Nurse Jackie

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Jacob Clifton: A+ | Grade It Now!
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Sick as Your Secrets
In a hurry? Read the recaplet for a nutshell description!

Red Owl. Fiona's all excited, telling Jackie about her big Show & Tell last time, taking particular care to describe her soulmate Dr. O'Hara in loving detail -- "She was wearing a really pretty purple dress! With high heels!" -- and when Jackie reminds her that she was totally there, that it was her idea, that it was all intended as a show and tell less of Fiona's fake cast and more of Jackie's non-abusive parenting skills, Fiona can barely remember that part. "She smells like flowers!" Jackie asks Fiona what she smells like, and they're both very uncomfortable with Fiona answering that question.

In an aside, Jackie tells Kevin that she'd prefer to send Fiona to Grace's school, Immaculate Virgin. One, because she is totally weird, but mostly Two, which is that over the last year they've weathered more than a normal number of swipes at their parenting. Kevin, of course, points out that they barely have the money to send one of their screwed-up kids there, much less both, and Jackie gives him wocka-wocka eyebrows. "...No. We're not taking handouts, from O'Hara or anyone." Jackie points out that it's not a handout: It's not even for them, it's for the girls.

I'll say that again: Jackie is very clear, with her husband and herself, that Eleanor's money is for their daughters.

Kevin gets in her face several times about how he can't be overruled on this one, there won't be an appeal, and she has to promise to stop bringing it up. And to leave Eleanor's money alone. Jackie promises, and Fiona asks to eat Grace's fries while she's in the bar's bathroom. Grace has requested some privacy. That's a red flag for two reasons, firstly being that -- as Jackie puts it -- "Why does she need privacy? She's a kid" -- and secondly because it's Grace: Nothing good is going on in there.

Jackie knocks on the door for awhile, nodding apologetically at the women who clearly have been standing in line for awhile, and Grace comes out looking haunted, but swearing there's nothing going on. I thought, wished, hoped that it were something banal, like weird Catholic menstruation issues or something, but I think we all know Grace is Advanced Crazy, and thus would be having none of that. I'm sure Fiona's obsessed with that stuff and has probably educated Grace in the mysteries of her body more thoroughly than either Peyton parent could.

She still won't look Jackie in the eye, and I think honestly this is the most words she's said to her mother all season. Jackie worries at Kevin about how she needs to know what's up with Grace's sessions with the new therapist, and even when Kevin reminds her that's off-limits, she's like, "Nuts to that!" Kevin reminds her, for the third or fourth time, that Grace will talk when she feels like it. "How am I supposed to help her if everything is a secret?"

Not to get too therapy about it, but hurt people hurt people, and Grace wouldn't need help if everything weren't already a secret. Or if she could turn it into creepy bloody funny magic, like Fiona. Or if she could pick her battles, like Kevin does. Or pretend she's a cartoon character, like Eleanor does. Or turn it into a game, like Eddie. "How am I supposed to help her, if everything is a secret?" Grace doesn't even know half of what she knows, not even that she carries her mother on her back like a dead dog; that an indefinable cloud hangs over their house, infecting everything.

If she could stand for one second to look the monster in the face, and see who it really is, it would kill her, so she's stuck. Reality and intuition are not lining up. So she stays quiet, and if she takes any satisfaction in that it's because she knows what's going on, on a level she can't access. Jackie does the same thing, punishing Imaginary Grace by taking Eddie to the movies, not because she wants to hurt Kevin or Grace but because she can't trust them anymore, to stay in their boxes. Grace is a lot less smooth about it, but the fact remains that Grace isn't being petty, or abusive: She's defending herself from her attacker.

Jackie's post office box is a thing we didn't know about. Inside there's a receipt, so maybe this is a new thing, and a statement from a secret bank account: Pharmacies all over the city, filling scrips we didn't even know she had. It's not a killer amount -- $654.25 -- but it's stress we didn't know she was under. She pops some sugar-free gum and gets a money order.

