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‘Nurse Jackie’ Review: “Are Those Feathers?”

'Nurse Jackie' Review, "Are Those Feathers?"
Showtime

Jackie may have a weakness for sedatives and pain killers but after this week’s episode of ‘Nurse Jackie,’ her greatest challenge might be Mike Cruz.

For one, he fires Akalitus (Anna Deavere Smith) and Eddie (Paul Schulze), who both laid on the sword for Jackie (Edie Falco). She does her best to show gratitude by having the pair over for breakfast, but Zoey (Merritt Wever) dashes around the kitchen in her kimono while Jackie heads upstairs to deal with her daughter Grace (Ruby Jerins), who’s upset she isn’t going to public school.

Evidence of their testy relationship remains on the bedroom wall, where Jackie spray-painted “Not Gonna Happen” over her daughter’s list of demands. Jackie gives Grace one of her patented non-pep talks, telling her that everyone has to go somewhere they hate, be it work or school because “it’s what we do.” Sober Jackie is proving to be a much better mom than the secretive, deceitful and over-coddling Jackie of days past.

At All Saints, the nurses’ station is in mourning, with everyone wearing black armbands in honor of their fallen friends. Cruz (Bobby Cannavale) immediately swings by to lay down the hammer and everyone looks to Jackie to initiate some act of rebellion. Instead, Jackie tells the gang to go along with Cruz, as she herself plans to keep her head down and hold onto her job.

But doing her job might just be what gets Jackie fired. When she and Cruz attend to an unconscious man, the doctor insists she remove his jacket immediately rather than hook him up to a catheter as Jackie suggests. Jackie rips off the garment, causing feather stuffing to fly everywhere. Cruz accuses her of insubordination but Jackie squarely tells him she’s just doing her job.

Later, Jackie deals with a woman on the verge of a brain hemorrhage who’s insistent on leaving All Saints to find her dad, who’s just been discharged from Bellevue. Cruz won’t send someone to pick up the man so Jackie tasks Zoey with bringing the elderly gentleman to All Saints. Where there’s a will, there’s a way and Jackie’s will seems stronger than ever.

With ER severely understaffed, Jackie tries to get Cruz to call in more help but he blows her off for a meeting with Quantum Bay heads. Yet when he tries to leave his All Saints headaches behind, a run-in with Zoey and the old man from Bellevue drags him back to the ER and sends him into a panic attack.

It’s ironic and fitting that Cruz should become a patient in the ER his strict adherence to protocol is turning into a potential riot zone. With her boss out of commission, Jackie finally steps up and makes a few executive decisions of her own. When an irate patient demands to know who’s in charge, Jackie loudly proclaims she is.

With the ER in chaos, Jackie’s stepping up and taking charge may come as a relief to her fellow nurses. And her bravado will surely save a few lives. But will it lead to someone else getting the axe in next week’s season finale?

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