- Cameron: "My name’s Dr. Cameron. You’re in a hospital. We’re going to take care of you. What’s her name?"
- Thirteen: "I don’t know."
- — Lucky Thirteen
Lucky Thirteen is the fifth episode of the 5th season of House which first aired on October 21, 2008. Thirteen's personal life comes out of the shadows and into the light when she brings in a patient with whom she has had a recent one-night stand. In addition, Thirteen‘s personal life also starts to interfere with her work and House must make a decision to try to save both Thirteen’s life and career.
Thirteen hooks up with a woman for a one-night stand. Afterwards, the woman suffers a seizure. Thirteen accompanies her to the PPTH ER. Cameron asks Thirteen what the patient's name is, but she doesn't even know.
Cameron presents the case to House. Spencer is 26 and suffered a tonic clonic seizure. She has a history of fatigue, and two years ago had a retinal vein occlusion. House ignores Cameron and goes to Wilson's office, finding Wilson lying on the floor after falling over from his chair. House pulled a practical joke by removing one of the wheels. Wilson says he was late to work because was resigning from his new job. House has left him a donut as a welcome back gift.
House returns to Cameron and she picks up where she left off on the patient. She suggests that the seizure could be the result of dehydration or something neurological. House thinks it is the traces of ecstacy found in her system. Cameron mentions that Thirteen said the patient took the drugs about five hours before the seizure. House becomes intrigued at the thought of the two women together at 3 a.m.
As Foreman and the team go through the case file, Thirteen laments that her private life is on display, but also thinks it is just dehydration from drugs. Foreman asks if Thirteen was also taking drugs. She refuses to answer. Taub reports that the patient had eye hemorrhaging two years ago. Kutner thinks that blood clots could explain everything, but Thirteen dismisses Spencer as a hypochondriac. House orders Thirteen to do a bone marrow biopsy.
As Thirteen prepares to draw bone marrow from Spencer, House watches their awkward interaction with amusement and asks what they got up to the previous night. The patient is open about the night, but stiffens in pain as Thirteen pushes the biopsy needle into her hip. Spencer has been told about House. He chats with Spencer about her sexual experience with Thirteen. Spencer rates Thirteen a seven.
House asks Lucas to investigate Wilson because he ate the donut. Wilson claimed he had a morning meeting at Mickey's Diner. There is no way had he come to work wanting more carbohydrates. House thinks Wilson lied about being at the diner, and he needs to know why. Lucas thinks House is just worried.
Thirteen angrily tells Spencer that she found the letters she wrote trying to get House to take on her case. She accuses Spencer of sleeping with her to get to House, and Spencer admits she followed Thirteen to a bar to ask for help. Thirteen notes the biopsy results were negative and wants to discharge her. Spencer insists she is really sick. Thirteen keeps doubting her until Spencer clutches her chest and the cardiac monitor beeps. Thirteen asks a nurse to get the defibrillator paddles and has to admit the symptoms are real.
House gathers the team. He thinks drugs would explain everything because they can mess up the electrical pathways in the heart and cause blood clots. Thirteen realizes House will want to search her apartment. The patient's father had bypass surgery, which makes her a candidate for atherosclerosis. He orders an ultrasound and Foreman agrees to follow House to Thirteen’s apartment to keep him from doing anything inappropriate - in example, 'stealing [her] underwear'.
At Thirteen's house, Foreman tries to open the front door with a lock pick. Hovering over him, House takes out a key and unlocks it—House had Lucas make a copy of Thirteen's house key, along with those of everyone else on the team, when he had them investigated. Foreman asks for his back, but House claims he doesn't have it, because he never had Foreman investigated, which Foreman does not believe. Foreman grabs the purse sitting on the coffee table, but can't find anything. House pulls an asthma inhaler from the night table.
