"Given good ... ish behavior, in 8 of 12 months' time-served, we have the discretion to grant parole Friday the 10th - five days from now. Are you sorry about what you did?"
House, outfitted in a faded denim-blue prison uniform and slouching before a parole board, is being asked to answer for ramming his car through Cuddy's front window. He stares at the man asking whether he is remorseful.
"Yes," House answers, confidently.
But the board seems to be expecting a little more in the way of contrition.
"... Yes?" one member prods him.
House thinks for a minute.
"That's the correct answer, isn't it?"
"Are you trying to annoy us?" asks a female board member.
"No, I was just trying to give you the answers you need to cover your asses, fill out your forms and let me out of here."
"We need you to show us remorse," she says, not impressed by House in the least.
"Is that how our system works? Release the best actors? I shudder to think what that world would be like." House is not going to cooperate.
Now she's had enough. "You drove your car into your ex-girlfriend's house and then fled the country for three months!"
House sighs. "I knew that her daughter was at Grandma's, like every Friday, and I saw everyone else move into the living room."
"They could have moved back," she points out.
"Which I would have noticed, since I was driving right towards them," House tells her.
"Shut up," says another member of the panel. "We've got an order to reduce overcrowding. But let me be clear: you mouth off to one guard, we catch you with a single cafeteria tray in your cell, you break any rules I don't even remember - you can park your ass here for four more months. So forget being sorry: can you stay out of trouble for five days?"....House looks at the board members, who will decide whether he can go free, and answers quietly, "Yes."
It's Monday, Day One, and House ambles toward a medical dispense desk with a giant of a man, his cellmate, Asofa, who won't take his meds until House gives him the OK. Another prisoner in line, Mendelson, asks why House is helping Asofa. "Yeah, why would I want to make sure that my homicidal cellmate is taking the right antipsychotics?"
After House is given his own meds, he waits for Mendelson and informs the nurse that she's giving him the wrong dosage of propranolol. When her back is turned, House spits out the pill he just took and hands it to Mendelson. "I'm starting to think, Mendelson, that you just really like the taste of my spit." Mendelson laughs and shows off a new swastika tattoo.
"You've really got a thing for swastikas, Mendelson - like an ironic thing?"
House walks back to his cell, passing an older prisoner, Frankie, who looks to be playing chess with himself. House stops.
"Knight to king's bishop three," Frankie says. House thinks for a second. "Queen to king's bishop seven," he answers, and continues walking. But another prisoner, a young man named Nick, stops him, complaining of weird pains in his elbows and knees. "You know what's weirder?" House asks. "How the clinic is a large room, and you somehow confused me with it. " When he gets back to his cell, he sees a man rifling through his things.
"Hi, Rollo," House says. "I realize this is probably a rhetorical question, but why are you stealing my stuff?" He's heard that House is a short-timer now, so he won't need many supplies. "You heard about my parole, but not about my violent reactions when people steal my tuna?" Rollo knows House won't risk a fight this close to possible release, and he won't tell the guards, because he could face retribution for snitching.
But House looks like he doesn't care about any of that, until Frankie appears at the doorway and stops him. Rollo leaves House's cell, tuna and all. "You wanna get back at these guys?" Frankie asks. "Get out alive on Friday. Now get to work."
House mops the floor of a bathroom as a huge prisoner named Stomper, who also knows about his upcoming release, demands his stereo and his headphones, while peeing on the floor House is trying to clean. But there's nothing House can do. Later, he's pushing his cleaning cart in the prison hospital as a young female doctor, Dr. Jessica Adams, takes the temperature of Nick, the prisoner who complained to House about weird pains. "99.9," she says to Dr. Sykes, and older doctor, supervising the clinic. "I'm going to start him on ceftriaxone." Dr. Sykes agrees. House doesn't.
He walks past Adams toward a nearby trash bin and whispers, "It's not gonorrhea." He knows she suspects gonorrhea based on Nick's symptoms, but Nick disagrees with the diagnosis as well. "I've only been in here one week, my girlfriend's clean, I ain't got a girlfriend in here."
Adams wants to know how House knows about ceftriaxone.
"House used to be a doctor," Sykes explains. She's surprised. "That look of shock is elitist and offensive. Doctors can be degenerates. This is America," House explains. And Nick's subtle eyebrow loss points to lupus. Adams says there's no rash on his face and there's no reason to check his body for a rash, as House suggests, since lupus doesn't usually present that way.
"Usually?" House asks, disgusted. "Well, I guess that's good enough for prison work." And he starts to wheel his cart out of the clinic. But before he leaves, he makes sure to ask the doctor: "You don't write people up for mouthing off, do you?" Adams laughs. "Not usually."
