"I have been fantasizing about this for months." Tony and Glenn are near an isolated silo, Tony clutching a sexy picture of a woman as he climbs on top and tapes the picture securely. "You're an idiot," Glenn says. "You know that?" The two race toward their SUV and call the missile command center where they work. "Target area is clear," Tony says. "Repeat: Target area is confirmed clear."
"The CT-10's light enough to launch from a UAV but can penetrate eight feet of 6000 psi concrete, before detonation." Dr. Wendy Lee, the same woman in the photo Tony exploded, gathers the visiting military brass toward a computer screen in the command center, to watch a test launch of the new missile. "Precision guidance system's not affected by darkness or weather, and can hit a two-foot wide target from 69,000 feet."
Then 3, 2, 1 . . . the missile crushes the silo - and Tony's picture. "I feel better already," he tells Glenn, as they watch from a safe distance. "You need to see a shrink. Seriously," Glenn tells him.
Back at command, the generals congratulate Wendy's staff on their accomplishment, but where's Wendy? Her colleague Cesar is the first to spot her, writhing on the ground, apparently suffering from a seizure. "Call 911!" Cesar yells.
House is sitting on his kitchen table, sweating. He's rigged a stretching band from his injured leg to the table leg, and he's trying as hard as he can to pull, but he's in agony.
"Karma's a bitch." Later, in House's office, Thirteen claims that Wendy's condition can be chalked up to "designing ever more effective ways to blow people up." Meanwhile, why is House drinking so much water? He doesn't seem congested, so his excuse that it's a side effect of a new antihistamine doesn't sound right. Getting back to the patient, House thinks that they should start by breaking into her house, since it'll be a little difficult to break into her office. Foreman suggests that they actually ask Wendy if they can look through her office and also do an MRI. Surprisingly, House agrees.
Taub wonders why House took the case at all if he's not interested. "I am definitely interested. Could be a tumor, could be a CNS bleed. What do you do when you've got two interesting puzzles?" Two? But before House can answer, Wilson comes in, gloating and dancing about a bet he won with House. "Pay up!" "Bet's off," House says. "The fight was fixed. The punch barely touched him." Foreman can't believe that House bet on the underdog. "Speed beats power. Unless speed has been paid to speedily take a dive," House says. Wilson can't believe it. "It touched him enough to put him on the canvas, and the official counted him out, which means you, officially, owe me 50 bucks."
House is adamant. "We bet on a sporting event. That was not sporting. In less than 30 seconds that was barely even eventing." Wilson maintains that House lost and he won. "You can take that to your grave. You're not taking my 50 bucks," House tells him. OK, then Wilson has an idea: "Prove it. Prove it or pay up. You've got one day." When Wilson leaves, House explains that the other puzzle that he needs diagnosed is the mystery of his fighter's loss.
"I've always been healthy. I never even get colds." Chase and Thirteen wheel Wendy into the MRI room. Thirteen coldly notes that her luck finally ran out. "I take it she doesn't like people who make bombs," Wendy says to Chase. Thirteen tries to apologize, but Wendy says that half her family feels the same way. "Of course, they all work on Wall Street, so . . ." Her fascination with explosions dates back to childhood Fourth of July celebrations, and when she had to pick a major in college, she decided that she should pick something she was passionate about. "Destroying things," Thirteen says. "Were you ever passionate about anything else?" "Bombs are tools, just like anything else," Wendy tells her. "You can use it to make things better, or you can use it to make things worse. I also like romantic poetry and picnics. Is there anything else you want to know before we do this MRI?"
"Hey, how's it going?" In a booth in a seedy diner, House seats himself across from a dejected looking young man. "You mind?" Foley asks House. "There are plenty of other seats." "I'm not here to judge," House says. "You did what was best for you. I got no problem with that." Foley says that the next time he asks House to leave he won't be so nice about it. "Just go away," he tells House. "Or what? You're suddenly going to fall down?" House wants Foley to call Wilson and tell him he took a dive in the fight. Foley denies that he took a dive at all. "I'm not from the Commission. I'm not some bookie. I'm a doctor," House says. Foley leans in. "If you were a bookie, you'd know no one pays a guy to throw a fight he has no chance to win. I was a 12-1 underdog. Lost my last five fights."
