Some interventions just don’t take. And addicts can twist the simplest fact into a pretzel. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that Jackie’s response to her husband Kevin’s interrogation about her pharmacy purchases was a litany of explanations and complaints that neatly explained away her guilt.
But no matter how glib her cover up, Jackie’s still got some ‘splaining to do. Let’s see – she’s addicted to pain killers, having an affair with a co-worker, is coping with a child with mental issues, has taken money from a rich co-worker/friend for her kid’s education even though the father doesn’t want her to, and has a secret post office box where the incoming mail consists of missives that could expose several lies. Oh yeah, and no one at work knows she is married at all! Now that, my friends, is some skilled truth juggling!
And to top it all off, Jackie is an ER nurse, in a hospital and society where regulations, economics, and the sheer volume of misery would sink the average person. Small wonder she needs a little pharmaceutical help to get through most days.
This season begins just minutes after the end of last. Having been confronted by Kevin and O’Hara with the evidence of the secret post office box, outrageous pharmacy purchases, and O’Hara’s financial gift, Jackie ransacks the bathroom to show Kevin that her purchases were primarily over the counter goods; his razors, school supplies, and the regular meds most people take to get through their overburdened days – muscle relaxers, Ambien, and Vicoden. She defends her P O box as being ‘separate, not secret.’ And she throws Kevin’s inability to manage money into his face as an explanation of why she accepted O’Hara’s money to pay for school tuition. Ah yes, the best defense is a good offense.
Although confused, Kevin begins to take back control of the situation by visiting his daughters’ school, paying their tuition, and insisting that from now on, he will be their only emergency contact.
Unfortunately, she may have smoothed over the moment, but she’ll now have to deal with the aftermath. First off, a pre-emptive visit to Akalitus, the hospital’s administrator, to ‘confess’ what Kevin and O’Hara may accuse her of, only to be told that, if there is even a hint of an accusation against an employee, the hospital is required by law to investigate the charges.
Without so much as a minute to breathe, Dr Cooper interrupts to ask for Jackie’s help in the ER, where a young boy has managed to wedge a mirror up his nose in an attempt to see his own brain. Doesn’t everyone do that? Cooper, still with his own nose bandaged from his run in with Sam, is not a people person, so it’s up to Jackie to organize a way (via a scan) to make the boy’s dream come true.
Back in Akalitus’ office, O’Hara asks that she and Jackie be put on different shifts, as they are working through a ‘personal’ problem. But Jackie’s 20 years of experience only get her a few perks, one of which is making her own schedule, so Akalitus throws the problem back in O’Hara’s lap.
While Thor and Sam watch, Zoey, on a hormonal high and eager to share her newfound sexuality with her friends, bounces around the ward. She’d love to talk to Thor about her ‘sexy time’ with Lenny, and ask Sam a sensitivity question about male piercings. Ewww!
But wait! Akalitus has an announcement to make to the staff: several nearby hospitals have been shut down for financial reasons, yet the flow of patients will continue, and in fact, rise, with less places for sick people to be treated. On the bright side, there will also be a lot of talented staff looking for jobs. So Akalitus puts her staff on notice that she will not tolerate any infractions or lateness. Anyone can be replaced, and quite easily.
The paramedics arrive with another patient, a man found buried under a pile of boxes. His father, half of a father and son moving team charged with clearing a library that is closing, thought his son was taking a nap until he discovered the boy unconscious. It’s not a survivable accident, as there are kidney, heart, and lung complications. Jackie, Thor and O’Hara cannot help the son medically, but Jackie comforts the guilt ridden father to process his pain. As they talk in the chapel, we see that the sign reading “Please don’t kiss the statues” has been amended to read “Please don’t feed the statues,” and later to “Please don’t feed Thor.”
Jackie copes with her day by snorting a couple of lines of pain killer, just in time for Kevin to arrive at the hospital. He asks to see his wife, but since no one knew Jackie was married, he’s humiliated when Zoey asks to see his ID. When Zoey interrupts Jackie, who’s in a conversation with Cooper and Eddie, to announce Kevin’s visit, Zoey leaks that Jackie and Eddie had an affair. As Cooper self-righteously denounces Eddie, Eddie brings up Cooper’s dalliance with Sam’s girlfriend.
Jackie brushes off Kevin’s anger at the staff not knowing she was married by saying that it’s Zoey’s first day at All Saints. While Kevin tells Jackie about paying the tuition for both girls, their conversation is interrupted as Jackie’s attention is drawn to events in the ER. Frustrated, he leaves the hospital.
Jackie heads to the chapel for some quiet time. When O’Hara arrives, she tries to initiate conversation, but O’Hara leaves, wordlessly.
After work, Jackie tries to slip back into her real life by attending Kevin’s softball game with her children. Although Kevin acknowledges her presence, it’s clear their relationship is still in need of work.