by pat howard

NURSE JACKIE | 1×04: “School Nurse”

In Nurse Jackie on July 1, 2009 at 1:36 pm

“I’ve been around the block too, you know. In a nicer car, of course.”

The balance leaned to the dramatic side this week. Jackie’s crisis is one I had not considered in the parent-child equation. Children sometimes fear that they’ll become their parents, but I’d never thought that parents might fear that just as much. After a consultation with the teacher, school nurse, and district psychologist, Jackie is horrified at the possibility that her daughter could soon be popping pills…just like her mommy.

The Jackie we saw in this episode was not in control, and perhaps off her own meds. Kevin rattled off her various missteps at home, even getting in some unwanted, abortive sexual advances. Jackie managed to deflect Eddie and avoid mentioning her family yet again, going so far as to get a second cell phone to keep her trysts private. She wasn’t there for best bud Dr. O’Hara. But she managed to hang in and do her job where Zoey was concerned. Once again, Zoey did some great work…the character is a total spaz, and Merritt Wever is quite capable of keeping this endearing, if not exactly understated. Her scenes with the twin brother and Mo-Mo were a nice counterbalance to her stethoscope hi jinks last week.

It’s fun to see Jackie thrown off balance, in denial about so much in her life, and taking it out on the school nurse, whom she considers a colleague. Will she be able to continue to toe the line, or is she heading for a catastrophic rock bottom? My guess is she’ll keep on well past her own limits. And while I’m not sure we’ve established enough of a tone here to be toying with it so much and so often, I’m willing to see it through.

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