But House is convinced Foley was the better fighter. "That last punch barely touched you." "You ever been 'barely touched' by a guy who weighs 230 pounds?" Foley asks him. "Look at me. Where I am. What I'm wearing. Do I look like a guy who just got a payday? I didn't throw the fight. I just suck." House takes a long, hard look at Foley.
"Ha! Proof!" House confidently bursts into Wilson's office and thrusts his cell phone in Wilson's face. It's a close-up of Foley. "Look at his pupils. He has anisocoria. Which, given his age, the adrenaline that surged in the fight, the fact that he's still alive, means he was tachycardic. He has Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome." Wilson is unimpressed. "The bet was on who would win - not on who would live the longest." "If he's physically unable to continue because of a pre-existing illness, then it's technically a no-contest. Which means all bets are off," House concludes. "You know just because I was right about this one fighter doesn't make you any less of a man?" Wilson asks. And he's not accepting House's "proof." "One possibly Photoshopped cell phone pic does not a diagnosis make."
"Excuse me, Dr. House?" Cesar catches up with House in the hallway. "I'm a co-worker of Wendy Lee's. I'm also her boyfriend." But House doesn't care. And he doesn't care about her crazy ex-boyfriend, who Cesar says is stalking Wendy. Cesar thinks he knows what's wrong with her. "You screwed up in the lab and accidentally spilled some bomb on her?" House asks, trying to escape via elevator. "No," Cesar says. "He really is crazy."
"Poison?" Thirteen is surprised by Cesar's theory. "Apparently our mad scientist is also a slutty scientist, whose milkshakes got all the nerds in the yard fighting over her," House explains, while he and the team walk down the hall." Thirteen doesn't think she's a slut just because she dated two guys at work. "She's not a slut, and it's not poison," Foreman says. "When we tested her blood and cerebral spinal fluid for toxic exposure, it was negative for every poison we could think of." Taub points out that that leaves every poison that they didn't think of. If Cesar had evidence, why didn't he go to the police? But since the MRI results were negative, they might as well start activated charcoal on the chance she really was poisoned. "This case is getting interesting," House says. "Let's add a little danger."
Soon Thirteen and Chase are breaking into Tony's house. It's a real sportsman's lodge, complete with a gun rack and a giant bear racked on the wall. Thirteen is aghast. "Just because he has guns doesn't make him a murderer," Chase cautions. "Tell that to the bear," Thirteen says. But they don't get too far in the investigation when Foreman calls them in. He and Taub have been searching Wendy's home and found a massive stash of empty booze bottles. "Looks like she actually was being poisoned. But she's been doing it to herself."
"I'm not an alcoholic," Wendy tells Foreman and Taub. She claims she doesn't drink at all - she collects bottles for a friend who uses them in art projects. So, why were they hidden? Wendy says she has to hide them or her housekeeper will throw them away. Taub and Foreman look unconvinced.
"Why would she lie?" Chase asks. Probably because she needs a government security clearance for work, Thirteen says. But the real question is why didn't she have at least some partially full bottles? Why would she keep the empties? They all seem to think now that maybe she's telling the truth, but Foreman still wants to start her on Valium for alcohol withdrawal. "It's the best we've got right now," he tells them.
"One normal EKG does not a healthy person make!" House tells Foley, who he's persuaded to come in for a test, only to have the test come back normal. "Look, I told you, I just suck," Foley says, walking away. House clutches his sore leg and asks Foley to just stop for a minute. "You don't have to be a loser. Whatever's wrong with you, it's real," House tells him. Sick is good. Sick means you can get better. You could get better. I don't mean healthier - maybe you don't have to suck." "Figure out what's wrong with yourself," Foley says. "And leave me alone."
