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‘Nurse Jackie’ Review: “Handle Your Scandal”

Nurse Jackie
Showtime

A miraculous birth coupled with a tragic death. It’s a familiar trope and one that marked the end of ‘Nurse Jackie’s fourth season.

With Cruz thankfully out of commission, Jackie commandeers the nurse’s station and has the ER running like a well-oiled machine. “You might be a genius” says Sam of Jackie and he’s right. When it comes to efficiency, Jackie’s a mastermind.

She and Coop attend to a man who tried to iron his shirt while he was wearing it. It’s an appropriate metaphor for their boss, who’s own attempts  at attaining order and control often end up hurting him.

Unfortunately, all productivity comes to a halt when Cruz emerges from his cardiac episode, in a rage after learning about Jackie’s coup. Cruz doesn’t care that things are under control, only that they aren’t under his control. He grabs her badge and holds it above Jackie’s head, like the school-yard bully he is. Jackie loses her cool, drops an F-bomb and is fired on the spot.

As Jackie rushes into O’Hara’s office to decompress, the nurse’s station stages a mini-rebellion with a slow clap after Cruz’ outrageous display. Moments later, Cruz barges in with security and escorts Jackie out. Before leaving she manages to remind him of his promise to Charlie not to fire her. “I don’t give a sh*t what my kid wants” says Cruz. “That’s the difference between you and me” Jackie fires back.

And she immediately makes good on her words, rushing to her daughter’s private school to pull her out. She enlists a giddy Grace in public school after telling her about her firing from All Saints. It’s all about full-disclosure these days and Jackie’s commitment to the truth is healing her fractured relationship with her tween daughter. When she stops by a AA meeting to check-in, Jackie tells the inviting group she can’t stay for coffee because she’s meeting friends at a bar, as they look at each other in astonishment. Hey, it’s the truth.

Jackie finds Akalitus and Eddie drowning their sorrows in alcohol but she opts for a Shirley Temple, instead, surprising even herself. Whatever gets you through the day, right? Moments later, O’Hara calls, panicked and in labor. She insists Jackie head back to All Saints with a few items from home. After she and Eddie rifle through O’Hara couture wardrobe, Jackie heads to All Saints with one of her BFF’s ball gowns, courtesy Eddie.

Upon arrival, Cruz immediately tries to put a stop to Jackie’s return to All Saints, now as a visitor to a patient. They bicker briefly before Jackie spots Charlie being wheeled in on a gurney, after ODing. She tells Coop, who’s now practically O’Hara’s midwife, to head to trauma. Cruz is so angered by what he perceives as Jackie’s attempt to regain control of his staff that neglects to notice the look of shock on her face. When he finally turns around to see his son heading into trauma, Cruz grabs Jackie and tells her “you’re doing this with me.”

Despite his best effort, Charlie is gone. Jackie tells Cruz he did the best he could but they both know that’s not true. As a doctor, Cruz did all he could but as a father, he fell tragically short. Cruz orders her out and Jackie races up to O’Hara and finds her cradling her newborn son. “You made it” says the new mom. “Yes, I f*cking made it” replies Jackie.

Made it she did. Despite everything Cruz put her through and a nasty divorce, Jackie withstood it all, drug free. Though she isn’t using and she’s no longer working at All Saints, (for the moment, at least) Jackie will always be an addict and she’ll always be a nurse. It seems for the first time in her life, she’s willing to own up to who she is rather than hide. Where she goes from here, who knows? But at the conclusion of this season, we do know one thing. This time around, wherever Jackie Peyton goes, there she truly is.

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