An old nursing friend of Jackie's checks into All Saints with late stage lung cancer and one small request: for Jackie to help her check out before it's time to go to the hospice. Dr. O'Hara offers to help, but it's all nurses around her bedside at the final toast. Zoey spends the whole time trying to reconcile her ethical issues with her very real need to get as close to Jackie as possible, but pulls it together after a hardcore and very admirable speech from Big Pharma Eddie about how none of this is actually about her: It's about Paula, or as we like to call her, "BJ Poteet."
Meanwhile, Fitch Cooper's Two Mommies arrive, one with a gall bladder problem, and before you know it he's grabbing Eleanor's boob mid-surgery and discussing his Tourette's and OCD, which are apparently real, with his other mom, Swoozie Kurtz. The fact that Swoozie Kurtz is once again playing Swoozie Kurtz shouldn't surprise anybody, but it's the birth mother that's the real surprise: Swoozie's real-life BFF Blythe Danner, whose real-life daughter is the only person with more airquotes around her life than Coop himself. All in all, especially given the subject matter, it's a pretty light episode. But given that we're halfway through the season, and the last couple have been pretty intense, that's probably for the best.
The girls are sitting at the bar, drinking virgin cocktails, while Jackie works on Fiona's sunflower costume with a sewing machine right up on the bar and discusses private school opportunities with Grace. Immaculate Virgin is out, Grace says, because the nuns whack you with a ruler. Fiona offers to whack them back, and her father cautions her against whacking nuns, ever, but Jackie tells them that corporal punishment has been illegal since some date neither she nor Kevin knows. Fiona asks what purple punishment is, and Grace corrects her: it's corpal punishment, and they only do it for your own good. Sort of Jackie's whole approach. Also God's.
Kevin says they whacked him plenty, and Jackie of course curtly suggests that in his case it was necessary, and also could the girls please finish their dinner. Fiona asks to go to private school with her sister, and Jackie points out that then, there would be nobody to play the sunflower in the "What's So Great About Mother Earth" pageant. Fiona grabs her cocktail off the bar and allows as how she forgot that part. It's easy to forget how essential sunflowers are, until you leave them out.
Seems like a crazy homeless lady hanging out, smoking under a giant statue of Jesus, but by the way Jackie greets her, she's either a very special homeless lady or not a homeless lady enough. I'm no doctor, but headscarf + generally hellish looking + rampant, bloody-sounding coughs generally = lung cancer. Unless you cough blood into a napkin and it's a hundred years ago, because that's automatically TB. In this case, it's the former; Jackie cautions her friend against smoking, and she laughs. "I know! It'll kill me!" And the time it takes to finish the job, Paula says, is directly proportional to how shitty her luck is. She blows the smoke in Jackie's face, and Jackie loves it, breathing it in with a satisfied hum.
"Paula. I'm so sorry." Paula laughs at Jackie, at how she's remained so civil after all their years working together in "this crappy so-called place of healing." Jackie returns the compliment, which cracks them both up, because as Paula says, they both know she's always been a bitch on wheels. Jackie's brows knit together. "How are you doing," she asks, and Paula grunts. "That prick Singer, in Oncology?" Jackie nods. "He says I'm out of options today." It's time to move into the hospice, for palliative care. "Palliative care my ass." She turns to Jackie with almost a hint of something dark, a request outside the limits. Not because of what it is -- they're both attuned to what it is -- but because they both find asking for favors completely gross.