Thirteen (Olivia Wilde) returns and accompanies House on a bizarre road trip. The rest of the team treats a hoarder.
Spoilers after the jump.
Brava, she's finally back and well, how productive her time away was spent is up to interpretation. Considering how tightly concealed she is usually keen to keep aspects of her life and although she initially tries to stonewall him, she confesses all to House rather easily in the end. The issues facing her obviously weighed heavily upon her and ultimately, her resistance was irrevocably cracked. Euthanizing her brother was probably not even as traumatizing to her as being made acutely aware of her own mortality. Her self-destructive nature having been shown on multiple previous occasions, her concern about being left to suffer and die alone is valid, such is short-term nature of relationship she has forged. But in House she has something of a kindred spirit. He understands the emptiness within her. It sounds as though Thirteen mostly avoided her brother before helping him to die, unwilling to form any truly meaningful attachments - not unlike the behavior of House.
The man himself is acutely aware of his own failings. Armed with the knowledge he is guilty of driving his relationship with Cuddy into a wall, he is desperate to win the potato gun competition rather than be around her in the hospital as the would be one year anniversary approaches. The competition, like his love life is the scene of another personal failure, with his inability to conquer rival Harold. When he finds himself clearly outclassed once again, he responds to Harold's taunting in the same immature way he responded to his break-up with Cuddy. Perhaps Thirteen returned just in time - House's promise to be there for her the way she was there for her brother is strong enough to tie him back to this world. I have a suspicion that particular day of judgment will arrive sooner rather than later however.
The mystery of how Taub got a date with the hot redhead is unlikely to be as complicated as Foreman makes it out to be - he probably just asked her. That's easier said than done though, Foreman has encountered troubles of his own with not being direct with people and it shows up a lot in this episode. Rather than confront Taub with a strong front on anything, he soft-pedals and whines, then "borrows" Taub's phone while he's taking a shower to check up on him. The pseudo-leadership role he normally would assume is taken up by Masters in what is presumably either her final or penultimate appearance. The mysteries surrounding the patient of the week fascinate her and the comments Chase makes regarding her obsession could easily be applied to House. A more ethical version of him, perhaps?
Speaking of Chase, now he and Thirteen have in common that they killed a man for the greater good. I wonder if we'll see that chemistry bubble back up before the end of the season? At first it seemed that he was going to take the lead in House's absence but then Masters stepped up and started dictating things. It's curious she'd rather be around Chase than any of the others. They bonded in the earlier episode "Recession Proof" and he seems to be more comfortable around her than the other two... certainly Foreman anyway who obviously thinks she is a freak. Looks like Taub is getting back together with his wife... again. Does this mean we'll see Michael Gladis again? Will he move out of Foreman's place? I'm sure one way or another it'll go horribly wrong for him. No Cuddy or Wilson this week. No time I suppose, with Thirteen performing Wilson's duties and Cuddy specifically absent. It was still a good episode though and a distinct improvement on recent affairs.
"House" airs Mondays on FOX at 8:00 pm EST.