House Watch: Lucky 13

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Adam Taylor / FOX

13! Yes Olivia Wilde was back last night along with Wentworth Miller as Patient—and I had a difficult time deciding who is hotter. Before you read on, a House-ish SPOILER ALERT: don’t be an IDIOT and read further unless you have watched last night’s fantastic episode “Charity Case.”

The delicious Miller, who was the only reason (and I mean the only reason) to watch Prison Break, plays Benjamin, a mysterious philanthropist who collapses after giving a $1-million check to an inner-city jobs clinic.

As I predicted, Adams is a new member of the Team—provisionally, for now, since House has no budget to pay her. A trust funder, she’s been working at a free clinic in Trenton after getting fired from the prison for helping House prove a diagnosis with a risky procedure. She’s a welcome presence—Park was a little boring on her own last week, perhaps because Charlyne Yi, who plays her, has so little experience. House’s new haircut is also a welcome change. (He shaves his ridiculous prison locks as the opening credits roll. Which brings up another issue: where’s the dark theme music from Massive Attack? Are they finally done with that?)

The first diagnosis: dehydration, although Miller has gained enough weight since Prison Break that simple dehydration seems unlikely. Also, Benjanmin has that rather extreme case of philanthropy, which House would normally hate but—in this case—House wants Benjanmin’s money for his practice.

Adams thinks a sudden collapse could indicate deterioration of his heart muscle, so they do an ultrasound. Benjamin explains that he has given away tens of millions of dollars and lives on about $25,000 a year.

Park and Adams go to House and give competing diagnoses of his mental state. Park: “He’s nuts.” Adams: “He’s generous.” Foreman stops their little debate by telling House to discharge Benjamin; House is just trying to scam him, after all. But House plays the game: “unexplained loss of consciousness could be cardiomyopathyglobal anoxia….” Foreman then trumps House with a nice gambit: House can view the extreme altruism as a symptom and keep treating Benjamin, but if it’s truly a sign that Benjamin is sick, House can’t take any money from him. Score one for Foreman.

“Send him home,” House tells Adams and Park. “But check the net worth of all patients in admitting.”

We then see 13, who says she’s only come by the hospital to get House to stop calling—the first 17 messages, she says, were “cute,” but she wants them to end. She has a new girlfriend, and they’re going to Mykonos. House yawns to mock her, but 13 says “It turns out I like boring.”

As Park and Adams examine Benjamin, he becomes tachycardic. “Unbelievable,” Adams says–indicating that she’s never seen an episode of House M.D. before. Unbelievable symptoms that occur at just the right time in the story is a constant feature of the show.

Best nickname of the night: House calls Benjamin “Father Teresa.” The tachycardia means he really is sick, but with what? Park suggests Whipple’s, a rare condition in which the intestines cannot properly absorb all nutrients. House points out that Whipple’s would require a neurological symptom, setting up Park for a line that would normally be House’s: “You don’t think defying human nature is neurological?”

House’s response: “Racing heart: medical condition. Bleeding heart: stupid condition.” But Park–and I liked her more and more as this episode went on–points out that House wants the altruism not to be a symptom so he can take Benjamin’s Benjamins (and yes that was my line, one I was surprised not to hear during a show that usually can’t resist puns).

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