‘Nurse Jackie’ recap: the Sweet Tease
"Nurse Jackie" has always been about the sweet tease. Jackie deserves to be caught and punished. She’s done some horrible things over the past three seasons: had an affair with the pharmacist supplying her with pills, spending money set aside for her daughters’ education, stolen meds from a stranger having a seizure and her own daughter. The list goes on and on, but the sweet tease of ‘Nurse Jackie’ is how close Jackie comes to getting caught before slipping away.
Back in Seasons 1 and 2, it drove me crazy. Jackie constantly evaded any sort of comeuppance with little or no effort. She’d just stare down Sam or yell at a school nurse, and any accusation would simply vanish. In Season 3, Jackie had to work a lot more to get out of the messes she created. She’d weave lies or pull out the perfect AA quote she heard earlier in the day. We could see how much effort goes into hiding her addiction from the world. Now, as the third, and in my opinion best, season of ‘Nurse Jackie’ comes to a close, Jackie gets a few more of those magical reprieves, but it feels like she’s earned them.
Jackie starts her day off with a crazy man and pee tests. The crazy man wants to see a doctor due to his tumors, seizures and invisible watch syndrome. He’s a minor distraction to Akalitus’ demand for Jackie’s urine. Apparently HR is requesting drug tests from all the nurses. Kelly, the new guy who’s been faking all along, is brown bagging his defense. He’s got enough vitamins and over the counter meds to cover up his occasional marijuana use. Unfortunately, it’s not enough to cover anything heavier, so it won’t do Jackie any good. I guess that means Kelly didn’t use any of the six morphine patches he confessed to using last week. He must have taken them to sell, which for some reason, seems worse.
While Jackie tries to avoid both peeing in a cup and answering her husband’s phone calls, everyone else in All Saints prepares for Coop’s birthday wedding. Ah, Coop’s birthday wedding. The perfect ridiculous cap to Coop’s ridiculous year. I remember back when the Coop was only dealing with his compulsive inappropriate touching during stressful situations and the end of his advertising campaign. This year he completely regressed to age 5 after the breakup of his moms and then picked his wife off Facebook. Peter Facinelli deserves big applause for fully committing to all of Coop’s craziness this season. Hopefully next year he’ll grow up, and we’ll have a little more “man” to that “man child.”
In the middle of this, Jackie gets probably her most compelling patients of the year. First comes a guy with a boiler pipe going straight through his stomach. EMT Lenny gives a surprisingly convincing argument that this guy doesn’t have time to be stabilized. He needs to go right to surgery (way to take charge, Lenny), so Jackie and O’Hara instead treat patient No. 2, a deaf and blind man whose only relative is the guy with the pipe. Jackie has to write out words on the deaf, blind man’s palm to communicate. I could have watched a lot more of that story, even if the guy was roomed next to the world’s least convincing crack head.
Of course this is the season finale, and everyone’s waiting for two things: Coop’s wedding and Kevin finally confronting Jackie. Coop’s wedding goes off without a hitch. No, wait. That’s not the word I was thinking of. Bride. Coop’s wedding goes off without a bride. Seems she realized it was a bad idea, too. She made it all the way to the hospital entrance before running off into the street. Upstairs, the priest plays with his iPhone and Thor stretch out his rendition of Ave Maria, but finally Jackie has to step up to the altar and tell Coop the hard truth. Coop’s birthday wedding turns into just a birthday. Akalitus is happy to have her statues back, everyone gets a sugar rush from the giant cake, and Coop maybe realizes he already has that family he has been craving. Awww. Great. Wrapped up. Now back to the dark stuff.
Kevin shows up to the All Saints ER with kids in tow. Jackie has been avoiding his calls all day. Kevin even tried calling Eddie to reach her. She’s not ready to hear whatever he needs to get off his chest so badly it made him break a bat in the cages last week. Who would? Jackie doesn’t even know that Fiona got caught setting fires in school, but that’s the least of Kevin’s concerns when he shows up to confront his wife.
Jackie knows she’s caught. She has nothing to lose. She just peed into a cup for Akalitus, and that urine is going to break the machine with all the drugs it has in it. So she leaves the girls with O’Hara and takes Kevin into the basement. She leads him to the same forgotten exam/locker room where the series began. She can barely look her husband in the eye when he breaks down and confesses HE had an affair.
It was one of those moments. The sweet tease of Jackie escaping any sort of consequence to her actions. It was a beautiful left hook to the audience. I had a feeling Kevin wasn’t talking about Eddie and Jackie’s affair, but this still caught me off guard. Then it was followed by the upper cut of Jackie telling him to pack up and move out. I might have been a little bothered by Akalitus simply throwing away Jackie’s urine sample if I wasn’t so distracted by what possibility just open for "Nurse Jackie" Season 4. Now I’m mad it’ll be another year before we see what happens next.
PHOTO: Stephen Wallem as Thor, Gbenga Akinnagbe as Kelly, Arjun Gupta as Sam, and Lenny Jacobson as Lenny. Showtime Television.