ZOE: [voiceover] See that New Yorker in the Chanel jacket that doesn't quite fit in? That's me. Dr. Zoe Hart. Yesterday I took a cab to my job at one of Manhattan's best hospitals. Today, I'm on a bus in the middle of nowhere. But I guess my journey really began four years ago, when I gave commencement address at my medical school graduation.
[Scene switches to Zoe delivering commencement address four years earlier]
[In the background, Zoe's speech continues.]
YOUNG ZOE (background): The first time I held a scalpel I was nine...
ZOE: [voiceover] My publicist mother complained I didn't thank her enough in my speech.
YOUNG ZOE: (background)...my dad and I snuck off and dissected ours...
ZOE: [voiceover] But there was someone in the crowd who liked it...
[Man approaches Zoe after ceremony.]
HARLEY: Dr. Hart? That was quite a speech.
YOUNG ZOE: Thank you.
HARLEY: My name is Dr. Harley Wilkes. I'm from Bluebell, Alabama. I have a small private practice there. It's a great town, great people, and a great place for a young doctor to hone her craft. I'd like to offer you a job.
YOUNG ZOE: Thanks, that's really flattering...but I have a plan. After I finish my surgical residency, I'll do a fellowship in thoracics, then I'll go on to become a cardiothoracic surgeon like my dad. Our last name's Hart, so it's pre-destined. Your offer is really sweet- thanks, though. Bye.
ZOE: [voiceover] My mother never wanted me to be a surgeon...
YOUNG CANDICE: Congratulations.
ZOE: [voiceover] ...she thought the fluorescent lights would give me wrinkles.
YOUNG CANDICE: I know you'll be happy following in your father's footsteps. Can't help but notice he didn't make it. I know that must be disappointing for you, but that's your father. Always thinking about himself.
YOUNG ZOE: He wanted to be here, but he couldn't get out of Germany. Some diplomat needed a pacemaker put in.
YOUNG CANDICE: Is that Katie Couric? Katie!
ZOE: [voiceover] Despite mom's 'support', I had it all. The most amazing boyfriend who got what it was like to be a surgeon, too. The best part was, we both were going to do our residencies in the hospital where my dad did his, in the best city in the world- New York. My plan, was on track...
[Scene shifts back to the present to a shot of Zoe on the bus.]
ZOE: [voiceover continues] Well, it's four years later and you know I wouldn't be sitting next to a guy who smells like fake cheese and chum if it had turned out like I hoped.
[Scene shifts to the past, at New York Hospital.]
[Scene shifts back to the present to a shot of Zoe on the bus.]
ZOE: [voiceover continues] But my dad taught me that to be a great surgeon, you can't let feelings get in the way. So I kept my pain inside. I could, because I was a shoo-in for-
[scene shifts to the past, at New York Hospital]
YOUNG ZOE: What do you mean I didn't get the cardio thoracic fellowship? No one wanted this more than me! I already did a solo coronary bypass!
YOUNG ZOE: But I do cardio five days a week.
CHIEF: You know what I'm talking about. Last week, you ignored Mrs. Zucker when she asked you to read to her.
YOUNG ZOE: I'm a surgeon, not a librarian. And Nicholas Sparks? Come on. This morning when that guy came in with Horner's Syndrome, I am the only one who suggested aortic dissection. I saved his life.
CHIEF: Yeah, but do you know his name?
YOUNG ZOE: [pauses briefly] I need to be a cardiothoracic surgeon. What do I need to do to get next years CT spot?
CHIEF: You need to learn to see patients as people to help, not puzzles to solve. So if you want my recommendation next year, spend the next twelve months as a general practitioner.
YOUNG ZOE: First of all, diarrhea and diaper rash? Ew. Second of all, I will never work in private practice without a specialty. There isn't a single GP job in this whole city.
[scene shifts to young Zoe Hart on the phone]
YOUNG ZOE: Dad- no, I didn't get the fellowship. I know, mom thinks it's like a sign that I should be a hand model or something. You still believe in me though, right? I know, I just have to figure a few things out first, but then look out- you're going to have a partner. No, I know it's not that easy, I- okay, you go. I love you, Dad. [dialtone]
[Scene shifts back to the present to a shot of Zoe on the bus.]
