House goes through several days of detox from Vicodin at the Mayfield Psychiatric Hospital. He finally detoxes and prepares to check himself out since he's there voluntarily. The nurse tells him that she can't check him out and refers him to the presiding physician, Dr. Darryl Nolan. Nolan says that House can go but he needs more treatment than simpler detox. He points out that the Vicodin didn't cause the hallucinations, which started after House lost his father and two colleagues. When House insists on going anyway, Nolan says he'll let him go but won't recertify him to practice medicine. House reluctantly agrees to check himself into the long-term ward.
House is assigned to Ward 6 and meets with Dr. Beasley. He wonders what he has to do to get out and she tells him that he needs to take his meds and undergo therapy. House would rather make the staff miserable so that they'll be glad to sign on his recertification and let him go. He's taken to his room and introduced to his new roommate, Juan "Alvie" Alvarez, who is constantly rapping, extreme high-strung, and refuses to take meds. He quickly takes to House, who would rather not have anything to do with him. House goes to see the nurses and get a new room and Alvie tags along. The nurse is busy dealing with Hal, who refuses to take his medicine. Meanwhile, Beasley and the other doctor, Medina, watch House and wonder if he plans to act out and confirm their diagnosis. They wonder if they should worry about his threats and Nolan says that they should always worry about a patient when he makes a threat.
Beasley begins House's first group therapy and introduces him and Alvie to the rest of the group. House immediately starts taunting Susan, a woman who tried to kill himself and Beasley calls a quick end to the session and locks House away in a padded cell. She has him released later and he goes out for yard time to watch the others play basketball. Beasley suggests that all he has to do is be honest and deal with other people. House seizes on her suggestion in his own unique way: he joins the basketball game, diagnoses all of the opponent's psychological problems, and attacks them to get them to leave so he can shoot unhindered. House walks away despite Beasley's orders and goes to the rec room. A woman, Lydia, is playing for her sister-in-law Annie, a catatonic. Lydia insists that the music helps and points out that Annie is nodding along, but House notes that her head is moving because of her pulse. Beasley arrives with the orderlies to take House back to his cell.
Beasley tries again and releases House. This time he apologies to the patients as they play ping-pong without paddles or a net, and then starts rousing them against the staff. Beasley prepares to have House taken away again but Nolan undermines House by agreeing with him and handing out ping-pong paddles. He then confronts House and suggests he use his leadership abilities to help the patients rather than hurt them, and warns that he can be just as stubborn as House.
The next day, House goes back into group therapy and Beasley introduces a new patient, Steve, who believes he's a superhero named Freedom Master. Steve notices Annie and says that she needs saving. House goes to the window and notices Nolan leaving with a woman. Beasley comes over and suggests that he take a break from scheming for a few days, but House has already come up with another scheme. He determines that Alvie has third-floor privileges and Nolan's office is on the third floor. He asks Alvie to get in there and take a look at Nolan's desk calendar to get the name of the woman he's meeting and Alvie is glad to agree.
House waits for Alvie in the rec room and plays a few notes on the piano once he realizes it's unlocked. An orderly quickly locks it back up and House sits with Annie. The other orderlies haul in Alvie, who meets later with House and tells him that there wasn't a name on the calendar. House is satisfied and plans to call Wilson to pass on the license plate number, have his friend learn who it belongs to, and blackmail Nolan into letting him go. Next, House stages a fake fight with Alvie and cheeks the sedatives that the staff gives him as a result. Once they think he's unconscious, House sneaks away to the phone and calls Wilson. He asks his friend to track down the license number so he can blackmail Nolan into giving him his recertification. Wilson apologizes and explains that Nolan already called to tell him to let House's treatment run its course. House goes back to his room and comes up with a new plan: fake cooperation.
House plays along with the staff and does everything he's supposed to. He continues to cheek his medicine. Lydia comes back to play piano for Annie again and House still believes it isn't doing any good. When Lydia explains that Annie played cello for the Philadelphia Philharmonic, House suggests that she bring in a cello to play. Impressed, Lydia agrees.
A skeptical Medina meets with House and notes that his story and Alvie's about how the fight started don't match. He also notes that House isn't displaying any side effects from the medicine he's supposedly taking. House dismisses his suspicions and seemingly bluffs, offering to provide a urine sample for a drug test if it will satisfy Medina, and the doctor calls his bluff. Medina watches as House goes into the restroom and enters a stall, but is unaware that Hal is hiding in the stall and provides House with a fresh urine sample.
