Episode 1.09 : Some of Us Have Been to the Desert

  • Mercy
    • Episode Premiere : December 09, 2009
    • Distributor : NBC
    • Genre : Drama
    • Seasons : 1
    • Show Period : 2009 - 2010
    • Production Company: Universal Media Studios, Berman Braun
    • Official Site :

Cast and Crew

The Story

A meeting at the VA Halfway House is already underway when Veronica rushes in to sit next to Gerald. As punishment for her tardiness, Gerald volunteers Veronica to speak. Veronica reluctantly stands to explain that ever since she returned from Iraq, her reactions have been a little out of proportion. Her marriage is ending and it's her fault, and the doctor she had an affair with is seeing someone else. So all the men are gone, and she's living with her parents. On the bright side, Veronica has decided to take a break from drinking. Still, when she was in Iraq she knew just what to do; now she's freaking clueless.

Determined to continue his War on Death, Harris doggedly performs CPR on an elderly patient. After 20 minutes, Klowden prevails upon him to call time of death and sign off on the death certificate. When the pen doesn't work, Harris freaks out and kicks a laundry bag, slipping and falling onto his back. Klowden laughs, but it's no longer funny when Harris can't move his legs.

Veronica pounds on the back of sexy musician Gabe Tyler, a cystic fibrosis patient with a pseudomonas infection. Once clear of mucus, Veronica has Gabe breathe into a spirometer to gage his lungs, which are not doing as well as she'd hoped. Gabe explains that he went out of town on a gig and passed out, and the hospital gave him a blood transfusion. Now he plans to stick around town since he got a job playing piano at Hutleys. Veronica should come down to hear him play some time. Sands checks in. With Gabe's lung function in steady decline, it's time for a lung transplant. Sands wants him to stay overnight to get a serious tune-up in preparation for the surgery.

Klowden and Gillian tend to Harris, who's the worst sort of patient. When Gillian tells Sands that Harris has no sensation or movement from the waist down, Sands orders the full spectrum of tests and a consult with Dr. Carlson from neurology. Reminding Gillian that someone has to check Harris' rectal tone, Sands takes off, leaving the unpleasant chore to her. None of the nurses want to take on Harris as a patient, so that pleasure falls to Chloe.

Sonia returns to her old stomping grounds, the short-staffed maternity ward, to help out. Dr. Lee assigns her to 19-year-old Lauren, who is about to give birth. Lauren is eager to get the "alien" out of her body, informing Sonia that her baby is the product of a drunken one-night stand. Lauren's relationship with her mother isn't good, so she didn't want her around for the birth. She is however intending to give the baby up for adoption, and doesn't mind having the super excited adoptive parents, Brett and Karen attend the birth.

Veronica returns home to find her parents enjoying a nice bottle of scotch with brother Tim. When they can't understand why Veronica's on the wagon, she heads to her room, but is stopped by a knock at the door. Mike has arrived for his nightly walk with Jim. Telling Veronica that he'll take her car to get oiled tomorrow, Jim leaves to put on his sweat pants. Mike pulls Veronica out on the porch. It's time for Jim to stop driving. Veronica insists that Jim is only in the early stages of Alzheimer's -- he might even be drunk -- and is offended when Mike suggests she's not taking it seriously. Jim pops out on the porch, but can't remember what he's doing there, proving Mike's point.

As soon as Hannah gives birth, the nurses whisk her baby away to a bassinet, where Brett and Karen wait. When Hannah asks if she can hold the baby, everyone gets worried, but Sonia dispels the tension, giving the baby to his birth mother. Brett and Karen's fear turns to dread when Hannah asks to be left alone with her baby.

Veronica finds Gabe practicing on his keyboard while having a coughing fit. Shouldn't he be in bed, or at least wearing his cystic fibrosis vest? Some patients sleep in them. Gabe invites Veronica to try on the vest, then turns it on. The thing vibrates so much that Veronica can barely speak. Gabe flirts. He'll take Veronica out of the vest and wear it himself if she'll take him for a burger at the diner down the street.

At the diner, Gabe wears the vest, joking that everyone wants one when he draws stares. He's about to take a big bite of his burger when Sands rushes in to stop him. They've found a donor match, so he's got to get ready for surgery. In the maternity waiting room, Karen and Brett are scared to learn that Hannah is breastfeeding. Does Hannah want to keep her son? Sonia explains that it's an emotional situation, reminding that Hannah has three days to make up her mind, and the law's on her side. Even if they had an agreement and Hannah can't afford to care for a baby, the couple should go home and try to ride it out with some grace. Sonia will call if Hannah changes her mind.

Harris is all set to get an MRI, but he tries to keep postponing the test. Realizing that Harris is claustrophobic, Chloe offers to sing or use visualization to calm him down, but Harris isn't having it. When the tech decides to start the test anyway, Chloe asks him to tell her how to play chess. Meanwhile, Veronica wheels Gabe to surgery, promising she'll be there when he wakes up with a new set of lungs. Sands appears with bad news -- the recent blood transfusion has caused Gabe's body to become sensitized. He would reject the lungs almost immediately, so the surgery's off.

