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House season five episode reviews

House, Hugh Laurie, Robert Sean Leonard, Lisa Edelstein, Kal Penn, Anne Dudek, Peter Jacobson, Olivia Wilde, Jennifer Morrison, Jesse Spencer, Omar Epps

Season 5, Episode 1. "Dying Changes Everything" Great opening episode. Thirteen takes the lead with the case-of-the-week and it plays wonderfully into her own life and illness. House and Wilson are on speaking terms and nobody is laying any blame for Ambers death at House's feet. Least of all House. At least that's how it starts: Wilson decides to quit and leave, so House blackmails him into stay by abandoning his own patient and leaving her to die.

Only on House!

I love the way the show was able to deliver the conflict we expected, but not in the way we expected.

Season 5, Episode 2. "Not Cancer" Nothing special. Felicia Day is wonderful as the patient and she gets some great scenes, Michael Weston makes a big impression as the private eye (who could get his own series out of this) but the episode lacks a strong hook to make it something special. The pre-credits sequence of multiple dramatic deaths is gratuitous and over-the-top. Seriously, guys, does nobody collapse while reading a book on this show?

Average episode or not, House's personal journey is great. He scorns friends and friendship, but he goes to extreme lengths to preserve his connection to Wilson. The conversations with the private eye (Lucas) are terrific, and so is his time with patient (Apple) but in other departments this one is lacking.

Season 5, Episode 3. "Adverse Events" Best episode so far this season. An absolute delight from start to finish. There's no angst this week over Wilson (thank frak!) and instead we get a fascinating case, House in hilarious form and a script with layer upon layer of meaning and double meaning and hidden meaning. A bit like any conversation between House and his new best buddy: Lucas (the private eye). Lucas is fantastic. And the best development to hit this show since last year's addition of the new regulars.

In fact the show pretty much has a whole new cast now. House has three different team-members (Thirteen, Taub and Kutner) and a brand new best friend (Lucus) who, for my money, is a much-better addition to the show than dreary old Wilson. Sorry Wilson fans, but these conversations are much more fun to watch/listen to than all of that previous stuff with Wilson being exasperated all the time. Lucas is fun. And I love the way he and House interact. I hope he stays on this show instead of being spun off into his own show.

This is a great Taub episode. We get a peek inside his private life and - for whatever reason - Taub is the only one out of all of them who seems able to stand up to House. Love seeing those moments.

Season 5, Episode 4. "Birthmarks" Another classic. The case-of-the-week is every bit as strong as the departure-from-formula element of having House and Wilson drive cross country to House's dad's funeral. Wilson??!! Yeah, this fight didn't last any longer than the others! House and Wilson are starting to remind me of Duncan and Joe on Highlander. How many times did they fight and end their friendship? Lots. So many times that it eventually came to mean nothing. Never mind, it's great to see Wilson back. But - honestly - I miss the private eye guy!

Parenting gets the House treatment this week, and the script has a few things to say about friendship, too. We get some interesting background on the House/Wilson relationship and we see not only that they are tied to one another for ever, but maybe we see why. Meanwhile, back at the hospital, all of the other character work together (for the first time?) on a case. I've never been sure that the show could use all these characters on one case at the same time but I think they have proven me wrong. It works. And the all get screentime and are fun to watch. Chase is so laid back now, it's hilarious/wonderful to watch. He's become Joe Cool from the Peanuts strip!

Best bit? House and the car keys (plus lamp).

Season 5, Episode 5. "Lucky Thirteen" When you watch House you keep hoping for things to happen that never will. You want House to show his nice side and treat someone with compassion. In this episode Thirteen (who is dying) is spiralling out of control and you keep hoping House will treat her well, reach out to her. But if he doesn't then he's not really House any more.

It's a great episode. Thirteen's downward spiral into drugs and casual sex is wonderfully realised and you keep hoping the show will offer her a light at the end of the tunnel. But if it does than it's not really House any more.

Season 5, Episode 6. "Joy" I love the dark stories on House. I love when they show people being selfish and wrong. In this episode Cuddy is told she is going to be able to adopt a child. But the mother is a horrible weak person. And she makes all her decisions for the wrong reasons. And, in the end, she takes the baby back from Cuddy. It's heart-breaking to watch. But it is great storytelling. My heart broke for Cuddy in this one. Her desire to have a child, this past few seasons, has been extremely well-realised.

