Gay Girl’s Goggles: “Nurse Jackie” SnapCap (4.02) – “Disneyland Sucks”

This week’s Nurse Jackie was a transitional episode, which is TV talk for saying nothing much happens, plot-wise. But we needed to see Jackie changing in rehab and the hospital changing without her. She will return to a different All Saints as a different person (we hope). 

AFTERELLEN BAIT

The line between loving and enabling is razor thin. Dr. Eleanor O’Hara walks that line in her Louboutins week after week, fully aware of times that she steps over it. Like last season, when Jackie tells her, “I did a bad thing and I need your help.” O’Hara: “Well done … and shame on you.”

The line grows even thinner when our loved one starts to take responsibility for her pain. We wear her favorite necklace in a show of solidarity and as a way to stay close. 

But when she asks a favor that we know is likely a rule violation, we say yes, wondering all the time if we’re helping or hurting. We want to honor her positive actions and find it hard to say no. And so when Jackie asks Eleanor to bring Grace to see her, she does, knowing that Wexler rules probably do not allow visitors. And Eleanor goes along with deceiving Grace about what’s happening once she gets to the rehab facility. 

The scenario is textbook codependence. We know that because we’ve all been there, on one side or the other. Working through dysfunction is not a sexy side of love, but it’s an inevitable part of the equation. 

FEELINGS, FEELINGS, FEELINGS!

I’ve never been in rehab, but based on what I’ve heard, the frustration and boredom between structured activities are as important to recovery as detox. With the addictive substance out of reach, an addict can’t numb her feelings — and can’t escape from the absence of feelings that marks much of everyday life. 

Jackie Peyton is not the patient sort in the best of circumstances. To sit through group sessions hearing the same stories over and over is a test of her will to recover. She’s not off to a good start when she insists on seeing Grace immediately after admitting that Grace’s constant crying as a baby is what drove her to start taking drugs. Jackie wants to face her feelings only as long as they feel good.

Laura Silverman (Sarah’s big sis) is pitch perfect as Jackie’s rehab counselor Laura, striking the right balance of sarcasm and compassion that takes no B.S. from residents but lets them know that she’s on their side. She’s actually a lot like Jackie. 

THREE FACES OF GROUP THERAPY

Margaret Collin plays Trish, a proper Southern lady who spent $5,000 on tiny porcelain clowns from QVC when she was drunk. Doris, Jackie’s kleptomaniac roomie, is Mary Louise Wilson. Best line of the night was from Doris to Trish: “You wouldn’t know manly if it crawled up your skirt and built a house.” New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony plays Wayne, a pro baseball player who deliberately put his hand in the way of a fastball so he could get a year of pain medication.

BONUS! THREE FACES OF NEW ID BADGES

“Smile!”

LIES, SECRETS, AND SURPRISES

Jackie’s trick of getting a visit from Grace nearly gets her kicked out of rehab. But in the process, she comes very close to total honesty with Charlie, a green-haired skater dude played by Jake Cannavale (Bobby’s son). Charlie is 17 and is in rehab #4. He knows drugs will kill him and he doesn’t care. Jackie is taken aback by his raw honestly, but she also recognizes herself in him. I think having Charlie as a rehab buddy will be important to Jackie’s recovery.

Dr. Cruz has big plans for All Saints, starting with a helipad on top of the building. While Coop demonstrates how brown-nosing got its name, O’Hara fears that he’s going to get the staff’s hopes up and then cut & run when profits don’t materialize. I haven’t decided if he’s a hero or a pig — another razor thin line. 

What do you think? Is Cruz sincerely trying to help? Or is he just setting up All Saints for a huge fall? And how do you think Jackie is progressing in rehab? Will she make it?

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