempts at snarkiness have fallen a bit flat…but look at the place he’s been in, emotionally. He’s at sea in a lot of ways, and fighting a losing battle against his loneliness. Eveyone’s moving on except for him: Chase, Cameron, Wilson, now even Cuddy. Especially Cuddy. House’s fear of being a social creature is taking its toll, big time this season.

    Like you, I thought the sex scene between Spencer and 13 was gratuitous and way too much information. It took a valuable 3 minutes from the episode. I did like the scenes between House and 13, however. Foreman’s scenes–not so much. I see where they’re possibly going with 13 and Foreman–a possible hookup between them.

    Maybe it’s to show that EVEN Foreman–and the closed off 13 can move on. And House, once again is stuck. What is it that keeps Hosue from moving on? I think it is a terrible fear he has of trusting that people aren’t going to betray him or kick him in the teeth. I’ve always been haunted by that scene at the end of Half-Wit when House simply stands, tenative and hesitant about whether to go into the pub. You nearly never see him hesitant (but its there) or afraid. He’d almost rather try anything else, but put himself in a truly social situation.

    in “Lucky 13,” the toll this has taken on him shows. Can’t wait till Tuesday…and then maybe a surprise for all my readers (can’t say anything till it’s a certainty.)

  • Orange450

    “What is it that keeps Hosue from moving on? I think it is a terrible fear he has of trusting that people aren’t going to betray him or kick him in the teeth. I’ve always been haunted by that scene at the end of Half-Wit when House simply stands, tenative and hesitant about whether to go into the pub. You nearly never see him hesitant (but its there) or afraid. He’d almost rather try anything else, but put himself in a truly social situation. ”

    Like many people who exemplify the idea that “the best defense is a good offense”, House has many insecurities to protect. In addition to – and IMO more fundamental than – his fear of betrayal, is his fear of rejection, stemming from his sense that no one approves of him, and very few people even like him. (I think he’s pretty sure that Wilson and Cuddy both like him, but he knows that they usually don’t approve of him.)

    It’s not hard to understand, given what we’ve learned about his relationship with his father, and how in spite of everything, he ultimately wanted his father to say “you were right, you did the right thing”.

    What a sobering thought about the responsibilities of parenthood! How an individual can be crippled for life by the lack of approval from someone whose aproval may objectively not be worth very much at all! House’s father was never presented to us as anyone particularly admirable or worthy of emulation, but just by virtue of being House’s father, the witholding of his approval had such a profound impact on his son’s personality 🙁

    Can’t wait for the surprise on Tuesday!

  • Barbara Barnett


    House said it in Words and Deeds: my friend have no expectations of me. He knows that they don’t approve of him, that people have pretty much given up on him and expect the worst. House is comfortable in that place because he can’t disappoint them (he feels that he has always disappointed his parents, no matter how much he has been a professional success). I think even his fears about amputation of his leg (in 3Stories) go back to that fear.

    Just qualifying the Tuesday “surprise.” It may or may not come to fruition, and perhaps not even by my column next week. ‘Nuff said. Stay tuned 🙂 (I’m such a tease.)

  • bliffle

    IMO the interpersonal activities are getting overdone. I actually like the disease debugging that goes on and I think it should be the center of the show. Personal interactions are secondary to the plots and are in danger of overwhelming the stories. It may degenerate into Just Another Soap Opera.

    IMO the strength of episodic series like House comes from the secondary characters that appear and disappear every week. The interest in Cop and Doc shows is that cops and docs get involved in other peoples lives during times of stress: after all, docs and cops have personal lives like anyone else – kinda boring.

    Meanwhile, PBS has a new (to the US) Doc Martin episode tonight – another chance to view the beauties of Port Isaac Cornwall while The Doc jostles his way through another social-medical mystery.

  • JL

    I’d like to repeat smething I’ve said previously in response to that:

    my favourite part of this show is definitely the character stuff (especially when that involves House)

    BUT I think that keeping to the procedural format is what MAKES that character stuff so strong.

    I would like to see some clinic patients, too – I thought that got promised this season. And I would like more patients to really care about.

    (But none of that will stop me going slightly insane waiting for this week’s episode, however. And now there’s this mystery surprise as well… argh! What are you doing to me, Barbara?)

  • Sheelagh

    I must admit I too am worried about the ongoing inconsistency in the quality of writing this Season on ‘House’. Did they change-up the writing team too ? I miss the humor of the Clinic Scenes. I see the show as a character driven procedural, with the medical cases as a metaphor for what’s going on with characters; usually with reference to House. Having been an RN for many years in acute care, the medical ‘mysteries’ don’t bear close scrutiny but are a cool vehicle to move the plot along. Thirteen said last week that House ” mistook immaturity for edginess” and I am very afraid that the writers’ are already there. Vulgar doesn’t equate to witty and also works best in smaller doses. It makes me grind my teeth when I realize this show has the calibre of Hugh Laurie and Sean Robert Leonard and yet seem to be stumbling around for quality writing. it’s like having two Mercedes in the garage and putting in the wrong fuel. How can it be so hard given the rep the show already established to get strong scrips? It seems like they’re ‘following’ other shows rather than ‘leading’ which is what made ‘House’ an original. They need to stop looking over their shoulder and be true to the concept that the show arose from : Sherlock Holmes & Watson. Simple.