Back at the hospital, they show the team a spider found in Thirteen's apartment. Its venom can cause seizures and heart problems. House shows everyone the inhaler. Thirteen tells them she had asthma as a child and it started acting up again when she moved to her latest apartment.
Thirteen is the one ordered to check Spencer's body for spider bites. Thirteen admits she doesn't like relationships. Spencer wants more practice. Suddenly, Thirteen realizes that Spencer's hip is numb.
Thirteen shows House the lab results, which confirm low potassium. This explains the hip numbness, heart problem and is a symptom of a kidney problem. Thirteen diagnoses renal tubular acidosis. If kidneys don't filter acid out of the blood then the excess acid drives down potassium and causes kidney calcification. If so, then House says all she needs is sodium bicarbonate for the acid and surgery to remove the calcifications. He tells Thirteen to CT Scan her kidneys.
From their parked car, House and Lucas spy on Wilson playing a video game in his house. Then they spot a sexy woman heading up the stairs. She's dressed in a very short skirt, very high heels and very low top. House pegs her as a prostitute, but he’s surprised when she winds up in Wilson's apartment.
Taub assists as Chase guides a small tube through a small incision in the patient's abdomen. The CT showed a calcification near the superior pyramid of the left kidney. Foreman approaches Thirteen as she observes the surgery. He hands her the results of the Huntington's test he kept House from finding in her apartment. He realizes she will be symptomatic in a relatively short time and believes her behavior is getting destructive. She says she's merely trying to live life to the fullest.
Chase finishes removing the tube from Spencer's abdomen. As Taub prepares to suture, Spencer stops breathing and he has to intubate.
Later, Taub updates the team. Thirteen is conspicuously absent, much to House's irritation. Taub explains that the breathing problems started after they fixed her kidney problem so the RTA isn't the underlying problem. House says that the only way to find out if her airway failed is to make it happen again. He orders a methacholine challenge for the patient.
Thirteen lies on an exam table. She looks exhausted and disheveled, giving herself a bag of fluids to combat her hangover. She hears a door swing open, bolts up as best she can, and yanks the IV out of her arm, but can't do much more before the door swings open. It's Cuddy.
Foreman tells House he knows that he had him investigated, and that he couldn't find anything. House acknowledges it, but notes that it's sad Foreman has not done anything stupid, spontaneous, or even vaguely interesting since he was seventeen.
House enters Cuddy's office to find a tired and rundown Thirteen. Cuddy wants her to take a drug test. Thirteen resists and House denies permission to Cuddy and orders Thirteen to follow him out of Cuddy's office. Once they're outside in the main area, House lets Thirteen know that Spencer's surgery was not routine because she had stopped breathing. Thirteen missed a differential, and House fires her. He only wanted to save her the humiliation of a drug test.
Wilson is at his desk when House comes in. After some prodding, Wilson confides in House that he is dating an ex-prostitute who he wants to help through law school. House tries to mask his disdain.
Thirteen studies Spencer's chest x-rays. Foreman apologizes to her about her getting fired, saying they ruled out hypertension. Spencer is now on a treadmill running a methacholine challenge. Foreman think Thirteen has been acting like an idiot. Thirteen realizes that lung cysts wouldn't show up on an x-ray. The treadmill test won't close her airway, but will instead make her lungs explode from a broken cyst. Thirteen rushes in to find Spencer on the floor. She stabs a syringe into the patient, and air escapes from Spencer's chest, allowing her lung to expand.
Kutner, Taub, Foreman and Thirteen report the cysts to House. Thirteen thinks it is amyloidosis. House tells them to biopsy the cysts. The team encourages House to bring Thirteen back. House tells her she is still unwelcome.
Lucas and House sit on a bench mulling over Wilson's ex-prostitute and what to do about it. Taub approaches, carrying results from the lung biopsy. House then goes to Thirteen with the results, asking her why she isn’t just having sex with random men. He figures she likes the challenge of seducing pretty women. He tells her to tell the patient she has only ten years to live. Thirteen agrees to do it even though she won't get her job back, just so the patient wont' have to deal with House.
