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30 Best House Episodes Ranked

One of television all-time most prominent medical dramas, "House" was created by David Shore in 2005 and ran for eight strong seasons. Inspired by Arthur Conan Doyle's literary detective "Sherlock Holmes," House is — like the detective — a brilliant man who can solve any problem with lightning speed, afflicted with a drug habit, and accompanied by a loyal best friend and assistant in the form of Wilson.

Starring British comedian Hugh Laurie as the acerbic Dr. Gregory House, and featuring a brilliant supporting cast that included Omar Epps, Olivia Wilde, Jennifer Morrison, and future Barack Obama staffer Kal Penn, it was highly rated for its sarcastic wit, dark humor, and emotional, dramatic stories. There are 177 episodes of the series, but — with some help from IMDb — only 30 make our best-of list. Think you know which one gets the number one pick? Keep reading and see for yourself.

30. The Dig

No, that's not a bazooka she's holding, but that is indeed actress Olivia Wilde, who returns to play former House colleague Thirteen in "The Dig," after leaving the show the year before. And when it's revealed she's been in prison since her last appearance, House has many questions for her — specifically, what did she do to get put away, and what's she going to do now that she's out?  Thirteen is confused, too, when House takes her to an annual spud-gun competition to take on an old foe, obsessed with coming out on top. 

Meanwhile at the hospital, the staff treat a man suffering from a mysterious respiratory problem. When they go to his home for more information, they make a surprising discovery about him.

29. Chase

In "Chase," we meet a cloistered nun with a mysterious shoulder pain. After an exam, a mass and swollen lymph nodes are found. At first, the titular Chase thinks it might be breast cancer, but Wilson disagrees. House's initial diagnosis leads to a treatment that seems to work, and the nun is sent home. But matters are complicated when Chase and the nun sleep together: When her symptoms change and her life is in danger, she's rushed back to the hospital where Chase operates and gets in hot water for his personal connection. After a new round of differing diagnoses, it's Chase this time who discovers the real problem. 

In a more light-hearted subplot, Taub and House get involved in a petty prank war.

28. All In

House gets pulled away from an important charity poker game in "All In" to see another doctor's patient named Ian, a six year old child on a field trip who was taken to the hospital with a sudden and potentially life threatening medical issue. Convinced it's Erdheim-Chester, an extremely rare disease that House had lost a female patient to more than a decade before, he believes he can redeem himself with a new treatment and takes over the case without telling Ian's doctor. 

House is confused when tests for the disease come back negative, and after some further examination he discovers a growth on the child's heart. But things take a frightful turn when House performs a biopsy that makes the situation worse.

27. Lines In The Sand

The Season 2 episode "Lines In The Sand" introduces House to an autistic child named Adam, who struggles to articulate what's wrong with him after crying out in apparent pain. The staff runs through a litany of different tests to try to get to the cause of his current medical crisis, but the boy's existing condition makes working with him more difficult. Elsewhere, Cuddy replaces the blood-stained carpet in House's office, but House isn't happy, and demands that Wilson solve the issue by getting his old one re-installed. 

While all this is going on, House is also dealing with an underage admirer. While he at first finds her attention endearing, everyone else thinks she may be a stalker, while the girl herself won't give up her sexual pursuit of him despite his rejection.

26. Airborne

House and Cuddy find trouble while onboard a return flight back from a medical conference in Singapore in "Airborne." When another person on the flight falls ill and the disease quickly begins to spread to other passengers, including Cuddy, House must become a hero doctor in the sky and make his diagnosis while (as the title implies) airborne. Back at the hospital, an older woman has collapsed while spending time with a female sex worker. While investigating her home, Chase and Cameron get intimate. 

Back on the flight, House thinks he's figured things out and must perform surgery on the first passenger who showed symptoms, but the plane's unsteadiness makes the procedure a daunting one. House is even more perplexed when his patient seemingly gets better before the operation, ultimately leading him to the real answer.

