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'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

Originally posted April 12 2011 — 12:02 AM EDT

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