NURSE JACKIE “Mitten” Review

NURSE JACKIE "Mitten" Season 3 Episode 4 (4)

NURSE JACKIE “Mitten” Season 3 Episode 4 – They fooled us in the previews for this episode into thinking Kevin had up and scampered away—cold left jackie. And even partway through the episode they almost had me believing it. Hell, they opened the episode with “Grounds For Divorce” by Elbow (great song—though for some reason I feel like going to work in the ol’ coal mines whenever I hear it) I sat up in my seat when she opened that closet. “Ohhhhh… is this a turning point….?!”

Newp.

I’ve said it before: Nurse Jackie doesn’t have to have a lot of major plot advancement to be entertaining; it better not need it, because it rarely gets it, and when it does advance it usually feels like a shock of cold water on the face. This one advanced a few (Kevin’s sister at the house and her being set up with Eddie; Gloria’s continued obsession to garner a hospital visit by Michelle Obama) as well as introduced a few more (Eleanor’s offer to become head of E.R., and Coop’s fruitless attempt at competing with her).

But this always comes back to Jackie, and to Edie Falco’s fantastic on-screen presence. I’ve re-watched a few episodes of The Sopranos; she was good back then but has improved in her craft by leaps and bounds since then. She has the “timing” gift; and you can’t say “comedic timing,” because even though some situations are funny (or at least garner perverse laughs), she just has a knack for dialing into a scene perfectly. It could be as a background “straight man” for one of Zoey’s mad little rambles, or she could roar to the front, like when she confronted the rude diner customer in tonight’s episode, just completely taking over a scene. I felt like the waitress; just agog at what I was watching unfold.

Pure charisma. It’s brilliant. She is! The show itself? Not quite as much. But it’s damned good.

Nurse Jackie occasionally loses its touch with realism, especially when it feels like it’s trying too hard to conform to its half-hour limitations. For instance tonight, on “Mitten,” I felt like the end especially was rushed; we went through the trouble of seeing Jackie unable to squirm out from under the suspicious gaze of Kevin, so she’s forced to take him on a walk with her to the church so she can pick up some of the “things” she didn’t want going to charity.

I knew those “things” were her drugs. You knew it too. And I even thought Kevin suspected it—or suspected something. Yet it felt like the clock was ticking down, they ran out of time… and instead of having her ditch him in some clever way, she just said, “Wait here for me.” And he did. And she went to the basement with the boxes of clothes and filched her drugs back.

So either they’re underscoring the fact that he’s an idiot (she’s an addict, Kevin—you need to be suspicious of every action she takes!), or they were just rushed and didn’t want to deal with anything that could conceivably take more time.

So that part didn’t really play with me. The rest? Great show.

Patient to Zoey: “Are you on speed?”

Zoey: “I AM speed, mothafocka!”

(Zoom!)

(Aside: knowing how many takes a given scene has in a given episode, how many of you think Merritt Wever was completely sore after shooting this one? Constant… movement… up and down… back and forth… scene after scene… I’m guessing, after all was said and done, she regretted parts of that script.)

(That woman started the series two years ago “pleasantly plump,” is now at a completely normal body weight by all appearances… and by the end of this season she’ll probably be freaking anorexic. Especially if she keeps bouncing around like her feet are pogo sticks.)

(Love Wever.)

If you too love Wever, follow me on Twitter! That’s @Axechucker, you … buncha … anorexic pogo sticks!