ZOE: [voiceover] I was lost. Every fellowship was taken. I had put all my eggs in the wrong basket.
[Scene shifts back to bus.]
BUS SPEAKER: Bluebell, Alabama, last stop on the Gulf Coast.
[Scene shifts to Zoe walking down country road, trailing luggage..]
GEORGE: Can I offer you a ride, ma'am?
ZOE: Thank you, but I have a strong policy against strangers chopping me up into a million pieces.
GEORGE: If it helps, I'm an attorney, not an axe murderer.
GEORGE: Alright, just- just leave that there, I'll get it for you.
ZOE: Okay, um- thanks, this is nice of you.
ZOE: What are you doing here?
GEORGE: Take it you're not in town for the crawdads, huh?
GEORGE: Well, if uh, you consider purgatory to be a place where neighbors take core of each other and every third Tuesday demands a parade, well, you can call it what you want, but I call it home.
[They arrive in Bluebell.]
ZOE: Why would he want me to show up?
ZOE: It's beyond weird- why me?
ZOE: Well, clearly the man was one avocado short of a cobb salad, but oddly it works in my favor...[opening take out box] this is the catch of the day?
EMMELINE: What were you expecting, sou ve grouper with a mint julep? It's a gulf, we've got catfish. It's fried.
[They pass a trash can and Zoe throws out the food.]
ZOE: Okay, well, let's just find him, tell him I'm here for only a year, and then he can be the big fish in the world's smallest pond.
LEMON: When I heard there was a new lady doctor in town I painted myself quite a different picture, but you...are just so pretty.
[ Lemon extends hand.]
ZOE: Alright, um...[shakes hand]. Yeah, t's really nice to meet you. I'm dying to talk to your dad. I know he's hunting or whatever, but you must have a way to contact him?
ZOE: Well, you tell Daddy that if my medical career hasn't been killed by my mother, or the Chief of Surgery at New York Hospital, it most certainly won't be by some Southern xenophobe dressed up like a stick of butter.
LEMON: You have a good day. [leaves]
EMMELINE: But the nearest high-fluting coffee place is eleven miles away.
ZOE: Thanks, that is so nice of you.
[Scene shifts to Zoe, alone at practice. Her phone rings.]
ZOE: Mom. Hi. Sorry I haven't been answering. Actually, there's something I have to tell you... I moved to Alabama! Mom? Are you there?
ZOE: He's hunting. [her phones rings] My mom- she's freaking out. Told her I moved here. What's up, you sick?
ZOE: Let me give you an eye test first.
[Her phone rings again]
[ Old Man Jackson begins to recite eye chart]
ZOE: Uh... no you know what happened with the fellowship. It's a GP position.
[ Old Man Jackson continues to recite eye chart in the background]
ZOE: Alabama, mom. The state. No, I'm not having a nervous breakdown, okay, I- no, it's. You, too, bye. [Hangs up] Alright! [signs paper]
OLD MAN JACKSON: Thank you very much. [leaves chuckling]
ZOE: Oh, my latte.
EMMELINE: Oh, yeah- got thirsty on the way. Drank it. But you got a patient.
[Scene shifts to Zoe stitching up patient.]
ZOE: I'm using subcuticular stitches, so there will barely be a scar.
COLLEEN: Well, it's not like I'm going to catch a fella now. Hey, maybe you could give some dating tips to my daughter here. You know that thing about potato chips- how you can't eat just one? I think Mabel feels that way about lunch, don't you, honey? She's always been chubby but she's put on a good half-ton since that boyfriend of hers dumped her.
ZOE: [voiceover] Clearly, I needed some place to live. Mrs. H arranged for me to stay at the Mayor's Plantation. I was like, I'm not sleeping at some old Confederate guys house, but she said it was either that or the sidewalk. So...
[ Zoe knocks on door.]
LAVON: Four, actually.
ZOE: Well, I rounded up. You got robbed in '06.
LAVON: Alright, let me show you to your quarters.
LAVON: I got it, I got it.
ZOE: Are you sure?
LAVON: Lavon Hayes will get your bags.
ZOE: Thank you!
LAVON: Thank you.
ZOE: How'd that happen?
LAVON: Here it is. Let me get the door for you. Watch your step.
LAVON: Sorry about the look of the place. I think you can put your bags in the back room there.
