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'Nurse Jackie': Death of a Sussman

May 4, 2010 |  7:45 am

Nurse_jackie_205-206_0109 Ah, the yin and yang of “Nurse Jackie.” It almost feels like two shows at times. On one side, you have the zany antics of characters such as Akalitus and Zoey, when she’s not worried about being pregnant. On the other side, you have Jackie’s gritty, real life. “Real” in the sense that it’s packed with so many bad decisions and so much pain that you can almost relate. 

Normally, the zany is mixed evenly with the real, but tonight “Nurse Jackie” played up the zany only to sucker punch with the real at the last moment. Smooth. Like Ali.

Everything started off with Fiona’s birthday party. She has everything a young girl could want on her birthday: Silly String, a cast on her arm, a lesbian couple her mom knows through work. But all the fun is cut short when Fiona whacks herself in the lip with the cast and the Peyton kitchen becomes a makeshift ER. Luckily, Sarah Khouri is there for commentary. A reassuring anchorwoman does help lighten a difficult time.

Back at All Saints, we’ve got a couple of “Three’s Company” storylines happening. Zoey’s all recharged now that she knows she doesn’t have a bun in the oven. And she made some promises to God when she thought she was pregnant that she’s trying to honor. Although Zoey’s seizing the day, she agrees to help Sarah off the record with a spider bite she got in Arizona while she was supposed to be out of the country. Zoey is single-minded in her “Mission Impossible” task, even though that single mind is constantly distracted by anything that jumps in front of it. Including Thor wanting to talk about boys.

At the same time, you have Libby Sussman in Exam Room 1. If you don’t know who Libby Sussman is, all you need to do is look at any of the plaques around the hospital. Sussman Foundation, Sussman Surgical Theater, Sussman third-floor bathroom. Libby Sussman gives All Saints much of the money it needs to run, and Akalitus wants a chunk of that money moved from the children’s hospital to the ER. Akalitus tries to make Mrs. Sussman’s stay as pleasant as possible, so of course, it ends with her groped by Dr. Cooper and his action-figure kung-fu grip and then dead.

Jackie stays fairly uninvolved through her shift. She does take over delivering Sarah’s injections along with some words of warning about messing around on her friend. Though Sarah claims Dr. O’Hara knows. J

Jackie even tells Eddie she needs time without him to decide how she feels about him, and he accepts it. He might be lying about where he is and what he’s doing when he accepts it, but he wouldn’t be lying about everything, would he?

Jackie arrives home to find Kevin still awake and waiting to talk with her. Then kapow. The unexpected real uppercut we aren’t expecting while watching all the zany footwork. Kevin goes off with all his pent-up frustration about Jackie. It mostly stems from Jackie ignoring him when he says they should take Fiona to urgent care for her lip and Jackie sews it up in the kitchen instead, but you can tell there’s a lot more smoldering underneath. As Kevin vents, I realize that his complains about Jackie are the exact same as Coop’s. They both feel like white noise to Jackie. Dismissed and undermined. Oh, the curse of being attractive men. I know how it can be.

Kevin sleeps downstairs, and Jackie wanders into the night for a cup of coffee. Her husband is angry, her daughter is anxious, and her boyfriend is possibly a little crazy. I wonder if Jackie will start to realize that the common factor in all her loved ones' problems is her.

-- Andrew Hanson


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Photo: Edie Falco as Jackie Peyton. Credit: Showtime Television

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