Season 6 | Episode 10 | “Sidecars and Spermicide” | Aired June 15, 2014
Over the past few weeks we’ve seen — and been outraged at — Jackie’s betrayal of her friends; friends who have been understanding, concerned and loyal, and friends who have been strapped in next to Jackie on her roller coaster ride of addiction. Not only has Jackie betrayed and lied to them, but she’s recently started pushing those closest to her away. As sponsor and new bosom buddy Antoinette tells Frank, “It’s like she’s having a fire sale, getting rid of all of us.” Ironic, then, that in this week’s episode of Nurse Jackie, it’s Antoinette who gets burned.
Let’s start with the superfluous story lines, because the main one is so horrifically troubling (which at this point in Jackie’s story says a lot) that it will require your full attention.
Carrie is panicked that she’s forgotten Coop’s 40th birthday (the morning after they slept together), so Thor gives her an already wrapped present to give him. (Carrie: “Should I write a card?” Thor: “Were you raised by wolves?”) Coop is overjoyed to receive a DVD of Kevin Costner’s miniseries, apparently having lived in a teepee for a period when he was a boy, and is equally overjoyed that Carrie “knows” him so well.
Zoey decides to pursue the job of Nurse Practitioner and must write an essay to be accepted into the master’s program. Thor and Jackie encourage her (she does have a blog, after all), and Jackie lets her care for a patient in the ER. After Zoey successfully diagnoses a heart condition, Jackie is proud of her. (I wonder how long it will be before poor Zoey is the next friend on Jackie’s burn list?)
Akalitus is still giving Jackie Vicodin (illegally) to help ease the pain in her foot (remember, she drove over it in the last episode). When the DEA agent arrives to investigate Carrie’s stolen DEA number and try to determine who stole it, Jackie blatantly lies to his face. When Akalitus is called in, the agent discloses that he knows about the recent prescription she had filled for Vicodin. Akalitus lies and tells him it’s for her arthritis, but the agent wonders why her urinalysis was clean if she’s been taking pain meds, and asks her to explain. Akalitus is left sitting there stunned, caught in her own lie (which is really the direct result of Jackie’s lies), and slowly starting to burn.
Jackie is shocked to discover Grace has called Zoey asking for birth control pills, and immediately blames Frank and his teenage son for her daughter’s instant sexual revolution. In a moment that made me actually respect Jackie (which hasn’t happened in a very long time), she catches Grace on the street and hands her a pack of birth control pills and a condom, and gives her daughter a smart and impassioned lecture on the dangers of having casual sex. Like I said, I was all, “Team Jackie!” until I remembered that I’ve lost all sympathy for her because she’s a horrible person.
Before I tell you how Jackie confronts Frank about his lecherous son attacking her perfect daughter (cough … cough), let’s back up a bit. Antoinette is worried about Jackie, because she knows she’s using again. She tried to tell Eddie about it last episode (when they went on a date). But because Eddie — the pharmacist who has been to this bonfire with Jackie, what, twice, three times before? — doesn’t believe that the recovering addict-slash-sponsor knows what the hell she’s talking about, he stupidly goes running to Jackie to tell her that her friend is about to rat her out to Akalitus. Oh, yeah, and also? He and Antoinette slept together after their date, but no worries, he already broke it off. Classy, dude.
Meanwhile, Antoinette calls Frank and tells him that she’s certain Jackie is using again. Like Eddie, Frank also confronts Jackie (telling him that Antoinette called him), but for about the third (or 33rd) time believes Jackie when she tells him that Antoinette is a liar.
When Akalitus tells Jackie that Antoinette has been leaving messages for her, Jackie lies (surprise) and tells her boss that Antoinette is just trying to sell her a condo and to ignore the meddling friend. Jackie calls Antoinette and is just getting started ripping into her about interfering in her life when Antoinette surprisingly turns the tables and tells Jackie that because Eddie dumped her, she’s in grave danger of falling off the wagon herself (“I’m such a shitty sponsor!”). Jackie is able to contain her own anger and tells Antoinette that they’ll meet for dinner to talk it through.
Back to Frank. When Jackie marches down to the precinct and insists Frank “control his fucking son” — kinda harsh, no? — Frank suggests that maybe Grace is asking for birth control for some other boy. Oh, no he didn’t. Oh, yes, he did. The fight quickly escalates into Frank’s realization that Antoinette was right: Jackie is using again. Adios, Frank. You know too much; now she has to get rid of you. Again.
At dinner, 10-years-sober Antoinette is craving a sidecar (Cognac, Grand Marnier, lemon juice), and Jackie is playing the supportive and understanding sponsor. They commiserate over their deadbeat relationships and Antoinette muses that they should just move in together and be like Laverne and Shirley. Jackie wonders aloud if maybe Antoinette was right about rehab, and admits that maybe rehab would keep her (Jackie) from dealing with a lot of people she doesn’t want to deal with right now. Jackie continues to shock Antoinette by suggesting they go in together, and then lights her newest fire by popping a pill right in front of Antoinette’s face: “If I’m goin’ to rehab, I’m goin’ there high.” That’s all the motivation Antoinette needs to step into Jackie’s fire and order a drink. “Fuck Laverne and Shirley. Let’s go all Thelma and Louise!” As 10 years of sobriety turn to ashes, she toasts Jackie and says, “If you’re goin’ off a cliff, I’m goin’ with ya,” and takes a big drink. Noooooo!
The next morning, a very drunk Antoinette and a (supposedly) high Jackie stumble out of a cab at a rehab facility to check themselves in. Yet Jackie, in possibly the most horrific act of betrayal we’ve seen to date, checks only Antoinette in (she’s apparently called ahead — she’s caring like that), tells the attendant that her drunk friend has had a rough night, and walks out triumphantly. Antoinette is left there, pitifully victim to Jackie’s lies and devastating deception, cussing Jackie out with some pretty horrible and totally justified words, and is taken away to once again rebuild what Jackie has just burned down.
Nurse Jackie, rated TV-MA, airs Sundays at 9 on Showtime.