For the last several weeks, many fans of House have complained about how he’s gone from endearingly caustic to being an outright jerk. Tonight, he reverted to form. Was it enough?

The episode starts with 13 making out with a random girl, which cuts to a shot of them laying in bed together, aglow. 13 goes to the bathroom while the girl tries to entice her back to bed. When sweet talk doesn’t work, she has a seizure. Go for the gusto! As they rush into the ER, Cameron asks the usual questions; what was the duration of the seizure? Three minutes. Is there a history of epilepsy? She didn’t say. What’s her name? I dunno. What’s more surprising than 13 hooking up with a girl and not even bothering to find out her name? Cameron turning the case over the House. She says it’s because she thinks he’ll find it interesting – but why is that? Because of the possible medical mystery or because of 13’s involvement? House takes the case because of 13, of course.

However, at the offset, he’s more interesting in the practical joke he’s played on Wilson. We don’t see exactly what it was, but it does land Wilson on his back, with a thoughtfully placed donut nearby. Yet, even beyond his success, House wants to know why Wilson is an hour late. Wilson says he had a breakfast meeting at Mickey’s Diner with the people from Mercy Hospital, to tell them he was leaving. He adds that the donut was a nice touch, before taking a bite, while House quips back that it is his way of saying welcome back. We know that isn’t the last we’ll hear of it, but first he has to torment 13.

She’s less game to engage in his typical verbal sparring and is equally ready to dismiss her one night stand as a hypochondriac who had too much to drink. House tries to mix 13’s downward spiral into the diagnosis, but there enough inconsistency for the whole team to get in on the differential. They decide to test her bone marrow and House picks 13 to run the test while he oversees. In a scene filled with innuendo, House finds out they did everything he thinks they did with the lights on, that 13 isn’t shy about talking in the sack, and that she rates a solid 7 in performance.

Lucas, the PI, is back tonight, because House wants him to find out why Wilson was really late. As he explains, Wilson loves Mickey’s Diner and always orders a french toast tower so there is no way he’d come to the office and eat a donut. Lucas offers the insight that House is actually just worried that their friendship has changed because not only did Wilson not laugh at the joke, he also hasn’t retaliated.

Back at the hospital, 13 has been doing some investigating on her own, of the POTW. It seems she has been trying to get House to see her for a year. She accuses the POTW of using her, but it’s pointed out that 13 was doing some using of her own. 13 counters that she made her motives clear and the POTW tells her she might have figured out her motives sooner if she had ever bothered to ask her name. Checkmate! The POTW says she had only planned to follow 13 and ask her to help her get in to see House, but that 13 had come on to her rather aggressively. 13 accuses her of faking the seizure and tells her she’s going to discharge her. Which is when the POTW loses the ability to breathe and crashes.

The team meets to discuss the new development, as a patient with a history that is only marked by fatigue and a retinal hemorrhage went on to have a seizure and then heart failure. Eye to brain to heart makes it a real case. However, now he thinks it may be drugs. 13 rolls her eyes and explains that his theory means the POTW either brought drugs to her apartment or took something from her medicine cabinet, which means they need to search her place and she would offer to do it herself, but that would be less titillating for House, so he will come up with a convoluted medical reason for why she has to stay while he goes through her things. House merely states that her dad had a bypass so she’s a canidate for atherosclerosis and needs an ultrasound, but it does end up with him and Foreman going to her apartment to search.

Foreman is ostensibly going because he can pick locks, but he agrees to keep House from stealing 13s underwear. However, House didn’t need anyone to pick the lock, because he had Lucas make duplicates of everyone’s keys. Which begs the question, why did he want Foreman there? Foreman has questions of his own, namely where the key to his home is. But House claims to not have bothered getting his key, because he already knows all about him. He also doesn’t find much of interest at 13’s place, except an absence of sex toys – which he claims means she’s picking up strangers for sex often – and an asthma inhaler.

And a brown recluse spider, which he captured and puts on the conference table. He mentions that it wasn’t the only interesting thing he found, which results in a tense moment. When he pulls out her inhaler, he gets another roll of her eyes, but he points out that there was something else she was worried about him finding. In he meantime, since the ultrasound turned up nothing, he tells 13 to check the POTW for a spider bite. During the exam, 13 and the POTW discuss their brief encounter, with 13 admitting she hadn’t planned on ever seeing her again and the POTW mentioning they have potential. She also displays numbness in her hip, which is a new symptom. 13 theorizes a kidney problem and House orders a CT scan.

