Nurse Jackie: What If God Was One of Us?

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Photo: Courtesy of HBO
Episode Title
Steak Knife
Season
1
Episode
7

Troubled daughter Grace finally confronts the demons of her neuroses by heading off to Immaculate Virgin private school; Jackie faces her infidelity demons by heading off attempts by her pharmacist paramour to take their relationship to the next level. In other words, as Grace dons her Catholic-schoolgirl garb, Jackie tries on a bit of Catholic guilt.

This week’s starring sickie isn’t a hospital patient, but a schizophrenic with a God complex. He’s gone off his meds, then goes off on the heathens from his perch high above All Saints Hospital. He calls Jackie an asshole; she can’t dispute his diagnosis. O’Hara, puffing away on a cigarette, suggests she numb her guilt with a nicotine habit. “I can’t,” says Jackie. “I’ve got kids” — including one with an expensive education bill. O’Hara, claiming to be financially bulletproof (“even in this economy”) offers to pick up the tab. Headstrong Jackie says thanks, but no thanks — and notices that O’Hara is wearing two different shoes. Clearly she’s not immune to absentmindedness. The doctor brushes it off as no big thing, though it’s clear there’s trouble in O’Hara’s put-together paradise.

Jackie's first patient of the night is a man with multiple stab wounds inflicted by his date’s steak-knife-wielding ex-husband. As the bloody guy is being wheeled in, wicked administrator Akalitus discovers a seemingly abandoned baby, bundled in a car seat at the nurse’s station. It smiles; Akalitus’s frosty exterior shows a few cracks. Ever the busybody, Coop barges in as O’Hara, Jackie, and Zoey frantically attend to the stab victim. Jackie shoos Coop out; unwell O’Hara demands Jackie take over and abruptly exits.

Eddie summons Jackie to his pharmacy, excitedly telling her he’s got a gift and points to a row of shelves. What awaits her is not a pillbox, but a jewelry box, one holding a Cartier bracelet. “Happy anniversary!” he declares. Jackie, referring to her wedding anniversary: “Wait, it’s not March.” Confused and hurt, Eddie shoots back that he’s sorry the gift is not made of Vicodin. They argue; Jackie tells him to stuff it, along with his drugs.

Patient No. 2: a sex-offender with a taste for children. His nuts have swelled to the size of cantaloupes and his catheter is malfunctioning. As he bellows “get this thing out of my dick,” Jackie gently informs him that he’ll feel just a tiny (ahem) prick as she makes a small adjustment. Instead, she abruptly, violently rips the catheter from his organ and storms out of the hospital.

Gay pal Mo chases after Jackie, clearly shocked at her blatant flouting of protocol. She blames her bad behavior on boyfriend troubles, and a lack of sympathy for pedophiles. All the while, the crazy guy on high casts upon them a stream of profanity-laden judgments. He’s playing God — but then again, so is Jackie.

Back at the dispensary, Coop is playfully gnawing away at a sandwich, tossing out possible bro getaways for him and Eddie: He’s got a free room at the Trump Marina in Atlantic City; wouldn’t that be an awesome time, dude? Spotting the orphaned bracelet, Coop begins spouting off about the time he was robbed at gunpoint, losing his shiny med-school gift: a Cartier watch. Seething Eddie says he’s really not in the mood to talk about “the fucking Trump Marina” or “fucking Cartier.”

As Mo is consoling a tearful Zoey, who is crazy because “God” has pointed out her bald spot, Jackie checks in on O’Hara, who confesses that her life is “in shambles,” but offers little info as to why. What she does offer is her medication of choice: Xanax. Jackie nervously brightens, but quickly masks her enthusiasm, insisting she’s a lightweight. How about she take just half, then? As O’Hara is splitting the pill in two, Jackie stealthily pockets about ten. Buzzing from her score, Jackie returns to Eddie and begs forgiveness.

Adoptive Akalitus is dangerously, giddily comforting the found bundle of joy with a rattle fashioned out of a paper-clip container as Jackie is en route see about her stabbed patient. His physical wounds are healing, but he’s swearing off married people. He wants someone with “a clean slate — like a grad student.” Not about to let the young lover spurn his head-over-heels ladyfriend, Jackie puts her patient into a morphine-induced trance. As he’s under her spell, she force-feeds his brain with affection for the new girlfriend. Then she hands him the Cartier bracelet, insisting he present it to the sweet girl and give her another chance.

O’Hara has swallowed her pride and asked Jackie for help, and the two pass “God” again on their way to Jackie’s cozy home. Working yet more nursely magic, Jackie succeeds in getting the one-man Greek chorus to shut the hell up.

The next morning, after a hard night of boozing and pouring out her stepfather issues, O’Hara stealthily stuffs Jackie’s family’s past-due electric bill in her purse. In another display of the kind of generosity of which she’s capable, she completes Grace’s first-day-of-school look with a French braid. Still, Grace isn’t happy. Dad has gotten her the wrong color of bike shorts to wear under her plaid skirt. Jackie assures her that no one will see them. “God can see them,” Grace insists. “God will know you meant well,” Jackie says to her daughter, but also to herself.