I remember telling a lie about myself to a friend in college. I wanted to get closer to her, but didn’t think I was all that interesting. (I have since financed retirement for several therapists.) Eventually, I felt so guilty that I told her the truth: Nothing about the story had really happened. She looked me in the eye and said, “I didn’t believe you because of the story; I believed you because you’re my friend.”
That is where Dr. Eleanor O’Hara is in this week’s Nurse Jackie. She knows that Jackie has secrets and lives a double life, but she believes the things Jackie tells her — because they’re friends.
This episode, “Sleeping Dogs,” was all about friendship: the good, the bad, and the heartbreaking.
Eleanor is worried about Jackie’s back and has pressed her to get an MRI. This week, Jackie brings one in to show her.
The doctor is appalled that Jackie is not getting treatment, but Jackie says that the main spine doc is in Barbados so nothing can be done right now — although, you know, a prescription for OxyContin might help. Eleanor reluctantly agrees. She has to do something — she cares about her friend.
That’s the thing about O’Hara — she cares. For all her British reserve and dry wit, Eleanor is a mush-heart. We saw it with Sarah. And we see it a bit here, with Zoey, in what may be my favorite scene from any Nurse Jackie episode ever.
I could watch Zoey and Eleanor all day. Spin-off anyone?
Eleanor’s caring for Jackie means that she can’t quit thinking about the MRI. Who do those spine guys think they are, anyway? (Eve Best leg alert!)
Actually, ortho has a very good reason for not helping Jackie.
O’Hara sees, in that moment, that Jackie’s lies do not stop at the door of their friendship.
Jackie is an enigma, to be sure, because she cares, too. She puts herself on the line every time a patient is in trouble. She wants the best for her kids. She confronted Sarah about cheating on O’Hara. She even spends lunch with Zoey, who wants relationship advice.
But ultimately, the one she cares about most is the Next Fix. Addiction is a jealous lover, requiring absolute faithfulness. And being true to her ultimate love means betraying friends, colleagues, family and, ultimately, herself.
Jackie’s lies have started to catch up with her. Her desperation is clouding her good sense. (The episode closes with her stealing drugs from a semi-conscious white-collar dealer.) And I have a feeling that Judgment Day is at hand.
Any thoughts on this Nurse Jackie episode? What do you think Eleanor will do about the fake MRI?