25. Alone

In "Alone," the Season 4 premiere, House hasn't had a patient in weeks with all of his staff gone. While Cuddy tries to force him to take interviews for new staff, Dr. House insists he can go it alone. His first new patient is a woman who was the victim in a horrific building collapse. Following her surgery, she begins to show new symptoms that House can't explain. 

With his diagnoses not adding up, House is as confused as ever. He is further frustrated when an unknown person steals his guitar and demands a ransom for its return. Back with his patient, tracking down the victim's family leads to an astonishing revelation that nobody could have expected.

24. Birthmarks

"Birthmarks" sees Dr. House dreading the impending funeral of his father, Colonel John House, and going to great lengths to find any excuse to avoid it. Wilson, on the other hand, is determined to make sure House attends. Wilson winds up getting into trouble while trying to talk House into doing the right thing, as police discover an old search warrant for an incident in Louisiana. 

The first patient of the week, meanwhile, is a young woman who has just returned from a trip overseas when she begins developing extreme abdominal pains. Preliminary diagnoses range from a B-12 deficiency, multiple sclerosis, an extremely rare pregnancy disorder, to a kind of lymphoma. But the answer to the episode's medical mystery turns out to be more surprising than anything they first presumed. 

23. The Tyrant

James Earl Jones — Darth Vader himself — guest stars in "The Tyrant" as a vicious African dictator named Dibala. When he's admitted to the hospital, the staff becomes uncomfortable treating him, let alone even being around him, as his past has seen him engage in ethnic cleansing and potential mass murder. As a fellow patient — a refugee from the same region — attempts to persuade doctors not to treat him, some feel it's their ethical duty. The issue becomes more complicated when Dibala openly admits to what he'll do if he survives his illness, making everyone uneasy. The situation escalates further when the refugee unsuccessfully attempts to assassinate Dibala, making his very presence a threat to the hospital. 

A subplot involving House and a difficult complaining neighbor ends with the doctor taking rash action against him.

22. The C Word

"The C Word" revolves around the case of a young child named Emily who is stricken with a number of existing ailments. Emily's mother is a doctor who has plenty experience with her daughter's many conditions, but the conflict between her and Emily's father makes working together to treat Emily more difficult. Searching the patient's home, the team makes an unexpected realization about Emily's mother that could lie at the center of her recent decline in health. 

Wilson, meanwhile, is dealing with his own medical issue in this episode and wants to be given a risky treatment that House insists on being involved in. While working together, House suddenly finds himself confronted with a terrible choice that would require a big sacrifice to help his best friend.

21. Euphoria, Part 1

When a police officer is admitted with a bizarre case of delerium, it at first seems to be a case of Legionnaires' disease in "Euphoria, Pt. 1."  But as the initial diagnosis proves incorrect, the gang begins looking for more answers elsewhere, breaking into the home of the officer in search of clues, where they make an unexpected find that could get everyone in trouble. 

Dr. House will do whatever it takes to get to the bottom of the case — but when he pulls a handgun, nobody quite knows what he has planned. Where House is concerned, though, his staff has learned to expect apparent insanity. Despite House's best efforts, whatever is affecting the officer begins to spread to others, to everyone's dismay.

20. One Day, One Room

A pregnant rape victim gets into a moral quandary and debates Dr. House on a matter of ethics in the episode "One Day, One Room." Arriving at the hospital as part of a rash of STD cases, the young woman doesn't want to be seen by anyone but House, who reluctantly takes her on as a patient. Having taken a religious studies course in school, the woman is staunchly anti-abortion, but doesn't seem to want to keep the baby. 

The situation provides House an opportunity to open up about his own life, helping the woman with her dilemma, and doing some of his own healing at the same time. On the other side of the hospital, Cameron attempts to work with a homeless man who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer and is refusing treatment.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

19. Half-Wit

A man who developed an unexplainable musical ability after an accident faces a terrible choice in "Half-Wit." Admitted with a muscle disorder, House struggles with a diagnosis, and his first attempt at treatment makes the problem worse. But when the real problem is revealed, and House figures out a treatment that will save the patient's life, he realizes it may cost the man everything he loves about life.

