House sits in his office and glares at the whiteboard o'symptoms. He reads the hell out of his books and logs onto WebMD. Chase observes from outside. He kind of a creepy stalker in this episode, isn't he? Brandon coughs and tries not to die.
Some time later, House steps into the Cottages' office. "Gout!" House says, almost giving it two syllables with his pronunciation. And with that, he leaves. The Cottages rush into House's office for clarification. Foreman says that Brandon doesn't have any gout symptoms. House says that's because Brandon doesn't have gout, and drops his jaw in sarcastic surprise. Hugh Laurie, you are truly great. House wardrobe team, you are truly doing Jennifer Morrison a disservice by squeezing her into bustier-vests. Magic School Bus Cam take us into the microscopic world of cell division! House explains that gout medication -- colchicine -- stops cell division. This cures gout, but it also has a couple of side effects, all of which are on that whiteboard except for the cough. Chase asks why Brandon would have colchicine if he doesn't have gout. "Because you guys were right," says House, as the four horsemen of the apocalypse casually fly past the window. Brandon didn't have two conditions at exactly the same time; he had a cough and went to a doctor. The doctor gave him a prescription for cough medicine. The pharmacy gave Brandon the colchicine instead of cough medicine. And this is why Young George Baileys are essential members of every pharmacy's staff. Cameron points out a flaw in House's theory: Brandon hasn't taken the cough medicine since he entered the hospital, so the fact that he got better and then got worse doesn't make sense. It does if two people screwed up.
House makes his way down the hall, followed closely by the Cottages. He meets Brandon's family, who call him "the one we haven't met yet." Dad points out that Brandon hasn't met House either: "How can you treat someone you haven't met?" For repeating a line that has been said in every episode so far, Dad deserves House's response of "it's easy if you don't give a crap about him." The parents stare at House in shocked silence. House says that emotional detachment is a good thing for a doctor, because it allows him to act rationally. And when you act rationally, you don't do caring, yet stupid, things like give Brandon cough medicine when he's already dying in the hospital, like someone on the emotional side of the equation did. No one fesses up to it. Just as Foreman is about to suggest that they give up this wild goose chase, Mom tearfully admits that she gave the rest of the cough medicine pills to Brandon.