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House: Wilson's House

houseWilson takes center stage this week on House, as he races against time to save a friend whose leukemia he had previously cured. This friend’s name is Tucker, and the prologue shows Wilson and Tucker hunting for turkeys in the woods and celebrating Tucker’s fifth year of surviving past the point when he was supposed to die. But suddenly Tucker accidentally discharges the gun—nearly blowing Wilson’s head off—and collapses to the ground, whining about how he can’t move his left arm. Wilson doesn’t hold a grudge against Tucker, even though he tried to pull a Dick Cheney on him, and takes him to Princeton Plainsboro.

House doesn’t like Tucker, and I agree with him. I knew I didn’t like him almost immediately. George Carlin had a great bit about how Tucker isn’t a real man’s name and is almost always bestowed upon a moron. You can’t trust guys named Tucker. Or Tony. Or Buddy. But I digress.

At the hospital, Wilson tells Tucker that he didn’t have a stroke and that his leukemia has not returned. House meanwhile, thinks the leukemia has returned. Wilson isn’t sharing the case with House, but has bribed a nurse to copy him on all of Wilson’s patient’s charts. House claims he is doing it to protect Wilson, just in case Wilson tries to deliver another speech that would end his career, as he almost did earlier in the season. Of course, House gets some satisfaction from this nefarious behavior as well. Can you blame him?

Wilson notices that Tucker’s practically prepubescent girlfriend has a cold sore and wonders if a virus could have caused Tucker’s collapsing/paralysis routine in the woods. He is very impressed with himself for having a “House moment.” Unfortunately, he’s wrong. If he wasn’t wrong, the episode would have been over ten minutes in. House tells Wilson that he should remove himself from the case because he and Tucker are friends and Wilson isn’t capable of being objective. Wilson challenges House and they make a $100 sort-of-friendly wager.

House’s role in this episode is mainly to keep popping in and interrupting Wilson at meetings by telling him that Tucker’s leukemia is back. Wilson manages to sequester House’s team—Taub, Thirteen and Foreman—without House being present. They agree to try to help Wilson because, after all, any chance to take on House will suffice. They suggest fungus might be the culprit. But they’re wrong too. Everybody is wrong.

Wilson manages to cajole Tucker’s ex-wife and daughter to come to the hospital. They don’t like Tucker either. Go figure. But the whole Tucker-being-on-the-verge-of-death thing forces everyone to reconnect, and Tucker picks his ex-wife to be his proxy and make medical decisions for him if he is unable to. Naturally, this causes the young new girlfriend to get her panties in a twist.

More erroneous diagnoses ensue before Wilson determines that a new form of leukemia has appeared in Tucker’s brain that was probably caused by past treatment. Yikes. Cue Wilson’s guilt complex. There is a ninety percent cure rate, but the ten percent minority means that Tucker would have only six months to live if the treatment didn’t take. Wilson tells him to move forward and take a shot. The ex-wife agrees. The problem though is that the new cancer is resistant to the treatment because it built up immunity during the initial treatments five years ago.

house4Wilson doubles the dosage—against House’s advice. It cures the cancer but destroys Tucker’s liver. Tucker now has one day to live before he dies. Yikes, that didn’t work so well. And none of his family members have compatible livers to transplant (not that they would want to obviously). There was however a recent traffic accident victim, and she has a compatible liver. The problem: the victim’s sister doesn’t want the liver donated out of religious objection. Yeah, makes sense to me. House goes over and works his inimitable magic and talks the sister into it…right as Wilson gets a call that the liver is no longer viable.

So Tucker, being the jackass that he is, rather forcefully suggests that Wilson give him a piece of his liver. Right, because Wilson hasn’t done enough for this guy already. Wilson considers going through with it. House of course, objects. The big crisis then becomes will Wilson or won’t he? House says he will not go with Wilson to the surgery because if Wilson dies, he will be truly alone.

The other big news this week is that Cuddy is moving in with Lucas. She goes to Wilson and asks him to contact their mutual realtor friend to help Cuddy look for a bigger place to move into. Wilson points out that Cuddy could just have easily contacted the realtor independently of asking Wilson about it. Wilson thinks that she is seeking his blessing, and by extension, House’s blessing. You would expect Wilson to be a pushover here, but he makes a commendable decision towards the end of the show that demonstrates his loyalty to House.

This is a solid episode and it’s nice to see Robert Sean Leonard have a little more heft to his role. If any character deserves to temporarily steal the spotlight from House, it’s Wilson. Nobody else.

For another take on this episode, read All About Wilson by Stephanie Jaar.

Season 6, Episode 9: Wilson (originally aired November 30, 2009)

For more on House, click here.

Tuesdays 8/7c on FOX

Photographs courtesy of NBC Universal and IMDbPro

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