"You have to lift up the sign so he can see it." Army Captain Hayes Macklin, with his wife and son, await the flight of Hayes' brother, Brant. But young Evan can't muster up much enthusiasm for holding the handmade "Welcome Home" sign - he's too worried about his father's own upcoming deployment.
Hayes tells his son that it's OK to be upset, asking, "Do you remember what I told you when we were watching wrestling on Saturday night?" Evan perks up. "Yeah," he says. "That you and uncle Brant are like the Reaper Brothers." "That's right," Hayes says. "And Uncle Brant has been in the ring a whole year. Now it's time for Daddy to tag in. But while I'm away, I need you in your uncle's corner, making sure that he keeps you and your mom safe."
Evan smiles, and the three of them look up toward an escalator as Brant descends . . . in handcuffs, surrounded by MPs. Hayes runs over to find out what's going on.
"PFC Macklin has been charged with treason," a guard tells him. There must be some mistake. But as Brant passes Hayes he says, "I'm sorry." Stunned, Hayes watches them take his brother away. Suddenly, Brant's legs appear to give out under him, and he collapses to the ground.
"The Army apparently thought they were clearing an insurgent hide-out." Adams, along with House and the rest of the team, watch grainy military footage of ground strikes against several individuals in what looks to be a war zone. "When this was leaked on Saturday, the AP investigated. Thirty-four civilian casualties. Six kids," Adams says.-View Full Recap
Foreman tells them that Brant will be heavily guarded by MPs during his stay, which dismays House. "No, don't do that," he says. "Every time there's people in uniform in the cafeteria they get served first." Foreman responds, addressing the team: "Make sure your IDs are clearly visible. I'll speak with the cafeteria staff about showing more disrespect."
"Twenty-year-old male, generalized tonic-clonic seizures. Army docs scanned for structural abnormalities. EEG was normal." As they settle in to review the case, Park appears to be the only member to have a problem with Brant. "He's a coward," she says. "He anonymously downloaded a computer file from a secured page and uploaded it to an unsecured page. Not exactly storming Omaha Beach. EEG was normal because he was faking it to avoid going to prison." So House suggests some non-medicine, grabbing Adams' bag and taking her birth control pills.
"Something's going on with House. He just seemed off," Adams says, as she and the team walk down the hall. She took his coffee mug, and he didn't even notice. But they are more interested in the fact that she's wearing the same clothes as she wore yesterday, something else House didn't notice.
"Attention-deficit in a man who has no attention deficits has to be symptomatic of something," Adams says. "I'm not saying he's definitely sick. I'm just saying we should look into it." Chase has been around House too long to not be suspicious: "If you believe House is sick, it's only because that's what he wants you to believe."
"We think the long flight home allowed clots to form in your leg," Adams says, pouring a glass of water and handing Brant a placebo birth control pill. "Take this. If you feel any numbness in your leg after a few minutes, it means we're right."
As they're waiting for a reaction, Park asks him why he did it. "It was the right thing to do," Brant says. "Making the voting public aware of what's really happening on the ground will help bring our troops home faster."
In the corner, Hayes grunts his disapproval. "I think you're being naÃ¯ve," he says. "And I know you took an oath. If you want to influence policy, run for office." The brothers have differing ideas of how their father, since deceased, would react. Hayes thinks that their dad taught them it was honorable to follow the rules.
"Did dad always believe in blindly following the rules?" Brant asks. "How do you explain Tora Bora?" Their dad was a special forces unit commander, ordered to leave behind men who were assumed dead. But he disobeyed the order and went back to rescue them. He died later in a car accident - at least, that's what Brant says is the Army's "official story."
Suddenly he looks down. "I can't feel my leg." Adams shoots Park a knowing look. "I'll get the discharge papers." They explain that they gave him a placebo to see if he'd fake another symptom. But now his stomach hurts, too. His entire abdomen looks bruised. "He's not faking," Adams says.
"Just because he's got abdominal bruising, doesn't mean he wasn't faking the numbness." Chase isn't convinced Brant's illness is real. But he's not even contesting the treason charge, so why would he bother faking symptoms? "People define honor with whatever makes them feel honorable. It's a circle going nowhere," House says. "Which I guess is what circles do."
