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Nurse Jackie “Happy F*cking Birthday” 

Photo Credit: Ken Regan/SHOWTIME
Photo Credit: Ken Regan/SHOWTIME

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Season 5 begins four and a half months after the end of season 4. Jackie’s back at work after her union sued All Saints, there are two new doctors on staff, and O’Hara is finally back from maternity leave. Zoey still lives with Jackie, Eddie is still fired, and Coop and still Coop.

Since Jackie’s about to have another birthday, she asks Kevin if she can have the girls. She knows it’s not part of their deal but she’s hoping he’ll make an exception this one time. Somehow I expected their relationship to be a little less hostile, but I can understand why it isn’t. Jackie deserves all the hurt and anger and attitude he’s throwing her way. But because I’m rooting for Jackie and hoping she can maintain her sobriety, I’m on her side in this fight. I know it’s not his job to take care of her (or really care about her at all anymore), but I hope at least part of him can see that she’s trying.

At work, the staff is dealing with an influx of patients from a bus crash. Jackie, who is ecstatic to have Akalitus back as an administrator, laments the loss of Cruz – for no other reason than they’re short staffed.  Akalitus informs Jackie that she’s hired a new trauma guy, who will start the next week. Jackie suggests they might need him now and goes in search of Dr. Roman, the other new doctor. She’s having sex in one of the empty patient rooms instead of all the floor of the ER where they need her. Suffice it to say, she’s not on Jackie’s good side right now.

The bus full of gamblers landed on the Bentley of football player Elvis Page. Even though his body is a temple, he may have had some ‘party favors’ in his car. He doesn’t do drugs, but he likes to make sure his friends have a good time so he stuffed the drugs in condoms he happened to have on him and now they’re in his stomach. Elvis wonders if there’s any way they can keep it between them. And he quickly finds out Jackie won’t play that game.

The pharmacy machine is glitching and there’s a line of angry and frustrated staff waiting to get what they need. Jackie has recruited Eddie to get a laxative for Elvis, so he joins the queue if only momentarily. He breaks into the locked case of drugs and starts handing people what they need, but not before making sure a nurse helps him document everything they’re doing. He may be fired, but he’s not stupid.

When Morris Chestnut’s Dr. Ike Prentiss shows up for work, Jackie tries to stop him. She doesn’t know who this guy is until he tells her. She’s kind of impressed when he diagnoses a woman in the ER on the fly – without even touching her. And later she’s impressed again when he uses his medical training from being deployed to help save another patient’s life. But he doesn’t let Jackie get away with her holier-than-thou attitude towards the patient. He made some racist comments, but Jackie can’t deny she had preconceived notions about him too when he first arrived. Oh yeah, he’s got enough attitude to fit right in at All Saints.

After spilling to everyone about Jackie’s birthday – even though Jackie warned her not to – Zoey informs Jackie she’s ignoring her. And, of course, she can’t stay silent for long. Zoey thinks maybe it’s time for her to get her own space because she often feels like she’s encroaching. Jackie tells Zoey she doesn’t have to leave, but she’s secretly happy when Zoey insists.

Jackie sees what’s going on with Roman and she doesn’t like it. Not only does she rely on the nurses to do basic procedures she shouldn’t learned by now, but Coop is letting it slip. Yes, she’s hot but that doesn’t mean Coop should let her get away with what she’s pulling. And we all know how Coop gets when he’s feeling threatened.

So when Coop goes for the boob grab, Jackie shuts him down and has a little talk with him. Later when they can see that Roman’s, once again, relying too heavily on the nurses Coop steps in. I’m proud of him. And we’re supposed to hate Dr. Roman, right? I mean to be more concerned with your silk shirt than your patient covered in glass shards is pretty heartless. But that’s just me.

Jackie can’t believe one of her critical patients is still waiting for his tests. Akalitus informs her that she can’t buy a new machine just because they can’t get by with one. It’s then that Jackie sets her plan in motion. She returns to inform Elvis that his X-Rays are clear and that he can leave, but not before the cops have a talk with him. She tells him it was her duty to report what she knew, but she may be willing to change her story. If he buys the hospital a new CT scanner, he’s in the clear. And it turns out those cops were never there for official reasons; they just wanted his autograph. In the end, Elvis is out $425K, but he he’s not in jail and he got some great publicity for himself out of it. I love it when Jackie is crafty and devious, especially when she’s just doing it to help her patients.

Gloria is afraid what Eddie did is just a lawsuit waiting to bite her in the butt, so she claims she has no choice but to hire Eddie back. Awww. I’m so excited.

The only really bad news for Jackie (but great news for O’Hara) in this episode is her decision to be a full-time mom. She doesn’t want her kid to resent her for never being there, especially when she has the money to do what she wants. I hated the way Jackie found out about it though. Jackie didn’t get to finish telling her that she feels like O’Hara is the only thing standing between her and… what? She didn’t get to say because the nanny arrived with O’Hara’s kid. But Jackie needs to be sober and stay sober for herself. She can’t rely on anyone else to keep an eye on her, because that’s just setting herself up for failure. So despite this temporary setback, O’Hara leaving might be the best thing for Jackie’s sobriety. She’ll know what it feels like to do this on her own and that’s what will keep her sober.

We Need to Know

What’s going on with Akalitus? She forgets Dr. Roman’s name and she forgets to call the new trauma guy in, until Jackie asks about him.  I’ve heard some things, but I don’t want to give it away in case you don’t know. I’m curious to see where this goes.

Photo Credit: Ken Regan/SHOWTIME
Photo Credit: Ken Regan/SHOWTIME

What They Said

Thor: “Elvis is in the building.”

Jackie: “What?”

Thor: “Elvis Page, number one draft pick. That bus crashed on top of his Bentley. Jaws of Life, the whole deal. Oh, if he’s injured, such a tragedy.”

Jackie: “If anybody’s injured, it’s a tragedy.”

Thor: “Hello. We’re talking Super Bowl.”


Elvis: “I asked you to keep this quiet.”

Jackie: “You might not want to get your stomach juices too angry.”

Elvis; “You always this nice?”

Thor: “To be fair, it’s her birthday tomorrow. And you know how women of a certain age can get.”


Jackie: “Eddie! Come here, I need you.”

Eddie: “Oh God. I love it when you say that.”


Jackie: “Oh God. Touch my tit, I will rip your hand off at the spine. Work on your boob-grabbing Tourette’s situation on your own time. For now on we’re gonna finish conversations.”

Coop: “And what is this conversation about?”


Patient: “How about I just wait for a doctor?”

Prentiss: “I am a doctor.”

Patient: “You f*cking kidding me?

Jackie: “Is there a problem, sir?”

Patient: “That doctor looks like a drug dealer.”

Prentiss: “And my patient looks like an a**hole. Can we just move on?”

Patient: “Those tattoos. People you’ve killed?”

Prentiss: “Actually they’re saves.”

Jackie: “Still want another doctor?”

Patient: “I’m…good.”


Nurse Jackie airs Sundays at 9/8c on Showtime.

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