Wendy is screaming in agony in her bed when Foreman and Chase arrive. "Said it felt like she was being stabbed," Cesar tells them.
"Is it a symptom of the underlying condition or a symptom of our treatment?" Taub asks the team back in House's office. Foreman says acute pancreatitis from alcoholism could cause the pain, but Thirteen thinks it might be stress-related. "Two guys fighting over her, and she just got done with the final test of a new bomb. Guilt is killing her." But how does she know Wendy doesn't love her job and love being the center of attention? "What if it's a kidney infection? Acute pyelonephritis could kill her if we don't start her in IV antibiotics." Taub says he paged House. "What? We've got nothing. Less than nothing since he's actually ignoring my pages. Which means we have a sick patient and apparently a sick boss." Foreman gets up from the table and walks away.
"Tell him that you admit he's right. Just get him back to work," Foreman says to Wilson, as he rifles through his wallet for 50 dollars to settle the bet. "Right now I'm debating which bad idea I should pretend is a good idea and force everybody to implement." But Wilson wants to let House do what he wants. "Since the breakup, he's been seeking out crazier and crazier things to do, because they're crazy. This, well, it's not crazy." Just irresponsible and possibly dangerous. "I think House getting back to doing stupid House stuff for stupid House reasons is the best thing that can happen to him."
House is again sitting on his kitchen table, trying to exercise the leg muscles from his injured leg. He's clearly in pain. He fires up a burner on his stove, and pulls out from a small bag a mysterious white powder, a syringe and a rubber tie, which he fastens above his elbow. He liquefies the white powder on a spoon over the heat, then jabs himself on the inside of his elbow. It's dark and bruised, with many other puncture points.
"It's definitely not pancreatitis," Taub says to the team in House's office. Wendy has just had another seizure. And it's a no on possible infections. Suddenly, House appears. "What looks like Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome but isn't?" He's talking about Foley. "You want us to help you get out of paying your bet, while your actual patient lies in agony," Taub says. "Well, then who's the real bad guy here? The guy who doesn't care enough to help? Or the four guys who are not competent enough to help?"
Taub gets back to Wendy: "Underlying neurological condition exacerbated by acute UTI brought on by her sexual escapades." "Slut, escapades, how do we treat? A Scarlet A?" Thirteen asks. "Sorry," Taub says. "Acute UTI brought on by her healthy enjoyment of her womanhood." He wants to start her on IV ampicillin and an aminoglycoside. No one has any better ideas, so they'll go with that.
Before he leaves, Foreman tells House: "You ignore us all the time. You go on crazy joyrides all the time. But you answer pages, sleep. I know I'm going to regret doing this, but I'll ask anyway: Is there anything I can do to help?" House isn't paying the least bit of attention to anything Foreman's saying, and walks out of the room.
"Great news!" House finds Foley in a dark, sweaty boxing gym . . . mopping the floor. "You have an underlying neurological condition. Which, together with your heart -"
"You said my heart was fine," Foley interrupts him. "Yeah, I also said that I would get you your career back. But it doesn't seem to matter, because you've so plainly been handed the golden spit bucket."
House thinks he has sympathetic overdrive. "You can go back to being the guy who won 20 of his first 20, instead of the guy who lost 5 of his last 5." Is he just trying to save $50? "I'm a doctor," House says. "I don't tell a fat guy to lay off bacon for less than $300." House asks for Foley's arm, and he jabs a needle into it. "What the hell?" Foley asks. "Don't worry," House says. "It's just epinephrine." House puts his fingers to Foley's neck to feel his pulse. "Aaaand, you are tachycardic," he says, as Foley starts to hyperventilate. "Now, the punch that supposedly knocked you out looked like it was thrown by an old cripple. Kind of like this," House says, punching Foley in the chest. "3, 2, 1 . . ." House says, waiting for Foley to fall. But he doesn't. House tries to punch him again, but Foley knocks him down. "Get the hell out of my life, you lunatic!"
