A girl who works for Allure winds up in the ER with a bullet in the head, and Jackie promises her she’ll be around after the surgery. If you know Jackie, you know that didn’t happen; what you might not expect is how roundly and effectively the girl calls Jackie on it.
The other case, a gay couple with a DNR situation, is just as powerful — funny, touching, intriguing — with the added firepower of Harvey Fierstein, who’s so known for being such a great actor and performer that you forget what a good actor he actually is. His exasperation at being treated — by everybody from Coop to Thor — as a walking sandwich board for GAYNESS is especially sour and well-tuned. Not that playing a heartbroken lonely old gay near-widower is the freshest territory for him, and not that his tics aren’t just as visible now as they’ve always been, but he still managed to wring tears out of it.
Which is sort of a thing with this whole episode. This is not the show you go to for crying. It’s too bright and acidic for that, which has always been its greatest strength given the subject matter. But man, this episode just tugged every heartstring. Like, Jackie’s talking to Eleanor about the breakup with Sarah, and tries to explain how you can love two people at once, and Eleanor’s response — “I’d rather be dead than be Kevin or Eddie” — is as true and breathtakingly awful as it is funny. And when Jackie sweetly replies that she liked Sarah but won’t miss her — “I like being your girl” — it’s like you’re called upon shed the tears Eleanor can’t. Gorgeous stuff.