  • Barbara Barnett

    JL–I also live for the character stuff. I think as well that the procedural is the skeleton upon which the character stuff is hung. i especially adore those moments when House has that (oh so rare) moment of real connection with a patient. in those moments, I think, we get a glimpse as to why he really distances himself from patients.

    His real ace-in-the-hole (besides his genius as a physician/scientist) is his total objectivity. when he connects with a patient, it becomes harder for him to see the patient and the case objectively. I think that’s why it’s usually not until toward the end of the cast that House meets with the patient. He needs that connection (and it’s a worthwhile risk for him) to finish the case and save the life.

    I think the episodes (as much as I have loved them this year) have been too crowded for much in the clinic. Yeah, we get bits…and snark, but not those great clinic beats of House reluctantly doing clinic hours.

    As for what I’m doing to you, JL? Hmmm…. hopefully, I’ll be able to tell… but in all honesty there’s nothing to tell at this point. And I can’t even give clues. So sit tight, anticipate the episode and enjoy. Aren’t we all glad the World Series wasn’t delayed? Make up game would have pre-empted House. Phew. Very close call!

  • Sue

    House would root for the Phillies!

    Have we seen the interactions with House and the patient like we had in Control this season? Maybe a little in Not Cancer, but that was too simple and predictable to be relevant. Most of the character investigation has been with 13 and Taub rather than House. I know House was preoccupied with Wilson and the PI, but this is another thing that is lacking this season.

    Again, this episode was not generally well-accepted by fans and media critics alike. There is a consensus when episodes are good and when they aren’t. Ones that revolve around the new cast are not well-liked. Hugh is not receiving the rave reviews this season, except for Birthmarks, when he wasn’t in scenes with the new cast and they were just a small part of the episode. A major entertainment website called this episode boring.

  • Shazz

    I think this episode was controversial because of the lesbian scenes. I find this strange given House episodes have featured other controversial stuff such as much steamier heterosexual scenes, drug abuse etc which has elicited a lot less comments. The point has been missed, 13s descent into one night stands with other women rather than men as House said is because she needs the challenge of picking up hot women; men and ugly women being far easier to pick up…controlling women is as close as she can get to controlling what’s happening to her (her illness).

    I also liked this episode, as I do other House episodes that look in greater analysis of situations like One Day One Room, of which there has also been a lot of criticism for being boring.

    I also note the comment that seem to indicate that House is not receiving rave reviews. As a number of cast members have stated before, what is it is amazing people like House, a series with as unlikeable a character as you can get. What makes House so great is the writing and the producers willingness to explore non “safe” topics. BTW, I liked the survivor arc and the new team. The old team was becoming far too predictable in their interaction with House; though I confess to not liking Foreman in old or new team.

  • Andree

    After finally having seen the 2 final episodes of season 4, I will have to wait another year to see season 5. I was lucky and could watch Birthmarks and Lucky 13 on internet, although on a very small screen. But I prefer a small screen that having to wait a full year.

    I agree with all those who find the actress of 13 boring. For me she could be taken off the show asap, I would surely not miss her. I am not interested to have half of an episode based on one of House’s team members. These are supportive roles, they are not supposed to have an episode based on them. And another point, I find the interactions between House and this new team very tepid, at least from the team’s side. Sure, the old team was getting a bit predictable, but at least there was some punch behind them. The new team? Hm… perhaps with somebody else than 13?

    The writers know how to create great episodes, so why suddenly change? Of course they cannot create only intense episodes, they need to calm down things a bit. But why change suddenly so completely direction? Especially as the fan community apparently does not appreciate that at all.

    HL and RSL cannot carry this show all alone, they need good support. And why not give us these so appreciated patient-doctor scenes? I can only hope that the writers will wake up, if possible very fast.

    Something I would like to see some day is Wilson getting sick, physically hurt or whatever, a scene where House can take over, can show that he cares, that he is there for his friend. Simply a turn around, House being the one to give, for all to see – to care.

    Barbara, I love your blog and read it always with big interest. For the whole comunity here the tone is respectful, interesting, with two exceptions from some immature people, but well, best simply ignore them.

    Please go on like this, all of you, it is a real pleasure for me to read your comments and I am already waiting impatiently for the new review.

  • Barbara Barnett

    I think the start of this season, bouncing off of “Wilson’s Heart” set House adrift with his own feelings about himself, his significant relationships, etc. They put a big fly in (House’s) ointment (as it were) by focusing on the aftermath of Amber’s death and what it cost House (and Wilson). He’s been distracted–and it makes narrative sense.

