'House' 150th episode review: Olivia Wilde, hoarders, and potato guns

The soap-opera version of House continues relentlessly. In the series’ 150th episode on Monday night, a maudlin medical case was matched with the return of Olivia Wilde, wilder than Hugh Laurie’s House might have dreamed, since she’s now a slinky ex-con.

The opening scene suggested that the producers have been watching Breaking Bad: Silent, sun-bright overhead shots of a dusty landscape that isolated the figure of House, who turned out to be waiting to give Thirteen a ride as she was released from a jail in New Mexico New Jersey.

The dramatic eeriness was shattered, however, when House started gabbing away, offering his theories about why Thirteen had been in the slammer for six months, as though she was a case to be diagnosed in the hospital. Speaking of the hospital, the rest of House’s underlings were busy being fussy over a patient admitted for coughing up blood for no immediately apparent reason. Once Foreman and Taub bust into the guy’s home — because that’s what doctors so often do on House; I really don’t remember anyone on ER or Marcus Welby, M.D., breaking and entering as part of their Hippocratic oaths — they find signs of morbid hoarding (the piles of trash and the dead cat in the fridge are subtle giveaways).

Let’s just forget the sub-subplot of Taub’s ridiculously active sex life — indeed, let’s just leave the hospital plot alone, because as is true with increasing frequency on House these days, the medical case is the filler between the anguished-or-funny Greg House moments. The funny stuff was the idea that House, after picking up Thirteen, was on his way to a potato gun competition he was taking very seriously — which is to say, played for absurd laughs.

The lack of motivation on this show these days is extraordinary; it’s amazing what regular viewers will put up with in leaps of logic to remain in contact with their cherished characters. In this instance, we were asked to believe that Thirteen, freshly freed into civilian life, would become totally immersed in helping House design a powerful spud gun to defeat his arch-enemy competitor, Harold (Justin Chon).

It was only after House updated Thirteen on his tortured relationship with Cuddy that Thirteen unburdened herself of her own unhappiness.

Turns out she euthanized her brother, who suffered from the same Huntington’s disease that killed her mother and may kill her. She was arrested and plea-bargained down to a charge of over-prescribing drugs. How did she and House ultimately bond at the end of this hour? He solemnly pledged, “I will kill you when the time comes and you want me to.”

This was meant to be shockingly blunt in the great House tradition. Instead, given the current context of House dramatic exaggeration and absurd inter-personal relationships, it was almost a laugh-line. Almost.

What did you think of House this week?

Twitter: @kentucker

Comments (182 total) Add your comment
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  • Michael

    Anyone know the name of the song that played at the end of the episode?

    • Nic.

      In the dirt by S. Carey — you can find it on iTunes.

      • Sarah

        I Shazam’d it too! I <3 Shazam!

    • KLH

      House is broken and may be beyond repair. This saddens me.

    • CourtyC

      5:30 ALL TRANNYS!!!!

    • CourtyC

      What do mean…PLease…and clear on misdeamenor the on where worried tight all or none they said madatory 2:30 Tony Blair with a clear…its differenlt not failure to comply…What do mean…im a commic…and clear on Genuis! ! ! !

  • EC

    The episode sounds all kinds of confusing. I was hoping to use it as a jumping back on point, but maybe not?

    • cag

      This episode was almost as weak as the rest this season. Why wouldn’t the woman tell her hubby she had miscarriages. I think he would be more apt to leave a woman who is infertile than one who actually CAN get pregnant. Why would Taub’s name be Chris. Jewish guys are not named Chris!!! How would 13 have an apartment to go back to? Who paid her rent? Why did 13 look so bad and where were the actual tears?

      • obsurv

        This season was fine contrary to what “Cag” says. Cutty and House, the baby and House and even Chris Taub (yes I know a jewish guy named Chris). One can be incarcerated and still pay rent by post dated cheques or likely she paid the whole 6 months whenshe went to court. The tears were at night by the window when she was crying about her brother. As far as looking bad? Jail kinda does that to you. I do not think “Cag” even watched the show or paid attention like he did all season. Go House Go Heres to episode 200.

      • Lois

        Good reply to @cag. :)

      • Mellissa

        What can a Jewish guy be named? Matt? Adam? Jeremy? Jason? Ron? True story, I know Jewish men named all those things. Wierd.

      • MusicFan

        Not that it really matters, but cag’s point is that Chris is short for Christopher which is a derivative of “Christ” and thus is not typically a Jewish name, but of course, does happen sometimes.

      • Mellissa

        You also forget the Christ was a Jew. The only “rule” for naming a Jewish child is that their name must honor a previous family member in some way.

