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TV Review: Nurse Jackie – “…Deaf Blind Tumor Pee-Test”

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Showtime’s Nurse Jackie‘s third season finale, named “…Deaf Blind Tumor Pee-Test,” wraps up the year nicely, with a number of major developments. The biggest may be that Jackie’s (Edie Falco) husband, Kevin (Dominic Fumusa) reveals he had an affair, and Jackie kicks him out of the house. But a number of other important events occur, too, such as Cooper (Peter Facinelli) getting left at the alter, and Akalitus (Anna Deavere Smith) deciding Jackie is important enough to deny HR a drug test. The statues return to the chapel at the hospital. Zoey (Merritt Wever) considers another man besides boyfriend Lenny (Lenny Jacobson).

Jackie forcing Kevin to move out of the house has nothing to do with his affair. Sure, she might be a bit jealous, but she carries on an affair for a long time with Eddie (Paul Schulze). Instead, Jackie is feeling trapped in her life, not able to do the things she wants, and having the walls close in on all sides. As her co-workers find out about her personal life, and everyone begins to suspect, if they don’t already know, that Jackie has an addiction problem, one thing she can control, to get a bit of space for herself, is getting rid of her husband. Kevin’s admission is merely a convenient excuse for Jackie to pull away, something she is already doing with him anyway. Whether she will eventually fix the marriage on Nurse Jackie or not is up in the air.

It’s interesting to see so many people becoming involved in Jackie’s life, and by extension, her being involved in theirs. She has always maintained separate home and professional lives, but as her mistakes get bigger and bigger, she self-destructively ties the two worlds together tighter and tighter. Or maybe it’s for the best. O’Hara (Eve Best) was Jackie’s sole confidant, but Zoey has forced her way in, and Kelly (Gbenga Akinnagbe) has real potential, now that they have connected over a shared interests in drugs. But Jackie’s growing feelings of compassion for her co-workers, even the ones she calls annoying, is best exemplified as she quietly urges Cooper’s fiance to go into the hospital and marry him, though the unheard whispers are for naught.

Akalitus stands up for Jackie by throwing away a pee test she is pretty sure Jackie will not pass. This is a testament to Jackie’s place at the hospital. But it also confirms a speculation, for which the evidence continually strengthens, that Jackie’s boss knows about the pills Jackie takes. Because they do not affect her job performance, Akalitus allows Jackie to get away with it. But that doesn’t mean they go unnoticed. It also makes it likely that Akalitus knows Jackie is making progress, or trying to, on her own, or that O’Hara is helping her, and there is no sense making unnecessary waves for an issue already being handled. Somewhat.

O’Hara crosses a few lines for Jackie in the past on Nurse Jackie, but none as big as her latest one. Seeing few other available, attractive options, O’Hara tells Jackie she will provide her with a supply of drugs. O’Hara will be trying to ween Jackie off of narcotics, and give her things that will harm her less than some other options, but O’Hara is still supplying her best friend with illegal substances. This is a huge risk, as it would cost O’Hara her career, if not her freedom, if anyone ever found out. But their friendship is incredibly strong, and O’Hara values Jackie above almost anything else in this world. It’s a true sign of love, and probably the best thing O’Hara can do for Jackie under the circumstances, though it’s also enabling.

Cooper has been running from his moms’ split, and going to extremes while doing so. His wedding to a girl he has been seeing only three weeks, which he began planning before their first date, is stupid and impulsive. He likely knows this, but cannot help himself, so strong is his craving for someone steady in his life. Someone that really loves him. He feels abandoned, and because Cooper tends to act out in large, childish ways, it’s a move that makes sense to him. But the fact that his bride cannot go through with it is a smart decision for them both, because a marriage under these circumstances is not one that is destined to last very long.

Zoey already has a good man, but she’s about to let it fall apart if she’s not careful. Even though Lenny has been nothing but faithful to her and she loves him, she is sometimes less than satisfied with what he offers. When an attractive cop shows interest, Zoey returns the flirts. It’s a volatile situation, and should Lenny observe continued interaction between the two, considering how he reacts when encountering Zoey treating the man the first time, he may not stick around. Or, a better scenario would be that Lenny decides to fight for Zoey. She may not deserve him, but they do make a pretty cute couple.

It should also be mentioned that Nurse Jackie has comedic timing and supporting characters down solid at this point. The series boasts one of the best ensembles on television. Besides the characters mentioned above, both Sam (Argun Gupta) and Thor (Stephen Wallem) contribute to the overall tone with their one liners and reactions to various situations. Neither generally gets a whole, large story to themselves, but without their contributions, the show would be lacking that glimmer of greatness and heart that sets it above so many other series. Wonderful writing and acting, all around.

In all the commotion going on in “…Deaf Blind Tumor Pee-Test,” it may be easy to miss a really important occurrence. Jackie’s younger daughter, Fiona (Mackenzie Aladjem), lights a fire at school. While it could be innocent mistake made by a curious child, it could also be a sign of deeper issues. Kevin brings up both Fiona’s recent actions, as well as other daughter Grace’s (Ruby Jerins) mental issues, as evidence that the couple is not doing a good job parenting. And he’s right. Kids can sense things that are wrong with grownups, and their spats may be causing serious damage to their offspring. How long before Fiona has as many problems as Grace does?

Nurse Jackie will return to Showtime next year for a fourth season.

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About JeromeWetzelTV

Jerome writes TV reviews for BlogCritics.org and Seat42F.com, as well as fiction. He is a frequent guest on two podcasts, Let's Talk TV with Barbara Barnett and The Good, the Bad, & the Geeky. All of his work can be found on his website, jeromewetzel.com
  • Nutmegger

    You spelled “altar” wrong.

  • http://jeromewetzeltv.blogspot.com/ Jerome Wetzel

    I sure did! Much as I try, some typos do slip through. I’d feel bad, except even major newspapers have that happen, too. Guess that’s just part of being human.