"House" is back for just a small dose of curmudgeonly goodness, and this week's episode "It's a Wonderful Lie" was the first with the new team firmly set in place. Kutner, Taub and Thirteen are the official winners of House's ruthless version of "The Bachelor," with Foreman rounding out the team as Unnecessary Former Employee #1.

May it be said again that Omar Epps, Jennifer Morrison, and Jesse Spencer are all in the opening credits even though between the three of them they had five minutes of air time. I hate to start out this review with a complaint, and I have criticized the show for this reluctance to move on before.

House - © Fox Broadcasting

This was a Christmas episode, which is always guaranteed to make House grumpier, and the case involves a patient who apparently never lies - the opposite of House's constant belief that "everybody lies." The Numbers are getting comfortable in their new home, but House quickly sets them off guard by starting a Secret Santa in which his name is the only option to be chosen. Unhappy with feeling manipulated, the Numbers refuse to play his game - at first.

The patient is a young mother who swore to always be honest with her daughter because her own mother died of breast cancer. She loses feeling in her hands, and then goes blind, and her health continues to deteriorate until death seems like the only option. House goes out of his way to try and prove she lied to her daughter, and Thirteen takes a contrary position by insisting that not everyone lies. Who do you think is going to win this contest?

"House" is back to its higher standard of acting and writing, which was beautiful to see considering how chaotic the first part of the season felt. Now that the Numbers have been hired, everyone is slowly fitting into their roles. Thirteen instantly becomes "the Cameron," which means she believes in happy fairy tales and that people are essentially good, and she does not have Huntington's disease, or so she insists. She insists on not playing House's games … and then proceeds to do so. Yawn.

Taub is the older doctor who is slightly weary about the entire thing and just goes about his job with a dry sense of humor. I am very fond of this character; he seemed boring before, but now the subdued personality is interesting rather than drab. He and Foreman suit one another well - I smell a partnership!

Kutner fulfills the Chase role with his need to please House, although he also shows certain naïve sweetness - his love of Christmas, for example - that was strangely endearing. Cuddy appears all of 30 seconds, but Wilson pops in as someone to bounce off of House and wears awesome Reindeer antlers at the Christmas Party. What's not to love?

The medical mystery was more interesting then in episodes from the first part of this season, i.e. simple answers like Lyme disease and measles, and the next episode promises to be even more shocking. Now that the pressure is off in finding a medical team, they can actually get back to solving cases. This was an excellent episode all around, and the Numbers are developing into more than just cardboard cut outs of the former trio. Hopefully this means David Shore will realize that Cameron and Chase are serving no real purpose - except for cute little blips between Chase and Foreman, or the last scene of this episode which was truly lovely - and remove them from the cast. Unless they plan to bring them back to the team - let's hope not - they seem unnecessary and it's a waste of good actors.

That being said, the next episode is to be aired after the Superbowl this Sunday on FOX. It is a special episode with guest star Mira Sorvino as a psychiatrist stuck in the South Pole who House has to diagnosis through webcam. Also, Wilson is dating someone new, and the woman is someone we both know, and someone House will not be happy with. Even if you are not a football fan, keep an eye on the score if only to know when to get ready for House!

Story by Chelsea 'Dee' Doyle
Starpulse contributing writer