Thirteen explains the diagnosis to Spencer. She has a disease called LAM. Surgery can remove the cysts, but the cysts replace healthy lung tissue until the lungs stop working. Spencer drops her head, stunned by this turn, realizing she will eventually die from the disease.
Chase and his surgical team remove the cysts from Spencer's lungs. Later, as she lies in recovery, Thirteen tells her what to expect when coping with a fatal condition. Spencer realizes that Thirteen is talking about herself. Suddenly, Thirteen notices blood spreading across the stitches. She gathers the team. They can't stop the bleeding. Thirteen thinks it is a new symptom: aplastic anemia. House reminds her that she's been fired. The patient may not have LAM, but what she has is probably worse.
Chase goes to see Foreman, who is doing a lot of tests. Chase agrees Foreman is boring—he's never out of control, which is good, but still boring.
Spencer lies in bed, pale and weak. Thirteen crawls onto the bed with Spencer, then leans in and kisses her.
Later, House knocks on the glass, motioning for Thirteen to join him. House wants to do a bone marrow transplant and tells Thirteen to get the consent. House doesn't know what it is, but feels a transplant is her only chance.
Lucas is waiting for House in his office. He puts Wilson's trash bag on House's desk. There is a bag of drug paraphernalia. House smiles and rushes to bust Wilson. House has realized that it's a plant and Wilson was faking the ex-hooker girlfriend too. House still wants to know where he was the other morning, but Wilson tells him it has nothing to do with him. Realizing that House will still follow him, he tells him to meet him at his apartment.
Thirteen is waiting in House's office, and tells him that Spencer agreed to the transplant. House admonishes her. He tells her "You're gonna keep spiraling, keep screwing around, keep slashing away at every person who tries to help until no one tries to help anymore. Until you hit bottom; until you're dead,". However, he also asks her back because her work has improved, but she thinks that he did fired her in order to get her connect with the patient. House notices that Thirteen's lips are cracked from the use of her inhaler. He is struck with an idea, and asks if Spencer cried with tears when told she was going to die. Thirteen does not think she did.
House cuts an onion on Spencer's tray table, right beneath her face. Thirteen watches from the other side of the bed. Spencer's eyes are dry. She has no tears. House diagnoses her with Sjögren's syndrome, which attacks the glands that produce tears and saliva. It also causes lung cysts and RTA. Her lack of spit makes her mouth a breeding ground for a fungus like Candida, which is causing the bleeding. Thirteen's asthma inhaler wiped out her mouth's immune system as well so that she also has Candida. Spencer will live. House prescribes Methylprednisolone for the Sjögren's.
Foreman checks on Thirteen about Spencer and getting her job back. She is silent until she tells him she feels alone even though Spencer is still there.
Wilson enters a baby store to find Cuddy there, checking out a crib. Wilson claims House followed him. Cuddy announces to House that she has been approved to adopt a baby. She asked Wilson to be a character reference the other morning, which is where he was and why he couldn't tell House. House is shocked.
Thirteen returns back to her downward spiral, hooking up with a new one-night stand.
- Wilson officially returns to the hospital.
- House confronts Wilson over his new girlfriend who is apparently an ex-prostitute named Debbie.
- House tells Lucas that Wilson's first wife had a wooden leg while his second wife was from Canada.
- House realizes that Wilson knew about Lucas trailing him all along.
- Still in shock over having Huntington's, Thirteen starts displaying signs of self-destructive behaviour.
- Thirteen reveals that she has asthma.
- House fires Thirteen.
- Thirteen is rehired after making a real emotional connection with the patient. However, Thirteen continues on her downward spiral.
- House learns of Cuddy's plans to adopt.
Zebra Factor 1/10
Sjögren's is fairly common, occurring in about 1 out of every 1,000 people. A hospital the size of Princeton-Plainsboro would probably see a case once every week or so.
