"F--k you, and here's to me." -PaulaThe comedy and drama sides of "Nurse Jackie" haven't yet learned how to co-exist, and an episode like "Tiny Bubbles" suggests that until they do, the writers should err on the side of drama. Because where some previous episodes felt interesting but slight, "Tiny Bubbles" felt solid and powerful throughout. Even the relatively lighter moments -- like the Coop Has Two Mommies subplot -- had more weight, and felt more satisfying.
Much of the credit for all of this goes to Tony-winning Judith Ivey, who was wonderful as Paula, turning a character who could very easily have been a cliche into a very real person whose life and death had an obvious impact on the rest of the cast. Hell, even Mrs. Akalitis seemed like a human being for most of this one.
Great work, also, by Blythe Danner and Swoosie Kurtz as Coop's aforementioned two mommies, who went a long way towards deepening a character who'd previously been there just as comic relief.
But the regular cast was great, too. I loved Eddie setting Zoey straight on the subject of how unusual this situation is, and O'Hara being mildly serious for once as she offered to help Jackie. And, of course, Edie Falco was outstanding throughout, especially during the moment where Jackie learned she isn't the first nurse to get pain pills from Eddie, and in the final sequence (wonderfully scored to Patty Griffin's "It Don't Come Easy") where Jackie went to pack up Paula's apartment and found that Paula beat her to the punch.
I have a DVD with episodes seven through twelve, and if I do anything vaguely work-related over this vacation, I suspect it'll involve watching those episodes to see if "Tiny Bubbles" was an aberration or the episode where the pieces all started clicking into place.
Keeping in mind that we are not going to discuss the seventh episode, which went up On Demand today, what did everybody else think?