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‘Nurse Jackie’ Review: “One-Armed Jacks”

Nurse Jackie

Jackie and Zoey roommates? Jackie gorging herself on pie while calling a seventeen-year-old addict for support? Jackie and Kevin getting a divorce? Well, at least one of these things makes sense in the world of ‘Nurse Jackie.’

Drugs will make you do crazy things. But getting off drugs can make you plain old crazy. Jackie (Edie Falco) seems to think that after cheating on Kevin (Dominic Fumusa) with double agent, Eddie she can get him back over lunch. Kevin, in turn, decides to ruin Jackie’s appetite by serving her with divorce papers instead of a bacon burger. But Jackie’s an addict, thus she passes up a double-shot of Jameson for a slice of pie and a call to her teenage rehab buddy, Charlie.

Like Jackie, Charlie’s (Jake Cannavale) also feeling ostracized by his family, in this case his father. Unbeknownst to Jackie, Charlie’s dad is her new boss, Dr. Mike Cruz (Bobby Cannavale). Whether or not she’ll realize the connection doesn’t really matter. Charlie’s moments with his bitter, absentee father show us yet another unlikable side to Cruz, which seems to be the point.

Divorce papers now in hand, Jackie is starting to get real about where her life is headed – spending her evenings making cartoon character-shaped pancakes while new roomie, Zoey dances in the kitchen. Hey, it could be worse. Jackie could be with Kevin.

A marriage riddled with drugs, lies and adultery isn’t the best place for a recovering addict. Which is the perfect excuse to push a once-unwilling Jackie into new, unfamiliar territory. As the show heads towards a fifth season, it’s perfect timing.

There’s plenty of shake-ups going on at All Saints, as well. Aside from Mike Cruz and Quantum Bay’s arrival, O’Hara’s pregnant, Akalitus’ back in scrubs and Cooper’s trying to get the nurses on board with Dr. Cruz’ floor-wide makeover. Needless to say, it ain’t happenin.’

Though change, and it’s somewhat foul smell, is in the air, Jackie still hasn’t lost her heart, though she’s down an arm thanks to Cruz’ brute force in the ER. There’s her calming bedside manner with a young man who coincidentally lost his arm in a botched suicide attempt and genuine concern for Charlie, who seems to have been tripped up by the twelve steps. And with sobriety comes clarity, allowing Jackie to acknowledge the hell she’s put Eddie through.

Though Jackie hasn’t lost her heart or her sense of humor, she’s definitely standing down on matters that would easily raise her hackles in the past. But as “Nurse Jackie” makes some major character shifts in this fourth season, it allows the show’s excellent supporting cast to mix it up a bit. Thor (Stephen Wallem) and Sam (Arjun Gupta) surely made Jackie proud, shutting down Cooper’s new scrubs announcement in the chapel.

Still, it makes you wonder what’s next for this kindler, gentler Jackie? My hunch? Well, there’s nothing like a nasty divorce to bring out the worst in someone. Or in Jackie’s case, the best.

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