'Nurse Jackie': That's what I do
That might have been my favorite episode of “Nurse Jackie.” I’d have to go back over the last two seasons and compare it with the other highlights, but it is definitely at the top of the list.
I liked the episode because it gave us glimpses into the character of each person at All Saints Hospital. Not just into their characters. Into their characters and around the corner. Makes them all seem so much more three-dimensional.
Jackie spends the episode doing what she does best: seeking pills. She calls ahead on the way to work to get a little private time with O’Hara. Jackie shows off her crooked-spine X-ray, complains about how difficult it is to get a follow-up appointment and hints at wanting a few Oxy. This leads to an awkward conversation about the origins of sayings, ending with Jackie announcing that she loves “letting sleeping dogs lie” in an almost creepy way.
Jackie has only recently started truly using O’Hara. Last week, Jackie took O’Hara’s big check as an education fund for her daughters but really to use it to pay for her pharmacy bills and P.O. box. Now she has fake X-rays to trick O’Hara into writing a prescription that Jackie can later alter. How could Jackie not know that O’Hara will go storming to the specialists, demanding help for her? It's exactly in her nature. There, O’Hara learns the truth in a most embarrassing way. I’m interested to see how this plays out.
Speaking of O’Hara, we get our glimpses into her personality. First, through her snack-stand conversation with Zoey. O’Hara chats about living in a different country and Lenny the IT before buying the young nurse her candy selections. It a sweet little moment of acceptance, accented by Zoey gleefully telling the snack guy that they are friends. Of course, right after that, O’Hara has to treat the 49-year-old woman who adamantly dismisses pregnancy until she’s diagnosed as pregnant. O’Hara listens to the woman go on and on about how she never thought about children when O’Hara has wanted children all her life. So sad, Dr. O’Hara. And she still has yet to find out that Jackie has used her.
Zoey has more to do than hang with O’Hara at the snack stand. Her mission tonight is to figure out what to do about Lenny the EMT. She forces a girl lunch on Jackie to strategize. Jackie tries to warn about the trappings of a workplace romance, but Zoey continually brings up Jackie and Eddie’s relationship (which she accidentally had walked in on last season). In the end, Jackie wishes Zoey the best. I have a feeling Zoey has already decided to pursue things with Lenny. I mean, the heart wants what the heart wants.
The memory of Zoey walking in on Jackie and Eddie is revisited as Eddie prepares to return to All Saints Hospital. When Akalitus decides the pill machine is useless and she is bringing back a human pharmacist, Eddie is at the top of her list. During his interview, Akalitus mentions that, after he'd been fired, Eddie showed up once drunk and a second time full of pills. Regardless of her fears, Akalitus rehires Eddie on the spot. Jackie later warns him that things will be different, but you can already tell that Eddie is hoping to get back to the old routine as quickly as possible.
The only person happier than Eddie that he got his job back is Coop. It’s a small victory for Coop within a very bad day. Coop starts his morning off watching them slowly cover his “If Looks Could Heal” posters. His 15 minutes of fame waning, Coop rushes to Akalitus to get the campaign extended (even offering to pay for it himself). The conversation makes Coop look pretty pathetic and a little incompetent when he refuses to answer his pager, but that isn’t the most pathetic part of Coop’s day. After Eddie ditches out on lunch to gloat to Jackie about his rehiring, Coop goes down the list of All Saints employees trying to find a lunch date, but no one is interested.
We’ve seen signs of Coop's unpopularity in the past, but tonight, the writers go one step further. When he ends up hanging out with Sam for the night, Coop confesses to Sam’s girlfriend (maybe) that cool guys never like him. He’s like the plague, and he knows it. It’s sad to see Coop constantly try way too hard to make friends, but it’s heartbreaking when he’s aware of what he does.
And even Akalitus shows off a little more depth tonight. We start off getting her regular stern exterior in her interactions with Coop and the staff, but when the draft-pick linebacker ends up in the ER for issues in connection with dementia, she melts quite a bit. She advises the player’s wife she should file for divorce, simply because, as a single man, her husband would qualify for much more government aid. Jackie vouches for Akalitus’ skill tricking the system, and the two share probably the first honest moment between them in the entire series.
Wrap all that up with Jackie rushing to the aid of a man having a seizure only to steal all the drugs he’s carrying, and you have quite the compelling episode of “Nurse Jackie.” You can see why I might put it so high on my list.
-- Andrew Hanson
Photo: Edie Falco as Jackie Peyton and Eve Best as Dr. O'Hara. Credit: Showtime Television
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