I guess it's not surprising that for a person as cranky as House, even the best Christmases wouldn't be exactly merry and bright. But last night's holiday episode of "House" made things look downright bleak for the doctor, who reveals the darker side of his Vicodin addiction and realizes he might go to jail.
Things start off on the wrong foot for House, who walks into the hospital and discovers Wilson and Detective Tritter waiting for him. Wilson and Tritter tell House there's a deal on the table, and if he pleads guilty to the charges against him, he'll get two months in a rehab facility — and no jail time. House says he won't be locked up in one place he doesn't belong just to avoid being locked up in another place he doesn't belong, and he tells them he'll never take the deal. Tritter tells House he has three days to decide.
Now that everyone's in such a great mood, House gets introduced to his patient: a teenager named Abigail, whose lung has collapsed. Both Abigail and her mother are little people, and House makes a round of inappropriate jokes about "tiny" things and "short" fuses. "Delightful," says the mom. "Usually we just get the elf jokes this time of year." House briefs his team on Abigail's case, and they set off trying to figure out what's wrong, so
Meanwhile, Wilson gets dressed down by Cuddy, who tells him it might have been wise to talk to her before ratting out the hospital's best doctor. Wilson suggests taking away House's Vicodin until he gives in. Cuddy has some reservations, but she soon decides the Vicodin-bribe route is the way to go. House is telling his team he thinks there's something wrong with Abigail's liver when Cuddy bursts into the room. She tells House she's off the case until he takes the deal — and he's cut off from Vicodin, to boot. House says he knows Cuddy's going to end up begging him to save Abigail long before House comes begging for pills. "I hope not," Cuddy says, "for everyone's sake."
Foreman discovers House trying to break into the desk drawer where his pills are locked. They broker a deal: If Foreman unlocks the drawer, House will offer a theory about Abigail. House says there's something going on that's going to affect her whole body, and they need to stop focusing on her liver. Foreman tells House he'd be stupid to go to prison for being stubborn, but House doesn't want to hear it.
What he does want, however, is more Vicodin. He tries to score some from a doctor at a clinic, but the doctor won't do it, and House gets kicked out. Back at the hospital, Abigail passes out, sending Cuddy to House's apartment to convince him to take the deal so he can come back and save the girl. No pills, no dice, House tells her.
House, scruffy and sweaty, limps into the hospital. He makes a scene in front of Wilson as he's consoling a widow, but Wilson realizes House isn't there just to embarrass him. Wilson pulls a pill bottle from House's pocket and shakes his head: "Stealing Oxy from a dead man?"
But Wilson has apparently decided having House on drugs is better than not having House at all. He tells Tritter he can't testify against House. Tritter tells him it doesn't matter: Wilson will be subpoenaed, and then he and House both will go to jail. Meanwhile, House goes to the pharmacy and signs for a prescription for the dead man Wilson was treating. Because signing a dead man's name to something always ends well.
Cuddy discovers the drugged House in the cafeteria and tells him he wins — he can have his Vicodin if he helps Abigail. Literally popping pills as he talks, House looks at an X-ray and figures out that Abigail doesn't actually have the condition that causes dwarfism; she's just lacking growth hormone because of a cancer pushing on her pituitary gland.
House tells Abigail and her mother that they can treat the cancer and give Abigail growth hormones that will help her become a normal size. "You may never be tall enough to be in the WNBA," House says, "but you can post up your mom no problem." Abigail's not sold - her whole life has been built around being different. "We'll get you a funny hat," her mom says, before launching into the standard you-are-so-special speech.
At his apartment, House drinks bourbon and twirls a pill bottle between his fingers. When Wilson comes by the next day, House is on the floor, covered in vomit. Wilson picks up the pill bottle next to House and recognizes the name of his dead patient. He throws it back at House and walks out the door.
Finally, a cleaned-up House walks into Tritter's office and says he's ready to take the deal. "That's off the table," Tritter tells him. He's been checking the prescription logs, he says, and he noticed that Wilson's dead patient somehow managed to get his drugs. "Merry Christmas," Tritter says, walking out. Now, we just have to wait until after the winter hiatus to find out what happens!