Episode Title: "Play Me"
Writer: Linda Wallem
Director: Michael Lehmann
Previously on "Nurse Jackie":
After learning of O'Hara's plans to leave All Saints, Jackie offered an olive branch to the doctor, which she cautiously considered. Meanwhile, Eddie pleaded with Jackie to find a way for him to let Kevin know he works at All Saints.
Kevin's sister, Tunie (Jaime Alexander) drops in unexpectedly after going on a bender over a bad break-up. Jackie (Edie Falco) agrees to let her crash at the house for a few days, while she gets her act together.
Outside the hospital, Eddie (Paul Schulze) and Jackie discuss the weirdness of their relationship, as Eddie prepares to let Kevin know he "got the job."
In the ER, Jackie deals with an Orthodox Jewish man who insists his wife, now in ICU, be transported to Beth Israel and treated by the family doctor. Her parents protest the move, but the man insists it's what his wife wants. Meanwhile, two feuding food vendors are taken into the ER after engaging in a fight over territory.
Akalitus (Anna Deavere Smith) tries to convince a visiting priest not to re-possess the statues in the chapel, which technically don't belong to the hospital. However, he smugly ignores her pleas.
Zoey (Merritt Wever) and Lenny (Lenny Jacobson) enjoy lunch outside, when she bites down on a sandwich with a key to Lenny's apartment, placed inside. Annoyed, Zoey seeks advice from regular All Saints visitor, the "God" guy. Meanwhile, Jackie tells Lenny to stop suffocating her.
In the waiting room, Jackie encounters the seizure victim she took pills off of last season. They go for coffee and he tells Jackie of his work with addicts who fall back into their addiction. He claims addicts need to hit rock bottom before they can fully recover and is willing to put Jackie in the express lane to bottoming out, however she declines the offer.
In the nurses station, Cooper (Peter Facinelli) enlists a reluctant Thor (Stephen Wallem) to help get in on an elite doctors' fantasy football league, while down in the basement, Lenny tells Zoey he won't smother her anymore, as "God" plays a piano he stole off the street.
At the bar, Jackie tells Kevin (Dominic Fumusa) that Eddie got the job and Kevin tells Jackie that Tunie will be staying a while. And he plans to hook her up with Eddie.
If there was any question that "Nurse Jackie" is a comedy, "Play Me" put it to rest.
Throughout "Jackie's" first two seasons, there were plenty of laugh-out-loud moments but it seems the writers are taking a hard turn toward the comedic, this season. Perhaps it's due to rumblings about the show's Emmy noms/wins in the "Comedy" categories or maybe it's just the natural evolution of the show. Either way, "Play Me" walked a fine line between "dramedy" and "farce."
That's not to take anything away from the great comedic moments in this episode, in particular Zoey chomping down on a key sandwich or Thor's fantasy football exchange with Coop. But there were also a few instances where the show's usual comedic undertone started to feel silly and forced. In particular, Akalitus butting heads with the priest who came to All Saints to reclaim the statues in the chapel and the warring kabob vendors felt a bit too silly.
Personally, I liked not knowing how exactly to categorize "Nurse Jackie." It's certainly loaded with drama but I always found more comedy in characters like Zoey and Cooper than in what sometimes feels like forced comedic B-storylines. That's not to say that "Play Me" wasn't a laugh riot for some, but it wasn't a gut buster for me.
As for the return of the seizure-prone drug dealer from last season, it's an interesting twist. Is he just looking to get a little revenge or does he really want to help Jackie?
Maybe now that things have quieted down a bit for Jackie, there's just less drama to focus on. And I'm not exactly looking forward to a rehash of the "Eddie's new girlfriend in Jackie's face" storyline. In particular, featuring the ole' "screw-up family member who just breezed in."
What Jackie and Eddie said at the onset of the episode is very true. Their relationship is weird, not just for them but for the viewers, as well. I'm not really sure how to feel about it or if I even care anymore. Granted, Jackie's marriage is still at stake, but the affair had so many more layers in the beginning, of all which have been peeled back now, with Eddie learning about Jackie's marriage and Kevin getting close with him.
Still, I'm hopeful this season will find its footing in the next episode or two. If not, here's hoping Showtime gives Zoey and Lenny a spin-off, STAT!
Crave Online Rating: 7 out of 10.