Meanwhile, Wendy is crashing. "Whatever you're doing isn't working. Again. There's got to be some way to stop the seizures," Cesar says, as the team races in to save her. But it isn't a seizure this time. It's a heart attack. "That's impossible! She runs marathons!" Cesar says.
"My theory is that he's only avoiding us because he really wants to avoid you," Foreman tells Cuddy. Why is he so concerned about House's behavior? "Usually, when push comes to shove, he shows up," Foreman says. Wendy is barely hanging on, and the team doesn't have any idea what's wrong. Cuddy says that they have to assume that House knows what's wrong with her. "We could. Or we could assume that something is seriously wrong with House, and try to do something about that. This way, even if we're wrong, nobody dies," he says.
"House is fine," Cuddy says, getting into an elevator. "House is always fine." But she doesn't look convinced. "I'm expanding my theory," Foreman says. "He's avoiding you, and you're avoiding him. And his patient is going to die." "Not if you do your job," Cuddy tells him.
Back in House's kitchen, he's shooting up again, but this time he's being watched. "You're an idiot," Thirteen says, in disbelief as she watches him from the doorway. He tells her the pain is getting worse. "I figured if I upped the Vicodin any more, I'd end up back in a rubber room. Seemed like the smarter choice." She's there because the team is going to implanting an automatic cardiac defibrillator in Wendy, to buy time . . . and because both Wilson and Cuddy asked her to come. "And that's not heroin," she says, pointing at his kit on the table. "Which means you knew I was coming over here. And Cuddy and Wilson are right. You're just playing a game. Throwing out a bone and watching us fight over it."
But that's not it. He picks up a medical journal and shows it to her. "Compound CS-804. It's an experimental drug that's supposed to re-grow muscle." She reads through the material, including the part where the experiments were done on rats. "They've got four legs. Think how fast it should work on one," he says. "You're an idiot," Thirteen says.
"We've got a problem." Chase stops the surgery to implant the defibrillator. He smells blood. "Rectal?" Taub asks. "Vaginal," Chase says.
"Is it possible something got perforated during surgery?" Foreman asks the team back in House's office. Taub says no, and thinks maybe it's a blood disorder. But that's hardly a diagnosis. And a toxin is making less sense, since she would have been getting better by now, not worse. Chase wants to know what's going on with House. "If this was about Cuddy, he would have checked out weeks ago. What's new?"
Foreman notices Thirteen's conspicuous silence. "You always have some opinion on these things, especially when it comes to House, double especially when it comes to men and romance. But suddenly you're keeping your mouth shut." Everyone's looking at her. "House can't help us," she says. "I respect his privacy, no matter how stupid, and I'd appreciate it if you'd respect mine."
Foreman is frustrated but continues. "We need to treat the underlying condition. Could be cancer, sepsis, trauma, liver disease, hemorrhagic fever . . ." Taub gets up from the table. "I'm going to start treating the symptoms, while you finish listing the possible causes."
House is sitting on his table, trying again to move the bands with his hurt leg. It's still agonizing, and he's not able to move it very far. He goes for his kit, but there isn't any of the compound left.
"The rats are doing great," Dr. Riggin tells House, ostensibly just an interested observer in the lab where they're testing the formula. "Even better than the previous study: 12 percent increase in strength, 22 percent in flexibility, and some improvement in at least 60 percent of the subjects." And since it's easily excreted in urine, as long as the rats stay hydrated, there's virtually no risk of danger at any dose. House sits on a stool, wincing in pain. "Are you all right?" Dr. Riggin asks. "Leg hurts. Would you mind getting me a coffee?" When he leaves, House steals more of the compound.
Wendy's now bleeding from her mouth as well. "I'm not sure it's internal," the nurse says. "If it's coming from both ends, it's internal," Taub says. "Her gums look like they were burned," the nurse says. When they look in Wendy's mouth, it looks like she's got blisters on her gums.