Over at the clinic, a woman comes in complaining of a blister on her foot. Through her treatment, staff discover a more disturbing problem. When Foreman, Chase, and Cameron find evidence that House might be looking for a new job, they do some detective work and discover he's planning to travel to Boston to undergo experimental treatment for brain cancer. 

18. Locked In

A unique episode shot from the perspective of the week's patient, "Locked In" sees a bicyclist (guest star Mos Def) with a mysterious neurological disorder — one that causes him to crash and suffer serious injuries. But House isn't technically his doctor this episode, instead being a fellow patient in the next bed after suffering his own ill-fated motorcycle accident. House is sure he knows the problem, and manages to get the patient transported to his own hospital so he can treat him. 

Seemingly paralyzed after the accident, the cause of his cyclist's condition remains a mystery ... until Thirteen is found not wearing a special bracelet given to her by Foreman. Meanwhile, Wilson tries to ferret out what House was doing in New York when he got into his crash.

17. House Divided

Both Dr. House and his patient must deal with hallucinations in Season 5 episode "House Divided." Working with a deaf teenaged patient who has supposedly begun to hear loud explosions, House recommends cochlear implants — but while the patient's mother is supportive, the patient steadfastly refuses. As usual, his other attempts to diagnose the problem make things worse, with the boy losing sight in one eye as a result of House's meddling. 

Taken off the case for violating medical ethics, House is forced to confront delusions of Wilson's dead girlfriend Amber. Without House, Wilson is able to find the fix for the young patient after discovering the teen's recent chewing gum habit.

16. Holding On

Guest star Olivia Wilde returns in Season 8 episode "Holding On," where the case of a young college student named Derrick confounds the staff. Arriving with an unexplainable nose bleed suffered during an after school sporting event, the team quickly realizes the problem might be as much in his head as it is in his body. When Derrick claims he's hearing voices — specifically that of his dead brother — they begin to suspect he is afflicted with a form of schizophrenia. To get help on the case, Wilson calls in an old friend, former colleague Thirteen (Wilde). 

Meanwhile, Wilson is dealing with the challenges of his chemo treatment, and wonders whether he wants to keep trying. House wants to keep his friend around as long as possible, but Wilson feels it would only lead to an undignified death.

15. Autopsy

"Autopsy" sees a young girl named Andie, who's been diagnosed with terminal cancer, bravely dealing with her chemo treatment when she begins to suffer from hallucinations. When an examination shows her cancer is actually in remission, House realizes the new symptoms must be unrelated and gets to work on a new diagnosis. Thrown off by the girl's mature attitude that he finds conspicuous, House then suspects that there may be something wrong with her brain. 

A second plot involves a seemingly disturbed patient who comes into the clinic, having tried to mutilate his own genitals. After a work-over and a discussion with the patient, it's revealed that he had been trying to remove his own foreskin when his new girlfriend was disgusted by her uncircumcised lover.

14. Frozen

Dr. House takes on an even more unusual case than normal in "Frozen," when the team is contacted by a research scientist stationed at the South Pole suffering from severe abdominal pains. Forced to examine and diagnose the patient remotely over his computer, and with researcher herself forced to act as her own attending physician, House is presented a new set of challenges that make his work more difficult than usual. Running through a number of possible causes, from cancer, to kidney failure, to a rare autoimmune disorder, the problems pile up because every diagnosis means using valuable medical supplies at the station. Complicating the situation is that as House works with the woman over his laptop, he slowly finds himself becoming attracted to her. 

In a more personal B-story, House tries to figure out who Wilson's new flame could be, sure that it's someone they all know.

