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House Recap: Season Five, Episode Six, "Joy"

House Rundown: Episode Six, "Joy"


The title of this episode of House ends up loaded with meaning: It's the potential name of the baby that Cuddy so desperately wants; it's a major component of the case; and it may be the emotion we're supposed to feel when something big happens in the final minutes. Am I being too vague? Well, this is one episode I wouldn't want to spoil, so to chat about it, just read more.

First, the kiss. Or rather, it should be The Kiss, because of the anticipation and the significance it carries. On the list of those who want House and Cuddy to be together, I've never been near the top, but when they kissed in this episode — in a moment of great desperation for Cuddy — it actually felt right. It also felt . . . well, hot. Their back-and-forth relationship is one of the show's strong points, but I was still surprised by how their chemistry oozed from the screen the moment they locked lips. What did or didn't happen in their past is something I could speculate about for hours, but they have some kind of bond, something that would make Cuddy turn to House in her worst moments (and House be there for Cuddy, a shockingly human action that's typically outside his wheelhouse). Do I want them to be together? Eeeeeh, I don't know. But sometimes a kiss is just a kiss, right?


The episode's strongest material is what leads us to that kiss — namely Cuddy saving, and then losing, her adoptive baby. It's the first truly Cuddy-focused episode in a while, and the writers made up for her absence by giving her some powerful scenes: Willfully ignoring House's insistence that she doesn't actually want to be a mother; forcing Cameron to admit the baby's mother even though there appears to be nothing wrong; hollering "Cry, Joy, cry!" in the delivery room when it looks like the baby might not make it. And then there's the way that story ends: The mother decides that, with this baby, she can turn her life around and be the strong, independent woman Cuddy has inspired her to be. The shot of Cuddy slumped against the wall in her half-painted nursery, eyes red but too stunned to cry, is completely heartbreaking.

Meanwhile, what I love about this episode's case — about a father and daughter who were essentially sleepwalking and who also couldn't feel happiness — is the way it's shot. All those long looks into empty rooms, those first paranoia-inducing moments with the dad alone in his kitchen, the close-ups on dilated pupils . . . it felt like I was watching a horror film. Very cool cinematography there.

Some other thoughts:

  • So, Thirteen knows her coke. Huh. Not entirely surprising, given last week.
  • House's insults to Cuddy were particularly harsh this episode: "You're not equipped to handle a real kid, let alone a factory second" was bad; "If you take in strays, don't be surprised by the worms" was worse.
  • From now on, I will think of Kutner as Skutner. Nice pseudonym.
  • Another interesting character note: Taub doesn't want kids, nor does he think single people should have them.
  • Nice to see that House is back to taking food from Wilson's hand. Also, it was hilarious to see Wilson call House on the way House used him: "I just gave you your answer, right?" "Now you're going to walk away without saying a word, right?"

What did you think? Will this earn Lisa Edelstein an Emmy nod? And what did you make of The Kiss?

Photos courtesy of Fox

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