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“Nurse Jackie”: Legally we can’t do this

Nurse_jackie_204_0283  Last season, I had a love/hate relationship with “Nurse Jackie.” One moment I’d be enthralled, the next I would be aghast. So far this season, it’s been all the love and none of the hate. In the first season, Jackie’s life was a well-constructed dike. Each episode a crack would form, and within the half hour, Jackie would leisurely fill it with concrete. This season the cracks are all happening on top of each other, and Jackie’s running back and forth to keep the whole dike from bursting.

On her way to work, Jackie swings by Excelsior Drugs to chat with Eddie about how crazy it is they randomly reconnected through her husband. Just kidding, she went over to scream at him and knock over his displays. 

I would have liked to have seen the rest of the final scene of last week’s episode. When Jackie came home to find Eddie playing Candyland with her kids. How’d that play out? Still, the confrontation in Eddie’s drug store did have the great moment of Eddie turning Jackie’s claim of his psychopathic behavior back on her, and Eddie summed up Jackie’s problem perfectly: she’s greedy. Eddie might not be completely crazy. I do think he’s crazy, but he sure can see though Jackie.

Back at All Saints, the student has become the teacher. Zoey suffers through Sam’s bright and sober attitude until she finally tells him “I don’t do chatty.” Then she proceeds to save a choking boy’s life by intubating him. A procedure legally only performed by doctors that would cost her license. And she saves his life a second time with chest compressions, only to walk away when O’Hara finally arrived (where are all the doctors?).

Zoey’s heroics spawn a comparison of nurses versus paramedics on saving lives. Lenny the EMT talks about the excitement of shocking a guy back to life, whereas Zoey sticks to her somber mantra that she just did what she had to. She even begins to sound like Jackie, which is probably what caused Jacks to giver her a hard time about intubating. Zoey expressed exactly what I was thinking when she said Jackie was the last person she expected to get on her case for getting the job done.

Immediately after, Jackie commits her own crime for the needs of a patient. A lymphoma sufferer and Jackie go through the entire medicine cabinet of anti-nausea medications  that haven’t helped him until she finally suggests marijuana. Dr. Cooper flips that she’d recommend an illegal narcotic as a remedy. You can’t really fault Coop’s argument. Though the way he argues makes him seem like a child trying to yell at his mom. 

I like that even though Dr. Cooper and Akalitus oppose Jackie recommending pot, they both have to point out that they’re not prudes and have tried the wacky tobaccy themselves. Everyone wants to look cool to Jackie.

While Jackie and Coop slowly ruin nurse/doctor relations, O’Hara and Sam work to improve them. In extreme close quarters, Sam confesses to O’Hara that his sponsor thinks he might be a sex addict. Next thing you know: wham, bam, thank you, Doctor. Jackie spots O’Hara’s afterglow and takes her immediately to lunch where she dodges the question of whether she loves Eddie. Thor notices Sam’s post-coital panic and offers to be his work sponsor only to rescind that offer when he finds out Sam slept with a doctor.

As the day winds to a close, some stories wrap up nicely. Jackie takes the nauseous guy out to Lenny’s ambulance to test out the medicinal effects of marijuana from an impressively constructed apple bong, and Dr. O’Hara buys Zoey flowers as a very sweet thank you for her amazing job saving the young boy’s life. 

But clouding those small victories are the ever-growing cracks in the dike. Zoey’s subdued reaction to saving a life is explained when she confesses to Jackie that she thinks she is pregnant, and Jackie’s date night with Kevin is shanghaied by Eddie and his amazing Mets tickets. 

Eddie’s doing a great job of worming his way deeper into Jackie’s life. So far, his actions appear to be without malice, but that can only really be said with the “so far” on front. It’s only a matter of time, and Eddie’s a crack that’s going to require a lot of concrete to fix. 

So many great lines tonight. My favorite? “Don’t eat by the urine.” What was yours?

-Andrew Hanson


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PHOTO: Arjun Gupta as Sam and Stephen Wallem as Thor. Showtime Television

Comments () | Archives (3)

Andrew, I think you missed something crucial in the episode: Jackie goes to the cancer patient's refrigerator and finds it full of food. People who can't eat, don't have refrigerators full of food -- eggs, milk, leftovers. That's why the last shot of her is her surprise, her realization that she -- the drug seeker -- has been scammed by a drug seeker. And maybe he doesn't even know that's what he's doing. She started the pain meds for her back, now she needs/wants them all the time. The cancer patient needs/wants the pot. He may not be able to get it on his own, but finding a nurse who'll do the work for him is a gold mine. Jackie's paying it forward and she doesn't even realize it. Just like she used Eddie, the patient is using her. And she's surprised. Perfect.
If this isn't the case, why did the writers have her go to his refrigerator? There's no reason for her to be there unless there's a point to be made. My guess is that this is it.

Quote: [[Beverly C: I think you missed something crucial in the episode: Jackie goes to the cancer patient's refrigerator and finds it full of food. People who can't eat, don't have refrigerators full of food -- eggs, milk, leftovers.]]

i'm not so sure, beverly. the food was rotten. which is what you'd expect of a chemo patient. i'm guessing that last shot was just jackie processing her mothering of her patient instead of paying attention to her husband as she'd planned... a kind of 'the love has to go somewhere' type thing.

Alex, good points, but why would Jackie be shocked, taken aback, by the contents of the refrigerator? The writers didn't send her there, did have her react to the contents for no reason. And by the show's "code," there has to be a consequence for her behavior. Giving a patient an illegal substance was wrong -- even if it was done for the right reasons. The patient could have been allergic to the pot, it could have contained other drugs she didn't know about, the possibilities are many.

Using her shocked expression as the walk off to the episode is bound to be more important than just reinforcing the idea that she's uber nurturing. I believe she is acting out her "I know better than anybody else" mentality and putting one over on Coop, whom she resents as an authority figure and higher on the medical food chain than she is. Jackie wants to be in charge -- of herself, her kids, her colleagues, her pain. When she's not in charge, she's angry, abusive and dangerous.


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