'Nurse Jackie': You’re a drug addict
I like each episode of “Nurse Jackie” more than the last. How many shows can you say that about?
Most shows the debate is generally when the show started to fall apart. After the first major character left? After the first season? After the first episode? After that great opening speech by Judd Hirsch? (I’ve had “Studio 60” on my mind from my interview with Merritt Wever, but that speech was so brilliant how could anything that followed compare?)
Each episode of “Nurse Jackie” gets better because each digs deeper into Jackie’s world. Not so much the real world she inhabits but the world she has created through her lies and deception.
We pick up right where we left off last week. Kevin walks down a deserted road because he can no longer stand to be in the car with Jackie. He found out that she took money from O’Hara for the girls’ education after he explicitly told her not to. Kevin refuses to get back in the car, so Jackie leaves him. Yep. Drives home. Bold move.
Kevin calls for a ride home with his buddy Eddie, setting up that great moment between Eddie and Jackie. A “thank you” would have been cool, and it’s even cooler that Eddie said that. I still have hopes for him.
But Jackie can’t console her lover, she has to save her marriage. She meets Kevin in the kitchen and performs her first magic trick of the night. She takes responsibility for her actions in a way that leaves her without responsibility for her actions. She also can’t believe that she’d leave him out on the street. She thought he knew she already planned on taking the money before she asked him about it. She’s no prize, but she told him that.
Then Jackie is skipping her way to work the next day before anyone can figure out how she did it. A perfect getaway, except she made the one critical mistake my neighbors make at least once a month. She left her keys in the door. Kevin noted one key in particular, the one to Jackie’s P.O. box, and the game’s afoot.
As Kevin begins his hunt for the key’s lock, the staff of All Saints deal with their relationships.
Sam’s dealing with his relationship with his doctor-chasing/cat-loving girlfriend. I want to hope that Coop was trying to admit his part in the breakup. Could he really be so stupid as to console a brokenhearted friend with information about his girlfriend you’d only really get if you were in her apartment? Possibly. Coop did also have that kicky fight with Sam in Akalitus’ office. That doesn’t bode well for his mature wisdom.
O’Hara’s dealing with her relationship with Jackie. She found out Jackie gave her a fake MRI, but Jackie dodged her attempts to talk about it. Finally Jackie admits it with her second magic trick of the night. She confesses that she never had an MRI and was drug-seeking in a way that made O’Hara apologize. I rewatched that scene three times. I still don’t know how she did it, but it was brilliant.
Zoey’s dealing with her relationship with Lenny. She asks Jackie’s opinion on the pocket watch she bought her favorite EMT. (My opinion: They’re cool, but no one uses them and they end up collecting dust). As reward for a duck sauce dance, Zoey takes Lenny on a greatest hits of hooking-up spots tour of All Saints. First stop, the bed in Eddie’s pharmacy. Second stop, the chapel. Third stop, unbearable sweetness. She gives him the watch for years of service hopefully down the line, Lenny admits he got the better end of the deal, and I… must have gotten something in my eye. I swear. Probably dander.
Akalitus is dealing with his relationship with God. Not the almighty. The crazy guy from across the street who yells down at people on the street. Only now his home is being fumigated, so he’s living in the ceiling of All Saints, watching his flock and smoking cigarettes. Akalitus lets God spend the night in her office, but I’m thinking she should keep him around. He turned out to be a pretty good evildoer-detector when it came to Mr. Martin.
Mr. Martin being the guy Jackie stole $12,000 worth of pills off while he was having a seizure. Mr. Martin finally catches Jackie and pins her up against the wall, only to be tackled by Thor in his second best appearance of the night. The first of course being his tap dance number with Jackie for the beyond-drunk Sam. (I’m going to add in this awesome picture of Thor and Sam for no other reason than I loved it and wanted to post it).
Of course, the big moment of the night was when Kevin and O’Hara confronted Jackie about her addiction. Kevin traced the key to the P.O. box to the pharmacy bills and then brought it all to O’Hara’s attention. They faced Jackie down, as she yelled insults and anger. They remained stoic while she reacted in such an incredibly real way. It was really the moment the whole season, the whole show has been building to, and it was executed perfectly.
I’m torn about the last two words of this second season. I can’t quote them due to Show Tracker decency policy, but all for the better. Instead leaving us of wondering which characters got gunned downed in the hospital or who’s trapped in which alternate dimension, Jackie leaves us with her foul-mouthed response to Kevin and O’Hara’s intervention, but she says it into a mirror, directly at the audience. How she actually says this to the other characters we won’t see until Season 3.
Nice work, “Nurse Jackie.” You’ve made me eager for the next season in a way only you could.
-- Andrew Hanson
Photo: Top: Edie Falco as Jackie Peyton and Bill Sage as Mr. Martin. Bottom: Arjun Gupta as Sam and Stephen Wallem as Thor. Credit: Showtime Television
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