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‘Nurse Jackie’ recap: Saints, not Angels

May 16, 2011 | 10:57 pm

Nurse_jackie_308_0094 “She’s a Saint. Not an Angel.” 

‘Nurse Jackie’ does a great job of having random lines of dialogue that sum up the entire series. A few weeks ago, I noticed how “It works if you work it” was not just a random quote about the Twelve Step program, it also commented on the house of cards that is Jackie’s life. This week, Grace hides in the bathroom at school with her friend’s phone so she can tell Jackie, “She’s a Saint. Not an Angel.”

Of course, Grace is literally talking about Christina the Astonishing, the Saint she picked for the pageant this isn’t a pageant. Christina was from Belgium, she was known for her fits of ecstasy, and she floated to the ceiling during her own funeral and told what Heaven, Hell and Purgatory was like. Floated, not flew because she’s a Saint, not an Angel. That’s what Grace yells at Jackie when she tries to add a pair of wings to her costume. If she had wings, it wouldn’t be a miracle. 

It can also be said about Jackie. She might be a Saint, but she’s no Angel.

This week, Jackie can’t get a fix. After she starts the day sewing together a costume and getting shouted at by the little girl in that costume, I can imagine Jackie’s desperately craving a little blue escape, but her dealer/case worker Bill is fresh out of hugs. She has one pill left. It’s enough to get her through lunch with Zoey without stabbing her in the neck. A tall order seeing as Zoey uses lunch as a pretense to interview Jackie and O’Hara on nurse/doctor relations for her blog. Oh, and she catches the fact that Jackie and O’Hara don’t like the new guy Kelly. If Jackie didn’t have that last pill, I’m sure Zoey would have gotten a pin pen in a vital artery. 

If only Jackie could take her own advice. When Sam’s conflicted about helping an overdose patient, Jackie tells him to be of service. Sure Jackie asks Sam what his sponsor would tell him, but Jackie really sold it. Take all that energy that makes you want to use and channel it into helping others, being of service. It convinces Sam. It even convinces Zoey, who tells Jackie she’d be great in AA (If Zoey only knew). Too bad it didn’t convince Jackie. She actually was very little service this week. She didn’t help any patients with her borderline-illegal tactics. 

Meanwhile, Kevin’s back at the bar have a warm beer with Fred Savage’s dad from ‘the Wonder Years.’ Kevin relays the story of how he got a speeding ticket while trying to make a run for it with the kids. Kevin’s buddy asks if he ever thought of a little something on the side, remembering that Kevin always had his choice, but Kevin insists that he chose Jackie. She’s all he needs. Her and the boiling rage inside him. So much rage.

Back at work, Jackie’s one pill wears off just about the time she catches Kelly flirting with a couple of drunk teens, spots O’Hara and Eddie sharing a hug, and gets her cryptic apology call from Grace. It’s enough to get her licking the wrapper she uses to snort up the magic dust. She goes to Eddie, fishing for a little pick-me-up, but he sees through her game. New Eddie has options. Jackie, in turn, goes to the new man in her life. Bill. Bill the pusher. Bill the extreme rehabilitator. Bill my favorite new character on "Nurse Jackie." Jackie waits outside Bill’s apartment to get what she can from him before he flies to Miami (the painkiller capital) to restock. She has the perfect vantage point to watch Bill narrowly miss a falling gargoyle on his way to completely not missing a speeding truck. Bill came into this show on the ground needing medical attention, and it looks like he’s going out on the ground needing medical attention.

That medical attention isn’t coming from Jackie. She’s out in a flash, probably running all the way to Grace’s school. There she slips in just in time to hear the very end of Grace’s presentation. I hope she wasn’t too shell shocked from watching Bill get run over that she missed Grace’s reading from Psalm 102, the Prayer for the Inflicted. With all her connections to scoring pills vanishing, Jackie might have to face her addiction. A little Higher Power might do her good.

Elsewhere in All Saints – Jackie’s menagerie was quite busy this week as well. 

Dr. Cooper continues his downward spiral. His office is still filled with the junk he had to move out of his room now that his two moms are getting a divorce. Dr. Cooper is so depressed he doesn’t even enjoy being recognized by the two drunken teenage girls as the hot doctor from the posters. Nope. Everything is an illusion in Coop’s world. It is really hard to take Coop seriously any more. He’s gone beyond exaggerated into cartoony. I feel concerned for the patients he’s caring for. Even though I know they’re fictional. 

Akalitus plugs away at her war with Lily Chung and Childhood Obesity in order to catch the attention of Michelle Obama. Her newest weapon is a brand new phone. Though the real weapon turns out to be Thor. Not only can he set up the phone, he knows how to use it to make Lily Chung jealous of Akalitus’ Tuesday lunches with Mayor Bloomberg. Even if they don’t exist. That earns Thor the hug Coop desperately wanted.

O’Hara has the most traumatic night of the lot. While tending to a PCP overdose she thought was knocked out, O’Hara gets slammed up against the wall. Hard enough to leave a massive hand print on her chest. She’s visibly shaken, though she repeatedly tells Jackie she’s fine. 

O’Hara ends up in the pharmacy, trying to find something to help with the pain. Not Benzo or Percocet. What she really needs is the pharmacist himself. Eddie is soothing and understanding. He offers that hug that Jackie caught a glimpse of. Last week, when Eddie and O’Hara first went out together for O’Hara’s event, I wasn’t too sure what I thought about them together. This week, it seemed a lot more plausible to me. What more could two people have in common? Living in the wake of Jackie’s destruction. It’s like war. It pulls people closer together. 


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-Andrew Hanson

PHOTO: Anna Deavere Smith as Mrs. Akalitu. SHOWTIME TELEVISION