And then he goes to stake out Wilson’s home with Lucas. While they sit outside, a woman with a certain air about her walks up and Lucas points out that she isn’t delivering pizza. House declares that Wilson isn’t the type to pay for pizza, and states she must be for different unit. But indeed, she does go into Wilson’s apartment. Meanwhile, Foreman tells 13 he found what she was afraid House would see – a new test result that indicates she has less time than she thought. He tells her to stop self-destructing and take care of herself, but she isn’t interested in exercise and a healthy diet, she just wants to cram as much fun into her remaining years as possible. Having less fun is the POTW, who has calcifications round on the CT removed from her kidneys, and then suffers a collapsed airway and is intubated.

At the differential, 13 is conspicuously absent while House decides to cause another airway collapse vie treadmill. He goes off to try and find 13, but Foreman stops him because he found out House was investigating him. House admits that he did, but all he found out is that Foreman is boring. Cuddy finds 13 in the clinic administering IV fluids to herself after an obvious night of partying. She wants to run a drug test but 13 refuses and House backs her up. And then fires her, stating that he’s already protecting one doctor with a drug habit and that the slutty party girl is only fun until she pukes on your shoes.

House goes right from firing 13 to Wilson’s office and it’s just like old times. Or it would be if in the old times Wilson admitted to dating a prostitute who he hired but then felt sorry for because she’s a single mom who made some mistakes but who now wants to go to law school. So he’s going to help her with her tuition. I’m not buying it until he says that Amber wanted him to move on and be happy and Debbie (does Princeton?) makes him happy. House replies "If you’re happy, I’m…." and then walks out.

Elsewhere, Foreman tries to comfort 13, but she’s too busy trying to save her job by saving the POTW. Which she does when she realizes the POTW has lung cysts and the treadmill test will kill her. She arrives just in the nick of time to re-inflate a lung. Back in the office, she tries to make recommendations, but House tells her his employees can take it from there. She argues that she proved she can carry her weight but he believes that she only proved she can make an entrance. The team goes to run more tests and find out that the POTW has a terminal illness. House finds 13 and tells her deliver the news, but it doesn’t mean she’s getting her job back. 13 agrees because no one deserves to get that kind of news from house.

What follows is a lot of 13 spending time with the POTW, revealing that she too has a terminal illness. The bond over the idea that they only have a decade left when the POTW begins bleeding. The team is back to running tests, one of which has Foreman asking Chase if he really is boring. Chase confirms that he is and honestly, in his behavior for the last two seasons…I have to agree. After the tests, House decides the POTW needs a bone marrow transplant. Not because he knows what’s wrong with her of course. And the treatment could kill her. He tasks 13 with getting the consent and she does.

Lucas is waiting in his office, with Wilson’s trash. Which reveals Wilson to be a heroin addict? House marches into Wilson’s office and announces "You’re back!" while Wilson curses having overplayed his hand. House grills him about where he was and Wilson finally caves so far as telling him to be follow him at 8pm that night. When House gets back to his office, 13 is waiting for him and he rehires her, stating that while she’s crashing and burning, he can still use her. 13 accuses him of trying to save her by forcing her to spend time with the POTW and to connect to her, which is when House’s epiphany comes. As he stares at her cracked lips.

The POTW never cried, not when she got her diagnosis and not when House cuts an union in front of her. She doesn’t have the terminal Lam, she has the treatable Sjorgens, which attacks saliva and tears and caused her symptoms and some sort of mouth infection that she passed to 13, causing cracked lips when it was further irritated by use of her inhaler. Foreman congratulates 13 on getting her job back, but it seems like 13 would have been happier having a terminal partner as she replies that she just feels alone. At least, until she picks up a blond on her way home.

House makes his way to Wilson’s home and then follows him to a baby store, where he’s met up with Cuddy. They reveal that Wilson was late because he was attending a meeting with her to act as a character reference in her adoption proceedings, and she was approved. She asks House if he’s going to congratulate her and he replies "If you’re happy, I’m…" and leaves the store.

There was a whole lot of funny tonight, but here were my favorites:

House: How does 13 know about it?
Cameron: She was with with patient last night.
House: At 3am? Oh yeah! Penthouse Forum meets medical mystery. Maybe there is a God.

House: 13, go stick a needle into your girlfriend’s pelvis and no, that wasn’t a metaphor. Suck out some marrow. That one was.

13: You’ll have to forgive Dr. House, he mistakes immaturity for edginess.
POTW: You’re Dr. House?
House: I assume my name came up last night in the form of a moan.

House: You’re just upset because the whole time she was with you, she was thinking of my huge, throbbing, diagnostic skill.

House: Oh my god! You invoked your dead girlfriend’s name to sell me. You’re my hero.

What did you think? Was House less of a jerk? Do you buy Wilson’s turn around? Do you wish 13 would have held on to the POTW a little longer? Maybe an episode or two? Where you glad to see the return of Lucas? And is Cuddy really, finally getting a baby?

Posted by:Jessica Paff