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TV Review: Nurse Jackie: “The Astonishing”

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In the “Astonishing” episode, Grace has decided she will portray Christina, Saint of the Afflicted in her school pageant. A fitting choice since both of Grace’s parents are afflicted in one way or another: Kevin with an alcohol dependency and Jackie with an addiction to pills. Consciously, Grace is unaware of her parents’ problems but you can’t hide things from kids for long. Subconsciously she might realize something is amiss.

Jackie’s daily pre-work diner meeting with Bill brings the devastating news that Bill is leaving town for a while, taking a trip to Florida to restock his stash. Off her shocked look he says if she comes to his place after work, he’ll see if he can “scrounge something up for her”.

To make matters worse, at work, Nurse Slater continues to lose points with Jackie when he is lavishes his attentions on two high school girls in the Emergency Room. They are drunk; it turns out the bruised and battered one took a nasty spill and cracked her head on the sidewalk. When Jackie confiscates the girls’ shopping bag filled with beer cans, she also accuses Slater of acting inappropriately with the “jailbait”. He can’t help that he’s charmed them. It’s just his way. He stomps off, angry, hurt, and possibly vindictive.

Coop, still devastated over his mothers’ impending divorce, attempts to clear out his childhood possessions from his office. It’s slow going but he is beginning to get a handle on building himself up again.

Jackie walks in on Eddie and O’Hara in the pharmacy, catching them in a clinch. What she doesn’t know is that the hug is actually a friendly one, not the prelude to intimacy she assumes it to be. She leaves quickly, glad to be off work, focusing on reaching Bill before he takes off on his restocking trip. She races to his building just in time to see him walking out the exit. Before she can approach, two things happen in quick succession: a gargoyle falls from the top of the building, crashing onto the ground inches away from him. Before he can process this, a truck barrels down the road, running him over. From the look of his bloody, battered body, it seems he died instantly.

Dazed, Jackie makes her way to Immaculate Virgin to catch Grace’s pageant. She arrives as Grace begins her speech, which is the most significant, heartrending moment of the episode. Jackie is both enthralled and mortified as Grace speaks the words of St. Christina. “I have mingled drink with my weeping and my days are like a shadow. Pray for me”. As the speech ends, Jackie stares off helplessly into the distance as her world continues to crumble around her.

Nurse Jackie airs Mondays at 10PM ET on SHOWTIME

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