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'Nurse Jackie' recap: Holding out for a hero

Season 6 | Episode 7 | “Rat on a Cheeto” | Aired May 25, 2014

As the title I’ve given this Nurse Jackie recap suggests, this episode is all about heroes. As the title Showtime has given this episode suggests, it’s all about sewer-dwelling rodents munching on delicious snack food. As much as I love me some Cheetos, let’s go with heroes.

The repentant hero: Antoinette 
Despite being fired at the end of episode 6 for calling Jackie out and telling her to lose Frank (because he knows Jackie is using again and is looking the other way), Antoinette is waiting for Jackie at All Saints to confront her about getting help. Jackie is pissed and immediately starts defending herself. She’s a functioning addict, for crying out loud. She’s in a great relationship! She’s a great nurse! Her life is f**king great! Antoinette doesn’t care. She tells Jackie she’s not going anywhere because she, herself, has relapsed many times. In fact, it took killing her husband in a car accident (while high) to finally make it count. Well, that’s sobering. But really. Then Antoinette tells Jackie something that earns her my “hero” designation: “Wake the fuck up, Jackie. You can fool your kids, you can fool Frank, you can fool yourself, but you ain’t fooling me. And when you crash, I’m gonna be there for you.” Repentant? Sure, but let’s add “loyal” and “kick-ass” to that distinction, too.

Shockingly, Antoinette’s tragic story and speech seem to strike something in Jackie as well, because she hands over her baggies (“This is everything I have”) and tells Antoinette that she can help herself. OK, anyone else totally not buying it that those are all of Jackie’s drugs? Who does she really think we are?

The dishonorable hero: Grace
Everybody put on a hat, because what I’m about to tell you will blow. Your. Mind. Grace has earned her school’s “Young Hero” award for all her volunteer work. Grace.

Unless she’s been volunteering down at the local chapter of DDD (Deceptive Disrespectful Daughters), I’m not buying it. But Jackie is. She’s super-proud, and even though Grace acts like she doesn’t want her there, Jackie shows up at the award ceremony. Turns out Grace is getting the award for her creation of the school’s Alateen chapter. She gives a lovely speech full of very important messages about the children of addicts not being responsible for the choices that were made, and how they are capable of creating boundaries and making healthy choices. Although it seems to convince Kevin and Jackie, the lies speech certainly isn’t convincing me. As we found out last episode when Grace was seen popping pills, the choices this addict’s daughter is making are far from healthy. To add to her dishonorable distinction, her new friend Mandy (Julia Goldani Telles) hides a purse full of Oxy under Grace’s mattress, and although she seems to hesitate, Grace caves to Mandy’s peer pressure (“Are you my friend or not?”) and lets her. Even Ray Charles can see where this is going.


The surprising hero: Coop
Coop’s finally been given the long-sought-after job of ER chief (due to the sudden reenlistment and exit of Dr. Prentiss), and he quickly lives up to his new title. A famous toy inventor is admitted with difficulty breathing, and it’s discovered that he has a respiratory condition that requires he travel with his own private physician. When the visiting doctor oversteps and tries to stop Coop during a procedure to aspirate the man’s lung (which, from where I was watching between my fingers, looked an awful lot like the insertion of a long needle into the man’s back), Coop tells him to get the hell out of the way, then elbows him in the nose with one arm while steadily aspirating with the other. Surprising. Who’d have thought those hands would be good for more than “examining” nurses? Well done, Coop. Well done.

The potential hero: Frank
Before we get to Frank and his potential, let’s talk about Eddie (whose only heroics this episode are to enable Jackie, which totally does not count). Apparently Jackie did give Antoinette all her drugs, because it’s the middle of the day and she’s jonesing pretty hard. After “demolishing an entire village of Sour Patch Kids,” she turns to Eddie for some contraband Soboxone, a drug that helps with cravings. Hey, I don’t know anything about Soboxone, but I find a tube of Pringles does the trick as well. Against his better judgement, Eddie gets the drugs for Jackie and tells her not to mix them with real drugs — you know, the ones that these helpful drugs are for.

In related news, I’m jonesing pretty hard for Sour Patch Kids now. I’ll just grab those Pringles and BRB.

When Jackie discovers Mandy’s purse of Oxycontin under Grace’s mattress, she shakes her head in disappointment, thinking they’re Grace’s … and proceeds to empty half the bag into her mouth. Later, after a long nap thanks to her Eddie-discouraged combo of Soboxone/Oxy (which apparently turns into truth serum when it mixes), she blurts out to Frank that she took seven pills. Frank freaks out and wants to call an ambulance, to which Jackie freaks out right back at him and tells him she doesn’t need him. Frank takes off, and after a moment Jackie runs after him, crying out his name. His potential heroism becomes clear when he stops.

Help me,” Jackie pleads, and in her utterance of those two words, she has the potential to become a hero herself. I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely holding out hope for that.

Other things happening around All Saints:
Carrie and Zoey form an unlikely friendship when dealing with an obese patient they have to take to a different hospital to get a CT scan. (Zoey: Road trip!)

Later, when Prentiss FaceTimes Zoey to tell her goodbye and she loses reception, Carrie hustles her to the hospital chapel, because “Jesus gets the best reception.” She brings Zoey tissues when she finally faces the fact that Prenitss is leaving and breaks down. Unlikely friendship, but don’t you think it has the potential to be a beautifully quirky one?

For more of Michelle’s rhetoric, head on over to You’re My Favorite Today

Nurse Jackie, rated TV-MA, airs Sundays at 9 on Showtime.


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