House is trying to move the bands again, but nothing's really happening. He's had enough, and throws out the bands, plus his kit with the compound. He grabs his cane and hobbles into the living room toward a small chest on the mantle. More pills. But as he downs them, he has a thought. He races to the door, but before he can leave, Wilson's there, berating him about the experimental drugs.
"That's unfair, because at one point, even Vicodin was an experimental drug," House says. He tells Wilson that he's off the drug. "You think all your problems are your leg," Wilson says. "I think you want everything to be physical, tangible, simple. You want unhappiness to have a cure." But House isn't interested in Wilson's lecture and leaves.
"What about this: 28-year-old woman presented with burn-like wounds in her mouth and esophagus from a candidiasis infection." Chase and the team are in House's office looking through medical journals for anything that could explain Wendy's symptoms. But that woman didn't have seizures. Taub suggests acute myeloid leukemia, but Wendy hasn't been exposed to any chemical toxins. "There is one other cause of AML," Thirteen says.
"Where are you taking her?!" Cesar chases the doctors as they wheel Wendy's bed down the hall. Foreman tells him they're taking her to an isolation room to prep for a hematopoietic stem cell transplant. Thirteen says they think her blood and immune system have been destroyed by an exposure to ionizing radiation. Cesar says that's impossible; they don't work with anything like that. "We found reports that your company was developing tactical nuclear warheads for bunker busting bombs," Thirteen says. Cesar tells them it's not true.
"You're saying there's absolutely no chance that anyone in your company is doing any experimental research that you don't know about?" Foreman asks Cesar. He admits that it's possible. "But I know Wendy, and she wouldn't." "Well, maybe you don't know her as well as you thought you did," Thirteen says.
"You need a drink." House drives up next to Foley, jogging on a side street. "I'm fine," Foley says. "That wasn't a question. You really do need a drink." Foley slows down.
"Found a match. We'll start treatment as soon as we get the HSC from the donor." Foreman is explaining the procedure to Wendy in the isolation room. She wants to know where Cesar is. "I want to see him," she says. But it's too dangerous with her compromised immune system. "Dr. Foreman, you should look at this," the nurse says, pulling up Wendy's blanket. "You feeling any pain in your pelvic region?" Foreman asks her. She says no, why? "Your genitals, they're engorged," Foreman says.
Foley downs a water bottle while House watches. "If I drink anymore, I'm going to explode," he tells House. He won't explode, House tells him. He'll just have a seizure. "Which will prove that your kidneys are not working. Which will also prove that they weren't working Saturday night. That's why a glancing body blow sent your blood pressure into the toilet, and you onto the canvas." But he's been drinking an awful lot of water, and nothing's happening. "Nothing's going to prove you wrong," he says. "You're just going to keep making me miserable, because you're too miserable -"
House cuts him off. "You're an idiot. And no, you're not going to hit me. Because somewhere deep in that way-to-thin skull of yours, you know that you're full of crap. That's why you stopped jogging for me, that's why you drank eight bottles. Because even though you want to think that I'm wrong because it's simpler, you also desperately want me to be right. I'm only an ass for building your hopes up if I'm wrong. Last one," House says, handing him another bottle. Foley drinks it down defiantly and looks at House. "You're an ass," he says, walking away.
House walks into Wilson's office and hands him $50. "You were wrong. It's not the end of the world," Wilson says. But House has no intention of losing gracefully, as he swipes his cane across Wilson's desk, scattering everything on it to the floor. "Anything else you want to say?" House asks. "You have a problem," Wilson begins. "I think if you seriously look -" House is now slamming his cane into the framed posters on Wilson's wall. "Anything else?" he asks. Wilson wisely shuts up.
"Inflammation of the genitals means we were wrong." It's late at night and the team is in House's office, still working on Wendy's case. Foreman is now arguing for treating her symptoms, but Chase wants to find the underlying cause.
