‘Nurse Jackie’ recap: Please do not kiss the statues
The last season of "Nurse Jackie" ended with a cliffhanger. Jackie was backed into a corner. Her husband Kevin and best friend Dr. O'Hara confronted her, in her kitchen, with a full-on intervention. Kevin discovered the P.O. box where Jackie got credit card bills filled with records of purchases from pharmacies. O'Hara found out Jackie had been lying, using someone else's X-rays to get pills. They both had hard evidence. Jackie rushed off to the bathroom, trying to escape, but there was no way out. She was finally trapped.
Of course, that's when Jackie stares right into the mirror, mockingly introduces herself as an addict and bursts into laughter. Then she goes on to say "no, I don't think so," but with wording more appropriate to Showtime at 10 p.m. than the L.A. Times Show Tracker.
If you thought Season 3 was going to start with the consequences of her addiction and the lies she tells to keep her life manageable, then you don't know "Nurse Jackie."
We're back nearly a year later and an Emmy for outstanding lead actress heavier, and Season 3 starts right at that mirror. Jackie leaps into action, formulating an ad hoc counterattack to the tune of "Don’t Rain on My Parade." What a perfect selection. The last two seasons have constantly put Jackie in this same position. She's always about to be discovered. The fun is seeing how she gets away without a scratch.
Jackie skips getting defensive and goes straight to the attack. She claims that the bills are for household charges: eye drops, school supplies and razors. She constantly adjusts her tactics. It's because of the name brands ... because she can't sleep ... separate not secret. She even attacks Kevin's ability to handle money before she lands on their daughters. She's doing this for their daughters. His daughters. Daughters Jackie has to go pick up right now. Just like that, Jackie's free. Oh, Kevin might still think he's not letting this go, but he's already lost.
Jackie is the perfect addict. She knows exactly how to push the buttons of the people around her to keep her addiction hidden. At work, Jackie continues her head-on offensive defense. She goes straight to Akalitus' office to tell her that there had been some misunderstanding with O'Hara and her husband. She coughs up some facts about O'Hara's family history of drug use, laying the seeds of doubt there too. When O’Hara comes into the office later, she still couldn't completely give her friend up. I'm sure Jackie already knew that.
None of Jackie's coworkers are going to be a problem. Zoey is so giddy over her new sex life that she's skipping around the nurses' station, and Thor is way too busy trying to avoid hearing about Zoey's giddy new sex life. Dr. Cooper is afraid of Sam after getting punched for sleeping with Sam's girlfriend, and Sam is afraid of Jackie after she caught him high and helped him sober up. Eddie might be the only problem there, but he is afraid of being found out on a few lies of his own.
Even when Kevin shows up at the hospital, none of Jackie's coworkers seem too heartbroken about being lied to. They're all too interested in getting a glimpse into Jackie's closely kept private life. After they finally accept that Kevin is Jackie's husband, that is.
Jackie isn't completely in the clear. Kevin still has his doubts. Though his attentions have been diverted to paying for both daughters' private education. O'Hara may not be going down the official roads with Akalitus, but she can no longer work with Jackie. She can barely look her in the eye. Plus now that the truth is out about the P.O. box, Jackie no longer has a steady source for her habit. Opiates don't grow on trees.
"Nurse Jackie" is an addiction all its own. It's the rush of watching Jackie get right up to the edge of destruction and then talk her way out of it. Like all additions, though, you have to constantly push to get the same rush. Jackie got further out on that edge than ever with the mini-intervention. I hope Season 3 takes us even further out, mostly because I love seeing how Jackie protects her lying, pill-popping parade.
-- Andrew Hanson
Photo: Gregory Jbara as Mr. Finn and Edie Falco as Jackie Peyton in "Nurse Jackie." Credit: Showtime