Trivia & Cultural References
- The title is a play on the belief that in western culture, 13 is considered to be a very unlucky number.
- Penthouse Forum is a largely text spin off of Penthouse magazine. House’s reference is to the “Letters” section which contains “true” erotic stories.
- House's reference to the patient as Thirteen's "carpet cleaner" is probably a reference to carpet munching-- the act of cunnilingus between lesbians.
- “Client Number 9” is a reference to the Eliot Spitzer prostitution scandal
- Mannix was a television series about a private detective that ran from 1967 to 1975. The title character was played by Mike Connors.
- Brian’s Song is a 1971 television movie about the cancer death of football player Brian Piccolo. It is also widely regarded as one of the finest television movies ever made.
- The song playing at the beginning of the episode is the Kills- Cheap and Cheerful.
- Wilson's story about helping the prostitute through law school is a reference to Lisa Edelstein's character, Laurie, in The West Wing.
- Lucas says that Wilson is playing that car jacking game, likely referring to one of the Grand Theft Auto games. However, when Wilson gets up to answer his door, the Game Over screen does not resemble any of the GTA games. This game is actually Chyro City, the same game House was playing in Season 3's Fools for Love.
- Hugh Laurie as Gregory House
- Lisa Edelstein as Lisa Cuddy
- Omar Epps as Eric Foreman
- Robert Sean Leonard as James Wilson
- Jennifer Morrison as Allison Cameron
- Jesse Spencer as Robert Chase
- Peter Jacobson as Chris Taub
- Kal Penn as Lawrence Kutner
- Olivia Wilde as Remy Hadley
- Michael Weston as Lucas Douglas
- Angela Gots as Spencer
- Ali Damji as Paramedic
- Helena Barrett as Woman with Thirteen
- Bobbin Bergstrom as Nurse
- House: [talking about Wilson] He's an idiot with a messiah complex. Savior to all who need saving. That's why his first wife had a wooden leg. Second wife was Canadian.
- House: Thirteen, go stick a needle in your girlfriend's pelvis. And no, that one wasn't a metaphor. Suck out some marrow. That one was.
- [When House is trying to understand the motivations of Thirteen's destructive and promiscious behavior]
- House: [to Thirteen] Why not men? You're bisexual. If you were just being self-destructive, you'd be having random sex with men. Better chances of getting assaulted, catching a disease. If this were just about getting laid, it'd be a lot easier to pick up men or ugly girls. But this woman's hot, which means you like the challenge, the conquest. It's the control that gets you off and controlling women is as close as you can get to controlling what's going to happen to you.
- Thirteen: Here I thought I was just into boobs.
- House: Another life saved by girl-on-girl action.
- [While Thirteen is treating Spencer]
- Thirteen: I can handle this alone.
- House: You've already handled it. That's why you need a chaperone. Of course, I'm a very permissive understanding chaperone. So feel free to ignore me. You know, if you're in the mood to start kissing, or groping, or showering.
- Thirteen: You'll have to excuse Dr. House. He mistakes immaturity for edginess.
- Spencer: You're Dr. House?
- House: I assume my name came up last night in the form of a moan.
- House: Oh, yeah, "Penthouse Forum" meets medical mystery. Maybe there is a God.
- House: You're in a downward spiral of destruction.
- Thirteen: I can stop.
- House: You're gonna keep spiraling, screwing around, keep slashing away at every person who tries to help until no one tries to help anymore. Until you hit bottom. Until you're dead. But until then, I can use you.
- Episode page at IMDB
- Episode article at Wikipedia
- Episode transcript at Clinic Duty
- A list of the music tracks from Heard On TV
- Episode guide from Ace Showbiz
- Episode review from Blogcritics
- Episode page at House MD guide
- Episode article from The TV IV
- Episode page from TV.com
- Goofs from Movie Mistakes