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‘Nurse Jackie’: Ta-da

June 23, 2009 |  7:43 am

Nurse-Jackie-tv-14 On Monday night, Jackie kept Mrs. Akalitis away from a dying man eating chicken soup, fought against Eddie’s replacement by a drug dispensing robot, and Googled for an Ohio woman who turned out not to be pregnant, all while dealing with her daughter's obsession with annihilation; and in the B story, Zoey tried to get her stethoscope back from Dr. O’Hara. It’s like watching one person juggling chainsaws, then turning to see another playing that game where you try to get a ball on a string in a cup. And she misses most of the time.

Zoey shows off her shiny new toy (the stethoscope, not the cup and ball) with a joyful ‘Ta-da’ to which Jackie replied, “The only people who say ta-da are magicians and idiots.” Zoey goes off and plays the idiot for the rest of the shift, but Jackie really is a magician.

Now I’m not talking the kind of magician who goes to a British school and takes classes in defense against the dark arts even though he should eventually realize the teacher is going to end up getting him killed (seriously, that kid and House. When will they learn?). No, I’m talking about real magicians. Those guys who do sleight of hand at kid’s parties or Vegas clubs or on other wonderful Showtime programming premiering Thursday at 10 p.m. (Penn & Teller).

Whenever a magician holds up a card and tells you to remember it, you gotta know that his other hand is doing something nefarious. That’s how they get things done, and that’s how Nurse Jackie gets things done.

Right off the bat she does a little magic to keep her husband from noticing her pill grabbing tool, and the fact that their daughter might be going off the deep end, and she repeatedly turns him down for lunch with only some vague double talk and the possibility of a future sexual act.

When going into her next trick of making prescription drugs appear in her system, Jackie ends up with a horrible massage and the news that Eddie is getting replaced with a PIXUS machine. She goes off on how it’s going to make it more difficult to get Motrin and complains to Dr. Coop about how it is squeezing Eddie out of a job, but you can tell what she’s really thinking is that her supply is about to get cut off. Nurse Jackie truly is an addict. As cartoony as she described Mohammed checking out Dr. Cooper, it couldn’t have been nearly as bad as how she leered at those pills.

During her spare time between tricks, Jackie stopped to check in on Eli Wallach as his wife slowly drowned him in a massive container of chicken soup. You might remember Eli Wallach from "The Magnificent Seven" or as the second Dr. Freeze in the '70s "Batman" TV show or from his frequent appearances in the Los Angeles Times crossword puzzle. Wallach forgoes medical treatment for his heart failure, instead opting for chicken soup, or as he calls it “Jewish penicillin.” Akalitis wants to kick both of them to the waiting room, but Jackie fends her off with the skillful use of curtains.

In the end, Jackie heads home with a little of her own chicken soup to try to heal her daughter of being scared of everything. 

Oh, and Zoey did finally get her stethoscope back. Seems Dr. O’Hara knew the whole time and enjoyed watching her squirm, and she makes Zoey grab it off her while she’s pretending to be asleep. Really? That’s O’Hara’s big laugh out of it? Must be that British sense of humor.

-- Andrew Hanson

Photo: Showtime Television