Back in his cell, Frankie advises House not to mess with Stomper, the peeing inmate who wants House's stereo. But House has a plan.
Later, when Stomper arrives and demands the stereo, House tells him he put it in Stomper's cell ... whereupon Rollo immediately took it. And he added a tale of Rollo dissing Stomper for effect. That was enough to set Stomper off in search of Rollo, in whose cell the stereo appeared, thanks to House. When the inevitable fight starts, both men are carted away by guards. House is free to sit back and listen to his headphones, until Frankie comes in. "That was stupid," he tells House. House says they'll both be gone until long after he's released. "You have four days left," Frankie says. "How many more tricks do you got?"
It's Tuesday, and House is awakened by a cricket in his cell. He wants to flick it away, but Asofa tells him not to. "Another pet?" House asks. "This is gonna end badly, again. Remember when we talked about this? At least I talked. You stared at me, eerily. I think it was eerily. Eerily felt like a best-case scenario." The cricket gets to stay.
Later, House visits Nick to see if he can spot the rash he suspects. He reports his findings to Adams in the clinic.
"Lupus-boy and I were at the beach this morning, and I noticed a rash on his left thigh." Adams has done her homework on House since their first meeting. "You were a pretty big deal," she says. "What went wrong?" He tells her it was something "very obvious and very boring." She guesses drug-related, forging prescriptions. "Oh, you're good," House lies. "Just like lupus-boy will be when you start him on prednisone. The name should have been a giveaway. I'll send him up."
What makes him so sure she'll do what he says?" "Because you're a smart, old money, trust fund girl, who took this job because your liberal ideology makes you want to make a difference, but you're already getting bored, and this is interesting."
She's confused. How would he know any of that? He looks her over.
He explains: "Your shoes: a different, expensive pair every day - never leather, which means you're both rich and liberal. Antique locket: it's unpolished gold, not some hipster thing, it's a family heirloom, which means old money. Osler scarf: only on Fridays, which means you did your residency at Hopkins, which means you're smarter than our interactions would so far indicate. And your eyes:.. the only time you haven't looked bored in the three months since you've been here is when we've been discussing this diagnosis. So, yeah, you'll treat him for lupus."
While House is walking back to his cell, Mendelson calls for him. He's heard about House's parole, too. "You know what the rules are," Mendelson says. "On short time, tax goes up." He wants all of the Vicodin House gets. "Come on," House protests. "I should be on six a day. I get four and I give you two." But Mendelson isn't negotiating. "Fine," House says. "I get one in my cell after lights-out, plus Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. That's 11 in all." Mendelson wants 20, though. "You knew on Monday you'd get out Friday. Five days. Should have told me earlier." What if he just gets himself put in protective custody until his parole? "You could PC up," Mendelson says. "But then, you'll get out. And unlike you, I got friends on the outside."....House hits up Porter, a young inmate, to help him score the Vicodin. "At least 16, and I need them Friday at noon," he says. "That's pricey, but it can be done," Porter says. "How about you have one of your peeps on the outside send $200 to my boy up in Trenton." House is "peepless," though.
While he's bargaining with Porter, he hears Nick screaming in pain. He's holding his arm. He's in agony from the slightest touch, but Nick says all he did was bump into a wall. It's not lupus.
House wakes up Wednesday morning with terrible leg pain, but he knows he can't use up his Vicodin. Plus, Asofa's cricket is sick and he wants House to fix him.
When he gets to the clinic, House tells Adams that Nick broke his arm, and it's not lupus. "Or, it is lupus and he was in a fight," she says. He might lie about being in a fight to a guard, but why would he lie to House? She won't let House see the patient file, but tells him Nick hasn't had any recent meds which could have caused a reaction. He's a smoker, so what about lung cancer? "We'll x-ray him on Friday," Adams says.
House isn't used to waiting like that, plus then he won't be around to hear the results. "We share a traveling x-ray machine with two other clinics," she tells him. "How about if he throws a clot and strokes out, you can use the x-ray to do the autopsy? Start him on blood thinners."
"Very interesting practice you must have run," Adams says. "No need for tests, no need for proof." House wheels out the cart, off to the "proof store."
While House is trying to listen to Nick's lungs in the common area, he spots Frankie walking by.
"Heading out to the yard? Mind trying to find me a cricket?" He's going to try to switch out Asofa's cricket. "I'll try," Frankie says. "But they spray so much pesticide, I'm surprised we're alive." That gives House an idea.