      • Marcus Welby

        So Taub is a descendant of Christ? Is there a DA VINCI CODE crossover in the works?

      • Bob

        Mellissa, it is not a rule that a Jewish childs name needs to honor anyone!

      • Mellissa

        Hmmm…that’s not what my Jewish grandparent or my Jewish parents told me. Silly them, making up strange religious practices for no apparant reason other than to confuse their children.

      • Gaby

        The Chris thing bothers me every time, as does the lack of actual New Jersey, and the abundance of Californian shots!

  • Jamie

    I keep reading all these negative things about House but I am very much enjoying this season- especially since the musical episode and House having a Vicodin relapse. Stoned House is better House.

    • Lois

      I like this season as well. The only problem is that Wilson isn’t in the show enough.

      • sammy

        I enjoyed the episode as well. I’ve also enjoyed the whole season.

      • erika

        i third that. I really enjoyed this one as well as this whole season.

      • steve

        also agree with this. i always prefer when the cases are “filler” in favor of the character stories. and i’m glad the house-cuddy relationship is over for the moment, though i was OK with it while it lasted.

    • Zakry

      I’m coming to realize Ken Tucker is a hack. This was an excellent episode in all of its subtleties. Olivia Wilde showed what an outstanding actress she is, besides being beautiful. Just look at the scene when House tells her he was Cuddy’s boyfriend. Her voice goes from “you’re joking” to shock to compassion in about 2 seconds. Awesome work.

      I don’t have a problem with the complexity of Chris Taub (what? Jewish people can name their kids anything they want), yes the doctors break into houses and apartments, we knew that seasons ago.

      Someone peed in Tucker’s lemonade, that’s all.

      • david

        I mean Tucker has a point that there are some logical leaps, but that is true of every season of house. What plot line in this show doesn’t occasionally ask you to just go with it, from the first season on? If it bothers someone, I can’t imagine that individual ever actually liking the show on a consistent basis.
        Wilde was rather good though, first time in a while I liked something about her other than her looks.

  • Chris

    I stopped watching House over a year ago. It’s too much the formulaic bottle show.

    • Steve

      @Chris Then why are you even commenting on this article? Go away and play with your action figures.

      • Ingmar

        He can give his opinion,can’t he? Don’t get all offensive about it. Sure, you still like the show, but many of us don’t. Get over it.

      • bob

        defensive…and yes, he can voice his opinion. I personally liked this episode.

    • Bob

      Then you should’ve watched this episode, because it was less so.

    • @Chris

      You are entitled to your opinion but since you “stopped watching” your opinion can only be on last year’s show so get in your time machine and comment on last year’s board.

      • Jaded

        LOL! Well said!

      • No-

        No, pretty poorly said. There are no expiration dates on opinions. I was a die-hard fan for years, but have lost interest. I still read the article, and still have an opinion (I NEVER liked thirteen, let’s just leave it at that), and I have every right to post it here, whether you agree with me, or Chris, or not.

    • Lois

      It’s less a “formulaic bottle show” now than it was in the first several years. And it’s way less a “formulaic bottle show” than any of the CSIs or either Criminal Minds.

  • Amy

    I thought it was a really bad episode. Like, really, REALLY bad. Probably the worst episode of House I’ve ever seen. Completely unbelievable and at some points, just down right ridiculous.

    • bhm1304

      More ridiculous and stupid than driving down the road in Princeton with the doctors in a monster truck?

      • Marianne

        Agreed!! The monster truck thing really jumped the shark. In fact, my husband suggested that the phrase “jumped the shark” be replaced by “had the doctors do a differential while riding around town in a monster truck.” This episode, by comparison, had some nice moments, but House better have some episodes coming our way or the hubs and I might just have to bid gooodbye to what has been one of our favorite shows for several years. Sad.

    • Christie

      House has never been believable–you think any reputable hospital (especially when so many are owned by corporate entities) would put up with that behavior no matter how brilliant the doctor is supposed to be? Multiple lawsuits waiting to happen.
      That said, I really enjoyed the House/13 interaction although too much of it was predictable, including 13’s big revelation and House saying he would be her euthanasia partner.

      • Bobby

        You really found a way to make this whole process eieasr.

      • Maria

        woot, thankyou! I flnaliy came to a site where the webmaster knows what they’re talking about. Do you know how many results are in Google when I search.. too many! It’s so annoying having to go from page after page after page, wasting my day away with thousands of people just copying eachother’s articles… bah. Anyway, thankyou very much for the info anyway, much appreciated.

  • Gina

    My roommate and I did laugh when House told Thirteen that he would euthanize her. “‘When the time comes, I’ll kill you.’ She looks like that’s the sweetest thing anybody’s ever said to her!”

