Nurse Jackie: Season 3, Episode 12

...Deaf Blind Tumor Pee-Test (20 Jun. 2011)

TV Episode  -   -  Comedy | Drama
7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 76 users  
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Akalitus is all over the staff: HR has mandated a urine sample from all the nurses. Jackie keeps dodging her. Coop's wedding is today and Jackie has forgotten to get the cake. Jackie is ... See full summary »

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Title: ...Deaf Blind Tumor Pee-Test (20 Jun 2011)

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Akalitus is all over the staff: HR has mandated a urine sample from all the nurses. Jackie keeps dodging her. Coop's wedding is today and Jackie has forgotten to get the cake. Jackie is avoiding the inevitable conversation her husband is determined to have with her. Coop's bride stands him up at the altar. Akalitus finally gets Jackie to take a pee test just as Kevin arrives at the hospital. Written by Anonymous

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20 June 2011 (USA)  »

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Season 3: Keeps the standard of previous two seasons, only downside is it also keeps the same rough narrative arch (mild suggestive spoilers)
12 August 2011 | by See all my reviews

Sometimes when a show does the same things in consecutive seasons it can be accused of playing it safe or just trying to hold the audience for as long as it can so that the advertising space sells for more. You see it occasionally in network formula shows that have been a hit and are afraid to change things for fear of upsetting the audience. With Nurse Jackie though it is hard to really see it as a failing or a bad thing because the show is doing everything right and considering it works I guess there is no reason to fix it.

I didn't think it would be like that since the previous season appeared to end with at least some of Jackie's lies exposed (her drug addiction) while others such as the affair with Eddie only seemed to be a matter of time till they came out, but yet although season 3 opens seconds after the end of the previous one, an accomplished liar like Jackie doesn't accept the path that exposure offered to her. While it looked like all the balls would come crashing down, she manages to keep them all in the air (even if some of them are now giving her very untrusting looks). Writing this makes it sound like the writers have copped out of changing the dynamic of the show by having her totally exposed but, if they have, then it doesn't feel like that because what follows works very well by delivering the same sort of concept but informed by what has gone before – which is fine.

So as before we get a season where tension builds across the season as to whether or not Jackie can keep things going without getting exposed or hitting rock bottom. As before it is engaging because Jackie is a great character and you equally care about her and also dislike her for what she is and it is this emotional buy-in that makes it easier for the plot to work. I have mentioned before that at some point something needs to give and I did feel that way again when the season ends with yet again Jackie dodging the dramatic bullets that had been flying at her and somehow ending the season on top. The conclusion means that we will start season 4 with the same narrative arch in front of us – the details may be different but essentially the "will she get caught" will unfold with it looking all the time like she might or might hit rock bottom first. This third season was the one where I felt the writers have probably ridden that road as often as they can and maybe need to expand beyond it rather than just repeating it a fourth time.

Of course this was just a lingering feeling I had at the end but during the season I was carried along with it and really enjoyed it. The dramatic tension works well and the darkly comic tone it has carries it through some of the unlikely twists. Happening around this the support characters continue to be well used. The short running time of each episode means it is a wise decision to not promote anyone to having a thread that demands a lot of attention but at the same time they have enough going on so they feel like they exist even when not directly within the main thread. As good as the writing is, it is the characters that make the show great. Jackie is a great central presence and Falco's near-perfect performance makes the best of her. Wever's Zoey is very funny and used very well to break up tension without her ever feeling like a clown or simply comic relief. Sam and Thor all continue to be good for what they are and Facinelli still worked pretty well even though the show continues to be odd in his regard. Best is better as she has more character to work with thanks to what she now knows about her friend. Smith is OK but too removed from the action and the Michele Obama idea doesn't really do anything. New addition Akinnagbe (The Wire) did a solid job.

Overall, season 3 of Nurse Jackie feels like familiar ground in terms of plot, characters and tone – and it feels this way because it is essentially more of what it has done since the first season. This isn't a bad thing though because it is mostly good stuff that is engaging, funny and entertaining. I hope season 4 sees more development though – I'm not sure how many more seasons I'm happy to have the arch of "she's getting away with it, oh she might not get away with it, oh she got away with it again".


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