LAVON: You share a generator with the guy in the gatehouse, looks after the place, Wade Kinsella. If you got your, uh, curling iron going while he's got his AC on, could be trouble. Oh! If you do decide to wander, um, keep your eyes peeled for Burt Reynolds. Alright.
ZOE: [quietly] What?
[Scene shifts to Zoe settling into bed with a Nicholas Sparks book when the power goes out. Zoe then walks over to the gatehouse and knocks, but no one can hear her over the music so she walks in. Wade and two girls are playing guitar hero.]
WADE: Oh, I'm crushing the solo, ain't I?
ZOE: You overheated the generator!
ZOE: Well that smile might make all the girls at the church social swoon, but it's not going to work on me.
WADE: Well, if you're not going to be polite, I'm not going to show you where the fuse box is. Night. Keep going, ladies! Come on, I'm just getting warmed up now.
[Scene shifts outside, to Zoe walking back to the carriage house when she sees an alligator in her path and screams, falling to the ground.]
GEORGE: Shhhh, shhh, hey hey hey. What?
ZOE: An alligator!
GEORGE: I'm sorry, I must've got some mud in my ear.
ZOE: An alligator!
[alligator walks away]
ZOE: That's funny.
GEORGE: Oh, come on, I'm just hav- hey. Hey. I know you're a New Yorker and everything, but down here in Alabama when interrupts their nightly jog to climb into the mud to save our well-toned ass, we, you know, we say thank you.
ZOE: Oh, really?
ZOE: Oh. Well, thank you. I guess I'll be seeing you around.
GEORGE: Yeah, see, hey- small towns have their perks, huh?
[Scene shifts to Zoe lying in bed, on the phone.]
ZOE: Bluebell isn't so horrible, Dad. The people here aren't so bad. Maybe I can make a difference. [phone beeps] I have another call. Call me- are you getting my messages? Bye. [presses button] Hello?
ZOE: Yeah, why.
EMMELINE: [on phone] 'Cause he just ran someone over.
[Scene shifts to Zoe arriving at the practice.]
ZOE: Oh, my God. I feel so bad. I was distracted.
ZOE: If you wanted to see me again, you could've just asked.
GEORGE: It's- my shoulder. Just.
[ Zoe injects him.]
GEORGE: Ah, what the hell?
ZOE: That's just the morphine- it's the easy part. Baby.
GEORGE: [groans in pain] Oh, you did it again! Okay, have you never heard of bedside manner?
ZOE: Why is everyone so obsessed with that?
GEORGE: Because it's nice! [passes out]
ROSE: O.m.g. It's true.
ROSE: Aunt Emmeline, this is breaking news. [turns to Zoe] Rose Hattenbarger, Bluebell Beat blogger for the otherwise torpid official town website. So, how does it feel to be responsible for maiming George Tucker, town golden boy?
ZOE: He is not maimed.
ROSE: Off the record, why would anyone ever leave New York? New York has everything, and I know- I read the daily intel and own all the SatC dvds. I bet you're a Carrie. I'm a Charlotte, but I wish I was a Carrie.
ZOE: You guys really like your classic HBO, huh? But I am a Miranda who also wishes she was a Carrie.
ROSE: I knew you and I were going to be friends.
ZOE: Well, I guess I could use a friend.
BRICK: Hello, pickle.
BRICK: [ignores hand] Well as far as I'm concerned you're the girl who almost killed two people and spoiled my hunting trip. How dare you see my patients.
BRICK: Hart Ms. Hart, I'm not going to share this office, not for one minute. [Moves toward the unconscious George.] I see you have met my lawyer- when he's conscious he doesn't lose. I'm going to be contesting the will. Harley wasn't in his right mind.
BRICK: Well bless your heart. But things have been working just fine here in Bluebell. We survived Katrina, we survived BP, by boarding up the windows and piling up the sandbags to keep the rot outside from fouling our community. And believe you me, Zoe Hart, we are going to chase you away from our waters.
[Scene shifts to The Dixie Stop.]
ZOE: [voiceover] Well, my night had quickly gone downhill. But, in times like this, I find one thing really helps me through-
ZOE: Wine. Tell me you have a nice dry Chardonnay.
MABEL: Yep. Come on.
MABEL: [nods] Bad day?
ZOE: You have no idea.
