Veronica is awkward and snarky during her first official therapy appointment with PTSD specialist Dr. Denise Cabe. Veronica's not sure where to start, so Cabe lists some issues: anger management, alcohol, panic attacks, nightmares and flashbacks. Veronica thinks it's a depressing mountain to climb, relieved when time's up. Still, she'll be back tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that... On the way out, she passes a vet in the waiting room, scratching his stump. Veronica suggests corn starch and heads out.
Another day, the vet exits the therapy room to find Veronica in the waiting room, scratching her own stump. Veronica wakes up from her dream as Sands brings her coffee in bed. On the walk to work, he asks if she wants to get lunch, but she's got therapy. Sands tells her he's proud of her and gives her a kiss as Mike drives up with one of his employees, Roberto who passed out at work. Sands diagnoses a heart murmur on the curb and takes Roberto inside. Mike pulls Veronica aside. Roberto's legal status is iffy. Veronica tells Mike not to worry; the ER takes care of all comers.
After an ultrasound, Sands diagnoses a hole in the wall inside of Roberto's heart. If he doesn't strain, he should be okay, for now. Mike scoffs, and Roberto explains that he has to work to support his family. Sands admits that ultimately, Roberto needs open heart surgery to repair the hole, but since he has no insurance and his condition isn't life threatening, the hospital will discharge him when he's stable.
Sonia tends to hipster bandmates Alex and Wes, who are covered in odd puncture wounds, which they claim are the result of a car accident. Sonia pulls a tick out of Wes' arm and leaves to get it tested. Down in the ER, Chloe and Dr. Megan Adams tend to handsome Rutgers footballer Andy, who has all the nurses in a tizzy. Andy fell on his hand in practice. Although there's nothing on his X-ray, Adams wants to put him in a cast, which will take him off the field. Chloe pipes up. A fine CT scan can tell if Andy really needs a cast. Chloe realizes that she may have crossed over the line, but Adams sends her to set up the scan.
Cranky patient Donna berates Angel for forgetting her fruit cup. A chronic drinker, Donna has come in for her periodic belly drain, towing a doll that she believes to be her baby, Roger. Thinking that her upcoming X-ray will be bad for Roger, Donna turns him over to Angel's care. Sands and Veronica deliver good news to Roberto: they've found a great surgeon in his home country of the Dominican Republic, where surgery will be free. Roberto is afraid if he returns home that he won't be able to come back. When his wife and son offer to come with him, he refuses. If he has to, he'll go alone and send back money.
Briggs pops in, having just heard about Roberto. He's involved in phase one of a clinical trial testing a new heart plug, and Roberto is an ideal candidate. Roberto and his family are thrilled, thinking the procedure is the answer to their prayers. When Sands protests, Veronica pulls the doctors into the hall. Sands argues that the procedure could easily cause a heart block and sudden death. Veronica thinks it may be a good option -- but as it is, without health insurance, unless Roberto goes into acute heart failure, there are no options. Briggs freaks at the irony of the situation -- if only Roberto had the good sense to go into heart failure before he came to the hospital!
Sonia returns with news that Wes' tick hails from Antarctica... do the guys know anything about the two penguins that went missing from the aquarium the other night? Blaming his meds for making him emotional, Wes confesses. They thought the penguins would be docile, but... When Sonia threatens to call police, Wes pleads with her. He did it for love of his girlfriend Wendy, who's mad at him for doing dumb stuff. Ever since they saw a PBS documentary on how penguins mate for life, she's been obsessed. Besides, the penguins are out in their van in the parking lot. Sonia recruits Gillian to help her prep the purloined penguins for pick-up by Fish and Wildlife.
Chloe waits in the booth while Andy has his CT scan. Learning he has no fracture, Andy is thrilled that he can get back to football practice. He owes it all to Chloe -- will she go out to dinner with him? Briggs pokes his head in to explain that Nurse Payne is not allowed to date. Chloe follows Briggs into the hall. Why does he always have to embarrass people? Briggs explains that he likes to do stuff and see what happens. That's what drew him to science.
In therapy, Veronica explains Roberto's case. Helping him will involve bending the rules and going against Chris. Cabe points out that Veronica isn't responsible for Roberto -- why is it always Veronica who has to land on the grenade? Veronica admits that she feels compelled to do what she thinks is right, especially if no one else is going to do anything. Cabe asks how Veronica used to cope when she really was treating grenade victims. Veronica admits that she used to cry and screw and drink and generally get into trouble. Cabe wonders what will happen if Veronica helps Roberto? Will she cry? Screw? Drink? Or get into trouble?
Chloe and Andy get in an elevator with Harris. Andy apologizes for asking Chloe out in front of Briggs, then fumbles, trying to pitch some woo. Finally, Harris pipes up: if he had a gun, he would shoot Andy for his own good. Just as he realizes he's done it again, Andy passes out, right on top of Chloe. When he realizes that Andy is a patient and isn't in a wheelchair per hospital protocol, Harris lays into Chloe.
Standing next to Roberto's bed, Veronica calls to Briggs as he passes by. She thinks Roberto is in heart failure. With a twinkle in his eye, Briggs plays along, claiming that Roberto's lungs are wet. Veronica points out elevated neck veins. Briggs lays out their options: there's the experimental Septo-Patch or surgery. But the surgeon might not see that Roberto's in heart failure, so there's really only one option. Briggs starts to describe the risks, but Roberto's already made up his mind. He wants the procedure, and he's ready to go.
