Nurse Jackie: Extra Sprinkles, Please

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Photo: Courtesy of Showtime
Episode Title
Pupil
Season
1
Episode
8

Catholic schoolgirls of all ages — and their attendant guilt — abound this week. As Jackie’s family sets off into the morning sun, doom-and-gloom daughter Grace shares what she learned at parochial school yesterday: St. Lucy gruesomely plucked out her own eyes, but God loved her so he gave her some more. Jackie’s happier daughter, Fiona, gleefully gnaws away at a cupcake breakfast, begging for a garnish of sprinkles. Mom reaches into her purse and dumps out what she thought was a packet of rainbow sprinkles but what’s really that day’s stash of crushed up contraband. She manages to knock the baked good out of her daughter’s hand without anyone being the wiser (or higher). How does she cope with the near miss? She snorts the remaining granules while awaiting her train from Queens to Manhattan.

When she arrives at All Saints, things are already hectic: They’re four nurses short, and Gay Nurse Mo complains that there’s “no room at the Inn” for any more patients. One who managed to squeeze in is a mother of two very different daughters (sound familiar?) with injuries to her head (and vanity). Mrs. Greenfield is a wreck, madly searching through three different wallets while her nail-biting daughter rattles off the medications Mom has been ingesting: the post-menopausal drug Boniva, supposed brain-enhancer Ginkgo Biloba, and the blood-thinner Coumadin. Soon after Dr. Cooper finally graces them with his presence, her other, prettier daughter arrives. Mom rattles off her credentials: cum laude from Villanova, great PR job in the city, apartment in Murray Hill. Coop is entranced.

Over in the waiting room, Jackie suspects that many of the people awaiting treatment are really just “drug seekers” sent to make her life hell. She dispatches Zoey to ferret out the freaks, but it’s the fill-in nurse, Sam from St. Vincent’s, who proves freakiest: Practically incompetent, he neglects the patients (an exasperated Jackie tells one of them that Sam will pay him $50 if he doesn’t get everything he needs within five minutes). Zoey discovers his taste for painkillers when she accidentally rolls a heavy gurney over his toe and he hardly flinches.

Jackie gets a call from a panicked Grace, then launches into conniptions of her own. Coop, just chewed out by the nurse for his slow response times, hovers and hollers: Who’s she to blame him for ignoring his pager when she, too, takes time to deal with personal matters? She snaps: “It’s my daughter!” He silently retreats down the hall, and Jackie rushes after him, insisting he not make her personal life the stuff of idle hospital chatter. Coop shoves his hospital credential in her face and shouts that he’s a doctor who’s above the petty comings and goings of nurses: “Your life is not that interesting.”

But apparently it is, because no sooner are these words out of his mouth than he’s bouncing into Pharmacist Eddie’s office to dish on her sin of omission. Though this is shocking to Eddie, he’s sympathetic to Jackie, who he figures must have a good reason for such a big secret. In the ladies’ room, Jackie’s about to indulge her other big secret when Zoey accidentally busts into her stall. Drug-rail interrupted. But Zoey, flustered, fails to notice what Jackie was up to. As they wash their hands, she shares her discovery — the temp is on “something like Halcion or too much Valium.” Jackie marches up to the temp, curses his abominable behavior, and banishes him from All Saints. “Takes one to know one,” he says, still dazed.

Akalitus, meanwhile, is nursing the abandoned baby as Coop nurses his crush on his star patient’s daughter. Coop says they’ll be conducting some oncology tests, and the mousier daughter starts to cry. The model daughter rolls her eyes: “Ohmigod, can ya take a Xanax and not freak out?” When the day’s done, Jackie’s daughters enjoy karaoke night at daddy’s bar.

Jackie gets called to the mike, which she begs off until learning that Grace herself requested a performance. But Jackie’s chosen song, the Brill Building classic “Up on the Roof,” only further freaks out her addled daughter. Maybe the idea of her mom in such a high place isn’t so comforting.