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Nurse Jackie: Make It Rain

We pick up where we left off: with Jekyll Jackie balancing domestic quasi bliss with her daytime druggie personality. It begins at the start of the day, when Jackie sneaks away from the family bed for her morning jolt.

Like the common caffeine addict botching a morning brew because they can’t operate light machinery before their fix, Jackie fumbles her dose, which she’d stashed high atop the bathroom cupboard. It tumbles down the drain. Without missing a beat, Jackie fashions a MacGyver-like contraption out of caffeine gum and a dental tool, which she’s jamming into the sink as her husband sneaks in behind her. He’s concerned about their daughter, Grace, who’s become increasingly fascinated with apocalypse. Can he meet her for lunch later so they can talk? Nope, it’s gonna be a bear of a day, she says, offering a rain check. “It’s been raining a lot lately,” he says. Jackie proffers a conciliatory blow job, whoring herself again in exchange for a partner’s generosity.

The day’s diagnoses can bring the obvious hospital-drama convention — the foreshadowing of a moral. An old man refusing treatment in favor of the “Jewish penicillin” of his wife’s chicken soup: Love Is More Important Than Meds. But others aren’t as readily discernible. A Midwestern newlywed suffers from soaking sweats, painful stomach cramps, and a predilection toward excessive apology. Perhaps she’s pregnant? Nope, turns out the innocent-faced young woman is experiencing withdrawals from the Vicodin she’d been abusing since having her wisdom teeth extracted. The drug, she says, gives her a sensation akin to the best, most perfect day of your entire life. “And that’s not easy to feel in Toledo, Ohio.” Neither, apparently, is it for a disgruntled nurse in New York City. Jackie returns to the nurse station, fishes out her MacGyver tool, and swallows the pill stuck to its end.

Jackie’s addiction is imperiled when she learns that her pharmacist paramour, Eddie, will soon be replaced by a pill-dispensing robot named Pixus. She panics, protesting the gall of modern medicine’s move away from human beings to machines. Hugging Jackie with what she calls his “sad hands,” Eddie tells her, with a hint of derision, “I’ll miss you, too.”

A patient comes in with a scrotum brutally scratched by his cat. Jackie’s gay-nurse sidekick, Mohammed, smilingly compares the wounded organ to a “little pink mouse swinging from a vine” — irresistible, obviously, to gay men and cats alike. Mo’s attraction extends to Dr. Cooper, whom he hungrily stares down as Coop waits for the elevator. Jackie scoffs (“disgusting”). Mo’s self-diagnosis: “Sometimes the people who disgust you the most are the hottest fucks.” Perhaps the lady doth protest too much.

More lighter fare comes in the form of newbie intern Zoe, who’s all sunshine and deference. O’Hara had snatched Zoe’s stethoscope; Zoe’s too in awe of the physician to ask for it back. Jackie’s not having it. She tells the intern to suck it up because “doctors take shit — sandwiches, stethoscopes, credit — it’s what they do.”

Meanwhile, during their lunch session, the steely Dr. O’Hara dines on what Jackie refers to as a “spicy money roll,” and offers Jackie a hypothetical scenario: If Eddie and her husband were on the sinking Titanic, who would Jackie save? She avoids the question, fiddling with her earrings — a humanizing tic.

Focus on the Family would beg to differ, but Jackie proves it’s possible for a prescription-drug addict to be a good mother, and for a nurse to have a love-hate relationship with her doctor co-workers. It’s also possible (maybe even probable, despite our initial impression) that she has real feelings for both her husband and her pharmacist paramour — and that they don’t necessarily cancel each other out.

Photo: Courtesy of Showtime