House plays poker with the other patients and Medina comes over to apologize once the drug test confirms the presence of drugs. Medina then starts treating Steve by asking him to demonstrate his superpowers. He persists when Steve starts to panic and House tries to stop him. Steve breaks down and claims that his wife's voice is coming from a box in the storage room. Medina tries to convince him that sometimes good people die because of evil people. However, Steve tries to break into the storage room and Medina has the orderlies take him away, while House simply watches.
House begins to wonder if he's really cooperating, or if it makes any difference that he's faking cooperation. He blames himself for letting Medina mess up Steve. Meanwhile, the staff and patients hold a closing ceremony for Susan, who is checking out. House notices that Steve isn't there, goes to his room, and discovers that Steve is now catatonic. Medina insists that he isn't on medicine and House tries to wake Steve up. Nolan asks for a private meeting with House. House blames Medina for Steve's condition, and then complains that Susan is leaving when she has fewer points than House. He finally snaps at Nolan that he's competent because he's managed to fool them into believing he's been a model patient. Nolan responds by taking one of House's pills and demonstrating that it's just a placebo. When they suspected he was faking, Nolan gave him sugar pills and the drug test would have shown no drugs if House was honest. House realizes he's been out-manipulated and Nolan tells him to let the doctors do their job and stop fighting them. House goes back to his room and admits to Alvie that he's out of ideas.
Later, Lydia arrives with a cello and House convinces her to let Steve carry the heavy object up the stairs to bring him out of his depression. She agrees and while they watch Steve struggle with the cello, House wonders why she visits Annie every weekday. Lydia insists it's out of simple compassion. Steve takes a break and House suggests that she loan him her keys so she can take Steve for a ride and convince him that he's flying. They go driving and House wonders why she trusts him. Lydia admits that she thinks he has a good heart. House then tells her he actually plans to steal her car and kidnap Steve. He stops and she gets out, smiling. House takes Steve to a carnival and takes him "flying" on an air lift. Steve admits it's the greatest moment of his life. However, when they go back to the parking gage, Steve goes to the ledge and leaps.
Steve is taken to the hospital where House waits. Nolan arrives and tells House that Steve will leave but that House used Steve to get back at Nolan. He accuses House of not caring about the truth and endangering those around him. Nolan says that he's transferring House to another hospital but House stops him and admits that he needs help.
House begins individual therapy and Nolan suggests that he talk about whatever he wants so they can find out what's wrong with him. House says that he doesn't want to be miserable and Nolan suggests that he take mood-altering SSRI drugs. House wonders if they will make him lose his edge and what would have happened to Van Gogh if he had taken drugs. Nolan insists that Van Gogh still would have been a famous painter and had two ears. He argues that House has to trust someone and should start now, and House takes the SSRIs.
As House takes his daily drugs, Alvie figures he's cheating. House insists that he's actually trying to get better and Alvie should do the same. When Alvie wonders if they've broken House, House admits that he's already broken. Alvie says that he hates him and walks away.
Later, Nolan comes to see House and brings him a suit. He asks House to analyze his relationships with the other patients but House focuses on their problems with each other, not himself. Nolan points out that he has trouble with relationships and has deliberately screwed up each one that he's been in. As an exercise in trust, he invites House to a hospital charity party. At the party, he tells House just to practice talking with other people on a social basis. House amuses himself with one male donor by claiming he's gay, and Lydia, a guest, comes over to see him. She suggests that he might actually try being honest but House goes over to hit on a female guest. Despite her protestations, Lydia helps him out by claiming to be his wife and accusing the guest of hitting on her "husband." They browbeat the woman into admitting she hit on House.
Nolan comes by to see how House is doing. When House admits that he didn't do well, Nolan explains that the point was for him to trust that other people wouldn't give him away even if they thought he was a philanderer. Lydia comes back and talks with House, who wonders why she isn't mad at him. Lydia insists that she thought he was being nice to Steve despite the results. He asks again why she keeps visiting Annie and Lydia explains that was her best friend until she became catatonic. She married Anne's husband, Annie's brother, because he was going through the same thing that Lydia was. He eventually stopped visiting his sister but Annie continued. She kisses House and leaves. House goes back to his room and admits to Alvie that he actually had fun.
