In case the creators of Nurse Jackie are thinking about a spin-off once the series ends in a few weeks, I’ve got an idea: Zoey and Jackie: Roadtrippin’ Nurses—with Zoey behind the wheel, of course. Judging from the hilarity and candor that came out of their road trip to find Grace (which they did in more ways than one), it would be brilliant.
When Jackie finds out Grace is stuck in Pennsylvania, she’s understandably frantic, but because of that whole no car/suspended license thing, can’t leave to go and get her. With the keys to Dr. Prince’s car in hand, Zoey takes the wheel.
Driving 10 miles under the speed limit (yet feeling like she’s on the Autobahn), Zoey is stressed. She’s had it with being in the middle of Jackie’s family drama, and when they arrive in Pennsylvania and can’t find Grace, she snaps. When Grace saunters up to them eating an ice cream cone and Jackie gives her a relieved hug, Zoey slaps the cone out of her hand and lays into her. “Are you eating an ice cream cone while I’ve been driving? And merging? And worried sick about you? I’m so sick of waking up every morning wondering if you’re going to be okay, feeling responsible for you and never knowing if I can f—ing trust you!” I want her overdue tirade to keep going, but Jackie yells at Zoey—and Grace—to get their shit together. Ironically, they both are actually well on the way to making that happen.
Not running away with a boy like Jackie thought, Grace was on the bus to check out University of Pennsylvania on her own because she knew that Jackie and Kevin wouldn’t have let her go. After Grace makes an extremely calm, mature, and convincing argument for why she should be able to (scholarships, financial aid, etc.), Jackie surprises her by driving to the campus instead of back to New York (on a suspended license, but we’ll let that go). She assures Grace she’ll handle Kevin, gives her a phone charger and train money (which is cool, but not as good as Zoey’s advice to “make friends with the nerdy girls”) and leaves her there with no luggage (but we’ll let that go, too).
Jackie and Grace’s relationship isn’t the only one reaching a new level of respect. While stuck in tunnel traffic on the way back to the city, Zoey has a breakdown and realizes her anger was aimed at Jackie (no, really?). She finally unloads everything she’s been keeping in. She tells Jackie that she was her idol who made her love her job and is now the reason she hates it, and that she’s pissed off at Jackie for not getting her shit together. Then she tearfully admits she’s planning to drop out of grad school. She’s too exhausted from all her menial work and worrying that at the end of the day all she has the energy for is listening to sad Adele songs (“basically all of them”). She’s not even sure she wants to be a nurse anymore.
In an inspirational speech that would make a great commencement address (but that I highly doubt she’ll ever be asked to give, because drugs), Jackie tells Zoey—firmly—not to quit because she’s got more heart and skill than anyone. “You gotta look out for your own life. Stop worrying about everybody else, especially me.” Finally.
The road trip ends how most good ones start, with a groovy tune (“Water Fountain” by Tune Yards) and the two friends dancing together happily. More, please.
Meanwhile, back at All Saints, things are getting out of control. After Dr. Prince promises an impoverished patient a year of free meds (he’s not letting the Norwegians get those stocked pharmacies), the waiting room is packed with locals wanting the same, which Dr. Prince thinks is amazing thanks to his Carpe Diem attitude on life now that he doesn’t have much of his own left. When Karlsen discovers his chapel-office has become the holding room for the overflow, he starts to move them to the hallway, which causes Gloria to lose her cool. Their fight escalates and Eddie arrives just in time to punch Karlsen in the face. “Tell your girlfriend that our deal is off,” Karlsen spits at Eddie, who, along with Gloria, is clueless as to what he’s referring to. Uh-oh.
However, not everyone at All Saints is on Karlsen’s hit list. When Carrie is caring for his bruised face, he asks her out. She hesitates, but you can tell the easily charmed bimbo is going to cave. Looks like all of you who’ve been recently tempted to change your opinion of her can rest easy. She’ll be easy to loathe again in no time.
Also of note:
Jackie is helping Dr. Prince keep his brain tumor drug trial alive—and her friend as well—by administering his meds, even though hiding the syringes from an already suspicious Gloria is tricky. She’s willing to take the risk and help Dr. Prince realize his goal of “going out in a blaze of glory and running a kick-ass ER.” Between Dr. P, Grace, and Zoey, all Jackie’s selfless and non-agenda behavior this episode is making me wonder—happily—just who this woman has become.