Nurse Jackie: "Daffodil"

Nurse Jackie: "Daffodil"

So, which was more surprising: Mrs. Akalitus tasering herself, or that sensible-sneaker-wearing Jackie can accurately identify Easy Spirit career collection pumps? I'll say the tasering, if only because "Grrr, I'm Jackie!" seems to know everything—and no one expects a taser (unless alerted to its presence by, say, a preview or epsiode description). And Jackie does know everything—what to expect on night shift, how to get around Mrs. Akalitus's rules, when to say "Me too." instead of "I love you" (on the phone in front of your pharmacist/lover), how to get free meds for a the duaghter/caretaker of a needy Lupus patient, when Coop is gonna try and grab her boob so she can block. But in this episode healing, fixing, on-top-of-it Jackie doesn't know how to do one very important thing: assuage her daughter Grace's growing anxiety.

While Jackie's at work, Grace is storming out of dinner, and having meltdowns over broken pencil tips, and Jackie can't do anything about it. To make matters worse, or at least more dramatically effective, Jackie meets a 10-year-old in the ER who is the polar opposite of 10-year-old Grace. 10-year-old caregiver Stephanie is cool, calm, and organized. She's studying for a spelling test even as her mom has to be rushed to the ER for complications due to her Lupus. But we see that Stephanie and Grace have at least one thing in common: both of their mothers are on Percocet, obviously for vastly different reasons.

And home isn't the only place where Jackie is losing control. At the hospital, Mrs. Akalitus stays for the night shift just to keep an eye on Jackie, trying her best to cramp Jackie's style. But that's not all: later Jackie's confidant, Dr. Fancypants, swaps one nurse for another and takes Zooey (in her finest bunny scrubs) to dinner in Jackie's stead—leading to one of the funniest scenes in the series thus far. ("My dad's in prison for manslaughter" is always a great conversation-starter.) But the most annoying loss of work control (at least for Jackie) has to have been the budding, Quiznos-based friendship of Coop and Eddie. Cockblocking Jackie from her pharmacist/lover? Not cool, Coop. But very funny. Especially Eddie's reaction to The Great Facinelli's alleged stress reaction boob grabbing: "You're full of shit." Of course he is: He's Coop. We've seen enough of him thus far to know that he's either a clueless, entitled Dr. Frat type who has a thing for Jackie because she's mean to him, or that he's a clueless, entitled Dr. Frat type who just wants to see how far he can push Jackie's boundaries. Either way, he's funny, well-drawn character stirring up trouble which is always fun to watch.             

Over the past few episodes we've gotten the broad strokes of everyone at All Saints, and even a few details. But now Coop, Eddie, Dr. Fancypants, even Mrs. Akalitus are all being filled in. It's definitely taken a few episodes, and one giant death-by-chicken-soup step back, but Nurse Jackie is competently humming along now—just like a real (good) show!

Grade: A-

Stray Observations:

--Even Dr. Fancypants is growing on me. When she showed up in the stroke patient's room in the blood-splattered lab coat saying, "I'm famished," it was hard not to laugh. 

--"You need love in your life, lady. Seriously. I'm gonna set you up." Jackie's "gay boyfriend" doesn't know that she's married? 

--"I looove jokes!" Zooey saying this was easily the best joke in the episode.

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