House catches up to Porter to ask about the Vicodin. But he can't help House out, as the white supremacists have put in a claim on all Porter's Vicodin. "I love you and all, my brother, but not as much as I love my gang of crazy, 'roided-out Nazi bitches."
House, rubbing his sore leg, is directing Adams' examination of Nick's chest in the clinic, until she can hear an acoustical shadow. "Means he's got a tumor," House says. But they disagree on whether it's lung cancer. She suggests a clotting test. While they're waiting for the results, Adams asks if House is really leaving medicine.
"Before I went to med school, I thought about getting a PhD in physics. You ever heard of dark matter? The way the galaxies rotate, the motion of the universe, means there's six times more stuff than we can detect. It's been theorized, but no one's ever proved it exists." House says it's the greatest mystery there is, the theory of everything. "And completely divorced from humanity," Adams notes. "Well, me and humanity, we got together too young," House tells her.
Adams says that he has a gift, something that he's undeniably good at. "You can read people, you understand them. You gotta go back to medicine," she says. "Well, if that gift is related to what brought me here, you'll understand if I want to check the returns policy," House says.
Meanwhile, the tiny incision on Nick's ear that Adams cut for the clotting test is gushing blood. "Cool," she says, amazed.
On Thursday morning, House wakes up with a plan to save Asofa's cricket. "Jiminy didn't chirp much last night. If it's a disease, he's six inches under," House says, while pouring baking soda into a plastic water bottle. He shakes the bottle. "But this could also be pesticide poisoning, which bicarbonate of soda has been used to treat." He puts some of the mixture on leaves for the cricket. House looks at Asofa. "This is where you say thank you. Or, I say thank you, for not killing me ... Thank you." House looks at his remaining Vicodin. He still needs a lot more.
In the clinic later, Adams starts telling House how Nick's x-ray was negative for tumors, but notices his leg is giving him a lot of pain. She offers ibuprofen, but he knows that won't help. She does let him look at Nick's medical file, though. Does that mean she trusts him? "Is there any reason I shouldn't?" she asks. He tells her she's terrible at reading people. "People are complicated, and people change," she says. "Not that much to the first, and not at all to the second," House replies, grabbing for the file.
She thinks it's a toxin, if they add clotting disorder to the symptoms. He's the only person with symptoms, so it's got to be something either in his cell or his workstation, the laundry room, like a solvent or a detergent. But before they get any further, Sykes comes in and demands to know why Adams gave House another inmate's medical file. Their mini-differential diagnosis is over for now.
House goes to Nick's cell to tell him about getting some samples from the laundry, but Nick is more interesting in trying to call his girl, who refuses to talk to him. House notices how slowly Nick is moving. "This thing's attacking your bones, your joints, your blood." Nick tells him his girl is more important.
"She's not your girl, you idiot! She was the girlfriend of a loser drug dealer. You think she's got the self-control to wait around for three years? You think she should? There's a reason we're locked away from nice, normal people. Life outside is over. Your friends, your girl, everyone you worked with have moved on." Nick orders House to leave his cell.
In the clinic, while Sykes is away, House asks Adams for some cotton swabs so he can get the samples himself. She refuses. "Why did you lie to me about what you were in for?" "OK, so I drove a car into a wall instead of stealing some pills," House says. "You obviously don't care what I did. You care that I lied to you. You feel jilted."
What she's feeling is stupid. "It doesn't even make sense. Why are you doing time? You didn't have any priors. You didn't hurt anyone." House says he had a bad lawyer. Adams just laughs. "I'm sorry. We can't talk about this case anymore."
House walks back to his cell and is immediately pummeled by one of Mendelson's goons. "We hear you're going to need an incentive to get all my pills by tomorrow," Mendelson says. But House doesn't think he can get them in time. Mendelson tells House's attacker to leave and he leans in to House. "Why do you think I'm on buspirone?" Mendelson asks. "For stress. I get the runs almost every day. Any sign of weakness, 20 guys would line up to stick a sharpened up toothbrush in my eye. So as much as my better nature really wants to give you a pass, it just wouldn't be good for my health. See you tomorrow."
House goes to Frankie for help. He borrows a stick of gum and a ballpoint pen, which he clicks to expose the sharp point. "This is plan B," House says.
In the bathroom, House starts a fire with toilet rolls, cleaning solution, and the aluminum gum wrapper, which he folded and weaved through a power outlet. By the time he wheels his cleaning cart to the clinic, fire alarms are going off everywhere. When Adams turns her back, he swipes a bottle of Vicodin and takes about half the pills in it.
Nick follows House back to his cell, asking for help. "You're confusing me with the clinic again," House says. What changed? How come House doesn't want to help him anymore?
