Season 2 Episode 10

Failure to Communicate

Aired Monday 9:00 PM Jan 10, 2006 on FOX

Episode Recap

At a newspaper editor's retirement party, reporter Fletcher Stone is giving a congratulation speech to the woman as his wife Elizabeth looks on. In mid-speech he collapses and hits his head on a desk. He wakes up moments later but is babbling uncontrollably although it is clear that he believes he is speaking normally.

Cuddy comes in to talk to Foreman, revealing that House is in Baltimore with Stacy justifying his Medicaid billings. Foreman volunteers his services but Cuddy is skeptical. Cuddy gives Foreman the symptoms so he can find an appropriate doctor and reveals the patient, Fletcher Stone, is a famous author. Cuddy finally gives in and gives Foreman the case. Foreman concludes it's aphasia and has Fletcher try to draw or write something – he's incapable of doing so. The editor shows up to claim that Fletcher's foot twitched and that was the reason he fell, rather than due to an accident.

Stacy and House are meeting with the Medicaid review officer, Peter Foster, and it stacks up to be a long meeting. The staff spar over who is in charge and they eventually decide to approach the matter as equals. House has trouble justifying his expenses and Stacy manages to appeal to the official's better nature. Afterward House offers Stacy a dinner but they're on separate flights. House notes her crucifix is missing and that something is up.

The staff administers a barrage of tests based on their individual theories, much to Greta and Elizabeth's skepticism. Fletcher has a respiratory attack and they're forced to intubate. The tests show amphetamines even thought Fletched claimed he had given up drugs. House, waiting at the airport for his flight, interrupts Wilson in the middle of a sob session with a nurse to get the news on the aphasia case, which he's heard from Cuddy. Fletcher is now running a fever and House then calls Foreman to get the scoop and start recommending treatments. He also tells them to get a medical history – Fletcher can answer in one-word sentences of yes or no. The editor claims Fletcher is off of drugs but he takes sleeping pills, which Fletcher confirms but wants to keep from his wife.

After administering a MRT, they find an old brain edema but it's in the wrong part of the brain and Fletcher claims he's had no previous head trauma or symptoms. The flights are stacking up in Baltimore, leaving House and Stacy together to make small talk as House tosses out diagnoses of the various folks in the lounge.

Cuddy shows up to ask Foreman about his progress and he and Chase quickly duck out for "supper." House returns to Stacy's missing crucifix – Stacy is less than thrilled. Chase and Foreman find an anti-convulsive medicine at Fletcher's office, then head to the home to check up the wife. They find an incomplete home-work project but no other medicines, and it's clear Foreman is uncomfortable not having House to back him up. House continues to pursue the missing crucifix and it's clear Stacy is hiding something.

Fletcher is having stomach problems and communicates that he has a metallic taste. Finally Stacy reveals she and Mark had a fight over nothing and she thinks he's pushing her out of his life. Wilson finally gets through on Stacy's phone and gives House the new symptom. Foreman is insisting on a lumbar puncture when House calls to advise them to put pressure on Fletcher to get him to come clean. They confront Fletcher with the news but he still has nothing to tell them. Cameron prepares to administer the lumbar puncture and starts to figure out what he's saying. Meanwhile the airport announces that all flights are grounded and Stacy reveals she already has a hotel room booked.

When they arrive House wants to know what's going on, and Stacy is avoiding him to avoid a relationship…while wondering if they'll end up having a relationship. They end up kissing but are interrupted by the phone. It's Foreman with the LP results – it shows some kind of infection but doesn't narrow it down. Fletcher only has a day or two but Cameron gives her theory – Fletcher opened up to her due to her sympathy, which is what House had planned. House can't resist getting involved, much to Stacy's dissatisfaction.

The staff goes over Fletcher's statements with House listening in, trying to draw patterns to what he's saying. Cameron concludes that it's Elizabeth's presence that is screwing up Fletcher's speech patterns. Once Cuddy gets her out with a story, Fletcher starts to make sense and House figures out when he's talking about a bear, he's talking about the puzzle of a polar bear – Fletcher is bi-polar and has been using alcohol during the depressive periods and weight medicine during the manic phases. Before House is forced to get on the plane, he concludes that Fletcher covered up his disorder as a journalist but tired to change for his wife. House concludes Fletcher underwent secret surgery, explaining the older scarring. Elizabeth comes in and gets the news, and is unhappy at his secrecy. House recommends they test the blood by hand to confirm the diagnosis – cerebral malaria, which the computers missed.

Later, Fletcher's editor tries to reassure him that Elizabeth will be back. House and Stacy share a moment about trust and relationships and then Stacy goes on ahead until she can get House off the no-fly list.