House continues to meet with Nolan and admits that he was actually happy kissing Lydia. Nolan points out that Lydia is married and House is in therapy, and things are complicated. When he pushes House about his feelings, House tries to deflect by asking Nolan about his personal life and the woman he's seeing. Nolan persists and House admits he's uncertain what his situation is with Lydia.
The next time that Lydia visits, House meets with her and asks why she kissed him. Lydia insists she kissed him because she enjoyed it and it made her happy. House begins to relax with her, but then notices the orderlies bring a comatose Steve in using a wheelchair. When he meets with Nolan, House admits that he obsesses about his failures and Nolan points out that he seems to focus more on his failures than his successes. He tells House that he needs to learn to apologize and then let go, and that House doesn't have to suffer when he accidentally or deliberately inflict suffering on someone else.
House goes to see Steve and tries to apologize, but he can't. Later, Beasley announces there'll be a talent show and tries to get Steve to respond. When he doesn't, House insists that they need to do something besides talk. He remembers Steve talking about his wife's voice and concludes that he was trying to get at a music box so that he could help Annie. House goes to the storage closet and tries to get. When the orderlies arrive, House insists that he isn't having a psychotic break and Beasley gives in. House puts the music box in Steve's hands but there's no response. Nolan notices what's going on and tells House that he still hasn't learned to move on yet. Instead, he's trying to fix things so he doesn't have to move on.
The next time that Lydia visits, House asks where their relationship is going. She insists she simply wants to be happy but House says that no matter what happens, they'll both end up being hurt. Lydia says that everything ends and everything hurts, but you can still be happy before that happens. House says he can't go through it again and walks away.
In group therapy, House starts snapping at the patients again. Beasley tries to get Alvie to write a rap song for the talent show but he insists that he can't rap if he has to think about it. Medina comes in with a day pass for House: it's from Nolan, who wants him at the hospital. When House arrives, Nolan is with his dying father, who had a stroke. The doctors believe there's no hope and Nolan wants a second opinion. House confirms their diagnosis and starts dissecting Nolan, noting that he has nothing in his life because he screwed up and he asked House there because House is the closest thing he has to a friend and confidant. Nolan says he didn't bring House there to play games and House shuts up and sits down as Nolan decides to turn off his father's life support.
As House returns to the hospital, he finds Lydia in the rec room, crying. He apologizes to her and admits that he pushes people away when he's scared. Lydia tells him she's crying because of Annie, not because of him. She brought a cello for Annie to play in case she recovered in time for the talent show. House tries to comfort and they end up going back to his room and making love.
The patients hold their talent show and Alvie tries to perform. He's unable to perform at first until House helps him finish his rhymes. Alvie calls House up and the two of them rap together as everyone applauds. Later, House wonders how Nolan is doing after the death of his father. Nolan thanks him for his concern and House admits that he's actually happy. He goes to the catatonic Steve and apologizes, admitting he endangered his friend and wasn't capable of handling the situation. As a surprised Nolan watches, Steve sees Annie nearby and hands her the music box. She looks at it, opens it, and then speaks for the first time in months, thanking him. Steve responds to her, saying "You're welcome."
The next time Lydia visits, House has a surprise for her. He takes her to the rec room where Annie is playing the cello. She soon recovers and the staff throws her a closing ceremony. A surprised House goes to see Nolan and questions whether Annie is ready to be released. Nolan explains that Annie is going into out-patient care at a clinic in Phoenix. Her brother is moving to Arizona along with his family. House asks for an overnight pass and Nolan warns him that he's not thinking things through. House persists and Nolan reluctantly agrees.
House goes to Lydia's house and her son Ben answers the door. Lydia comes out to see him and apologize for not telling him the news in person. Now that Annie can travel, her husband wants the family to move to Phoenix where his business is. Lydia admits that she doesn't want to leave House but she has to stay with her family. He says he doesn't want her to leave but she goes back inside.
Nolan is going out to his car and finds House waiting for him. House admits that he's lost now that Lydia has left him. Nolan tells him that he'll sign the letter for House's recertification. House isn't interested in a psychological band-aid but Nolan points out that he's learned how to reach out and he came to Nolan instead of taking Vicodin. The next day, they hold a closing ceremony for House, who hugs Alvie and smashes his face into the cake.
House goes to catch a bus while Alvie watches from the window. Alvie finally goes to the med window and tells Beasley that he wants to get better. Outside, House smiles in satisfaction as he goes back to his life. Share this article with your friends