The kiss at the end was great. But what is House playing at? Giving in to his true feelings for Lisa Cuddy? Or just doing this to distract her from crippling emotional heartbreak. Or doing it to distract her, but actually having feelings for her as well?

Season 5, Episode 7. "The Itch" A major change of pace.

Jennifer Morrison takes centre stage. And she's wonderful. Cameron seems more mature now. Much more of a grown woman, somehow. Like someone who could be House's equal in a relationship. Over the years, I've changed my mind a lot about House and Cameron as a couple. Sometimes I wanted them together. Other times: I couldn't see it working because she was/is just too young and fragile for someone as tough and mean as Greg House. But this episode made me rethink her. She's very tough in this one. And I like it. And I like having her in every scene. It's about time Cameron and Chase were brought back onto the show.

The case-of-the-week takes place in the patients home because he can't go out into the outside world. That's novel. And cool.

And House is genuinely lovesick over his feelings for (and kiss with) Cuddy in the previous episode. I honestly thought House was faking the whole thing to take her mind off the baby fiasco, but the final scene (of him standing on her doorstep) has me convinced.

Season 5, Episode 8. "Emancipation" House is a superb detective series. It has a lot going on, and operates on a few levels, but it is also a great detective series. This episode has two patients (two stories) and some great detective work by the doctors in charge (House and Foreman). The House-realises-what-is-going-on bit at the end is simply mesmerising. It pulls you in and delivers the goods, week after week. And this is one of the best.

Season 5, Episode 9. "Last Resort" The hostage-siege episode. With Hugh Laurie and Zeljko Ivanek in the same room (and a gun between them, too) you expect it to be a truly superb episode with great performances. Not so. It's actually a pretty weak, kinda dumb storyline. And all the acting honors go to Olivia Wilde who blows the two guys off the screen for the majority of the episode.

The patient is a jerk. And so is House. Watching them endanger everyone else in the room is pretty boring, once you realise that both of them are one-note characters in this little tale. I knew that House would eventually get the gun off the guy, and I knew that he would then give it back. It also made sense, early on, that the patient would continue to be a threat long after House did this, so that rendered most of the episode pointless.

Olivia Wilde, however, made the episode worth watching. Thirteen starts off not caring about her life and - by the end - she is pleading not to be killed. Wilde brings the character (and the audience) on a wonderful journey and is the only thing worth caring about in this mess of an episode.

Season 5, Episode 10. "Let Them Eat Cake" For the second week in a row, Olivia Wilde totally steals the episode out from her cast mates as Thirteen confronts some bitter memories from her childhood. Last week, Wilde was the best thing in the episode because pretty everything else was rubbish. That is not the case this time out. She's still the best thing about "Let Them Eat Cake" but - across the board - this is a great episode.

When, in Episode 9, House went up a crazed gunman and behaved completely in character, I was a tad bored. In this story, House is face to face with a beautiful woman offering him the chance of a proper adult relationship. He behaves totally in character (ie. he's a jerk) and it's completely riveting. Watching him screw up something this great before it gets started is completely absorbing.

Kutner and Taub have a hilarious subplot with a great twist at the end, while Taub gets some great scenes with the case-of-the-week patient. The show is great at this: bringing in patients, whose lives/decisions reflect/mirror the lives of one of the doctors. And it's one of the reasons I love this show.

But this episode belongs to Thirteen, as she remembers her mother's final days.

Season 5, Episode 11. "Joy to the World" The case-of-the-week is a bit blah. The best bits of the episode are the scenes of House in the clinic. He's trying to be nice (to win a bet) and ends up with the stupidest patient of all time. Later, he goes to extreme lengths to cover up for a girl that has cheated on her boyfriend (and gotten pregnant). Funny stuff, all of it.

Everything involving the teenager (who got pregnant and will die) is a bit... whatever.

Season 5, Episode 12. "Painless" A man is sick, House is cranky but manages to save the day, though all appears lost...

Yawn. Mediocre case-of-the-week outing. The monotony is broken somewhat by House's problems with is shower at home but that ultimately amounts to nothing and appears to have been a waste of time.

Cuddy is struggling with the baby she has fostered, but I don't care...

Season 5, Episode 13. "Big Baby" The one with Cameron in charge.

