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'Nurse Jackie': Running away

June 1, 2010 |  6:20 am

Nurse_jackie_211-212_0048I don’t think I have ever seen a person literally spin plates. At least not more than the few seconds they show whenever doing an  Ed Sullivan montage. Was that a viable form of entertainment at one point? I’m starting to think it only existed so it could be used as a metaphor by later generations.

It still is the best metaphor for Nurse Jackie, though. She’s spinning a lot of plates, and she keeps adding more. Eddie returns to his old position as pharmacist at All Saints; that’s a plate. O’Hara finds  out the MRI Jackie had showed her as she fished for drugs is fake; better keep an eye on that one. Oh, and the man Jackie had saved last week after saving all the drugs he was carrying in his pockets pops up in the waiting room with a bouquet of flowers.  It’s only a matter of time before plates start to fall. Which one will hit the ground first?

Instead of dodging Eddie, O’Hara and the drug guy all day, Jackie makes a run for it. She hides her Oxy in a dental-floss container, gets Zoey to cover and makes an early start on a family getaway. Jackie gets extra time with her family, and All Saints gets extra time without Jackie. Good deal all around.

The Peyton family road trip starts off pretty well. Gracie might throw out morbid facts about the disappearance of the New York eagle, but she’s grateful for missing out on an Old Testament exam at school. That lightens her up enough to talk to her mother, which is a victory in itself. With Gracie in a good mood, all the Peytons can join in the travel games and enjoy their road trip. 

Meanwhile, back at All Saints, life carries on without Jackie, yet in her absence, a little Nurse Jackie is found in everyone else. 

Zoey’s thrilled to death when Jackie asks her to cover for her and ends up pulling the classic Jackie move of undermining Coop to save a patient’s life. Coop gave a quick glance at an Irish man (not to be confused with a pirate) and writes off his red leg as an allergic reaction. Mostly because Coop is dealing with his own allergic reaction at the time. Zoey realizes the symptoms don’t match Coop’s conclusion and goes to O’Hara for a second opion. Wouldn’t you know it, Zoey is right. Seems like Zoey earns it when Coop calls her “Little Jackie.” He means it as an insult. Zoey takes it as a compliment. I’m not sure which one it is.

Coop’s having his own little Jackie situation himself. That allergic reaction comes from a cat sleeping on his chest. Sam’s girlfriend’s cat. Coop hooks up with Sam’s girlfriend and now is the other man in a torrid affair that could end up hurting a nice guy. He should go to Jackie for advice. Instead he goes to Eddie to brag. Must be a big change for Eddie. When he used to work at the hospital, his lunches were quickies with Jackie. Now they’re powwows with Coop about his love life. But Eddie manages a little enjoyment from the situation later when he tortures Coop while Sam’s with them in the pharmacy. 

Coop gets picked on a lot. Most of the time, rightfully so. But he does have his moments. Like when he talks to the Quiznos guy who also has a non-swearing form of Tourette syndrome.  When Coop doesn’t speak up with all the nurses around, I think he's going to miss out on the chance to bond with the kid. I’m so glad they get another chance. It is a very touching scene. Almost enough to make you forget how much of a jerk Coop can be. Almost.

Akalitus becomes O’Hara’s drinking buddy in Jackie’s absence. Akalitus explains how the suit makes her catnip for certain types of guys, which I enjoy greatly, but can’t help but think these two women need to talk about something else. O’Hara needs to talk about Jackie giving her a fake MRI. Akalitus needs to talk about the meeting she has had with the guy Jackie stole drugs from. He does pretend to be a potential donor to get her attention, but the way Akalitus asks O’Hara for drinks right after makes me wonder what comes out in that conversation. I guess we’ll have to wait and see. 

Back on the great Peyton family road trip, everything changes when Jackie loses her dental floss filled with pills. She starts to go through withdrawal. Not like the withdrawal the addict at All Saints suffers as he tries to get his methadone, but I can understand why he might be overplaying his symptoms, whereas Jackie would be underplaying hers.

The signs of her withdrawal start to creep out when they check into a bed-and-breakfast after their hotel overbooks their rooms. The possible-ex-nun who runs the place picks up on Jackie being out of sorts and offers her a little schnapps for her coffee. Jackie asks Kevin if they can go back home for their own beds and breakfasts while she shivers in his lap, but you know that shivering is her body craving the drugs, and the images in her head are only of those blue pills in plastic baggies waiting in their apartment.

On the ride back, Fiona finds Jackie’s phone and decides to call O’Hara, only for the inebriated doctor to ask her about her new school. 

And that’s the first plate to hit the floor. Kevin finds out that Jackie has taken money from O’Hara intended as an education fund for the girls after he specifically has told her not to. That wasn’t the secret I thought would come out first. Kevin’s reaction is what you’d expect. Angry and frustrated, he simply stops the car and gets out. 

I’m curious to see how Jackie explains this situation away and, if she can’t, whether it’s the first of many plates to come crashing down next week for the second season finale.

-- Andrew Hanson


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Photo: Edie Falco as Jackie Peyton and Stephen Wallem as Thor. Credit: Showtime Television

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