Chase thinks Brant may have pancreatitis. "Gallstones obstructing his pancreatic duct." They'll ultrasound his stomach and look for the obstruction. Before she leaves, Adams asks House for a signature on the treatment order, which immediately raises House's suspicion.
"The Army's leaning on Foreman to make sure this is done by the book," she says. "Forge it," House tells her. She will - in the future. "But I'll need an original, so I know what to forge," she says, handing him the order form.
"We were having coffee when the dizziness started." Wilson is treating a man in the clinic, who's there with a woman. It's their first date, after meeting in a 98-cent store. "We were reaching for the same tube of cheese," the woman says, laughing. Wilson shines a light up the man's nose.
"Good news," he says. "Based on her thrifty shopping habits and taste for artificial dairy, she's clearly not a gold digger. Bad news: based on his rhinotillexomania, he is. Compulsive addiction to nose-picking. Small cut on the inside of left nostril led to an infection in the cavernous sinus," Wilson explains to the embarrassed man and the disgusted woman. "It was very nice meeting you, Mel," she says, scrambling for the door.
Meanwhile, Adams has come to see Wilson. She shows him two versions of House's signature: one, from her hospital contract signed six months ago, and the treatment order form from earlier that day. "His hands are unsteady," she says. "Given his Vicodin abuse, I think he has hepatic encephalopathy. He's been forgetful, inattentive . . ."
Wilson just laughs, saying, "Dominika's been trying out new knish recipes. One of them didn't agree with him. Sleep deprivation could account for his forgetfulness and inattention. He loads up on caffeine - that explains the jittery hands." But Adams isn't letting go. "If I'm right, his liver is in decline. It's curable, but if he doesn't get treatment, it could actually be fatal."
It's more likely a symptom of working for House, Wilson suggests. "You start seeing zebras everywhere. There's nothing wrong with him." But it doesn't look like he's sure of that.
"I think there's something wrong with you," Wilson tells House, who's napping in the clinic. Wilson tosses him his pills and he mistimes the catch. "Because I just woke up from sleeping in the clinic, like I always do." But Wilson says he's forgetful, too. "I'd like to run some tests." He explains the hepatic encephalopathy theory.
"I've watched you destroy your body with Vicodin for years," Wilson tells him. "I'm surprised yourÂ liver's lasted this long." He offers to do the exam himself. "While having you juggle my jewels sounds interesting, there's no such thing as friends with benefits. It always gets weird," House says, laying his head down to go back to sleep.
"Your friends out there are getting a little hands-y," Chase says. While setting up the ultrasound, Chase mentions to Brant that the guards seem to be more thorough than usual. Brant says that there have been death threats, plus a convoy was hit outside of Kunar Province, reportedly in retaliation for the killings shown on the video Brant leaked.
"Eight American soldiers were killed," Hayes says. Brant argues that a strike like that would have taken three days at least to plan. "So, the next one might be your fault?" Hayes asks. Why did he enlist in the Army if he has such a negative opinion? "I needed to find out what happened to my dad," Brant says. "There were two redacted pages in his service record. Going into Intelligence was the quickest way to up my security clearance." Part of his job was to make friends with the locals. "If there had been another attack, with civilian casualties, and I had done nothing . . ."
He's interrupted by a couple of medical issues: an enlarged spleen Park sees on the monitor, and urinary bleeding Chase notices in his bag. Suddenly, blood appears near his IV site and then out of his eyes. "His spleen must be sequestering platelets," Chase says. They need to rush him to the operating room.
"Pressure's dropping." In surgery, Chase races to try to squeeze Brant's spleen and release platelets, as his blood pressure drops. It works: Brant's pressure rises and he starts to clot. "Good news is we can control the bleeding," Chase says. "The bad news is the bleeding's not the problem. Not unless spleens are supposed to be lumpy."
"He's clotting, but CT confirmed splenic nodules," Adams says, briefing the team while House and Taub play a war-themed video game. "You just took out a family of four," Taub says. "They were clearly armed insurgents," House tells him. "Anyone who claims - or proves - otherwise is a traitor." The team dismisses several possibilities: TB, brucellosis, lymphoma.
Trying to keep Taub distracted so he can win, House prompts him to come up with ideas. "The nodules in his spleen were granulomas. He's got sarcoidosis!" Taub screams, as he defeats House. House orders steroids for Brant - and he orders that Taub come right back afterward. "I'm not going to rest until I've made orphans of all your virtual children."
