Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Searching For Signal: #111 - “Nurse Jackie” - Season 2, Episode 1

We start out with a really LONG review of what happened last season. I suppose this was meant to catch us up, but what it mainly did was remind me that I ended the previous season not sure that I would watch again. But what the hell. Let’s see if things are any better in this woman’s life.

The first “new” footage involves some artsy shots of colorful pills falling from the sky. Or falling from somewhere. They sure like to make drugs look pretty on this show, at least visually. It’s like a pharmaceutical “Fantasia”.

Then we cut to some unknown beach where Jackie is sprawled out on a towel. She’s soon joined by hubby Kevin, and they have a nice romantic moment where she gives him a card and actually shows emotion for a few seconds. She appears to have a tan and has at least temporarily lost the severe haircut that made me so tense last season. Could things be looking up for Jackie?

Of course not.

The first sign of darkness occurs when Jackie and Kevin wander over to see what their girls are up to as they play in the sand. Creepy Gracie has actually brought soap along with her and is washing the seashells they have found. (So THAT one is still screwed up. Check.) Next we have little Fiona discovering an animal head and wanting to touch it. When Mommy tells her not to do that, she then insists on using Mommy’s phone to take a picture of it and send this lovely image to someone.

Then they stop at some food shack and things start to happen very quickly. Gracie doesn’t want any fries because she didn’t bring her gloves. (Makes perfect sense, right?) Jackie thinks she sees spurned Eddie walking the beach behind her but it’s not really him. (Constant drug use NEVER has side effects, right?) Finally, some mouthy punks wander up behind the family and start talking trash. Jackie snaps and shoves one of them to the ground while Kevin laughs and the little girls put another notch in their therapy case.

Now we’re at the hospital, and we don’t waste any time before the crazy hits the fan. Right away, some fool is running around shooting off a gun before Security tackles him. Jackie calmly walks through all this mess without flinching, only making an occasional grimace to indicate her dissatisfaction with the events.

Cut to Zoey and Mrs. Akalitus having some type of meeting, where it’s unclear if Zoey is in trouble or not, but Akalitus sure enjoys throwing out the phrase “severed ear” so I’m thinking Zoey is not here for a discretionary award. Jackie wanders in to this scene, and Akalitus seems pleased with this, since she needs Jackie to help her stop the apparent abuse of the robot drug dispenser thingy. (You know, the very machine that Jackie keeps trying to hijack so she can get a fix and then fall on the floor while she watches pretty things dance on the ceiling.)

Akalitus insists that Jackie lead a group meeting with all the Trauma Room staff on the proper usage of the machine. During this meeting, Akalitus keeps interrupting (perhaps she doesn’t understand who is actually the star of this show), half the staff is not paying attention and instead diddle with their cell phones, and Jackie manages to steal a vial of morphine while all of these people are in the room. Very impressive.

After that, Jackie and Zoey are strolling down an anonymous hall, because that’s what the script said to do, when Dr. Cooper comes running up, all aglow. He’s scored some Broadway tickets so he and Jackie can go see “Hair”. Jackie’s all mean to him, Coop doesn’t care for this and acts all hurt and snippy, and in the end he just gives the tickets to Zoey, who over-celebrates in a “lonely girl with no friends” sort of way.

Next we have a scene where we learn that happy but odd little Fiona sent the pic of the animal head to Dr. O’Hara. (O’Hara is really bonding with the urchin. “It was the highlight of my day!”) O’Hara once again tries to convince Jackie to let her set up a college scholarship fund for the wee ones. Jackie once again refuses, for whatever tormented reasons she might have. (And really, both of these kids are going to be institutionalized long before they ever graduate high school, so what’s the point?)

Then we have Akalitus introducing a new R.N. to the rest of the gang. This is Sam, the crazed stoner guy that thought white sheets were really fascinating last season, and Jackie had to fire him to stop the madness. Jackie pulls Akalitus aside and reminds her of this. Akalitus, and her pinched face, refuses to budge, explaining that he’s a FORMER drug addict, in successful recovery, which we’re supposed to realize because his hair is now clean and brushed, when it wasn’t the last time we saw him. It’s the L’Oreal 12-step program, yes?

Suddenly, everybody has to pay attention because busy people are rushing a new patient into the Trauma Unit. This poor woman somehow managed to have part of her hand shot off. Very sad. Dr. Cooper’s in charge of this one, and he completely bungles it, not realizing the woman is deaf (Jackie does), barking out the wrong orders (Jackie corrects him), and generally making a mess of things (Jackie points this out). Jackie sure has a lot of energy for someone who self-medicates.

