Nurse Jackie
Batting Practice

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Jacob Clifton: A+ | Grade It Now!
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Sobriety Loses Its Priority

Jackie: "I see you've been shopping. That's probably due to me once again ruining your day."
Eleanor: "Siddown, close the door. Here are Grace's pills, since you ate all of hers. But that's not enough. I want to actually help you instead of always giving you a band-aid for your grossness. I will pay for rehab even though it's a joke. I will go to meetings with you, also a joke. I would send you on detox but you'd kill yourself."
Jackie: "So what else is there? I have explored these options and you are right about them being worthless."

Eleanor: "As grossed out as I am by myself at this moment, there's another way. I can just prescribe the drugs that I think you should be taking, on your way to get clean. Like a fancy methadone clinic."
Jackie: "Are you comfortable with that?"
Eleanor: "Fucking no. But it's the best thing I can think of. I want things to be better, not worse. And I don't want to hear that you have actually fucked yourself over. So this is all I can think of."
Jackie: "Thank you."

I have to say, for all my whinging about the failures of this show, there is something to be said for the fact that this awful plan makes the most possible sense. They've managed to so thoroughly derange the system -- ethically, and in terms of friendship, and in terms of Jackie's bizarre power over everybody, her searing will -- that it does make a certain gross kind of backwards sense. Which in terms of story is pretty remarkable.

And watching Jackie nod and think so fast and realize that possibly this is the thing that is going to save her life... It's not really all that sickening at all. It's sort of delirious, but not vile. It's sort of sad, but not depressing. We deal with the situation as it stands, sometimes; not just the way people have always done things. And whatever else there is to say, you can't deny that Jackie is a special case. Which is her triumph and her tragedy both, but also makes the show what it is. Anybody else would be happy, or dead, by now.

BASEMENT

Fat Kids: Going nuts on Zoey's party treats.
Gloria: "That is some real Hansel and Gretel shit right there."
Fat Kids: "I'm only having one cupcake. One is enough."
Zoey: "Would you like another cupcake."
Fat Kids: "We have to learn when to stop. It's hard."
Zoey: "You'll learn. It's totally hard."
Gloria: "Nice, actually. Well done."

Eleanor: "What a lovely party! Why wasn't I invited?"
Zoey, overjoyed: "Where's Jackie."

OPEN MIC AT A COMEDY CLUB, AKA HELL ON EARTH

Jackie and Kelly order tequila and listen to the harridan onstage and how nobody's laughing.

Jackie: "OMG she's dying up there."
Kelly: "Yeah, and we don't have to save her."
Jackie, lying for literally no reason: "The week before you came to All Saints I was in a car wreck and took four of those patches. So there."
Kelly: "Oh yeah? I took six."
Jackie: Stares.
Kelly: "...And I've never been to Haiti."

She laughs, so beautifully. Comedy is about tension and release. The awful thing, averted. The expected punchline, swerved away. The enemy turns out to be your best friend, all along; your best friend turns out to be a softer Devil, lowering you to the ground in her arms as softly as she can. The nightmare turns out to be a funnier, darker dream. She laughs beautifully, and the woman onstage thanks her, and she grins at Kelly, and she nods to the woman onstage. She sees what she's got, and it isn't so bad. She laughs and it feels like peace and she realizes that Kelly was the source of her probation and the end of her probation and the one thing she can't have -- the lower hand -- she never really had, because the hero of the ER is a bigger fraud than she is. Nobody knows where they are, or what they're doing. But she's grateful; finally and for the first time it's Appreciation Day. And if you've ever been satisfied, you know what happens next.

Next week: The wedding, two disasters, and a season finale.

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Nurse Jackie

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