"House never loses." Adams is adding Taub's win to the list of reasons she thinks House is sick. Now Park thinks maybe there's something to it. "Reduced fine motor control. Add that to inattention and liver flap. It does make sense." Adams is worried that House's medical judgment could be impaired, and she wants to tell Foreman.
Chase still isn't buying it. "You really think it's a coincidence that we're treating a whistle blower and now talking about blowing the whistle on House?" he asks. "You're right: playing dumb, a messy signature, losing a video game. It's way too complicated to fake."
"No, I won't take it," Brant says, refusing his treatment, even though the doctors tell him he could have a fatal arrhythmia without it. "Tell Major Mathewson that I'm not taking any treatment until they give me a live television interview," Brant says. Does he really believe they'll agree to that? "People need to know the tape's not the reason for that attack. They need to know why I did this." "If Dad were here, he'd be begging for you not to do this," Hayes says. "If Dad were here, he'd be proud of me," Brant argues.
"The conspiracy theorists are going to go nuts if the patient dies." Taub, along with Chase and Hayes, see Major Mathewson leave Foreman's office. "I told him that," Foreman says. "He told me that option is still less damaging than giving the kid a national platform."
Taub wants Hayes to persuade Brant to take the meds, but Hayes doesn't think it'll work. Chase has an idea: "What if we convince a court that his refusal is part of an underlying psychiatric disorder? Narcissistic personality disorder. Both the leaking of the tape and the refusal of treatment indicate that he has no fear of consequences."
It's unlikely a judge would classify a personality disorder as a mental illness - unless Hayes can corroborate and act as a conservator. "So you want me to sign a piece of paper that says my brother is crazy for doing what he thinks is right?" Hayes asks. It's to save Brant's life. "His heart could go at any time," Taub tells him. "He's a fool, but he's not crazy," Hayes says.
"The patient is refusing treatment because of honor, and his brother is refusing to be his conservator because of honor," Chase tells the team. Meanwhile, House wants to investigate the case of the out-of-order bathroom, which he leads the team into before squatting in a stall. "No one fixes anything unless they have a compelling reason," House says. "If we're going to treat, we have to give him a compelling reason. Something that he wants more than an interview."
"Signed order from Major Mathewson," Chase says to Brant, handing him the paperwork. "They've agreed to declassify the redacted pages from your father's service record. In two days, you'll have all your answers." But the only way he'll live long enough to find out the truth is by accepting treatment. Brant doesn't know if he can trust the Army, but he trusts Hayes.
As Taub and Chase leave Brant's room, Taub pulls out a plastic bag to collect House's waste. The stall was never out-of-order; it was all a plan by Taub so he could get a stool sample. When he reviews the sample under the microscope, he sees that House's bile deposits are irregular. "House's liver is failing."
Suddenly, they're paged to Brant's room. His foot is killing him. Adams uncovers the blanket - his foot looks dark purple and bloated. "It's completely cyanotic. This isn't sarcoidosis."
"Cholesterol embolization," House says, back in his office. The team filled him in on their test, but he doesn't seem too worried. Adams doesn't think it's an embolism. "And, if we start you on treatment now, get you off Vicodin . . ." "I know my body. I'm fine," he tells them. "If you're not sick, then our tests, accurate 99.5 percent of the time, yielded a false positive, three separate times," Chase says.
House doesn't argue with the test results, just the diagnosis. "Sample was obviously contaminated with other foods interacting with my liver enzymes," he says. "Now, can we talk about the sick patient?"
"His clot dissolved, that could have caused a vasospasm; DIC could have been caused by Bernard-Soulier syndrome," Park says. "If we got a patient file with the same symptoms you're exhibiting ..." Adams starts.
"And, the symptoms I'm not exhibiting?" House asks. "Jaundice, ascites, fetor hepaticus?" But they can't tell if his breath is bad because he's been popping mints like crazy. Four doctors he trained all diagnosed him with hepatic encephalopathy. "Park's right. Treat the patient with heparin," House says, unwilling to discuss his own health.
"We'll have a stronger argument if we go to Foreman as a united front." Adams, Taub, and Park want to talk to Foreman, but Chase still isn't convinced there's any reason to tell him. "We tell Foreman, House either agrees to treatment or gets suspended. Which means House gets suspended. And considering House at 90 percent is better than any other doctor at this hospital at 100 percent, that means our patients get a lower standard of care."