"I'm just done," House tells him. "No you, medicine, fixing people. Done. Now get out." But Nick looks like he can barely stand up. House can see his lips are swelling. Has he eaten anything? Just meatloaf, potatoes, and coffee. As House moves closer, Nick collapses. "Guards!" House yells. Nick is in anaphylactic shock. No one is coming, so House has to improvise: he uses Frankie's pen to perform a tracheotomy on Nick. But he still has no idea what's wrong with him.
Late at night, House wakes up in pain. He reaches for the pills under his pillow, but at first he resists. Seconds later, though, the temptation is too great, and he takes one, and then a few more.
Now it's Friday morning, and House's pill spree from the night before means he'll be short of what he needs to give Mendelson. At that point, it hardly matters, so he pops a handful. Then he walks to the toilet and flushes the rest. "Great knowing you," he says to Asofa, as he walks to the door and asks a guard to take him to protective custody. But on his way, the steam from another guard's coffee cup gives him an idea.
In the clinic, he tells Adams and Sykes, who are both ministering to Nick, that it was the heat that caused Nick's collapse. "It's mastocytosis. It can be set off by hot liquids, like the coffee he just drank." Sykes says that's usually a skin disease.
"Usually?" Adams asks. "It can hit any organ. Joint pain, osteopenia, and anaphylaxis, eyebrow loss, it fits." Sykes admits that it's a possibility and says he'll run some blood tests. "No"! House yells. "It's almost impossible to confirm masto with blood work! Just give him five aspirin."
Sykes is confused. If he has masto, he'll go into anaphylactic shock and he won't be able to breathe again. But that's exactly how House plans to confirm the diagnosis. Sykes won't risk running an unauthorized test... Nick wants them to do it, and Adams agrees. But Sykes is adamant. "You're a moron and a coward. I'll do it myself," House says. Sykes calls a guard to stop him. "You're done here," Sykes tells him. "Just like every other place you've ever set foot in your life. If I ever see you in here again I will write you up and they will revoke your parole."
House walks out, but Adams follows him to the hallway. "Did you get all the Vicodin you needed?" she whispers to him. "I'm not an idiot. The fire, the bruise on your face. I talk to prisoners; I know about exit taxes, you're clearly getting squeezed." He tells her he needs 20. She pulls out a bottle and hands him the pills. "I need to get back to the clinic, when Sykes is gone," he says. But Adams tells him she'll take care of Nick. "Just take care of yourself," she says.
In the prison common area, House walks up to Mendelson, who's amusing himself playing with House's cane. House opens his palm to show Mendelson the pills. "Well done," Mendelson says. "I knew if you learned nothing else in here, you'd learn the smart thing to do is fall in line." House looks around the room, sighs and then looks back at Mendelson. "You're absolutely right," he says. And he throws the pills in the air, leading to a mad scramble between the prisoners on the floor. Mendelson punches House, but House thanks him - the blood will get him to the clinic.
What he didn't count on was another of Mendelson's men coming at him with a giant knife. House yells for a guard, but by now dozens of prisoners are fighting and the guard can't get to him. As the man gets closer to House, and lifts the knife, suddenly he's knocked out from behind. It's Asofa, coming to House's rescue. He frees House and beats Mendelson to a pulp until guards finally pull him off.
Adams tends to House in the clinic, along with other inmates being brought in. Nick is in the next bed over. House gets up from his bed and looks for aspirin so he can confirm the masto. Adams realizes that House got himself beaten up on purpose, and soon Sykes sees what's going on. House locks Sykes out of the room.
"They're going to revoke your parole!" Adams warns him. "They're going to charge you with extra crimes - you'll be here six more months. Minimum."
But House is busy crushing aspirin. "I checked your file," she says. "You didn't have a bad lawyer, you had no lawyer. You took the first deal they offered you because you wanted to punish yourself. You think getting beaten up, you think saving this one guy will wipe your slate clean?" No, he just wants to use his "gift."
House hands Nick the crushed aspirin in water and tells him he should get an attack almost immediately. "You just bought yourself a month in solitary," Adams says. "Was it really worth it?" "If I'm wrong, no it wasn't," House says.
But the guards come in before Nick can drink. Sykes and Adams watch them handcuff House and take him away. Suddenly, Adams races over to Nick and gives him the mixture... "No!" Sykes yells. "You're fired. You're beyond fired. You're completely un-hirable anywhere. You understand that?" She does. "Now shut up and let's see if he has an attack." But nothing happens.
It's Saturday. House is alone in solitary confinement. There's only a shaft of light. A guard shoves a metal food tray through a slot in the door. There's a folded up note on the tray: "You were right!" it says.