Nurse Jackie
Years of Service

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Jacob Clifton: A+ | Grade It Now!
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Last week, we left those irrepressible Peytons stranded on the side of the road. Daddy was walking it off, because he was mad that Mommy took the money from Eleanor to put Fiona in private school. Mommy couldn't really deal with that, because she was in withdrawal from how she's addicted to drugs and had to cut the vacation short.

Well, Jackie's still yelling at Kevin to get back in the car, and the girls are freaking out. Particularly Grace, due to how she's freaky anyway. Jackie edges up alongside him, pacing him while he walks, and Kevin says he refuses to get in an "enclosed space" with Jackie, and Fiona suggests that he get in back with them, since apparently in the backseat you don't need seatbelts. Jackie lies, as usual, about how this is just like a fun thing Mommy and Daddy like to do, and Kevin truths, as usual, that Fiona is accurate in her assessment (as usual) that he's having a tantrum. Jackie -- because honestly, how much do you put up with, regardless of your drug addiction, with this kind of shit -- finally just hits the gas.

Hours or minutes later, Jackie's feeling mighty fine in the kitchen, bug-eyed staring at Kevin as he comes in with no intent to chat. Her eyes bug out twice as hard when Eddie follows him in, having picked up Kevin on his motorcycle because he is the only person anybody knows in the entire world. "Tell me you didn't fucking say anything," Jackie hisses like a lunatic, and he's grossed out. "Thank you would've been cool," he guilts her, but there is no guilt in Jackie Peyton. Just staring and occasional vibrating.

Kevin's like, "I can't believe you left me on the side of the road." She agrees that it was fucked up. She tries to tell him why she took the money, and as though he knows it's a lie, he tells her to shut up. "You're right. I'm not here, not in the way you are. When they fall down, they run to you. There are days when I look at them and I think, you know, What the fuck? I gave birth to you." A few tears, at this point. "And I fucking hate myself for being so selfish, and for being competitive. You keep saying we don't need anybody's help, we're fine, but I don't have the peace of mind that you do, Kevin. And I'm fucking jealous that you can sleep at night."

All true. What's awesome about Jackie is that even when she's lying, she's not really lying. I mean, I think that in her head she took that money for the reasons she's saying, and just sort of refuses to put the pieces together of how she needed that money to pay off her egregious pharmacy drug-seeking expenses. I think it's been difficult for me to acknowledge how much denial goes into this story, because it's so unrecognizable. It seems inhuman to me that you could live this close to the surface.

Not that I'm an incredibly honest person, just that I don't have the smoothness or discipline necessary to stick to my story like Jackie does. But the most awesome thing about Jackie is Edie Falco, who somehow is able to play this liar-truth-liar-truth thing for every single layer.

Kevin asks if she always knew she'd eventually take it, and it's a sign of their intimacy that he knows to look at her face and go, "Think," before she answers. Later on she'll talk about how Eddie knows her so incredibly well, but I think this is proof that Kevin knows her just as well. She looks him in the eye and says that of course she pretended to consult him, but that he also needs to be honest and admit that he also knew she was doing that. A different kind of manipulation but just as strong.

He swears it never occurred to him, which is a nice line, but given that he's turned every conversation about everything into a conversation about this, all season long, sort of belies that statement. But of course, his denial is confusing too. She gives him a facial response that works like a reward for that, for saying that, like he's earned the right to forgive her. Which will work, because Kevin wants everything to be okay, all the time, which is why she will always win.

"I keep telling you I'm no prize," she says, "And you won't listen!" Which is, for an addict, the most manipulative way to play it, because it's putting the entirety of the responsibility on the other person. But it's answering a question that wasn't asked, because what she hears is an accusation that she's a terrible person -- and therefore untrustworthy, and therefore under suspicion, which means they might start prying into the drugs, which is a problem because then: No drugs -- so if she can beat him to the punch, he has no options but to drop it. What, like he's gonna say "Yeah, but I didn't think you were that terrible." If she says it first, he has to forgive her.

She throws herself on him, and he stares at the wall. "Is that everything?" And when she says it is, he finally hugs her back.

Next morning Jackie's feeling great: All her pieces are back together. Her drugs, her husband, job's okay, she's ready to face the day. Back home, Grace lets him know she was awake when he came home with Eddie, and he promises her it's okay. Fiona finds Jackie's keys in the door -- from last night, when she was in such a hurry to get to the drugs -- and both girls wig out a little bit about how they could have been robbed or attacked. Kevin says he would have protected them, and Grace points out that he wasn't there. "You guys are so smart," he says, because what do you do? It doesn't really chill Grace out too much, but Fiona's easy. He notices the key to the post office box, and gets all suspicious again.

At work, Zoey asks if she can get some advice from Jackie, and completely ignores the very audible "No." She produces a shiny pocket watch, flipping it open: A gift for Lenny. Too much? "Yes, if you just want to be friends. No, if thanking him for years of service." Heh. Zoey admits that she's upset because she saw it, and thought of him, and bought it, and what does it mean, and then she makes a sort of zombie noise and wanders away again, clearly too involved in her situation to really work up a full load of bugging Jackie about it.

Sam comes in looking rough and sick, and Coop appears out of nowhere to tell him he's dodged "the world's biggest bullet." Oh, Fitch Cooper, do not. "All that tie-dye hippy everyone-is-equal shit, it's all for show. She wants to be a doctor's wife, pretty much said it out loud. And that fucking cat..." Coop, no. This is why the cool guys hate you. Because you are weird and way too into what they think. Sam deduces from the clues that Coop has laid out for him on the table -- Dr. Cooper, in her apartment, with the dander allergies -- and is amazed by the way Coop seems to think this is a man-bonding experience for them. As he should be, because it's amazing.

"Why would you want to be with someone who has a thing for doctors? You're a nurse. You deserve better." Boom goes the dynamite. It's sort of a shame only one person gets to punch Fitch Coop each week.

Kevin goes through all the stuff in the house, looking for a paper trail to the post office place, and finally finds a matching payment envelope in her jacket pocket.

While O'Hara patches up Coop's nose once again, he bitches at Jackie for being less gentle. Eleanor is not even registering old Jackie, not today. Coop whines about how he's going to "fire" Sam and bemoans the immaturity of people. "Yep, firing Sam would be very grown-up on your part," Eleanor says, and finishes with the bandages, leaving without a word. Coop screams about how people need to mind their own business when Zoey comes to see his nose, and Eleanor loudly agrees, leaning against the doorpost.

Jackie finally mans up and approaches Eleanor, apologizing for hanging up on her last night. "I figured you'd rather talk in person anyway, it seemed important." Eleanor admits she actually would have preferred to talk about this on the phone, which is just honest and heartbreaking. She still can't look at her. "I went up to Ortho, Jackie." She takes off; Jackie doesn't move. Something's moving in the ceiling.

Lenny appears at Admitting with a couple of eggrolls, which he slides to Zoey under the glass. "What, no duck sauce?" He pulls out two packets from one cargo pocket, and two from another, and a big pile from the last. Like a magician, like Chaplin. Then a napkin, placed square to the paper plate. Zoey finally drags Lenny to the on-call room, and commences making

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Nurse Jackie

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