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TV Review: Nurse Jackie – “Enough Rope”

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Where do you go once you’ve hit rock bottom? If you’re Jackie Peyton, whose drug use, lying and philandering have succeeded in alienating those who are near and dear, you use all your wiles to get back into the good graces of those loved ones. It won’t be easy since there’s a whole lot of hurting to tend to. Husband Kevin, whom Jackie accompanies when it’s time to bring the kids for their first day at Catholic school, is not giving in easily. He and Jackie make a big show of smiling for the sake of the kids (and Jackie, by the way, is an expert at plastering on a believable grin). But when the girls have gone to class, Kevin leaves Jackie standing in front of the school without so much as a “have a nice day”.

There’s Eddie the hospital pharmacist, Jackie’s pill supplier, and on again, off again lover. Eddie tells her he can’t keep lying to Kevin with whom he has become good friends. Jackie’s brainstorm is to tell Kevin that Eddie is out of work so she can “put in a good word for him at All Saints”. This way, if Kevin shows up at the hospital, Eddie’s presence can be explained. It’s a good idea: a twisted, conniving, typically Jackie idea. She doesn’t want to do without either man. So it’s any port in the storm if she wants to make both relationships work without Kevin knowing about the more than platonic friendship she and Eddie enjoy.

Then there is Dr. O’Hara. If Jackie could choose just one person with whom to reconcile, it would be her former best friend, the leggy, lusty Brit. Jackie has had just about enough of O’Hara’s cold shoulder. When word spreads that O’Hara is looking for work at another hospital, Jackie confronts her at the outdoor cafe where O’Hara regularly goes for lunch. Jackie tells her pointedly that she will follow her to any hospital just to be near her, which does sound vaguely stawkerish but is totally in keeping with how Jackie operates. O’Hara visibly softens at the confession from the normally tough as nails Jackie. In many ways, these two complement each other in ways no other characters in the show do.

The title “Enough Rope” may refer to the old adage “Give them enough rope and they will hang themselves”, which aptly describes Jackie and her situation. Ropes frequently come into play during the course of the episode. Outside the school, the Peyton’s youngest daughter, Fiona, watches transfixed as the older girls jump rope while chanting a sing-song rhyme. Taking a break from her quest to get Michelle Obama to visit the hospital (All Saints is in competition with Bellvue to be awarded the coveted First Lady visit), Akalitus jumps rope in her office but is shown up by Zoey, who is much more proficient at the game. The rope symbolism is everywhere, not letting us forget Jackie’s plight for a moment.

Through it all, Jackie’s drug habit has not abated and she makes no effort to get herself the help she needs, She has stashes everywhere. The pill she has taped to the underside of the hospital restroom sink will assure her a stress free afternoon in the emergency ward. Her first love and best pal, even over O’Hara, is her fix. Jackie’s main concern while untangling herself from her various messes, is to make sure her pills are where she can find them.

Give her enough rope, indeed.

Nurse Jackie airs on Mondays at 10PM ET on SHOWTIME.

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About Mindy Peterman

  • Love the review, and the show! Def one of my top five favorites on right now. I did not make the connection between the jump ropes and the episode title. Very cool!

  • Thanks, Jerome. I learned to look for double meanings in episode titles from watching HOUSE. I think Jackie’s writers went to the same school as Shore’s scribes when it comes to that.

  • Boeke

    I watched a couple episodes because Jennifer Stone recommended it, and I have a lot of respect for Jennifer, but I’m suspending judgement until I see more.

  • Lettybits

    She’s a manipulative, cuning pathological liar and I can’t wait until she is so caught that she can’t lie her way out of it. She has sunk so low that she’s stealing drugs from her daughter, Fiona, who really needs them. Kevin should dump this loser ASAP!