Nurse Jackie Season Finale: Kiss Off

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Photo: Ken Regan/Showtime
Episode Title
Healthcare & Cinema
Season
1
Episode
12

The finale held a few surprises, as finales are wont to do: Eddie finally gets mad (and mad drunk), Jackie gets in a fight (with a machine), and Intern Zoey takes off her pink scrubs.

Who: Eddie, the Ex-Pharmacist
Jackie’s problem: At the close of last week’s episode, Eddie peered into Kevin’s bar, where he spied Jackie and family in the throes of domestic bliss. This time he strides right into the bar, plops himself down, and kicks off a daylong drinking binge — all for the courage to chat up Kevin about his personal life and wife. When Kevin dreamily describes the wonderful, wifely things Jackie does for him, the look on Eddie’s face subtly cycles through surprise, sadness, envy, and jealous-boyfriend anger.
The solution: Eddie caps his day with a drunken sneak-attack on All Saints, where he spews a stream of epithets on the verge of revealing his affair with Jackie. As he’s forced from the hospital, he whispers in Jackie’s ear: “That’s a nice boy you’ve got there.”
Ridiculousness: Medium-High. That Eddie would want to come out with their affair isn’t so surprising — what shocks is that he refrains from spilling it. Especially under the influence of so much booze.

Who: Zoey
Jackie’s problem: Zoey was the one who overdosed the now-comatose film critic, but Jackie may have to take the fall. This troubles Jackie somewhat, but more so Zoey, who sheds her trademark pink scrubs in favor of mournful, Eeyore-gray garb. To complete the picture, Zoey brazenly hangs up on Akalitus, who is stuck in the elevator, acting out cartoonish fantasies of fame and friendship with the critic. Zoey is avoiding Akalitus because Akalitus is demanding a formal investigation into the situation. Soon enough, though, the patient is awake and transformed, fondly remembering the movie Showgirls and now innocent of his once venomous hatred of Kevin Costner.
Jackie’s solution: Keeping Akalitus marooned means Jackie and Zoey don’t have to make a statement — yet.
Ridiculousness: Low. Zoey’s diversion into the doldrums shows a serious side we knew had to be there all along.

Who: Kevin
Jackie’s problem: As Eddie gets drunker, Jackie’s calls for help with the electronic pharmacist become increasingly urgent. Every time the phone rings, poor Kevin is one giant leap closer to discovering Jackie’s indiscretions. This is the show’s first real nail-biter, and the timing couldn’t be better (or worse, depending on your perspective): Kevin is taking Jackie on a “mysterious” midnight rendezvous, presumably to proffer the diamond ring “he never could afford.”
Jackie’s solution: When Jackie learns that the two men in her life have met, she instinctively retreats to her de facto drug den, the ladies' room. She furiously rummages through her pockets for nonexistent pills, slamming around the bathroom in frustration. She eventually succeeds in getting the machine to dispense her fix, which she furiously gulps down on the floor of an examination room.
Ridiculousness: Low. It was only a matter of time before Jackie would flirt with twin tragedies of withdrawal and having her secret life exposed.

Who: Dr. Cooper
Jackie’s problem: Ever since she delivered her strategic kiss, Coop won’t stop mooning over Jackie. While she can’t stand his puppy-dog overtures, she needs to keep him in his place lest he go to the authorities with her organ-donor forgery.
Solution: Mixed messages. One minute, Jackie is telling him to step the fuck off and in the next, planting another wet one on him. It’s all too much for lovestruck and naïve Dr. Cooper to figure out.
Ridiculousness: High. Though effective, Jackie’s bob-and-weave routine certainly wouldn’t work on most — even a goober doctor whose intelligence level is slightly above that of a sack of hammers.

Who: Dr. O’Hara
Jackie’s problem: Her drugs — or lack thereof — threaten to destroy her most important friendship. O’Hara asks Jackie to stick with her as her dead mother’s body is being delivered to the hospital. Unfortunately for them both, Jackie’s single-minded focus is on her addiction. While Jackie spars with the pill machine, O’Hara cries, alone, over her mother.
Solution: As usual, Jackie resorts to her drugs — only this time, the drugs have gone AWOL.
Ridiculousness: Low. While we didn’t see the tears coming from stiff-upper-lipped O’Hara, there was no way the show was going to end without the walls of Jackie’s personal life crumbling around her.

The episode closes with Jackie sprawled on the floor, hallucinating a scene of Dick-and-Jane-esque familial perfection as her disembodied voice sings Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?” She’s stirred from her reverie when a rat scrambles across the ceiling light fixture. Surely this is a symbol of something — the intrusion of ugly reality on Jackie’s fantasy life? But just like the famously ambiguous ending to the show that made Edie Falco’s name, we’re still left wondering after her actual fate.