The complicated and unhappy life of nurse Jackie continues in the third season of the “Nurse Jackie” series. Before I go any further, I want to highlight that this review is, in fact, for the third season, because my review may sound repetitive or similar to my earlier reviews of the first and second seasons. This is because the third season is basically the rehash of the first two seasons, lacking excitement and drama in the main story line. In addition, the story elements and show’s structure remain the same, making the show overly predictable and boring at times. After watching the twelve episodes of the third season, I can say that this is the worst season for the series so far. I had a hard time putting down my thoughts about the story and characters because, as it turns out, the story goes nowhere and the script fails to develop the characters and Jackie’s world to the next level.
The third season picks up right after Kevin (Dominic Fumusa) discovers Jackie’s (Edie Falco) drug addiction. Jackie arrives at the hospital and her close friend, O’Hara (Eve Best) seems uninterested in talking to her. On the home front, Kevin and Jackie continue to be cordial to each other, just for their kids. Grace (Ruby Jerins) continues to have emotional problems like anxiety and inability to express herself. Surely, she senses something is not right between their parents. Kevin runs the bar by himself, and occasionally has Eddie (Paul Schulze) to give him company, much to Jackie’s surprise. Kevin and Eddie are becoming close friends, and Kevin shares a secret with Eddie. As always, the season ends with a cliffhanger, after a suspenseful discussion between Kevin and Jackie.
So what has gone wrong in this season? Pretty much everything. Being the central character of the show, Jackie’s character, beyond the fact that she is a drug addict and liar, is underwhelming in that she lacks the conflicted personality of a drug addict. Moreover, Jackie’s background in drug addiction is ineffectively developed, even after we have watched thirty-six episodes. Jackie’s infidelity, which formed a significant part of the previous season, is completely unaddressed, as if nothing ever happened. But there are other instances where the writers have dropped key elements shaping characters’ personalities.
From a structural perspective, the filmmakers’ attempt at mixing comedy and serious themes makes the episodes irrelevant and lightly focused. Every episode begins and ends with a bang, but between the beginning and ending, we mostly get filler. The side stories get compressed in these moments, and they hardly make any impact in the context of the main story. The work life at the hospital doesn’t go beyond the daily chores, and the supporting characters tire you out after a while, as they don’t change much. Sure, there are a few humorous moments, but they are completely forgettable. My favorite character, Kevin, is still the same nice-looking, warmhearted human being, and at least there is an attempt to enhance Kevin’s character further, but it is too late.
In the climax, we are presented with a secret that should have been part of the main plot much earlier in this season. Season after season, writers have held back significant character details, and as a result, “Nurse Jackie” fails to move in any direction.
Lionsgate presents “Nurse Jackie: Season Three” in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, encoded using an AVC codec. The show is shot in brightly lit interiors, and as a result, contrast levels seem a bit high. Softness is present in some scenes, but it is intentional. Otherwise, the transfer is clean looking, with consistent detail and sharpness. The close-ups reveal good detail, and the skin tones remain realistic and warm.
“Nurse Jackie” is mainly a dialogue-driven show, and the dialogue comes up clear and crisp through the front channels. On a few occasions, the rear channels are triggered, especially in the outdoor segments. The soundtrack realistically presents the hustle-bustle of city life that is the result of noises coming from traffic and people.
There are five audio commentaries from the cast and filmmakers on the following episodes: “Game On,” “Enough Rope,” “When the Saints Go,” “Batting Practice,” “Deaf Blind Humor Pee-test.” Next, “Inside Akalitus” is a profile of Anna Deveare Smith, who plays the character of Gloria Akalitus in the show. Up next, “Jackie’s Guys” is a profile of men in Jackie’s life. Finally, there is a gag reel.
The third season of “Nurse Jackie” is the worst season so far. The show is predictable, and its characters are uninteresting. The story fails to progress any further, and fans that have watched the first two seasons will surely be disappointed with Jackie’s outing in this season.