by pat howard

NURSE JACKIE | 1×02: “Sweet ‘N All”

In Nurse Jackie on June 17, 2009 at 2:28 pm

Why was this episode not bundled with its predecessor as a one-hour premiere? Thoughts after the jump.

The pilot was all setup, in that way that pilots are. But with all the parameters established, this second episode was a fun trip to Jackie’s playground. We got to spend a little time with her family, and see that she is the same secretly (com)passionate woman at home as she is at work. The lines come closest to blurring only twice: when Jackie grinds percocet into sweetener packets while packing lunch for her kids, and in separate conversations about the God particle. The bartending husband and young daughters are as important to her as her patients, her coworkers, and her job: each one separate but equal.

That said, the wedding ring symbolism is a little anvilicious, and the title sequence is like a cheese grater on my soul. It is not the ’90s anymore, no matter what Caryn Mandabach tells you. Otherwise, this episode is a sparkling visual delight in the masterful hands of Craig Zisk.

The interplay among Mo-Mo, Zoey, and Thor is tons of fun: Thor wants Mo-Mo, Zoey wants Thor, Mo-Mo is otherwise engaged. Way to establish a triangle without dwelling or clunkily expositing. The muffins are a twee symbol of Zoey’s sweetness up against the lingering shot of a certain bitter taste sinking into Jackie’s coffee. Does Gloria’s unintentionally purloined sweetener mean the end of the ear-in-the-toilet investigation?

The woman with the oxygen tank wins best patient of the week, for her one shining scene. The stage mom was probably the least interesting. And the angry man was a great illustration of the unemotional compassion that is supposed to make us root for Jackie, who could be in no better hands than Falco’s. I wonder if the nurses who protested last week’s pilot episode will continue to take issue with this fictional portrayal.

Finally, Jackie’s heart-to-heart with Fitch was a nicely nuanced scene. Jackie knows it doesn’t matter what she actually thinks of Coop; his success on the job is more dependent on how he perceives himself. Their awkward hug sums up the interaction nicely.

If anything, this episode made Jackie seem almost too nice, too relatable…but that’s just one opinion. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

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