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'Nurse Jackie': Tap tap tap

August 11, 2009 |  8:07 am


Saturday is for  mother/daughter tap dancing. That’s how Jackie remembers as she and Mohammed struggle over which day of the week it is. I sometimes struggle with that, and I don’t work nearly the hours of an RN. Though when Jackie brings up her dance class, Mohammed automatically assumes Jackie to be the daughter part of the equation. Jackie and her mother doing a little tap, now that’s something I would like to see.

Actually, it’s Jackie and Grace tapping away Saturday morning. Jackie’s next step to help Grace deal with her Generalized Anxiety Disorder included finding an activity for them to do together, presumably to keep Grace too busy to burn down the hospital. In class, Jackie runs into another mother from their parish. Literally. The other mom happens to be the homecoming queen from Jackie’s high school and apparently the ex-girlfriend of her husband, Kevin. It is a small world after all.

After her class/reunion, Jackie heads into work, where her dancing and awkward conversations continue. Jackie still hasn’t gotten over O’Hara using her as an example of how to balance families, work and affairs to her sister overseas. O’Hara makes a peace offering, including a magazine, some almond M&Ms, Chapstick, Kleenex and chocolate coins. Seems like a cup of coffee might have been a better choice, but Jackie overcomes her pouting when she finally needs something from O’Hara later on, so it all works out.

Jackie needs all her dancing skills at work. She has to tango with Dr. Cooper’s accusations over the brain-dead patient from last week, for whom she signed off on organ donation in his name, and at the same time she two-steps around her wedding ring that refuses to come off. She makes hard line decisions to combat both: She kisses Coop to quell his anger, then saws off the ring and breaks her finger. Jackie definitely does whatever’s necessary to keep her lifestyle. I’m not sure if O’Hara’s sister could go to these extremes.

The case of the day is a cardiac arrest. Just a guy out running errands. I know these episodes were written and filmed weeks in advance, but it’s eerily similar to another man who passed away in New York from a heart attack while out walking just a few days ago. Dr. Cooper and the nurses fight to keep him alive as his cellphone constantly rings, but it’s no use. Jackie stays behind to clean up and return the call, leaving a message for whoever’s worried he never returned from renting "Marley and Me" and dropping off the mail.

Just when it looks like Jackie has managed to dance her way through the day without consequences, Zoey walks in on her and Eddie sharing their break time in the back room of the pharmacy. I love Zoey. From her curiosity over whether "morbidly obese" is bigger than "super obese" to her sharing later that she went to second with her manager at Burger King, our little nursing student seems to brighten up whatever scene she sweeps into. I’m just concerned about how she’ll react if she ever finds out how far from a saint Jackie really is.

So, Jackie taps her way through another shift at All Saints. She gets away with just a broken finger, which is pretty good for everything she's had to deal with, and she even manages to finish the cardiac arrest victim’s to-do list by sending out his mail. Jackie’s buying back her karma one good deed at a time, but her dancing is far from over. They began to install the Pixus machine that will eventually replace Eddie. Somehow I think the repercussions of that will require all the fancy footwork she has.

-- Andrew Hanson

Photo: Paul Schulze as Eddie and Edie Falco as Jackie Peyton. Credit: Showtime