'Nurse Jackie' recap: It's just for now
It must be tough acting in a show with Edie Falco. I know it must be amazing at the same time. She’s an incredible actress. She becomes Nurse Jackie. I’m a grown man who writes about television, and I sometimes catch myself thinking Jackie Peyton’s a real person. That’s good acting. I say it must be tough because you have to put in a pretty impressive performance in order to shine.
Tonight, Eve Best got her chance to shine. Not an easy task, mind you. There were bombshells falling all around Jackie tonight, giving Falco plenty of opportunities to show off her acting chops, but I think Best stole the show with her reaction when Jackie accused her of going to HR. It was one of those moments that you always want from a character, and Eve Best nailed it. She swaggered through the second half of the episode. Why not? She owned it.
Speaking of outshining, this episode seemed packed with interesting ideas that I almost wanted to see in their own episodes. Doctor’s day for Flu Shots? I’m in. Zoey flirting with a hippie college guy? Tell me more. Kid comes in with his head stuck through a chair? You’ve got to be kidding me. I could watch that by itself for a half hour. Even Coop’s birthday wedding, probably my least favorite ‘Nurse Jackie’ storyline, had the intriguing twist of bringing back the chapel’s saints.
Unfortunately all those stories were crushed under the weight of the greater events this week.
First off, Grace’s psychiatrist calls Jackie and Kevin in so Grace can tell them she would like to consider medication. She’s worried all the time. Her dream journal is full of nightmares about “animals” and “fires.” She isn’t depressed. She just needs help controlling the feelings that make her want to pull out her hair, and her psychiatrist wants to prescribe a child-size dose of Xanax. I’ve never been a big fan of putting children on medication, but Grace seems like a clear example of a kid who probably actually needs it.
She’s also the daughter of an addict. A woman who stole pills off a man having a seizure and stole an X-ray off a cripple to convince her doctor best friend to give her meds. Jackie, how easy it is to get hooked. When she takes the prescription to Eddie, he tries to cheer her up by, saying it could be just for a little while, but she reminds him to “look who he’s talking to.”
Speaking of Eddie and meds, that’s the second big event of the week. Akalitus pulls Jackie into her office to let her know she won’t be dispensing meds for the time being. There has been grumblings in HR, and rather than wait to see what they’re going to do, Akalitus is taking action on her own. That’s why Eddie kept putting off filling Grace’s prescription. Jackie isn’t allowed to touch any pharmaceuticals, which I assume is the first thing in her nightmare journal.
Jackie assumes the confidential tattler is none other than Dr. O’Hara and not only accuses her of it in the middle of a trauma, she does it in front of Zoey. The only thing worse than getting falsely accused in a situation you can’t respond to is having to be asked if you want to talk about it with a woman who writes a blog about nurse cats and doctor dogs.
That, of course, leads to O’Hara’s brilliant moment of telling off Jackie, saying she’s had plenty of opportunity and reason to turn Jackie in but never has. That alone should grant her benefit of the doubt. O’Hara could probably lose her medical license for what she’s turned a blind eye to over the years. Why would she turn Jackie in now?
O’Hara rode that adrenaline rush right into Coop’s office. After the intensity of her confrontation with Jackie, it was nice to see the playfulness of her confrontation with Dr. Cooper. I would be surprised, too, that Coop’s never made a pass at O’Hara in the six years they’ve worked together. I’m surprised that he realized she was out of his league. Now that Coop’s convinced he’s getting married, O’Hara comes fishing for the date invite she’s never gotten. She doesn’t want to go out with him, but she wants to be asked. One of those things that might drive me crazy if not for the kiss she gave him at the end. That was a heck of a kiss.
Oh, yeah, and the third big event: Jackie’s one week sobriety anniversary. It’s been seven days since her dealer got hit by a truck and she was forced to suck down anything she could buy at the news stand. Her forced detox is coming along well.
Of course that’s before she came home with Grace’s prescription. Listening to Grace talk about how it felt, that description of having five ideas that she can either allow in or deny, almost made me curious to what it would be like. I can only imagine what was going through Jackie’s mind. After a week of craving, she gets to hear a child innocently describe what the feeling of getting high.
Even though O’Hara says Grace’s prescription couldn’t even make a dent in Jackie’s tolerance, I have a feeling she’s going to give it a try.
PHOTO: Edie Falco as Jackie Peyton, Liam Foley as Dylan and Eve Best as Dr. O'Hara. Showtime Television