When we first met Jackie Peyton in 2009, she was a brilliant liar, convincing the people at work she wasn’t married, convincing her lover to keep her on illegal painkillers, convincing everybody she was fine. Now as Nurse Jackie enters its final season, her lies and her luck seem to have finally run out. Running from All Saints at the end of Season 6, she was arrested for narcotics trafficking, and went through a very advanced level of detox.
The problem is, she’s lost her last chit. Gloria Akalitus (Anna Deveare Smith) has finally thrown in the towel and had Jackie fired. She managed to sue to get her job back (in typical fashion, paying for the lawyer by selling pills of a patient to a drug dealer she knows) but her nursing license has been suspended, and Gloria is determined to make sure that Jackie spends the rest of her time at All Saints never touching another patient. That means making Zoey (Merritt Wever, the one bright spot on this series still remaining) head nurse, as well as Jackie’s monitor, literally standing over as he urinates for every drug test. It also means treating Eddie roughly before firing him for helping Jackie, and it means cutting down anybody who even comes close to helping her.
Of course, there’s a lot even more depressing stuff going. Dr. Robin and Coop, who were having a child together last season, are now dealing with her miscarriage. In addition to Zoey’s disappointment at Jackie’s fall, she has now applied to a masters program, which she can’t afford. And now, it’s looking like All Saints, which had more threats to it than Cook County did, might be shuttering its doors.
Nurse Jackie has been an amusing and rather dry entertainment on the strength of Edie Falco’s performances, but as the years have passed, its become increasingly harder to root for her. Last season, she had a complete relapse, refused to get clean, wrecked her relationship with her daughters, and finally lost the faith of her two biggest supporters. This has been an interesting story, but there’s only one of two ways that it ends. Either with Jackie clean or ODing. And she’s already thrown her sobriety away once. As a result, this once wry and bitter ‘dramedy’ has become increasingly unpleasant over the last couple of seasons. (Although that might have had something to do with the switch in showrunners halfway through). There might yet be a happy ending for Jackie and All Saints, but will anybody still care when we get there?
My score: 2.5 stars.