Spoilers for the fourth episode of "Nurse Jackie" coming up just as soon as I color-correct a drawing...
"School Nurse," the first of back-to-back episodes directed by Edie Falco's old "Sopranos" co-star Steve Buscemi, has children on its mind. Jackie gets into it with the teachers at her daughter's school when they suggest Grace is suffering from an anxiety disorder. Dr. O'Hara reveals, not surprisingly, a complete lack of any maternal side, while Mo Mo shows his first real signs of depth when he bonds with a little kid who reminds him of the twin brother he lost at age 1. And even Zoey, who's a grown woman, spends a large chunk of the episode acting like a kid and pouting over missing all the interesting cases, only to get some perspective after experiencing her first patient death.
I liked the parallel at the end of the episode of Zoey and Jackie both trying to improve a picture by coloring it in. But where Zoey understands that she's lost this patient, even as she performs the kind post-mortem gesture of giving her back her eyebrows, Jackie's insistence on adding color to Grace's gray drawing(*) shows that she's in denial about the problem.
(*) True story: Day after my wife and I watch this episode, I come home from work and my wife excitedly shows me a landscape drawing that our daughter did in kindergarten that day. "Look at all the colors!" my wife told me, beaming. Cable drama: always an easy way to remind yourself of all the ways your life is better than theirs.
But then, Jackie's in denial about a lot of things, from the Vicodin use to the balancing act she has going with Eddie and her husband, at one point simultaneously fielding calls from both men and telling them, "Can't talk! Love ya!" It's treated as a joke here, but Jackie's willingness to use the word "love" in connection to Eddie brings us back to last week's discussion about how much of that relationship is about the pills and how much is about genuine feelings she has for the guy. Maybe it's just because Falco and Paul Schulze have such obvious chemistry together (as you'd hope they would after knowing each other since college), but I find it hard to watch their scenes together and believe that it's just about the pills. Maybe it's somewhat, perhaps even mostly, about the pills, but Jackie does have affection, if not love, for her drug connect.
Keeping in mind once again that we're sticking with the air schedule, and therefore not going to talk about the content of the fifth episode, which went up On Demand today, what did everybody else think?