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House episode
"Failure to Communicate"
Failure to Communicate.jpg
Episode no. HOU-210
Airdate January 10, 2006
Writer(s) Doris Egan
Director(s) Jace Alexander
Guest star(s) Sela Ward as Stacy Warner
Currie Graham as Mark Warner
Michael O'Keefe as Fletcher "Fletch" Stone
Erica Gimpel as Elizabeth Stone
Mimi Kennedy as Greta Sims
Final diagnosis Cerebral malaria
Episode chronology
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"Deception" "Need to Know"

"Failure to Communicate" is the tenth episode of the second season of House, which premiered on the FOX network on January 10, 2006. The episode's title is a reference to the film Cool Hand Luke, a famous line being "What we've got here is ... failure to communicate."


Reporter Fletcher Stone (Michael O'Keefe) collapses and hits his head on a desk while making a farewell speech for his retiring boss. He wakes up moments later but is talking nonsense, and is later diagnosed with both aphasia and dysgraphia, although it is clear that he believes he is speaking and writing normally.

House is in Baltimore with Stacy, justifying Medicaid billings. Stacy and House are in a long meeting with the Medicaid review officer. Stacy manages to appeal to the official's better nature. House offers Stacy dinner but Stacy has set up a later flight than House's and declines. Snow delays House's flight and Stacy turns up at the airport. House notices her crucifix is missing and suspects that something is up. Stacy is irritated as House continues to persist at discovering the reason for the missing crucifix. Stacy reveals she and her husband had a fight over nothing and she thinks he's pushing her out of his life. There is an announcement that all flights are grounded. Stacy reveals she already has a hotel room booked and invites House to join her.

Meanwhile, at the hospital the tests show drug use although Fletcher claimed he was clean. House recommends treatments over the phone and tells the team to get a medical history – Fletcher can answer in one-word sentences of yes or no. Fletcher takes sleeping pills, a fact he wants to keep from his wife. Chase and Foreman find diet pills at Fletcher's office and then head to his home to collect more information. They find an incomplete do-it-yourself project but no other drugs.

In the hotel room, Stacy and House begin to kiss but they are interrupted by House's phone. The staff tries to decode Fletcher's statements with House over the phone, trying to draw patterns to what he's saying. Cameron concludes that it's Elizabeth's presence that makes Fletcher reluctant to answer truthfully. House figures out that when Fletcher is talking about a bear, he is talking about a polar bear -- leading to the conclusion that Fletcher is bipolar and has been using sleeping pills at night and amphetamines during the day.

House is being pressured by an airport security guard to board the plane but continues talking on the phone. He concludes that Fletcher covered up his disorder while a journalist but tried to change for his wife, and underwent secret surgery. While House delivers his diagnosis, Elizabeth overhears the news and unhappy at Fletcher's secrecy, leaves. House recommends they test the blood again visually to confirm the diagnosis – cerebral malaria. House talks to Stacy as she boards the plane and says he hopes she can get him off the No Fly List.

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