"Blurry vision, headache, a bit of nausea, and dizziness." House is in the clinic examining a teenage boy in a St. Patrick's Day t-shirt. "I am completely baffled." "I only had eight beers," the teen says. He's working up his tolerance for the sophomore class pong tournament. House tells him to hop on one foot and sing the "iCarly" theme song. "Next year, stick to whiskey. Or at least stay away from week-old green beer. A lot less likely to contain tartrazine-laced green food dyes, for which you apparently have an intolerance."
"What are my choices here?" House asks Wilson, who's following House down the hall. "If I tell you I'm fine, you won't believe me." Wilson has scheduled a liver function test. "If I ignore you, then you'll just ignore my ignoring. Which is rude, frankly." And depending on the results, Wilson continues, they'll customize a treatment plan.
"And if I tell you I think I'm sick and I need your help and we need to set up a time to talk about it, you'll just assume I'm lying," House says, popping more mints. "Again, rude." House knows that he doesn't have a choice, but there is one place he can go where Wilson can't follow: Brant's room, because Wilson isn't on the clearance list.
"Who are you?" Brant asks as House plops down in a chair and picks up a magazine. "Well, considering the only people allowed in here are your doctors and your family, I'm your long-lost cousin Ralph. So glad to finally meet you." House wants to know if it was worth it. "Best case, you spend the rest of your life in Leavenworth. Worst case, you spend the rest of your life here."
"My job was to log that tape, get all the details in the official record," Brant tells House. "After the tenth time of watching it, I stopped trying to convince myself that the shovel could have been mistaken for a gun, because all I could see were the victim's faces. All I was trying to do was read that kid's lips, to make out his last words. I couldn't sleep, couldn't eat. My hair turned gray in three days. My body was telling me I had to do whatever I could to make sure that something like this never happened again." The part about his hair turning gray in three days catches House's attention.
"Loss of hair color indicates an autoimmune deficiency, likely Graves disease," House says. "Hyperthyroidism leads to hypercoagulable state, which causes thrombosis. Start him on anti-thyroids." House explains his theory to the team while he tries to sneak a bunch of candy bars past the cashier in the cafeteria in small cup.
Taub thinks that the gray hair could just have been stress. Plus, the anti-thyroids could reduce his blood pressure and his ability to breathe. House is unmovable: "Start him on anti-thyroids." After House leaves, the team decides not to give Brant the anti-thyroids."Feeling OK? Any better?" Chase and Adams check in on Brant. He's a little cold. "It's really nothing. Maybe an hour or two." But he's drenched in sweat. Adams takes his temperature. "He's at 104." "It's not Bernard-Soulier," Chase says.
"Bold move: You've gone from speculating that I'm sick to acting like I'm dead." House is not pleased with the team, but they still don't fully trust his judgment. After more blood work, they found out it's not Graves, either. And there's Foreman at the door, asking to speak to House.
"Anything you have to say to me, you can say to them," House says. "It's only fair, because anything they say to me, they also say to you." Foreman lays down the law. "Until you receive a clean bill of health, I'll be authorizing all treatment orders," he tells House. "Well, I would say that's an incredibly stupid mistake, but apparently I'd have to clear that opinion through Foreman first," House says.
Now that Brant's white count is high, any infections that they might have ruled out when he came in are back on the table. House's primary concern, though, is finding out who stabbed him in the back.
"Fine, I told Foreman," Taub says. "Can we move on now?" House knows Taub is only confessing so they'll get back to the case. Then Adams confesses, followed by Chase. "The next person to confess is fired!" House says. "Or Spartacus." That just leaves Park, who doesn't quite know what to say.
"And it's malaria," House announces. Adams tries to quickly dismiss the idea, since the Army gives anti-malaria medication. "And has done for ten years. That's the equivalent of 5,000 generations of the Afghan mosquito," House says. He believes it's developed a resistance. Foreman orders anti-malarials.
"We believe you have malaria." Taub tries to give Brant the pills, but he refuses. "My dad's file should have been here." Hayes tells him that there's been a delay. "If they're not going to keep their end of the bargain, neither am I," Brant says.