MABEL: Oh yes I do. You met my mama.
ZOE: Oh yeah. Yeah, my mom isn't exactly supportive either. Mabel, I know it's none of my business, but, those dark patches on your forehead and face, you have melasma- you know you're pregnant, right?
MABEL: I don't know that. I haven't taken a test.
MABEL: I didn't think- we only had sex once. He told me he wouldn't do it if he had to wear a condom. I didn't want to lose him, but he left anyway, so my mother's right, I m stupid.
ZOE: Look, you need a doctor. Here, take this. Can I have this? I'm going to give you my number and you can call me and I won't tell anybody, okay? Thank you. Now I owe you some money.
LEMON: Do you realize that my engagement party is tomorrow? Huh? I mean, what am I supposed to do- the photographs, the press- the whole thing is just going to be ruined.
ZOE: Seriously Lemon, what are you blabbering about?
LEMON: Well thanks to you, my fiance was in a car accident.
[Scene shifts to Zoe walking on a road through the woods, drinking from her box of wine.]
ZOE: [voiceover] Clearly, Bluebell wasn't the answer. I'd messed up as a doctor and gotten the guy I kind of liked run over. Ooh, and it turns out- he was engaged. I'd sunk to my lowest point. Well, maybe not my lowest.
[ Wade's car pulls up.]
WADE: Oh. Look at you, girl. You're drunk as a boiled owl. I'd offer to give you a ride but I don't want you getting any ideas.
ZOE: [voiceover] I was making out with the electricity stealing buffoon from next door. But it gets worse.
[ Zoe accidentally hits car horn.]
ZOE: There it is. Rock bottom. I just played Dixie with my butt. This never happened, you hear me?
WADE: My lips are sealed, Doc.
ZOE: How do I get- let me out. Ow.
CANDICE: What the hell are you thinking?
ZOE: I'm not sure. It's possible he was nutballs.
CANDICE: Well he called me after he heard your message that you left last night. How do you think I found you?
ZOE: He called you instead of me?
CANDICE: Oh. You know him, he can't deal with complications. But honey, do you belong here? Let's go home.
ZOE: [voiceover] She was right. I didn't belong in Bluebell. We made arrangements to leave at five. I called George- that was awkward. He asked to meet me on the pier. Guess he wasn't dying to be seen with me in public. Can't say I blamed him.
GEORGE: Really? So I take it that uh, exile was lifted?
ZOE: What, that you're engaged? I mean between the alligator and getting hit by a car you kind of had a lot going on last night.
GEORGE: Look, you should've known Lemon when we were younger. I mean, she was funny, she was irreverent, I just, I was honored that she, that she chose me. But uh, you know, after law school I needed a change, you know. So I decided to move to New York, and uh, I loved it in the city. But I woke up dreaming about the sunset and about having sand beneath my feet and I realized that Bluebell, and Lemon, they're who I am, you know. Can't really be my best self without 'em.
ZOE: Wow. You're a lucky guy. A girl you feel the same way about as a town. Papers?
[Scene shifts to Zoe packing. Her phone rings.]
ZOE: I know I'm not invited, but I'm a doctor. This is a medical emergency.
BELLE #1: Silly. This is Brick Breeland's house. He is the doctor.
[Belle #1 waves them through, giving Zoe a look.]
LAVON: How you doing, ladies? Good to see you.
GEORGE: Look, I am sorry about the photographs. I know how hard you planned today.
LEMON: Oh, honey, I don't care about the pictures. That much. I don't know what's become of me. All the stress from the wedding is turning me into a real 'bama biotch. But I love you. I really do, and nearly losing you last night just reminded me of how much. And I promise that I'm going to try real hard to be the same old Lemon that you fell in love with. Okay?
LEMON: What are you doing here?
ZOE: I came with the Mayor.
LEMON: I thought you said she was leaving town.
GEORGE: I thought she was.
MABEL: Thank you so much for coming. I'm having these bad pains and, oh my God, there's another one.
[groans in pain] They're getting worse.
MABEL: I'm not sure. [groans in pain]
[Scene shifts to room in Breeland house'.]
BRICK: What is going on here?
[Scene shifts back outside, to refreshment table.]
LAVON: How is that any of your business? I mean if I do recall, we are at your engagement party.
LAVON: Difficult never stopped me.
