Season 8 Episode 3

Charity Case

Aired Monday 9:00 PM Oct 17, 2011 on FOX

Episode Recap

Benjamin Byrd arrives at a job placement firm and the receptionist, Trina, assures him that they can handle any problems that he has. He asks about what they can do if he has a drug problem and Trina assures him that it isn't a problem. However, when he asks if they can watch his child, Trina woman admits that they don't have a childcare program because they can't afford it. She tells Benjamin to come back later and they'll be glad to help. Once Benjamin leaves, Trina notices an envelope on the floor containing a check for one million dollars. She runs after Benjamin and watches as he collapses on the sidewalk.

House trims his hair and has Park watch. After he tells her that he wants a new look for his new life, House explains that Benjamin collapsed and was brought into the ER, and he's taken an interest into the case because Benjamin is rich. He gets to his office and finds Dr. Adams there, waiting to go for coffee based on House's invitation. He figures that since she's out of a job, she'll be glad to volunteer her help as part of his new team. Adams insists that she isn't interested, but can't resist doing the charitable thing. Park doesn't think that there's a case and that Benjamin is just suffering from dehydration, but House tells them to check Benjamin out.

Park and Adams examine Benjamin for heart deterioration, and he explains that he gives away millions and works undercover to determine who needs money. He figures he can live on $25,000 a year and is giving away everything he has, and everything he will earn as a software engineer. They report to House, trying to be overheard over the constant saw cutting from the orthopedic lab where the conference room used to be. Park insists that Benjamin is nuts while Adams is impressed by his generosity. However, they haven't found anything on the MRI. Park insists that she didn't get a handout when she came to the U.S. Foreman arrives and accuses House of pretending to cure Benjamin so he'll finance his old team. He's confirmed that Taub and Chase are willing to come back, but that Olivia hasn't returned her calls. Foreman isn't impressed and tells House to release Benjamin. However, as he goes, Park says that Benjamin's extreme altruism is a symptom. Foreman tells House that he'll either have to send Benjamin home or accept altruism as a confirmable medical symptom... which means that ethically, he can't take the man's money. House tells them to send Benjamin home and assess the net worth of their other patients.

As House goes out to the lobby, Thirteen comes in and tells him to stop calling her because she has no intention of coming back. She realizes that he's out on parole and has an ankle monitor, and tells him that she's not a doctor anyway. House figures that she wants to enjoy what time she has left and Thirteen admits that she's going to Greece with a girl. When she tells him to stop calling, House says that he won't because she's giving him mixed signals. Thirteen just keeps on going.

Adams and Park administer one more test on Benjamin's leg muscles, and he wonders why they're testing him and planning to discharge him anyway. As Park runs the test, Adams admits that Benjamin scares him a little and explains that she's been considering going into Doctors Without Borders. Park says that he's making Adams feel guilty, not scared. The test proves fine, but Benjamin's heart suddenly speeds up and they realize that he is suffering from more than dehydration.

Park reports to House about the arrhythmia while Adams gets coffee for them and refuses to accept payment. She points out that Benjamin has been taking allergy medication and House starts to tell them to flush the antihistamines. However, then he goes to do it himself and talks to Benjamin about how he's starting his life over but his department got defunded. Benjamin offers to give the hospital a million dollars for diagnostics, and House points out how gullible he is. House then goes to see Wilson, who knows what House is up to and tells him that he can't take money from a sick person. However, when he learns that Benjamin is offering a million dollars, Wilson begins to have second thoughts. He gets a page for a patient with kidney failure and realizes that House isn't paying attention to him. House suggests that Benjamin might just be a nice guy, but Wilson tells him he can't take the money.

As Park tests for long QT, Benjamin admits that his wife Kate has left him since he started giving away his money. She took their two sons with him, and Benjamin pays child support, but only the minimum. He doesn't want to pay more than what they need while other people are suffering and need so much more. Benjamin's hands start trembling and Park realizes that it's not long QT.

House meets with Park and Adams in the cafeteria, and Park gives Adams a cup of coffee for free so they're even. Adams insists that her coffee earlier was a gift and it doesn't need to be reciprocated. The two women argue over the value of generosity, and House figures they Adams embraces generosity out of guilt. Adams suggests an echovirus, which might cause personality changes, and House tells her to treat Benjamin with antivirals.

House calls Thirteen at her home and asks for her help with his computer. She's with her girlfriend Amy and figures that he'll read too much into her coming to see him, but then says that he was a friend to her when she needed one. Thirteen admits that she doesn't want to come back to work, but doesn't want to push him out of her life. When House claims he can't get his computer to work, Thirteen agrees to come in to help him and he asks her to drive out of her way to get him Chinese takeout.

In the locker room, Adams gives Park an expensive pair of shoes. She claims that she got them for a two-for-one sale and they're free, and insists that Park take them.

The next morning, Wilson sees House in the lobby and asks what Benjamin's status is. He's relieved when he hears that House is releasing Benjamin, and explains that Benjamin is donating a kidney to one of his patients that is having renal failure. House believes that Benjamin's mental condition is deteriorating and points out that Wilson advised him not to take anything from a sick person, and Wilson says that he changed his mind.

