‘Nurse Jackie’ recap: God’s piano
A big part of this week’s "Nurse Jackie" involved God and his piano. God, of course, is the delusional guy who lives high up in the apartment complex next to Jackie’s All Saints Hospital and shouts down damnations to all those who walk below him. God finds a piano sitting on the sidewalk with a sign on it reading "Play Me." I don't know whether the street piano is supposed to be metaphor, but since God spends most of the episode pushing it around and only plays it for a moment, I’m not sure what the metaphor is.
The first two episodes of "Nurse Jackie" this season dealt with the consequences of last year’s season finale. Or, more specifically, how Jackie managed to dodge the consequences of the finale. This week’s episode sets out the new course for Season 3 of "Nurse Jackie." Jackie even starts the morning to the tune of "Optimistic Voices" from "The Wizard of Oz," making waffles for her family. It’s a brand-new day, but with Nurse Jackie that means a brand new set of problems she’s going to have to deal with.
Problem 1: Tunie. At first I thought either Grace or Fiona had started smoking, but it turns out Kevin’s younger sister has gotten dumped, drinks everything in grabbing distance, and uses her key to crash in the girls’ room. Disturbingly enough, this apparently has happened multiple times in the past. Tunie tells Kevin and Jackie that, most of the time, she’s gone before they even know she's there. I’m sure that’s a comfortable thought.
At first, Tunie seems like she might be useful for Jackie. Kevin tells Tunie about the intervention, and Tunie jumps to Jackie’s defense, saying her brother had always been a bit of a drama queen because of their mother’s drinking. Tunie’s support, however, may have been to butter Jackie up before asking to stay for a couple of days, which later becomes a couple of weeks. Who else thinks Tunie will turn out to be a burden instead of a blessing?
Problem 2: Eddie. Eddie is quickly transforming from her secret work lover into her husband’s best buddy. Jackie figures out how Eddie can let Kevin know he works at All Saints, but now Eddie is starting to feel weird about all the lies and just being friends with Jackie. He’s done some crazy stuff in the past, so who knows what might cause him to let slip something he shouldn’t, and if Kevin’s plan to get Eddie and Tunie out on a date works out, he’ll only be more involved in their family.
Problem 3: Bill. I’m not sure if that’s the character’s name, but Bill Sage plays the man Jackie had stolen two huge bags of pills from while he was having an epileptic fit. Last season, when Bill tracked Jackie down, he threatened her and warned that he wasn’t someone to be messed with, but this week, he returns to the ER to talk. Turns out he’s a former drug and alcohol counselor. He got burned out trying to help people who didn’t want to be helped, so he became the sort of Batman of addiction, helping users hit rock bottom so they will finally want to be helped. Bill sets his sights on Jackie because he’s looking for a challenge. What better challenge than Jackie Peyton.
Like the piano, Bill’s chosen career and interest in Jackie seem to come out of the blue. After how he threatened Jackie last season, it’s hard to believe that he was trying to help people the entire time. Though, also like the piano, once I have forgotten exactly where this came from, I'm happy it's there. The concept of a man who takes addicts to rock bottom to help them could make an incredible story arc for Jackie. I just hope that they don’t spend too much time pushing this piano around. I want to see this tune played out.
Elsewhere in All Saints: Everyone seems as busy as Jackie this episode. Akalitus battles it out with her counterpart in the Catholic Church who come in to reclaim the statues in the chapel. All Saints’ holy room has been deconsecrated and not because of all the sex and drugs. Dr. Cooper recruits Thor to help run his fantasy football team. Dr. Cooper signs up with all the “cool” doctors upstairs but then turns out to be completely useless once again (how many kickers do you think he has?).
But the big story away from Jackie this week is Zoey and Lenny. Our adorable newbie nurse and her hairy EMT have a delightful picnic, with sandwiches and well-aged Dr. Pepper, where Lenny tried to slip her his spare key and cracks one of her fillings. Zoey spends most of the episode wondering if she wants to rip Lenny’s clothes off or stab him in the neck with a fork, and Jackie tells the love-struck paramedic that he might need to give Zoey a little space. Luckily, they find each other in God’s piano bar to kiss and make up.
The patients: The two cases Monday night are a pair of street vendors injured in their battle for a street corner and an Orthodox Jewish woman who falls down an open sidewalk cellar door.
The street vendors supply all the good old "Nurse Jackie" queasiness. I can go see "Nightmare on Halloween Part 12" or "Saw the 13th" with no problem, but when I see a man with a kabob skewer through his face, I squirm.
The Orthodox Jewish husband insists his wife be moved to Beth Israel even though she’s still bleeding internally. Her “suburban” parents want her treated at All Saints and even call her religion a cult. In the end, Jackie has to call 911 to get an ambulance to take the woman to her own doctor, and … do they ever say what has happened to the woman? I don’t think they do. I’m surprised Jackie lets that one go, but it’s understandable. She has a lot on her mind.
-- Andrew Hanson
Photo: Foreground, Ruby Jerins as Grace Peyton and, from left, Jaimie Alexander as Tunie, Mackenzie Aladjem as Fiona Peyton, Dominic Fumusa as Kevin Peyton and Edie Falco as Jackie Peyton in "Nurse Jackie." Credit: Showtime