Even with the novelty factor of Cameron as the boss this is a lacklustre and boring episode. Cuddy is having a hard time bonding with her new baby. Who cares? House doesn't and neither do I. Lisa Edelstein, it must be said, looks amazing in the back half of the episode (when Cuddy shows up at the hospital in kinky boots). But, eye-candy aside, there was nothing to quicken the pulse here. The patient is a very nice person and - in the downbeat ending - we learn that the cure will make her a lot less nice. Um, didn't they do this exact story before?


Season 4, Episode 14. "The Greater Good" Thirteen is sick.

Not only is this a good episode, it's a bloody great episode. The stories are good (Thirteen is sick, and the patient-of-the-week is interesting) and most of the regular characters get some solid work on their characters. The House/Cuddy prank war says a lot about both of them, Wilson's past with Amber is mentioned in an insightful way, Taub's home life is highlight and the Foreman/Thirteen romance drives most of the episode. Damn, wish all the episodes were this good.

Season 5, Episode 15. "Unfaithful" Sick priest.

Not as strong as last week's episode. It's good. But many elements seem tired and one must wonder if the show is past it's prime and merely treading water to stay alive. The case-of-the-week is the strongest element: a priest with a crisis of faith who can debate with House. Good stuff. Meanwhile, House and Cuddy are doing their usual dance. This week's twist is that she wants him to come to her home for a baby-related religious ceremony and he doesn't want to attend. But does she really want him to attend at all, or is she trying out a double bluff? And does he really want to attend?

Who cares?

Not me.

House forces Foreman and Thirteen to choose between relationship and job, and it makes for a good story but the ending of the episode makes the whole enterprise seem pointless.

Except for the case-of-the-week, and a great performance from Jimmi Simpson, this is a forgettable episode.

Season 5, Episode 16. "The Softer Side" House is in a good mood.

Despite being haunted by the feeling that I've seen all of this before, I must admit that this is quite a strong episode. The case-of-the-week is good, the storylines for Thirteen and House are both very good. In fact, I was disappointed that the House storyline (he tries Methadone to ease his pain) was resolved at the end of this episode and won't appear in future episodes. Hmm. Is this the first season without a decent story arc?

Season 5, Episode 17. "The Social Contract" A patient who speaks his mind, and cannot stop.

Despite being haunted by the feeling that I've seen all of this before, I must admit that this is quite a strong episode. Unlike many patients (who fade into the background) Jay Karnes pretty much carries the episode. I love this guy. He reminds me of Kyle Secor. I love him, too. If I had a network, I'd cast them as cops who are brothers.

Or something.

Anyway. He carries the episode as the patient who says everything that comes into his mind. There are many standout scenes. He breaks his daughter's heart by telling her she is of below average intelligence, and says a lot of cruel things to his poor wife. At the end, when she comes to the hospital to collect him and they head home, you know in your heart that that little family is destroyed. And it's quite powerful stuff.

House, of course, is fascinated by this unusual patient and the script cleverly has a look at all sorts of social contracts: the white lies we all tell on a day to day basis. It's good fun, and very interesting and stimulating.

Best scene? House arranges to have the patient hit on Cuddy by talking about her amazing body. Hilarious.

Season 5, Episode 18. "Here Kitty" Judy Greer thinks a cat has predicted her death, while Taub makes a bit for freedom.

A very funny episode, with lots of dark, sad moments. In short, a superb episode of House.


Maybe, I've given up on House a bit too soon. Season Five might well be the weakest season so far, but they can still deliver quality episodes. In fact, there has been a run of quality episodes.


Season 5, Episode 19. "Locked In" We get to see things from a patient's point of view.

Ken Levine thinks they ripped off a MASH episode, but I was reminded of "Le scaphandre et le papillon" when I watched this above-average episode of House. Sure, at first, I found the voice-over to be gimmicky and annoying and the very last shot (which suggests that House, himself is 'locked in') was a tad OTT and obvious for my liking, but I really liked this episode.

Because of Taub.

Taub's story is great. It continues from last week and it builds on everything that the character has gone through since first appearing on the show. The ending, too, was wonderful. The script allowed Kutner to come up with all the cool answers and Taub lies to take the credit. Which House is pleased about.

And it makes perfect sense that he would be pleased.

The House/Wilson stuff was kinda tiresome. I don't care anymore about their odd dance of friendship.

And the gimmick of the Point Of View stuff was... okay. But I was glad they - mostly - dropped it during the episode.

