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“Nurse Jackie”: Legally we can’t do this

April 12, 2010 | 11:34 pm

Nurse_jackie_204_0283  Last season, I had a love/hate relationship with “Nurse Jackie.” One moment I’d be enthralled, the next I would be aghast. So far this season, it’s been all the love and none of the hate. In the first season, Jackie’s life was a well-constructed dike. Each episode a crack would form, and within the half hour, Jackie would leisurely fill it with concrete. This season the cracks are all happening on top of each other, and Jackie’s running back and forth to keep the whole dike from bursting.

On her way to work, Jackie swings by Excelsior Drugs to chat with Eddie about how crazy it is they randomly reconnected through her husband. Just kidding, she went over to scream at him and knock over his displays. 

I would have liked to have seen the rest of the final scene of last week’s episode. When Jackie came home to find Eddie playing Candyland with her kids. How’d that play out? Still, the confrontation in Eddie’s drug store did have the great moment of Eddie turning Jackie’s claim of his psychopathic behavior back on her, and Eddie summed up Jackie’s problem perfectly: she’s greedy. Eddie might not be completely crazy. I do think he’s crazy, but he sure can see though Jackie.

Back at All Saints, the student has become the teacher. Zoey suffers through Sam’s bright and sober attitude until she finally tells him “I don’t do chatty.” Then she proceeds to save a choking boy’s life by intubating him. A procedure legally only performed by doctors that would cost her license. And she saves his life a second time with chest compressions, only to walk away when O’Hara finally arrived (where are all the doctors?).

Zoey’s heroics spawn a comparison of nurses versus paramedics on saving lives. Lenny the EMT talks about the excitement of shocking a guy back to life, whereas Zoey sticks to her somber mantra that she just did what she had to. She even begins to sound like Jackie, which is probably what caused Jacks to giver her a hard time about intubating. Zoey expressed exactly what I was thinking when she said Jackie was the last person she expected to get on her case for getting the job done.

Immediately after, Jackie commits her own crime for the needs of a patient. A lymphoma sufferer and Jackie go through the entire medicine cabinet of anti-nausea medications  that haven’t helped him until she finally suggests marijuana. Dr. Cooper flips that she’d recommend an illegal narcotic as a remedy. You can’t really fault Coop’s argument. Though the way he argues makes him seem like a child trying to yell at his mom. 

I like that even though Dr. Cooper and Akalitus oppose Jackie recommending pot, they both have to point out that they’re not prudes and have tried the wacky tobaccy themselves. Everyone wants to look cool to Jackie.

While Jackie and Coop slowly ruin nurse/doctor relations, O’Hara and Sam work to improve them. In extreme close quarters, Sam confesses to O’Hara that his sponsor thinks he might be a sex addict. Next thing you know: wham, bam, thank you, Doctor. Jackie spots O’Hara’s afterglow and takes her immediately to lunch where she dodges the question of whether she loves Eddie. Thor notices Sam’s post-coital panic and offers to be his work sponsor only to rescind that offer when he finds out Sam slept with a doctor.

As the day winds to a close, some stories wrap up nicely. Jackie takes the nauseous guy out to Lenny’s ambulance to test out the medicinal effects of marijuana from an impressively constructed apple bong, and Dr. O’Hara buys Zoey flowers as a very sweet thank you for her amazing job saving the young boy’s life. 

But clouding those small victories are the ever-growing cracks in the dike. Zoey’s subdued reaction to saving a life is explained when she confesses to Jackie that she thinks she is pregnant, and Jackie’s date night with Kevin is shanghaied by Eddie and his amazing Mets tickets. 

Eddie’s doing a great job of worming his way deeper into Jackie’s life. So far, his actions appear to be without malice, but that can only really be said with the “so far” on front. It’s only a matter of time, and Eddie’s a crack that’s going to require a lot of concrete to fix. 

So many great lines tonight. My favorite? “Don’t eat by the urine.” What was yours?

-Andrew Hanson


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PHOTO: Arjun Gupta as Sam and Stephen Wallem as Thor. Showtime Television