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‘Nurse Jackie’ Review: “Chaud & Fraid”

Nurse Jackie

The truth will set you free but it can also get you fired. That was the harsh lesson learned in this episode of ‘Nurse Jackie.’ Now brought together by their mutual concern for Charlie, Jackie (Edie Falco) and Dr. Cruz (Bobby Cannavale) get uncomfortably close. So much so that the good doctor decides to clean house at All Saints and make Jackie watch the ugly proceedings. It’s definitely not the kind of blood bath the thick-skinned nurse is used to dealing with.

Thanks to Charlie’s outburst in the shower, after Jackie and his father wake him from a drug-induced slumber, Cruz is onto Jackie’s “Dr. Feelgood” arrangement with Eddie. Of course, that ended months ago but it doesn’t matter to Cruz, who’s looking to take out his frustration over Charlie’s relapse on anyone who crosses his path at All Saints.

It’s a bad day for Eddie (Paul Schulze). What’s worse than having your boss learn you’ve ducked out for three hours via Post-It note? How about getting deposed by your co-worker and former lover’s soon-t0-be-ex-husband’s lawyers. After his tense sitdown with Kevin (Dominic Fumusa) and his legal council, Eddie returns to work only to learn he’s been fired, due to an internal narcotics investigation.

But Cruz isn’t done yet. He brings Jackie into his office to watch him axe her old boss, Gloria Akalitus (Anna Deavere Smith), whom he sees as an accomplice to her addiction. It’s a tough pill to swallow.

While Cruz sees everything in black and white, Jackie’s always operated in a very grey area. Cruz considers Akalitus and Eddie to be enablers of her addiction while Jackie points out that they also enabled her recovery. It’s a circular argument that ignores the bigger issue: how will this affect the patients at All Saints?

Thankfully, we had Zoey, Coop and Lenny to balance out the heaviness of this episode. Lenny (Lenny Jacobson) decides to “Eat, Pray, Love” his way out of heartache, by taking an impromptu trip to Greece while Coop (Peter Facinelli) becomes O’Hara’s “back-up-back-up-back-up” delivery room support when she finds her friends and family failing her. Meanwhile, Zoey (Merritt Wever) introduces Jackie’s girls to ‘Dirty Dancing,’ minus the cuss-words and abortion scene, of course.

Still, it’s hard to imagine the same kind of levity and kinship at All Saints without Eddie to act as pharmacist and occasional therapist to Coop and Zoey or thirty-year vet and nurses’ station den mom, Akalitus. Mike Cruz wants a fresh start but in fact, the truth may be that All Saints functions best when it’s staff isn’t afraid to get a little dirty.

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