"Is it too late to become his conservator?" Hayes catches up to Park and Taub in the hall. "I know what I said before. Right now I don't care." They'll get the paperwork together.
"He changed his mind? Why?" Adams doesn't understand why Hayes is agreeing now. Brant was dying the last time they asked him to be the conservator, so why the change of heart? "So, instead of pushing the issue with the Army to get the file, he just decided to give up on his code?" Taub doesn't have a good answer.
"So where do I sign?" Hayes asks Taub. But they won't be needing his signature. "The Army gave the file to you yesterday. Major Mathewson had another copy sent over to us." Hayes says that there's a reason he didn't want the file released. "I know. I read it," Taub tells him. "I'm going to treat my patient now."
"I was right, wasn't I? How did he die? What did they cover up?" Brant sees the report in Hayes' hands. "They didn't cover up anything. I did," Hayes says. "Dad died in that car accident because he was drunk. Killed a pedestrian, too."
Brant can't believe what he's hearing. "He drank, Brant, a lot," Hayes tells him. "You were too young to see it. I had some of Dad's buddies take care of his files. It was the only time I ever broke the rules. I'm sorry." Brant looks confused and angry, but he'll take the treatment.
"Fever hasn't broken. White count is still up. Renal function is declining." The team goes over Brant's case in House's office. Brant has all the signs of malaria, but the anti-malaria meds aren't helping him. Chase is just about to render an opinion when a different sort of epiphany hits him.
"You bastard!" he says, looking at House, who's drinking from a large Styrofoam cup. "You were faking! Yesterday, House stole candy by putting it into a cup. The cup was too small, so his solution was to remove some of the candy. But the obvious logical thing was to just get a bigger cup, which he did today, because he's no longer faking." What about the sample? "I took Saint John's wort to alter the way my liver metabolized acetaminophen. And some N-acetylcysteine to finish it off."
"You tortured them, to torture me, just to see who you could trust?" Foreman asks. He claims he did it to save lives. "And now you're going to brilliantly deduce which one of us is the rat?" Park asks. "What makes you think I haven't already?" House asks. Then he has a thought. "To be continued," he says, leaving. "I need to brilliantly cure a patient."
"No hair usually means no lice. The only thing we didn't account for was it wasn't your hair," House tells Brant. "Tea was not the only thing that your Afghani neighbors shared with you. I'm sure they were generous enough to let you sit on their furniture, which was infested with rat lice. You have typhus. Caused the vasculitis and explains all your other symptoms. But here's where it gets interesting: one of those symptoms, a lawyer might argue, was leaking the tape. There are psychiatric issues associated with typhus. Change your mind, plead not guilty - you've got a case."
Brant says that would undermine everything he's trying to do. "You did what you thought you had to do," Hayes says. "Going to jail proves nothing." Brant thinks it proves he still has his honor. "You're not doing this for honor," House tells him. "You're doing this to please your father. And the pathetic thing is the man you're trying to please never existed."
"Traitor!" House thinks Wilson is the rat. "You've been avoiding me for two days." Wilson responds," I've been avoiding you because you're an ass."
"I've been an ass my whole life; I can't get rid of you," House says. But he's starting to think Wilson might be telling the truth. "Fine. I'll have to punish my whole team so that one of them will step forward." Wilson tells him that makes sense.
"Damn, now I'm going to have to punish my whole team so that one of them will step forward." Didn't he just say that? "Yeah, but I meant it this time. First time I was just testing you. Either you were going to genuinely confess, or falsely confess, or actually . . ." That gives him an idea.
Hayes watches as Brant is wheeled out of his room, surrounded by MPs. Hayes salutes him. Chase is watching from the second story. When he turns around he sees a big rat, scurrying next to the wall. "His name's Little Chase," House says, picking up the animal. "He's a rat. You're a rat. Get it. Taub confessed to telling Foreman to save the patient. Adams confessed to protect Taub. Your confession was just piling on. There's no rational reason for you to have done it."
Chase doesn't think there will be any punishment. "You wanted me to tell Foreman," he says. "Your ability to solve puzzles is the only thing that matters to you. And you're smart enough to know even you'll lose your edge at some point. You want to make sure someone's there when you do."
"If that were true," House says, handing him the rat, "why are Little Chase's little cousins scurrying through your apartment floorboards right now?"