It's a full moon, so get ready. Coop's all, "Totally called it!" and they brush by him, and Jackie mutters asshole, and without looking up from a chart Eleanor's like, "Totally called it." Thor runs around stressing, and there's madness everywhere -- Zoey runs past yelling at an allergic bodypainted sports fan, "Fun when you did it, not so fun now!" -- which is the perfect time for Jackie to bring up the money. Eleanor thinks Kevin was stalling because Jackie makes more money than he does, but Jackie demurs. "No, it's no fun to talk about money when you don't have any." Anyway, Jackie tells Eleanor, he's agreed to let Eleanor set up the college fund. For the girls.

"If I believed in crying at work, I would be tearing up. I'm thrilled!" Eleanor dances around, so happy to be able to give them, and Jackie and Kevin, something finally, and eventually sweeps Jackie into her arms. Which, of course, causes her back to flare up, so Eleanor regretfully puts her down again, promising they can split it any way they like: "I really want to get Fiona into private school," Jackie says, and Eleanor's like "Whatevs." I think at this point, honestly, Jackie is under the impression that this money is going to pay for Fiona's private school, and for the girls to eventually go to college. She honestly thinks that.

Which is one of the sad things about this moment, because you and I already know where this is headed, even if Jackie has decided she doesn't. The other sad thing is how happy Eleanor is, and how much she loves Jackie, and how happy her joy makes Jackie, for this moment where we're all agreed that this is what's actually going to happen. The third sad thing is the way you can instantly jump to the many different ways this could go up in flames, and how Jackie is purposefully not thinking that many steps ahead: She wants this money for her daughters.

Full moon! They wheel in a freely bleeding stab wound and O'Hara runs off, giggling and nearly tearing up despite herself, and Jackie feels a little weird, and Sam needles her for no reason -- "Kind of slow there, Jackie. Where's the hustle?" -- and to the empty space behind him she mutters, "Prepare to die." At the time I thought it was a weird little mom-type comment, intended to make us laugh, but she really does carry out this threat later.

And honestly, it was such an unnecessary, weird comment that it's annoying on multiple levels, because it only exists to ramp up their antagonism, which I would say is already covered: She doesn't hate him because he constantly criticizes her "hustle," she hates him because he is a living accusation and a constant threat. I would like it more if she decided to take him out based entirely on his earning his six months' chip.

In the trauma room, Sam's whining about how a guy peed on his shoes, but says it's okay because he's "riding a pink cloud." This titillates Thor on multiple levels, but he explains that it's an AA term for "good mood." Talk turns to hospital snacks in this episode, for the first time, and Coop takes the opportunity to bitch about how even after he "launched" a "killer campaign" to up the profile of All Saints, there's still nobody around to "take it to the next level." There is not a word in that statement that is even close to reality, but that's our Coop! "I'm like a shark, man. If I'm not moving, I'm dying." He wanders off making weird shark movements, and Thor and Sam are sort of befuddled by him. It has nothing to do with anything; Coop has nothing to do with anything.

Lenny brings in a sassy little kept-man husband and presumably his wife, reporting to Jackie that it's a possible DV. Jackie explains to the woman, Suzie, that DV stands for "domestic violence," and asks if that's true. The lady's like, "Technically yes?" But only after he hit her. Except, the gushing-blood guy points out, that she cracked his head open with a jar of cashews. They quibble over money and he says she kicked him. She acts like this is not classy, that he would actually tell medical workers about his medical condition, and sort of throws her hands up like, "Men!" He tells her to call her mother up and bitch about him some more, and she screams, "Fuck you!" Jackie finally steps, telling her to chill, but she does not chill.

Bandaging the guy's head, and nursing a grudge against horrible old Suzie that causes her to be a bit more present and sympathetic than usual, Jackie calls for another pair of hands. The wound is totally gross, just shooting blood everywhere, so she can't let go of it. There's no Zoey, no Thor, no nothing. Finally Gloria Akalitus comes in, and immediately springs into action like a superhero. I guess she's on the floor because it's a full moon and they need all the help they can get, but what really gets me about this episode is how great she is at it, and how well she works wi

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Nurse Jackie

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