Six episodes in and Nurse Jackie finally strikes the perfect balance between drama and humor. The episode was as about as perfect as it could be in it's fat-free 25 minutes, fulfilling pretty much all the promise of the pilot. But has the series figured it out, or was it just saved by perfect guest star casting/performances and a well-written script?
When you think about it, having two different patients check come in bringing along history of primary characters, is almost cheating. First Judith Ivey steals scenes as Jackie's dying old colleague, while Blythe Danner arrives at the same time as one of Cooper's two moms (the other we get as well in Swoosie Kurtz). These guest stars give a bit more context to not only Jackie and Cooper (who, we find out, does indeed has a sort of tourrettes), but even Akalitis, who up to know has mostly seemed like a cartoon oscillating between Miss Piggy and Bugs Bunny.
I've just received the next six episodes and haven't cracked them yet to know if the episode is an anomaly, or they've really got it all figured out. Or if they're going to use popular music in a similarly stellar fashion going forward, as they did here with Patty Griffin's "When it Don't Come Easy", a song -- better yet, a hymn -- about companionship and loss.
Song: "When it Don't Come Easy" - Patty Griffin
Previously: Off this Merry-Go-Round (Pilot)