Veronica asks if there's anything they can do, and Sands suggests a new experimental desensitization protocol, which could involve anything from whole body radiation to plasmapheresis, where a machine removes antibodies from his blood. It could put Gabe at greater risk of infection, but it's the only way his body might accept new lungs. Sands wants to get started right away, but Gabe needs a moment to think.

Chloe and Gillian consult with Dr. Carlson. There's no physical cause for Harris' paralysis, so it's possible that he's got conversion disorder, i.e. hysterical paralysis. When Jillian asks how to test for that, Carlson recommends pushing Harris out of bed. Chloe thinks this is too dangerous, as it may break bones, but doesn't like Carlson's other suggestion of using a scrotum clamp.

Hannah is in love with her new baby, whom she's named Dylan. Sonia advises Hannah to get practical. How is Hannah going to care for her son? Hannah thinks she may be able to move back in with her mother, so Sonia hands her the phone. The call quickly turns sour, and Hannah hangs up, determined to figure out another plan. When Sonia asks how she's going to get home tomorrow, Hannah vows to figure it out, claiming she'll be fine on her own. Sonia promises that she and Angel will give Hannah a ride home, so there's one problem solved, at the very least.

In the hallway, Veronica finds Mike deep in conversation with Gillian. Apparently Jim had an appointment with Gillian but Jeannie decided to take him to Costco instead for a sale on crab legs. Promising to discuss priorities with Jeannie, Veronica's head of steam threatens to explode when Mike pulls out a medical ID bracelet for Jim. Veronica's convinced a proud Irishman would never wear such a thing; it's like putting a collar on a dog. Gillian takes off, leaving Mike to explain that he's simply worried about Jim wandering off. Giving Veronica the bracelet, Mike claims it's for Jim's own good.

Veronica finds Gabe in his room, packing to leave. Sands thinks he's making a mistake, and Veronica threatens that if Gabe doesn't get the transplant he'll die. Sick of fighting, Gabe has decided to get on with living, and hopes Veronica will come see him play. Meanwhile, Chloe wheels Harris down a hallway faster and faster until she hits the brakes, dumping him to the floor. Still unable to move, Harris accuses Chloe of being insane. Mortified, Chloe apologizes, explaining that everyone was too scared to tell him about the conversion disorder. She just thinks he's really sad. Knowing full well that he's sad over his wife's murder, Harris angrily orders Chloe to stay away from him.

After a sucky day, the nurses lube up with beer while prepping to take on the doctors in bowling. Deciding that riding the wagon is too hard, Veronica orders tequila shots when she spies Sands arriving with Gillian, the new ringer of the doctor's team. It doesn't take long before Veronica gets drunk, belligerent and competitive. She lays into Sands for stepping over the line, admitting that she's really pissed off that he let Gabe leave the hospital. Deciding that she can cheat, too, Veronica falls onto the bowling alley, spraining her ankle.

Despite a wry look from Gillian, Sands insists on taking Veronica home, carrying her inside. Jim is still up, so Veronica makes him promise not to tell Jeannie about her bowling accident. She asks Sands to apologize to Gillian for her. They seem happy together. Sands admits that he is happy, and leaves. The next morning, Veronica limps into the kitchen hung over and searching for coffee. Offering his special hangover cure, Jim assures his daughter that she will survive her tough times. Veronica pulls out the medical ID bracelet. Despite his feeling that it's like putting a collar on a dog, Jim agrees to wear it.

Angel and Sonia get Hannah into the car with her baby. Karen turns up, having brought some baby stuff to get Hannah started, knowing that she doesn't really have anything. Sonia thanks Karen and loads the stuff in the car as the baby starts crying. Realizing she has no idea how to care for her son, Hannah starts crying, too. Sonia assures Hannah that it's okay if she can't mother Dylan; it doesn't mean she won't be a good mom later on. She's just 19, and hasn't had a chance to grow up yet herself. Moments later, Sonia runs up to Brett and Karen with good news.

Chloe stops by Harris' room to apologize for dumping him out of his wheelchair. Harris admits that he knows there's no medical reason for his condition. He's consumed with grief and he knows these two things are connected. Knowing this however, does not change the fact that he can't move his legs. He's frightened. Chloe offers her company, but Harris only wants to be left alone.

At Hutleys, Veronica finds Gabe at the piano. He jokes, singing a Tears for Fears song, loading the lyrics with references to his impending death. Veronica apologizes for her death statement, explaining that she came to tell him that he should do whatever he wants. Even though she wishes he would keep up with treatments, she'll support his decision. Gabe smiles, offering Veronica a seat at the piano next to him, and launches into another number, dedicated to her.






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