Also very cool to see Cameron coming in to give some good ideas.

Season 5, Episode 20. "Simple Explanation" A sick and dying husband (Meat Loaf) gets better as his wife gets closer to her own death. A member of House's team dies.

The off-camera death of Gary on thirtysomething still ranks as one of the best-handled, and most shocking, TV deaths I've ever seen. This one is almost as good. Thing is: usually when one of our beloved TV characters dies, we get to see it up close and personal. We are never removed from it. But in real life, of course, we are almost never there when someone dies. We hear about it when we get the phone call. That's real life. And thirtysomething nailed it.

House isn't trying to capture real life, however, so it allowed it's main characters to be the ones who found the body and all that dramatic stuff. I have no problem with that. It's perfect for House. What really impresses me is the decision to have the death happen off-camera and out of sight. Out of the blue, too.

Very shocking. Very good storytelling.

The case-of-the-week was good, too. One of the best. The Taub scenes were all fantastic. He is now the most interesting of the regular characters, and his scenes with House are electric with tension and drama. Wonderful stuff. Cameron saves the day, this week. House is relying on her more and more and she's had a major impact on the last couple of stories. Indeed, in this strong episodes, it is the scene with Cameron offering the husband the chance to die on the table that stands out as the best scene.

Season 5, Episode 21. "Saviors" Cameron comes back to single-handedly run a case for House. Why?

It's got a good case-of-the-week and a genuinely compelling mystery, with regard to why Cameron is back. Having her back is great. Not because I'm a huge fan of the character, although I do like her a lot, but because House is the kind of show that needs to change the status quo to keep it interesting and fresh.

The resolution was satisfying.


It makes sense.

Unless you think about it too much.

Cameron's actions are a bit silly and TV cliché female behaviour. And there's a mystery surrounding her actions simply because she chooses not to confide in anyone. So, while I liked it, I have to say that after years and years of watching House, there is a part of me that wonders why she didn't just tell someone...

Also, this episode marks the surprise return of Anne Dudek. That made me very happy. Anne Dudek rocks. Killing her character off was a huge mistake for the show. Nice to see them bending over backwards to bring her back...

Season 5, Episode 22. "House Divided" House treats a deaf kid, while being taunted by his own sub-conscious (in the form of Amber).

For the first ten minutes of this episode I was completely distracted by the joy of having Anne Dudek back on the show. Then, once I realised she as playing a part of House sub-conscious that knew things he did not know he knew... I was completely un-distracted and knee deep in the episode.

Since it had a pretty good case-of-the-week and a real humdinger of a gimmick this ranks as one of the best ever episodes of house. That was before the final minutes, when the story took a very dark twist...

House trying to kill Chase? WTF?!

Season 5, Episode 23. "Under My Skin" A ballerina is sick, House is still seeing 'Amber'.

This story arc is great. Knowing that 'Amber' is really House's own thoughts makes for fascinating viewing and Anne Dudek is superb in the part. And crazy hot. (I have a thing for evil women. In real life. No, really. I do.)


The case-of-the-week is boring and pushed to b-plot status this week, as House tells Wilson, and later Cuddy, about his hallucinations. Watching him self-diagnose is fascinating. And the things 'Amber' said to him while he was crawling along the floor towards the pill were fascinating also. Why? Because we know that a part of him is thinking this stuff.

It's a great storyline and I have no idea where/how they will resolve it.

Away from House's personal problems and the case-of-the-week, Chase got some quality screentime and a strong story. Only a few scenes. But, still, a strong story.

Season 4, Episode 24. "Both Sides Now" Feeling pretty darn good about the sex he recently had with Cuddy, House tries to cure a man who has to deal with a left arm that has a mind of it's own.

A case-of-the-week that's straight from the comic books and a very predictable twist doesn't stop this one from being a very enjoyable episode. The case-of-the-week has a very touching scenes (where the arm is suddenly nice to the girlfriend) and the twist is fun to watch, fun to watch how they pull it off and explain it in the final minutes.

It's clever and it's fun. I'd be more impressed if they had done it over a few weeks. NCIS did a season-long twist that totally worked. They showed us snippets of something (Tony's relationship) and the audience filled in the rest. Incorrectly, as it turned out. House could have done that, I feel, and really pulled off something special. Instead they did it over the course of a few episodes. A few very enjoyable episodes, yes, but - surely - they could have reached a bit higher?

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