Nurse Jackie

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Jacob Clifton: B | Grade It Now!
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The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living

When Thor is gone, Jackie tries resetting the box itself, and it starts going off with alarms, screaming INVALID RESTART. She shivers for a second and then runs away. That's twice. The next time, she'll probably pull the thing out of the fucking wall. And now Gloria's out, and Eddie won't call her back, and Eleanor's mom's on her way, and her ring is broken, and she's committed to help Eleanor and to meet her husband at midnight, and she needs some fucking drugs. There is no cinema left.

Waiting with Eleanor, she asks lightly for a Xanax, and Eleanor assures her she's not sad enough to be squirreling away pills in her pocket quite yet. "Don't make me beg for moral support," Eleanor says quietly, and Jackie swears she's right there. Zoey mopes by in her scrubs, looking like the Voice of Huckabees, and Jackie screams, "Goddamn it, Zoey! CHANGE YOUR SCRUBS!" She plugs her ears, as Eleanor shouts after: "They are really grim!"

Coop takes Mo-Mo's picture with his phone, and then waves him over. He holds up the phone to the two of them, and then kisses Mo-Mo. It's awesome. But not as awesome as the fact that Jackie's walking by when he does it. "Nice rebound, Coop." He starts to sputter and bluster, and she laughs without pausing: "Oh my God, kidding!" Mo-Mo stares at them and realizes that it's Jackie he was whining about. This makes everybody sad.

Victor Garber wakes up, to Zoey staring down at him insanely with pink bunny rabbit scrubs on. "Mr. Nutterman! I was actually wearing grey scrubs before you woke up. Proper coma attire. Guess it was a little depressing, but I had to do something. Anyway, HOW ARE YOU FEELING?" He says he's thirsty, and asks how she is. "SUPER RELIEVED! AND VERY SORRY!" He remembers her addressing him earlier in his coma: "My name is Zoey Barkow, and I'm really really sorry." She sighs, because the fix is in, so why not get chatty before they send her to the guillotine.

"You know, Mr. Nutterman, I'm not so crazy about Kevin Costner either." He cocks his head. "Do I know him?" She sighs to herself and prepares to deal with this, looking down. "Um. What movie won the Oscar for best picture last year?" He asks her when Showgirls came out. "That was a good movie!" Today, it doesn't matter what we do. She pats him on the shoulder and quickly exits; outside the curtain she whispers, "Oh my God, I broke him."

Eddie finally comes into the ER, drunk and yelling. I imagine that was one interesting ride from Queens. He screams at them and says he's there to check on the robots, and asks Jackie how she's enjoying them. She admits, quite honestly, that she does not care for the robots, and tries to get him to go outside with her. Which would be a bad enough scene, but then Gloria shows up yelling at him about how drunk he is, and he's like, "So what, are you gonna fire me again?"

He goes into some kind of Wonder Woman routine about magic bracelets, but the only bracelet I can connect that to is the one he gave Jackie/Coop/Jackie. Which I guess makes sense, because he thought that was going to put him through the Looking Glass with Jackie, when he thought that the only reason they couldn't be together was because of All Saints, and now that he's gotten fired it was supposed to be perfect. So he followed Jackie down the rabbit hole, and found out the real reason they were always going to be apart. So now he's alone, on the other side of the Looking Glass, and all he's got are the magic bracelets: Jackie asks him to go get some coffee, and he screeches to the world at large, "Think about the possibilities! Jackie and Eddie, Eddie and Jackie, having coffee!"

You can't expect anybody to understand what he's saying, so Gloria offers to call security, and he takes off -- "save your bullets!" -- but not before leaning in and delivering a silver bullet of his own: "Oh, I met Kevin. And that's a very nice bar you got." He strokes her neck, and takes off. Left alone, Eddie chased off by security, she stands in the middle of the room. Mo-Mo can tell she's very thrown by all this, and worries very hard at her. She runs to the bathroom.

That stall, where she gets punished. Eddie's gone. No more drugs. No Pyxis tutorial. No more Eddie. No more anything. She doesn't even call Kevin to find out what's going on, because she's out of her mind. She paces, freaking out, and goes through her pockets one more time. Just in case there's something that she missed. She charges out of the stall and out through the ER. To get to Plato's Pharmacy you have to go down the chapel hall, every time.

Eleanor stares down at her mother, on life support. The EMT guy says they picked her up at the airport. "Sad. Probably somebody's mother. Fucking depressing, that's what that is." She doesn't cry until he's gone, and she says Jackie's name softly, and stares down at the smallness of her mother.

Jackie rushes down the chapel hall, spitting at the Virgin Mary: "Look away!" Standing before the Pill-O-Matic, she looks for another way in, repeating the same things over and over, but it's not working. She kicks the machine, shakes her head at herself, and then punches in her own code. Three little vials of morphine sulfate. Just like Paula. She grins at them, nearly kisses them, and runs off to find a room to drink them in. The first one, there's a guy with a bloody hand -- "Keep that hand elevated," she says after a moment, still doing her job -- and then she heads into another room.

The drums are drums of war. She locks the door behind her and shakes her head. It's happening. It's coming: That rushing in your ears. You've heard it. I've heard it. I hate it. She rolls her eyes, terrified, watching it all come down, and she sits on the floor and stares blankly for a moment, then downs the bottles, one by one. They splash across her face. She shakes her head, woozy, and almost starts to cry, but then her eyes get wide. And glassy. And then she's gone. She falls back on the floor, pale as a sheet, staring at the ceiling. Eddie, Kevin, Grace, Eleanor. A million voices. She's wearing that perfect white nurse's outfit, costume, uniform, crucified on the floor. She begins to sing, just for us.

Someone told me long ago/ There's a calm before the storm...

Sometimes you just want a quiet place. A moment in the silence. When we met her, her life was like that: exceedingly compartmentalized, every box providing respite from the box before. You could live your whole life that way: The sun is warm, the rain is wet, the day is bright, the nights are dark. Everything according to its season.

She sees a vision of what that meant: Grace, tapdancing in pigtails, a suburban plot of land in pastel colors, Kevin dressed like Father Knows Best and Fiona, hopping on one foot with her blue balloon. A sun you don't have to color in; a sun like daffodils. That's what it was like, when she was here. And when she was there, what it was like at All Saints was immensely powerful, and clean, and strong. Pressed whites, sainthood. One of them was healthcare, one of them was cinema, and it didn't matter which. And when the gears ground together, that's what the drugs were for.

But it wasn't natural. What's happening now is natural: Her complete addict control of everything is going to shit. Eddie knows about one life, Kevin may know about the other. Her family is less of a secret every day. She's telling Zoey to treat 'n street patients, and pulling the pages out of Zoey's memory. She's kissing randoms and scratching at her only friends. That's her reaction to real life, when she's spent so much time avoiding it. She goes nuts. Imagine how rude she was at school, or tap class, but all the time: imagine if the world intruded so much that she actually had to deal with it? How unnatural that would be?

I want to know: Have you ever seen the rain coming down on a sunny day?

The song's getting vague; she's leaving words out and humming them. She's losing her place. All of this reality getting through, breaking up her icy control on everything, seems like uncontrollable chaos, when what it is, is actual order setting things right. What she's done, with all this leveraging, is the equivalent of going upside down on a loan.

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Nurse Jackie

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