Veronica assists Briggs during the procedure to insert Roberto's Septo-Patch through the groin. Briggs asks if Veronica's going to tell Sands. She hasn't gotten that far yet. Is the patch really going to work? Briggs hopes so. When Veronica accuses him of doing it for the money, Briggs pontificates. Not only is he aware that Roberto is a human being, but he'd love to win a gold star for Mercy, especially if the Septo-Patch actually works -- great news for humanity! And yes, he does want to get paid.
On the way to Wes' room, Sonia fills girlfriend Wendy in on the great penguin heist. Wendy is disgusted -- Wes is trying to mate with her for life!? What kind of life mate ditches his first meeting with the other mate's parents to play a gig attended by seven people!? Besides, humans aren't supposed to touch penguins, because once infested with people scent, the other penguins will exile them from the rookery. Beating on Wes' door, Wendy shouts through the glass, "IDIOT!" Wes smiles and waves.
Harris has Andy take a computerized cognitive function test. After reviewing the results with a neurologist, they should know if he has a concussion. Andy plays it off, but Harris isn't willing to discount the fainting -- has Andy taken any other hits to the head? Andy admits that he has, but he wants to get back to practice. Harris refuses -- Andy needs to stay in the hospital for observation. Meanwhile, Angel searches the ER for baby doll Roger, who's nowhere to be found. Finding himself searching the dumpster, Angel grabs hold of his senses and runs inside to tell Donna the bad news.
Donna freaks out over the loss of Roger, breaking Angel's last straw. Angel unloads -- there's a lot of people that need his help, and Donna's not one of them! Donna's face falls, and Angel walks away, ashamed for losing control. Upstairs, Sands pulls Veronica into the meds room for a quick kiss. On their upcoming date, he wants to go hear jazz al fresco at the Met. On the way out, Sands asks what happened with Roberto. Veronica lies, claiming Roberto decided to get surgery in the Dominican Republic.
Andy spies Chloe in the hall, all gussied up for a night out with the girls. Andy is smitten. Chloe sends him back to bed and heads to Henry's Table Tennis. Veronica gloomily downs a beer, as Sonia spies Nick playing ping-pong with his cop buddies. Sonia decides to go say hi, and before she knows it, she's facing Nick's new hot partner Edie across the table. When Sonia tries to make conversation with Nick, Edie starts wiping the floor with her, humiliating her in front of everyone. Finally, Sonia bails on the game. Edie calls after her, "Aww. Don't be a quitter!" Aware of Sonia and Nick's history, the other cops laugh.
Back at work, Veronica runs when alarms sound in Roberto's room and screams for a doctor. She unpacks the defibrillator as Sands rushes in to ascertain complete heart block. Briggs steps in -- it's a known complication of the Septo-Patch -- Roberto consented. Briggs runs off to prep for a pacemaker procedure as Veronica and Sands rush to stabilize Roberto. Sands is disgusted with Briggs, until Veronica informs him that it wasn't just Briggs. Furious, Sands demands that she look him in the eye and tell him that Roberto was in heart failure. Veronica looks away as Roberto stabilizes. Sands storms out.
Sonia is surprised to find that Wes and Wendy have made peace. Wes explains that luckily, the penguins were accepted back into their rookery. Wendy looks sheepish. What can she say? She's a sucker for grand gestures. Veronica finishes up the pacemaker procedure with Briggs. Is it safe to say his Septo-Patch doesn't work? Briggs is on a remorse-free high. Roberto is the proud owner of a new pacemaker and doesn't have to have surgery in a third world country, and Briggs has his data. And if Veronica's wondering if she did the right thing, she did.
It's not long before Roberto is conscious and reunited with his family. Mike is on hand to thank Veronica for pulling strings, and asks how therapy's going. Mike and Veronica share a laugh, but she laments that she needs both hands to count what's wrong with her. It's not easy barfing up giant shame balls for a stranger. Mike has to go, admitting that yes, he has a date. Meanwhile, Sonia stops by Nick's apartment on her dinner break with two stuffed penguins. When Nick asks if she's drunk, Sonia pleads. She thinks Nick's the one, and she's willing to grovel with stuffed penguins to win him back. Unable to trust Sonia, Nick turns her away.
Harris grumbles, signing Andy's release papers. Andy knows he didn't do well on his cognitive test, and is willing to live with Harris' treatment plan. No practice for a week, then another test. Chloe asks Andy to ask her out again -- has a new romance begun? In the ER, Angel spies a little girl with an eye patch leaving the hospital with Roger. Angel wrestles the doll away from the girl, breaking off its leg. After putting Roger back together and wrapping him in a baby blanket, Angel presents him to Donna as she's being released.
Veronica runs after Sands as he bolts out of the hospital. Is their date off? Sands freezes, pivots and lays into Veronica. He's a doctor and he knows more than her. She put a patient's life in danger and falsified records! Veronica protests -- did he see Roberto's wife and kid? They were going to be separated and it all turned out okay. Furious that Veronica has lied to him again, Sands heads out -- the date's off. Back at the hospital, Sonia is accosted by a guy named Sloane. The Kempton family has some questions about Lauren's death. Didn't Sonia think it was odd? Sonia plays it cool, refusing to accept Sloane's card.
In therapy, Veronica admits that Sands is really mad at her. Cabe asks what she's going to do about it. Veronica figures she'll probably have a few drinks, roll over to Sands' house late night, make nice and throw herself at him. When Cabe asks if Veronica can do it without drinking, Veronica grabs her coat. How is she supposed to endure watching an Iraqi kid bleed out without wanting a drink? Has Cabe experienced that? Cabe admits she was a Black Hawk pilot in the first Gulf War, so she's seen a lot. After burning through two marriages and a lot of hard work, she can finally say that she can talk about any of it, no drinks needed.