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‘Nurse Jackie’ Review: “The Wall”

Nurse Jackie
Showtime

It looks like super nurse, Jackie Peyton, may have found her Kryptonite in the form of sobriety. After just two weeks in rehab, Jackie (Edie Falco), emerged having shed her thick skin and now without the help of painkillers, is just a mere mortal. The kind of woman who cries when a co-worker makes a derogatory comment about her hair. Didn’t see that one coming.

That’s not to stay anyone should be surprised by Jackie’s attempt to race through the twelve steps like a 5K. It takes hitting rock bottom for Jackie to voluntarily sit in a circle and talk about her feelings. She sucked it up as long as she could but it wasn’t working for her, or the show, really. With Jackie in rehab and the All Saints crew on their own, things felt a little disjointed.

But it wasn’t her hard ass counselor, Laura (Laura Silverman) or the oddball addicts she was forced to co-habitate with that drove Jackie to leave, but daughter, Grace’s black eyeliner. It’s a slippery slope, one Jackie knows all too well, from both professional and personal experience. Those small initial statements of rebellion quickly snowball into sleeping on the street and mainlining heroin. Right?

Well, maybe not in this case. In fact, it’s probably Jackie’s own act of rebellion the worried mother should be concerned about. When Jackie stops by Grace’s school to let her know she plans to make things right, Grace (Ruby Jerins) senses her mother’s desperation. It’s true that everything’s pretty much gone to hell at home but seeing as Jackie is the cause of most of it, why would her daughter trust her to make it right.

Now filled with raw emotion and without her pain meds, Jackie’s stumbling post-twelve step. She’s out of it in the ER and brought to tears by Coop’s off-handed remark about her hair.

Meanwhile, Eddie (Paul Schulze) casually let’s it be known that he told Kevin everything. Jackie calls him to confirm and the two have a civil, but brief chat about where Grace is staying that night. When she returns home, Jackie finds a list of demands spray painted on Grace’s wall. She wants to live with her dad, wear eyeliner and stop praying. Having returned to her old self, Jackie crosses out the list and writes “Not Gonna Happen” over it.

That begs the question, what is gonna happen? Was two weeks in rehab enough to get Jackie right? According to the statistics her counselor, Laura rattled off, not a chance in hell. And where do things go with Kevin (Dominic Fumusa), now that he knows his wife is just as much a slime as he is?

The resolution to the Kevin/Eddie/Jackie love triangle was the one let down about these first two episodes. After three seasons of build-up, Eddie’s matter-of-fact confession to Kevin and then Jackie was pretty anti-climactic.

But it made sense. Eddie’s spent way too long caring about both Kevin, who he now considers a good friend, and Jackie, whose role in his life remains undefined. Thus, his couldn’t-care-less attitude about the situation is certainly justified.

With news of longtime showrunners, Liz Brixius and Linda Wallem leaving their posts after this season, which has already wrapped, a bit of slate cleaning is probably a good thing for “Nurse Jackie.” All of Jackie’s secrets, lies and old habits died hard in these first two returning episodes.

Well, maybe not that hard. With the fourth season just getting underway, there’s plenty of time for the repercussions of cheating on her husband, lying to her family and ditching rehab, to hit Jackie. How she handles them, drug-free, is the million-dollar question.

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