Dr. Cooper, because he’s a pathetic man-child with issues, takes his anger out on innocent Thor who’s only trying to hook up an IV or something and momentarily gets confused. Jackie is none too pleased with this development. Once the woman patient is stabilized, she and Coop have it out at the Nurses’ Station.

During the heated discussion, we learn that Thor is diabetic, and he sometimes has brief incidents. (Oh, come on, writers. You’ve already made him gay. Now you’re going to throw in a medical condition as well? Give the guy a break.). Coop didn’t know this. He has a damn medic alert bracelet on, explains Jackie. You never pay attention to anything.

Suffice it to say that love is NOT in the air.

Then we have Jackie and Thor in the little hospital church, sitting all alone with their tennis shoes propped up on the back of the seats in front of them. (I guess this is how medical people show religious respect.) Jackie is chastising him for not watching his diet and risking diabetic episodes. “What is UP with you and cake?” After Thor admits it’s his one addiction, Jackie fesses that “cake IS good.” (It’s beyond that, folks. Cake is a glorious and wonderful thing that is misunderstood by so much of the populace.)

Brief scene with Jackie getting a text message from Eddie. “It’s been three months since you talked to me!” (I guess Eddie doesn’t understand that there’s a break in filming between seasons.)

Cut to Mrs. Akalitus on the phone, chewing up some Monsignor for apparent inaction on her expense account. Then Dr. Cooper shows up and wants to lodge a formal complaint against Jackie. He then goes on a rant about “I am at the TOP of the food chain” and he belittles nurses, confirming that he is in the midst of obvious delusion. Then he starts crying. Akalitus just stares at him with a blank expression until he leaves.

Jackie is wandering around the trauma unit, probably wondering who ELSE she can hide something from, when she encounters the husband of the deaf woman with the mangled hand. He’s on his cell, having trouble getting his insurance people to understand that he needs some money. Jackie, because she knows all about getting what she needs despite the circumstances, takes the phone and shoos the bit actor away.

So now we’re presented with a montage of scenes where Jackie uses her skills with a variety of idiotic insurance folk. She charms, she manipulates, she gets what she wants. (Hey, that could be a tag line for the series. Are you listening Showtime?) Finally, the fax machine beeps to life and we have coverage.

Then somebody else is rushed through the emergency doors. Some guy who has overdosed on Xanax. (You can do that? Had no idea.) Dr. O’Hara is the attending physician on this one. She takes one gander at the victim and starts trying to get Jackie out of the room. “Send in Sam!” Jackie won’t listen, rushing around and turning on machines, until she also glances at the guy’s face. It’s Eddie, the spurned lover she has been avoiding all this time. Jackie decides that maybe she might need a break after all.

Later, after O’Hara has ensured that Eddie‘s acting contract will continue, she finds Jackie in the God Hall where Jackie makes critical decisions while surrounded by saintly statues. Jackie: “I’m not responsible for that.” Well, yes you are. You were playing slap and tickle with the man just so you could get drugs. I think there’s a little bit of guilt that goes along with that. Just sayin.

Jackie steels herself and goes to visit the now-conscious Eddie. While she feeds him ice chips, he fesses that he didn’t mean to take his life, he just wanted to scare her. Who needs friends when you have lovers like this? Jackie storms out of the room.

Even later, Jackie arrives at home, bearing a cake with lots of icing. THIS is what we’re having for dinner. Everybody dig in, save a corner piece for me. While troubled Gracie initially beams with delight, she quickly gets an expression on her face which indicates that placing a sugary substance in her mouth might cause the earth to shift out of its axis and we all could die. Meanwhile, Jackie locks herself in the bathroom and lines up something orange for her to snort.

Same old, same old. But hey, cake really IS good. I’ll just focus on that…


  1. Did u notice during first season just how much sugar they feed those kids? Almost every episode they show them feeding the kids ice cream, shakes, donuts, etc. I hope they at least get a multivitamin each morning.

  2. Reading your summary, i think you miss the best part of this show. It's the one-liners the writer's come up with. Like the deadpan line about the Virgin Mary taking one in the shoulder or the "it's ALL go away," to Coop. Lol. The scene where the family is ordering lunch at the beach and Jackie shoves the asshole down cracked me up. I think I like Jackie because she says and/or does what we'd all like to say/do, but social convention says we can't. As a hard-wired smart ass, I get a kick out her. Wish she'd get off the drugs tho. I think the character enjoys the danger of it as much as the actual high.