Monday, July 20, 2009

Nurse Jackie, "Steak Knife": Talking to God

Quick spoilers for tonight's "Nurse Jackie" coming up just as soon as I give a baby some paperclips to play with...
"Too bad it's not made of Vicodin." -Eddie
If last week's wonderful episode felt like a breakthrough for this uneven series, then "Steak Knife" was a bit of a step back. There were still a number of extremely strong things in it -- notably Jackie's increasing doom spiral, reflected in her bad reaction to her one-year anniversary with Eddie, and in her struggling to be the shoulder for Dr. O'Hara to lean on rather than vice versa -- but there were also other parts that suggest a show that's still finding itself.

Specifically, I could do without the show hammering us over the head with the parallels between the patients and their caregivers (here with Jackie and the woman who can't let herself be with nice guys). If I want that, I'll watch "Grey's Anatomy" or "House," thank you very much. One of the advantages of cable dramas, in theory, is that because they're catering to a more select audience, they don't need to dumb things down as much as a broad-tent show like "Grey's." The "Jackie" writers would do well to keep that in mind and try for a little more subtlety on subplots like this.

Along similar lines, Mrs. Akalitus wandering around the hospital with an abandoned baby? Really? Last week's episode briefly turned her into someone resembling a human being, rather than the cartoonish authority figure she'd been previously. But this was right back to her being a buffoon.

But, geez, Edie Falco is so terrific, as was Paul Schulze in the scene where Eddie finally acknowledges that Jackie cares more about the pills than about him. I will forgive a lot for a great performance or three -- and I can never leave out praise of Merritt Wever, who may be the most endearingly funny character on my TV set at the moment -- so I'm hanging in with "Nurse Jackie" even as the growing pains resume.

What did everybody else think?

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm actually starting to think the whole "hiding her family from work" thing is getting stupid.

They need to get hot on explaining why she's been hiding her family for so long.

Hyde said...

This was the first episode that just didn't engage me in any way. Akalitus has always been too "sitcommy" and I can't bring myself to care about O'Hara. The patients usually help to salvage things, but not this week. I'm starting to think this show is going to wind up on the same list as all the other Showtime series except Dexter--watchable, but not can't-miss.

Mike said...

We definitely need more interaction like last week with Jackie and the other nurses. Also, is it just me or does the show seem to be dragging in terms of moving the story along?

Overall, I agree Alan, this week was nothing special and I hope it isn't a permanent step backward, just a roadblock. This show really has some great characters, lets see them do something with them.

Marsha said...

I'm pretty sure I'll keep watching the show so long as I get to see Merritt Weaver say things like "It's so tempting!" Talk about a line that just sits there on the page, but she brings so much to her reading of it. She's incredible, and I hope she stays on my TV for a long, long time.

dez said...

Merrit Weaver is the best part of the show right now.

So what did O'Hara's dad do? Did they explain other than the hint of criminality? I didn't quite catch it.

Heisen said...

Edie Falco's bravado performance is a band-aid thrown on a gaping wound and infection is setting in. Akalitus is an absolutely expendable character, but still not nearly as worthless as Coop. Too bad Coop didn't get put in any stressful situations this week in the ER, because the breast-grabbing gag which is the main highlight of his character will never get old.

The expiration date on logically or satisfactorily explaining Jackie's "hidden family" passed weeks ago, and really nothing they could offer now would be worth the effort. Somebody asked if they explained about O'Hara's dad. No, they didn't This is a 30 minute series that needs to be 60 minutes, and rather than tighten things up, they just hint at having actual story arcs, and then roll the credits. But I have it on good authority that there will be a zany breast-grab next week, so stay tuned.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I agree that the secret family thing doesn't make logistical sense if Jackie has been working here as long as she allegedly has, but it does fit the nature of the character as someone who compartmentalizes her whole life and doesn't want people from one compartment (with the exception of O'Hara) knowing about the others.

dez said...

I guess I'm the only one here who likes Coop? Woohoo, more Facinelli for me :-)

Trish said...

I'll share him with you, dez. I think Coop is great. (The scene with his moms last week, when he was sitting sideways in the chair, is what did it for me.) I dug this episode, mostly for the Zoey/MoMo bits, especially when they whizzed by Jackie at the very end.

I do agree that the hidden family story is wearing thin.

Toby O'B said...

Was I the only one who thought "God" was going to go SPLAT (or some appropriate Don Martin sound effect) on the sidewalk. Oh, well, plenty of time for that still to happen, but I hope he's around for awhile to bring grief to everybody. My fave line, from Zoey, natch: "God is mean!"

Anonymous said...

Why is Grace being put in a private school? She has anxiety disorder. Are Junkie (& her unbelievably perfect), hubby in denial? Is Coop becoming buddies with Eddie to score drugs?

dez said...

I don't think Coop is interested in drugs. He seems more like he wants a buddy. Okay, he also seems a little clueless about how to make friends, but that's part of his charm. But I don't think drugs are part of his plans.

Miranda said...

My biggest problem with the hidden family: if Jackie has been working there as long as I think she has, wouldn't she have to have been *pregnant* with Fiona (at least) during her tenure in this job? Wouildn't people have noticed that?

Anonymous said...

Finally watched this one, and I'm on board fully now with what Alan has said about musical cues telling us the scene is to be whimsical. The supervisor wandering around the hallways with the baby was accompanied by some horrific music. This is the reason I stopped watching Grey's. Sigh.