"You're drunk." House is perched on a stool in a bar, but the bartender says he won't serve him anymore. "Is it because I'm black? Because, I'm not," House says. It's not going to happen, the bartender tells him. "Look, you can't get me drunk, then give me crap for being drunk. That's like dumping someone and giving them crap for being upset. That's just not decent." House says that drinking is all about numbing pain. "That's the business you're in. You're in the screw-the-world business. You're in the reality-sucks-and-fantasy-temporarily-appears-to-not-suck-"
"Get the moron a drink so he'll shut the hell up," a fellow drinker begs the bartender. So, he does. Which House also takes issue with. "Have you no pride? Either serving me is a good idea or it's a bad idea. Shutting me up is a crappy reason for compromising what you believe."
"Not even an effective one, apparently," comes from a man on the other side of the bar. House eyes him, then turns to the bartender. "Am I going to have to hit him?" House asks. "Not a good idea," the bartender says. Nevertheless, House staggers toward the man, puts his fists up, and says the man can have the first punch. "Sit down, I'm not going to hit you," the man says. "Just as well, because I was lying," House tells him, as he decks him. As the man falls, House holds his leg, stunned. Too stunned to see the guy get right back up and punch him.
"You can relax," Thirteen tells an anxious Cesar, waiting outside Wendy's isolation room. Wendy's getting better. "The bad news is, because of your extended exposure to her and her workplace," Chase says, "we're going to need to treat you as well." He says he feels fine. "Unfortunately, that's the way it can be with radiation," Thirteen says. "No symptoms until it's too late to do anything." He'll need a bone marrow transplant, immediately. Cesar protests, insisting that Wendy doesn't have radiation poisoning. "We need to start your treatment before it's too late," Thirteen says. "No!" Cesar argues.
Chase and Thirteen know that they've caught him. "You're either suicidal, or you know we're wrong," Chase says. "And the only way you can know for sure what wasn't killing her is if you knew what was. And you do, don't you?" "Because you've been poisoning her," Thirteen continues. "And the reason she's been getting better is because you haven't been near her." Chase says Taub and Foreman are searching Cesar's house now for poisons, so he might as well come clean. After all, attempted murder is still better than murder.
House is on his kitchen table once more, and he's got the stretching bands again. This time, he seems to be able to push his leg out further than any time previously. He can even move his foot around while he's doing it. House smiles. As he steps down and reaches for his cane, twirling it, he bonks himself on the back of the head, which gives him an idea.
When Foley gets to his boxing gym, he's surprised to find House there, in gloves, punching the heavy bag. "What are you doing here?" Foley asks. House tells him he's training for his big fight. As Foley passes by, House takes his cane and pushes the back of Foley's neck. He turns around, angry. "Look, I may not be able to take a punch, but I can still throw one." And he looks like he's about to, but House isn't worried. "3, 2, 1 . . ." And this time, Foley goes down as expected.
"Where's Cesar?" Wendy asks Thirteen. "Um, in jail," Thirteen tells her. "He was trying to kill you. He found out about you and Glenn, which, he admitted shouldn't have surprised him, since he started dating you while you were dating Tony." Cesar actually poisoned her repeatedly, with Spanish Fly. "The active ingredient, cantharidin, is a potent toxin, and can cause a lot of the same damage as radiation," Thirteen says. Wendy is stunned.
House comes to Wilson's office with his palm outstretched, expecting payment on the bet. "He was actually sick?" Wilson asks. "He wasn't knocked out by the punch. He was knocked out by the clench before the punch. Took a shot to the back of the neck. More specifically, to an abnormal growth of nerves caused by a glomus tumor. Kind of like a built-in taser. Sent a massive shock to his entire body, shut everything down." Wilson gets his wallet out. "Well done, House. You might have saved that guy. Given him his life back."
"Oh, no," House tells him. "He needs surgery. He's never going to fight again." Wilson notices House's black eye and asks if he's OK. "Better than OK," House says as he leaves Wilson's office.
Back home, House digs out the compound and his kit from the trash and rolls up his sleeve. But back in the lab, Dr. Riggin walks over to one of the cages and finds one of the rats taking the drug has died.