When Dr. O'Hara saves a young boy's twin brother, he develops a hero-worship connection to her that means ruined stockings, crude crayon drawings, and that most hellish of her nightmares: hugs from a little kid. An elderly woman with a DNR and a crush on Dr. Cooper ends up being Zoey's first death, which she handles with a grace and compassion that impress Jackie, and us, far beyond expectations.
The comatose twin has a powerful effect on Mo-Mo, whose own twin brother died when he was a year old. It's really Mo-Mo's show this week: from a moving, spare speech about loneliness delivered to Zoey (the loneliest person on earth) to his quiet, episode-ending song, the performance is melancholy and minimalist, turning Mo-Mo from a kind ear/BFF into an intriguing man, with depths in his own right.
And then Jackie, whose own awkwardness and vulnerability outside the hospital milieu are becoming readily apparent. A couple indiscreet texts from Eddie motivate her to buy a second cell phone, which carries its own complications. Jackie and her husband visit the school for a conference about Grace's increasing anxiety, and she goes off on her eponymous counterpart even though she knows damn well it's getting worse.
All in all, it's a slight story: A few emotional moments and several funny lines, but somehow shorter-seeming and less dense or affecting than previous episodes. Probably this is due to the lack of Thor, who rocks the hizzy. It's worth noting, though, that the ensemble feels incomplete when Coop's represented merely by a rocketing, white-coated blur.
Next week: More Grace, more Kevin & Eddie, more stress, more Thor, a little more death. If you need to catch up, there's going to be a marathon on Saturday. I highly recommend it. This show is fucking astounding.
"You spend enough time in one place," Jackie voiceovers at the nurse station, "and you know the answers to questions that you never even asked." She watches everybody walk by: "Why are Manny's scrubs wrinkled? He is dressing out of the hamper, cycling off his antidepressants." She sighs and thinks to herself: "It's not like I want to know this stuff. I just do. And it's not always bad: This will be O'Hara, and that coffee? Is for me." This last, as Eleanor walks briskly through the crowd, with a sweet satisfaction.
A kid comes in having fallen off some playground equipment, and Jackie and Mo-Mo get him into a bed. His mom and twin brother stand by, terrified, while Mo-Mo bitches about how in Central Park even the ground is soft, but the Alphabets gets monkey bars and concrete. Eleanor appears, shining and proud, and Zoey takes the mom and brother out. "Please wait behind the yellow line," she says, promising the physicians will give them all the knowledge they can, when they have it. Out on the floor, Dr. Cooper appears, cheering: "I've got a gunshot, I've got a gunshot!" Zoey jumps between the mother and Coop, trying to explain: "He's just happy..." The mom's kind of horrified, so she tries again: "Wait, no. He's interest... He's excited... He's interested to experience the, um... the challenge... of a bullet wound." Giving up on mom, she hunkers down and grins at the kid: "There's waffles? In the cafeteria today?"
Eleanor listens to the boy's chest while Jackie and Mo-Mo work around her, without speaking. She and Eleanor work well together, complimentary as usual. Eleanor drains his collapsed lung smoothly, and they grin. "I've been around the block, too, you know. In a nicer car, of course." Mo-Mo and Jackie wink about her, and Mo-Mo takes the boy's hand. "Hang in there, little man."
In the hall, Zoey's reassuring them when Eleanor appears, and there are introductions. Justin's the healthy twin; Jackie guesses correctly that he is the eldest son, by eight minutes. She and Zoey agree that he looks older. The boy in the bed just looks small. Eleanor explains the case to them -- collapsed lung, now stabilized -- and that he's now going for a CAT scan, to rule out a litany of horrors, each one taking a little chunk out of her. "Brain damage, spinal cord injury, internal bleeding, that sort of thing." She leaves as Jackie mouths, It's not that bad, and once she's gone Jackie promises them that O'Hara's the best. She leaves them with Zoey, and at the nurse's station speaks silently again, to Zoey: Give them a hug. Hug them. She does, wrapping her arms around them both.