Wilson and House argue over the case and go to Foreman. House points out that Wilson made the exact opposite argument the other day, and that if Benjamin is ill then his kidney may put Wilson's patient at risk. Foreman asks Benjamin why he's doing it and he insists that it's simple altruism. Wilson sides with Benjamin and Foreman sides with Wilson. As the others leave, Benjamin tells House that his altruism isn't a symptom and he'll give House his money afterward.

House tells Park that they have time for one more test and wonders where Adams is. Park tells him that since she thought the case was over, Adams went to a job interview. She thinks that Benjamin has Whipple's, but House notes that he doesn't have joint pains. They get to House's office and find Thirteen there. She believes that Benjamin has Whipple's Disease and defends it, and House orders Park to test for it. Once she leaves, House figures that Thirteen feels guilty. She insists that she just wants to be happy and House seems to agree.

At the clinic, House checks a boy, Clancy, who has a rash on his hands. His mother Carol notes that the neighbors put in a new pool but no one else has a rash. House explains that Clancy has an allergy to Carol's hand lotion and figures the neighbor's wife or daughter is hot. He gives the boy some lube and goes to his office, where he finds a gift for Park. House takes it to her and she realizes that it's a gift from Adams for getting her the job interview. Park insists that she doesn't like charity because it makes her feel icky, but House wants to analyze it. Ignoring him, Park confirms that it's not Whipple's and House figures that they've done what they could.

As Simpson and his surgical team prepare to go to work, Wilson asks Benjamin if he's sure he wants to go through with it. Benjamin insists that he does and it will make him happy, but his BP starts to drop and they stop the surgery.

House meets with Park and Adams and tries to work out what may have happened. Foreman comes in and tells House that he's off the case, and accuses him of dosing Benjamin to get his way. House insists that he didn't give Benjamin anything but Foreman stands by his decision. Once he leaves, House admits that Foreman was right. Later, Adams talks to House and speculates about why he dosed the patient. House figures that she's interested because she didn't get the job, and asks why she's messing with Park. Adams admitted that at first it was juts curiosity, but now she wants to win. House offers to help and suggests that Adams push Park's neuroses to the point where even she thinks that she's crazy. He then gets an idea and calls Thirteen and asks her for one more favor.

Thirteen goes to see Benjamin and sees his wife Kate standing across the hallway. She admits that she just wanted to see him, and Thirteen says that he would like her at his bedside. Kate explains that she loves him, but she wants to know that Benjamin loves her and their children more than other people. Once she leaves, Thirteen goes to see Benjamin. He says that he's going to try to donate his kidney again to the same woman, and Thirteen says that she has kidney disease and also needs a kidney. Benjamin offers to give her his second kidney, even though it will force him to live on dialysis for years and then dies. Smiling, Benjamin says that when he does die, he can donate the rest of his organs and save many more lives. Thirteen goes outside and calls to say that Benjamin needs a diagnostician because he's crazy.

House meets with all three women, and Park wonders if Thirteen is now on the team. Thirteen suggest thyroid problems but Park notes that Benjamin's thyroid levels were normal. House doesn't respond and they try to determine what Benjamin has. They run out of ideas and House finally goes to the orthopedic lab in his old conference room next door, unplugs the saw that the doctor is using to remove a cast, and then goes back to his office. They prepare to go with Thirteen's diagnosis, but she says that she'll go and handle the treatment. House goes after her and asks if she is on the team or not. Thirteen finally admits that she feels guilty for not using her medical talents to help people. She wonders if it's wrong to walk away from that to find her own happiness, and House says it obviously isn't.

Later, House goes to see Wilson, who says that his patient died. Wilson wonders how House conned Thirteen into staying, and he says that it's a gift. House then gets an idea, realizing that he brought Benjamin in as part of his con to get money. He figures that Benjamin has Plummer's Disease because he gave him an iodine contrast. He had a thyroid nodule which caused the excessive generosity and overheating. However, the iodine contrast kicked it into overdrive, causing all of the other symptoms.

Once they remove the nodule, House visits Benjamin and asks for the million dollars. Benjamin refuses and House figures that his altruism was always a symptom. When Benjamin explains that he'll only give away less, House says that there'll always be people who need it. Benjamin says that he isn't going to give House the money because he's an ass, and House points out that he was an ass last week. He admits that Benjamin isn't a bad person... he's just a healthy person.

Park discovers that Adams has paid $4,500 to have her car fixed. Adams warns that if she doesn't accept it, she'll buy her a GPS. Park smiles and says thank you, and then goes to tell House that Adams has paid for his car. She refuses to accept a lift from him since she doesn't want charity, and says she's glad that it's over. House warns her that nothing's ever over. He goes to the lobby and sees Thirteen kissing her girlfriend Amy and preparing to leave. House calls her over and tells her that she's fired. He explains that he can work with people with something to prove, but he can't work with someone who is there so they don't have to feel bad. Thirteen realizes that he's trying to save her and House sarcastically denies it, but she knows better.