    • HAPPY

      It is the sweetest thing anyone could ever say, especially since she’s doomed w/ Huntington’s disease. It’s a horrific demise.

  • ambersbrainisinsane

    I completely agree with this recap. I enjoyed seeing Wilde again, after loving her in Tron, but the soap opera plotline was ridiculous. I’m really annoyed I didn’t learn anything new about House, except for more Cuddy moping.

  • amanda

    am i the only one who thinks thirteen and house would make a good couple???

    • Jessica Gress

      I agree. I keep waiting for that to happen. I look forward to Amber Tamblyn’s reactions to Olivia Wilde’s return. Should be amusing. I hope 13 doesn’t return to Foreman and I wish Amber Tamblyn’s character would get with Chase. I miss the old Chase. Jennifer Morrison needs to stop ruining How I met your mother and return to House. Seriously!

      • Bob

        Well, there won’t be any relationships with Tamblyn, since she’s leaving the show shortly.

      • marzipan the dwarf

        Tamblyn’s leaving? Best news ever. She’s been marginally less annoying since they paired her with Chase, but I’ll be glad to see her go. Can’t wait to have 13 back on the team.

      • Marianne

        Anyone else think that Amber Tamblyn’s character is going to be murdered by the serial killer she helped last week? That is my prediction, anyway.

    • Jaded

      I thought the same thing. I’ve never liked thirteen much, but I actually liked her last night!

  • Trisha

    The song at the end of ep of House was called Into the Dirt by S. Carey. Glad Thirteen is back. Masters is annoying to me. I bet she is leaving soon since Thirteen is back.

  • dannie

    I enjoyed the episode. I like Thirteen, and Olivia Wilde, and am glad to see her back! I think she and House have always had an interesting relationship (NOT romantic); she’s often more mysterious than him, and he seems drawn to that.

    • Nic.

      Completely agree. I didn’t like 13 when she first appeared in the series, so I was surprised that I’ve missed her over this season. For what it’s worth, I think this episode is one of the best of the entire series.

    • Mellissa

      She’s a puzzle, which is why House likes her. Not romantically, necessarily, but he can’t figure her out, and he’s drawn to a good puzzle.

      • Pat

        She’s only a mystery because the writers keep saying that she is and because she’s ridiculously reticent so that they have a reason to keep House interested.

        Without that, she’s quite ordinary. Yes, she’s got a hereditary disease she’s bisexual which they pull out every sweeps to titillate the male demographic but she’s neither particularly intelligent or creative and she only thinks about herself which I find boring.

  • Ben

    I actually enjoyed the episode and the rapport between House and 13. As for the breaking and entering, Masters uncovered the baby clothes and hence the team reaching the correct diagnosis. And Ken, you may be correct that other medical dramas don’t commit B&E on their patients’ homes buy why copy other medical dramas. At least that adds something different to reaching a diagnosis and not just rely on the honesty of people.

  • Laura

    The breaking in to people’s houses has been addressed as absurb on the show many times, thats why I’m okay with it, it’s explained even if it’s crazy. And 13 def does have Huntingtons.

  • gratitude

    Why did Thirteen knee Damon Lindelof in the groin? Say something witty about ending of LOST or his Twittertude

    • Remy

      I thought it was David Cross. Then when he lifted his head up more I decided it was Damon Lindelof as well.

      • Mindy

        Definitely Lindelof. He had been tweeting about it all day.

    • Mellissa

      She said it was her cellmates boyfriend who cheated on her or something.

    • Lola

      I knew that had to be Damon. I was totally thinking she was going to say “that was for the lame ending to Lost”

  • jj6

    wow ken tucker, tell us how you really feel. I actually have enjoyed this season and the different dynamics developing between the team members. would like more wilson. However since ken so clearly is disgusted by the direction of the show why does he bother with these posts?

    • jon


    • Lulu

      I agree. EW should release him of his “burden”. I agree that some of this season’s House eps have been a bit off, but I thought last night’s was in a different class. Also, it was the 150th. If they’d done one of their “normal” formula for the show, they would have been criticized for being a standard procedural. It seems like a no-win with so many of these critics.

  • amy

    Thank God Thirteen is back. The episode definitely had its ridiculous moments. However, Thirteen and House are really the only interesting characters left. I love their interactions. I like the last scene between them too. I didn’t feel at all that it was laughable. I thought it was sort of sweet in a promise-between-two- extremely-damaged-people way.

    • Tia

      I agree. I think 13 is the only one who really gets House and visa versa.

    • Kaiden

      Information is power and now I’m a !@#$ing dicattor.

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