13. Simple Explanation

House loses a member of the team in the middle of a perplexing double mystery in Season 5 episode "Simple Explanation." It begins when a man named Eddie is on his death bed, dying of heart failure related to his lung cancer, when his wife Charlotte suddenly suffers a devastating respiratory attack. While House manages to find a new treatment for Eddie, and it looks like he might yet pull through, Charlotte's condition worsens and may be facing her own death instead of surviving her husband's passing.

In the clinic, House bumps into a young girl whose mother is eager to have her daughter treated so they can get to a beauty pageant, and realizes the six year old is drunk. The body of Kutner, meanwhile, is discovered after seemingly committing suicide. While the staff deals with the loss, House is convinced it wasn't self-inflicted.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ at​ 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

12. Under My Skin

"Under My Skin" sees House struggling with insomnia and finally realizing what may be causing it. With Cuddy's help, he forces himself to detox from his Vicodin addition. In the process, the two doctors grow closer, culminating in a passionate physical encounter that threatens to throw their personal and professional lives upside down. 

At the hospital, House and the team work with a ballerina suffering from a collapsed lung who doesn't respond well to treatment. During her first round, they discover she suffers from a rare disorder called toxic epidermal necrolysis, which causes her skin to fall off. Terrified that her life and career will be ruined even if they can fix her lungs, House works overtime to ensure her future.

11. After Hours

Thirteen comes to Chase with a confidential case in "After Hours," when one of her former cellmates in prison shows up with a vicious stab wound. On the run from police, Thirteen's ex-con friend Darrien (guest star Amy Landecker) needs help from the doctors off the books. But when her problems get worse and she loses feeling in her arm, Chase demands they admit her. 

Meanwhile, House learns that the special drug he's been taking to fix his leg has been causing tumors in the lab rats it's been tested on, and takes himself on as his latest patient. At the same time, Taub finds out that the young CNA he's been seeing, Ruby, may be pregnant. 

10. Nobody's Fault

Jeffrey Wright guest stars in Season 8 episode "Nobody's Fault" as Dr. Walter Cofield, a brilliant neurosurgeon and former mentor to House. Now the Chief of Neurology, Dr. Cofield puts House under review after a case involving a violent, mentally disturbed man nearly leads to the death of a hospital staff member. 

Through a series of intense non-linear flashbacks, House and members of the team recount the horrific sequence of events that lead up to the incident. As the pieces of the puzzle slowly unfold, Dr. Cofield must decide whether House and his team's unconventional tactics are worth the risks they create. 

9. Euphoria, Part 2

In "Euphoria, Part. 2" a member of House's own team has contracted a potentially fatal virus and is declining rapidly — even more rapidly than it did in the patient they've already lost. To prevent another death to the mysterious epidemic, House travels back to the police officer's home and exposes his pet rat to the environment in hopes of identifying the cause. 

But when Cuddy won't give House permission to perform an autopsy on the dead cop, he'll go to great lengths to get the examination he needs to save the day. While working in the clinic, House also helps diagnose a preschooler whose mother thinks her daughter's seizures may be the result of epilepsy.

8. Everybody Dies

It's the final episode of the entire series when "Everybody Dies." Alright, maybe not literally, but it's an apropos title for a series finale to the bittersweet dark comedy "House." In his swan song, Dr. House is facing some serious jail time for felony vandalism. While helping treat a young heroin addict named Oliver, House begins to look back and face up to his many transgressions. As he re-examines his life, House hallucinates the many people that have come and gone throughout his life, including long dead colleagues and friends. 

But as he schemes to avoid jail-time, House encounters a man who appears to be a mirror of himself and offers him a tantalizing glimpse at the road not taken. A sometimes esoteric affair, it's a bleak and fatalistic finale that included a shocking conclusion, while still leaving the door open to a reprisal.

7. No Reason

The Season 2 finale "No Reason" is a particularly trippy episode with a bizarre twist ending, but begins with Dr. House being shot in a confrontation with an embittered former patient. Awakening to find doctors have treated him with a mystery drug that's healed his long-suffering leg, he realizes that the treatment may have devastating side effects on mind. But making matters more confusing for him is that the shooter himself is recovering in the bed next to him, who continues to taunt House throughout his recovery. 