    I think (gauging the press, the fan forums–and my own understanding of the show) that many people have (on the whole) liked this season. They may agree or disagree on new team/old team, but they’ve like the story line and the episodes (with a couple of exceptions, perhpaps). I think the writing’s been fine (again on the whole.)

    Many people think that “Birthmarks” was a series “highlight”. Considering that “House’s Head” and “Wilson’s Heart” were also in that category, and the season premiere was also beautifully and sensitively written (and loved by many in the fan community — and among critics), I don’t think the series is on a downturn.

    As far as changing direction, the series often does that mid season during “story arcs” (usually with guests like Vogler, Stacy, Tritter). The season so far has been an exploration of House and his relationships, his self worth and feelings post Amber. They are doing it in a new way, which I’ve enjoyed. Even “Lucky 13” was fundamentally about House and his inner life and relationships.

    I think every season has so-so episodes, especially as they warm the season’s story up in the beginning. A lot of fans argue that season two was the series best season (I’ve thought seasons two and three were equally strong; four suffered from imbalance and a vastly shortened season–season one was fabulous, but uneven–as the series found its footing).

    Season two started out weakly to me, and gained a lot of strength as the year went on: I though “Acceptance” was only a fair start after the season one finale. “TB or Not TB” was weak; as was “Spin.” All at the beginning of season two. Things picked up and I can think of few episodes for the remainder of the season that i didn’t care for.

    Others liked the ones I didn’t, but hated some that I loved. I loved “Who’s Your Daddy.” A lot of people hated it. We all like different things about House, and I think our perspectives differ when certain episodes focus on what we like and what we don’t.

    In season three, I pretty much loved every episode, with a couple of exceptions. I loved “One DAy One Room.” I was in the minority there, I think. But it focused on what matters most to me in the show. I thought they did it well, and the episode has a lasting affect on me and on the series narrative.

    I think that this season has been pretty strong; I also think that Hugh has given some breathtakingly beautiful performances this season. Some watch the show for the procedural; I don’t. House is literally the only television series (except for news–I’m a news junkie) I watch. It takes a lot for a series to get to me, and this one has. It hasn’t let me down yet.

    I don’t mind the new team. I love Kutner; Taub is a good House-foil (and better and subtler than Foreman); 13 is OK. I like where Chase’s character has taken him, and (big surprise) I’ve never been that ecstatic about Cameron (I don’t dislike her, but I’ve never been an enthusiastic fan either). Foreman is Foreman. To me the show is House, then Wilson and Cuddy. But mainly House. It’s a detailed character study, and as long as it keeps me fascinated, I’m compelled to watch and re-watch.

    Sorry. Didn’t mean to make this into a whole commentary. Ooops. 😉

  • Eve

    First of all thank you again for a wonderful review. I can’t wait for this weeks!
    I will say just one word : Kiss !

    about House’s reaction in the last scene of ‘Lucky 13’.

    ‘Misery loves company’ and now the two people most important to House are about to not be miserable anymore.. so leaving him alone in his misery.

    This seems like a logical answer but secretly I want his reaction to be explained by the deep underlying love he feels for Cuddy!
    As sung by Annie Lenox ‘Seems you never realise a good thing till it’s gone..!’

    Waiting unpatiently for your insights on the Cuddy/House relationship!!

    Have a great week!
    Best wishes

  • Barbara Barnett

    Thanks, Eve.

    will post my thoughts on House/Cuddy during the off week (next week).

  • Barbara Barnett

    OK…so now I can divulge my surprise. Keep an eye on Blogcritics later this afternoon. I had the chance to interview Dr. Cuddy, herself–Lisa Edelstein via email. The interview will be published shortly. Hope you enjoy and spread the word!

  • SF

    Hugh Laurie should have won an Emmy for season 4’s body of work, now season 5 and that one scene where he looked shocked and then upset and then quiet acceptance should win it for him. To answer the reviewer’s question, he wasn’t upset because of the whole thing being a secret. He hates change. And with a baby, he won’t be the most important person in Cuddy’s life, like how he handled the whole amber-wilson situation. He’s jealous at the end of the day because he wants all attention on him, more so from the 2 people he actually cares more than himself. Season 5 is turning into a great season like season 4 was. Fantastic performances from everyone, especially by Hugh Laurie. Thanks for the great review.

  • Grace

    One more little question for anyone:
    Would House being a Vicodin mis-user have any affect on his sperm or a baby? Thank you for your answers ahead of time.

  • Barbara Barnett

    SF–there’s no question that House was very upset. And I think it’s because here he got wilson back and now he’s had the rug pulled from under him. Change is hard for him (I would guess for a lot of reasons) and this has been an especially difficult year for him emotionally. Cuddy’s adopting a baby is a big change in his life–and if Wilson’s involved (which he doesn’t know to what extent if any)then the hit is even harder. Incredible, nuanced reaction by Hugh. Brilliant, brilliant performance.

    Not sure about the effect on his sperm production, but it might have an effect on his ability to have sex.