[Scene shifts back to room in Breeland house.]
ZOE: You're doing great. I can see the head. Another contraction, I need you to push again. On the count of three. One, two, three.
EMMELINE: Go, push.
[ Mabel cries out in pain.]
ZOE: Isn't that twenty miles away?
[ Brick nods.]
BRICK: What are you doing?
ZOE: A symphysiotomy.
BRICK: I can't let you slice open her pelvis like that. That is way too dangerous.
ZOE: We have no choice, okay? This baby comes out now or we lose both of them.
ZOE: Okay, Mabel, I'm going to give you a local to dull the pain, but I can't habe you numb for when you need to push. You're going to feel a little pinch. Ready? [pause] Now I need you two to hold her steady until it's all over, no matter what. Right after she delivers I'm going to close her up as soon as possible. Brick, that means the baby's all you- you with me?
BRICK: Yeah. Yeah, I am.
ZOE: Okay, ready?
MABEL: [crying out in pain] Please, please, it hurts too much.
BRICK: She's losing way too much blood.
BRICK: Come on.
ZOE: I need you to push. I know you're tired, and I know you're in pain, but I need you to be strong, stronger than you've ever been in your entire life. You can do this. Now give me one big push.
BRICK: Here you go.
[[[ Mabel]] groans. Baby cries.]
MABEL: [crying] Is she okay?
BRICK: She's got ten fingers and ten toes and those lungs that would make Carrie Underwood jealous. You've got yourself a healthy baby girl. [Turns to Zoe] Nice job. You know, it's too bad you're not going to be staying. George told me you were going to sign the practice back over. I'll tell the paramedics we're going to be fine.
COLLEEN: [entering] A baby? You've got to be kidding.
ZOE: I have a patient recovering here.
MABEL: Dr. Hart, it's okay. Look, mama. I made a beautiful, perfect person. How she grows up, how she looks at herself- that's on me now. And I'm not going to expose my baby to you. So please, get out.
EMMELINE: You- you just can't leave now.
ZOE: Thank you, Mrs. H. That means a lot coming from you. I was happy I could help. It was nice- great actually. But I mean, come on Bluebell? I don't fit in here. Everybody hates me. Plus, the humidity is really ruining my hair. I'm not a family doctor. I'm going to be a cardiothoracic surgeon. I've known since I was nine. I just have to figure out another way.
EMMELINE: You asked me before why Harley left you his practice- I didn't tell you the whole truth. I didn't think it was my place, but, I've been carrying this around since you got here. Didn't know if I should give it to you, but uh, here. [ Emmeline hands Zoe a photo.]
[Scene shifts to a limo waiting outside the carriage house.]
CANDICE: You're here, great! There's a superb Sauncerre chilling in the car.
ZOE: [holding up photo] We need to talk.
ZOE: What's there to explain? That my entire life has been a lie? This is the answer to everything isn't it- why Harley left me the practice, why Dad stopped loving me? Because I wasn't his to love. He knew, didn't he?
CANDICE: When you were ten you fell of the swings. They thought you would need a transfusion, but when he donated blood... He tried to stay in your life but I guess it was too hard.
CANDICE: He was a mistake. I met him on a cruise. It was Greece. He was handsome, older, a gentleman- it was a fantasy. But I was engaged, to someone real.
ZOE: Did you love him?
CANDICE: It doesn't matter. I did not belong with him, just as my child does not belong in a place like this. I gave you a father who was from our world. I protected you.
ZOE: It should've been my choice.
CANDICE: I am sorry, Zoe. I am truly, deeply sorry, but can we please go home and discuss this in therapy like normal people?
ZOE: You go, I'm staying here.
[Scene shifts to Zoe in cemetary.]
ZOE: All the food here is fried, the whole town smells like mold and clearly the sex education system is lacking. But they could use a good doctor. One who cares about her patients. Maybe, even though you're gone there are still some things you can teach me. No one ever believed in me like you did- you kept sending me those postcards, knowing one day I'd be lost and maybe following in your- my real father- your footsteps for a while, I might find my way. [crying] Thanks.
[Scene shifts to Zoe walking down street. Her phone rings]
ZOE: Let me guess. They were wrestling in poison oak.
EMMELINE: [on phone] You got it.
ZOE: I'll be right there.