As House listens to the shooter blame all his problems on him, he's forced to confront his own weaknesses as his mental state deteriorates. Meanwhile, doctors struggle to deal with a patient who won't respond to treatment even as his symptoms worsen.

6. Three Stories

The Season 1 episode "Three Stories" features guest star Sela Ward as Stacy, Dr. House's ex, who comes back into his life when she needs him to help diagnose her new husband. Bumping into his Stacy while on his way to a giving a lecture, House dismisses the idea of helping her husband — clearly out of spite. While speaking to a small group of students later, House lectures them on the cases of three separate patients, shown via flashbacks. Each case involves a serious leg injury with an abnormal cause. 

As the lectures continue, the hall continues to fill with more students, who become enraptured by his stories. During breaks from the class, House discusses his ex's request with Wilson. After concluding his talk to the now packed lecture hall, House must finally decide whether he's going to help Stacy's husband or not.

5. Both Sides Now

"Both Sides Now" sees the conclusion to the ongoing story about House's hallucinations of Amber. Picking up after "Under My Skin," where House and Cuddy shared an intimate moment, House is confused when she doesn't seem moved by the experience. As the team starts to notice House's odd behavior, they begin to think it's something more than his usual eccentricities, and push him to get help. After realizing that the encounter with Cuddy following his detox session may have been another delusion, House finally agrees to be hospitalized. 

In addition to his struggles, House deals with an unusual patient with a rare disorder called alien hand syndrome. The patient, who'd had previously undergone a serious brain surgery to treat his damaging seizures, gets a diagnosis from House that changes everything for him.

4. Help Me

In the Season 6 finale, "Help Me," Dr. House finds himself called to the site of a crane collapse to perform field triage medicine. House attends to one victim, a woman pinned beneath debris, and some believe that amputating the woman's leg may be the only way to save her. 

House vehemently protests, believing an amputation could make the problem worse. In addition, the crane operator who apparently fell asleep on the job and caused the accident is in need of help, but nobody can reach him. House's team gets in touch with the man over the phone and House begins to fear there's more going on than a simple case of fatigue.

3. Broken

A two hour special, "Broken" sees House finally get the help he so sorely needs. He is admitted to the Mayfield Psychiatric Hospital and deals with his fellow patients there. But while he's technically there voluntarily, it's also under duress — the doctors and staff in the psychiatric hospital threaten to have his medical license pulled permanently if he doesn't stay to see through his treatment. 

While House feels out-of-place in a ward of mentally ill patients, it soon becomes clear that he needs just as much help as anyone there. But when he is frustrated by the care doled out by the attending Dr. Nolan, House takes it upon himself to diagnose his fellow patients in the ward, while doing everything he can to get himself out.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

2. House's Head

House gets stuck in a bus crash in the penultimate episode of Season 4, and the first part of a two-part story that concludes in what is fittingly the next and final episode on this list. In the first half, "House's Head," Dr. House gets caught in the aforementioned devastating bus accident, and suffers a concussion that gives him a bad case of retrograde amnesia — leaving him unable to recall the events immediately leading up to the crash. 

But as he begins to recover, and his memories start to come back to him, he is convinced that someone involved in the incident was in the middle of a medical crisis before the crash and needs his help. And it may be just be a matter of life and death. 

1. Wilson's Heart

"Wilson's Heart" concludes the story begin in "House's Head." Dr. House is recovering from his retrograde amnesia, a result of a bus crash. Wilson's girlfriend Amber, meanwhile, is in critical condition, and getting worse seemingly by the second. House is convinced that if he can force his memories to resurface, he'll find the needed bit of information that will help him save her life. 

As he begins to piece together his slowly resurfacing memories, he makes a shocking discovery about events just before the crash that could destroy his relationship with Wilson forever. Tormented with guilt over something he can't remember, House puts his own life in danger to save Amber from something that may have been his fault.