Crying out for Mercy

Is Mercy becoming Grey’s Anatomy? Not the early, quality seasons of Grey’s Anatomy, but the later, I-hate-every-character years of the show. (Apparently, Grey's is still on. I refuse to check for myself.) The longer I trudged through last night’s Mercy, the more trouble I had pinpointing its sharp decline in quality. Because, despite what many have said, this used to be a damn good series.

Ironically titled “We’re All Adults,” Wednesday's episode was perhaps the show's most juvenile installment yet. The real nadir of this mess? Metaphor abuse. And yes, that’s the same ever-so-mockable problem that has plagued Grey’s Anatomy throughout its lamest moments. You know what I’m talking about: doctors discussing patients when they’re really discussing their own relationships, complex medical cases standing in for the characters’ problems. Meredith has a broken heart? Well, wouldn’t you know it, a patient was just rushed to the emergency room, and get this—his heart is literally broken. Confused? Wait for the helpful voiceover to tie everything together.

Anyway, back to Mercy. Everything about “We’re All Adults” felt recycled. This is the third medical show I’ve seen—Grey’s and Nip/Tuck being the precedents—in which a frustrated patient cut off his own appendage. Thankfully, we didn’t see much of the carnage, but that didn’t make the plot-stealing any less painful. What a pity that Mercy wasted such an awesome guest star (The SopranosMichael Imperioli) on a nearly plagiarized storyline. The only difference here was a truly stupid twist: Harold wanted to cut his off his hand because it was transplanted from the body of a pedophile. And hands have muscle memory! Weak.

Enter the metaphors. Sonia tried to convince Chris to remove her patient’s hand, just as Chris’ wayward dope-dealing sister showed up. Chris responded with the kind of Freudian slip that never happens outside of a shark-jumping medical drama: “Screw it, we’ll cut off the sister.” Almost as flagrant was Veronica and Angel’s case, which involved two roommates fighting over the same guy. The parallels to the Veronica-Chris-Gillian triangle were instantly apparent, but for denser viewers, Mercy spelled it out. By which I mean, Chloe actually told Veronica that she was, essentially, one of the college girls. And then everyone discussed it. Repeatedly.

This is why I stopped watching Grey’s Anatomy: I felt like it was insulting my intelligence as a viewer. I want to like Mercy, because I already love these characters. The writers did an excellent job of establishing them in the first few episodes, and I felt attached from the get-go. So why are they doing such a miserable job with the plot now? The show is in dire need of better ratings, and at this point, I can’t in good conscience recommend the show. Unless, of course, they turn things around.

Here’s what I need: more quirky moments. Not saccharine quirky, like the wedding Chloe staged for a stage-3 cancer patient complete with conveniently present marching band. I mean fun quirky: the nurses’ trip to a zombie-themed shooting range stands out. More realistic character interactions. If you want to play up the love triangle, fine. But don’t waste time drawing parallels to promiscuous co-eds—and please, do it differently than Meredith-Derek-Addison. Finally, to paraphrase posters that I’m sure adorn the walls of Mercy Hospital: When it comes to metaphor cases, just say no.

What did you think of the episode? Is there anything Mercy can do to save itself from cancellation?

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