(Which is, I mean to say, brilliant. First of all, you have this shadow figure we've heard about but never seen, the original carrier-of-Nancy's-shit who's just like Nancy in like every way, and without whom Nancy wouldn't be able to do have the obnoxious shit that she does, and who underscored for her this ridiculous sense of entitlement she has. This person, made out of whole cloth by a gifted actress, who illuminates so much we've always wondered about Nancy. The bear. And it does this without being an epiphany, like, "Oh, this is the secret answer that solves the mystery: orphans are fucked up." Because no, they're not, and no, that's not the point. The point is what crystallized around it, just like with Judah. And think about this motherfucker: Celia Hodes, Nancy's blonde almost-twin, beyond bitter, not a friend and not an enemy, Celia with her cancer, Celia the willing sidekick, Celia the whipping girl.
Which is just like a minor point right now, because then it connects the dots in a whole new way to how this story started: When Judah died, and Andy suggested selling drugs because she had no marketable skills... And Nancy thought that was a good idea. It's not like her character or the show's mission statement really needed bolstering like this, but it feels good to see it play out. She really has been a black box, in a lot of ways, because jumping into her story the way we did meant we were in her shoes from the start, and I for one never really questioned her until she started getting weird, right around U-Turn and Lacey, and realized there were nooks and crannies and places in there that I couldn't love.)
I do adore that movie Choke, because it tells a very basic addiction story, but does it without substances, so you're left without the usual props and Afterschool Special atmosphere. And even though this show is all about substances, Nancy's is the same kind of story. She's an addict in a way we don't really have a cultural narrative about; "codependent" is a good word for the beginning of that narrative, but it's not the whole thing.
Nancy acts like an addict. Nancy runs away from everything but most especially grief, because it's the bear and it's chased her since she was a child, and Nancy is okay with letting other people carry her shit. We knew that; God, how we knew that. What we didn't know for sure is that she's fully aware of that, and does it anyway. That it is not a part of her personality but the core of her personality, and she can't imagine surviving without it. Which makes her a lot harder to love, which makes me love her more.