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‘Nurse Jackie’: Season Finale

August 25, 2009 |  7:41 am


So now we’ve come to the end of the inaugural season of "Nurse Jackie." Not quite the daring finale of a "Weeds" or "Dexter." No, Jackie continues the slow burn she’s been on these first dozen episodes, falling deeper and deeper into the hole she’s digging. And tonight she traveled a few hundred miles toward China.

Jackie’s day starts off easy enough. She ribs her husband about dating the terror of tap class Ginny Flynn back in high school.  Kevin promises her a little surprise for when she gets off work. He’s given the girls to his sister. It’s going to be quite a surprise. All Jackie needs to do is survive until midnight. Which might be a tall order.

As Jackie leaves for the hospital, stalker Eddie creeps ups behind her and slips into the bar. He spends the whole day there, drinking and talking to Kevin, who is none the wiser that his new patron has been having an affair with his wife for over a year. Eddie gets to hear about how amazing it is to be married to Jackie, who comes home after an overnight shift and asks Kevin what he wants for breakfast, and he even gets to see the ring Kevin bought Jacks. You can tell he’s always on the verge of saying something, but instead he just continues to drink and ignore her phone calls. Poor Eddie.

Jackie’s calling because she’s spending her first day without Eddie, and the trick he showed her to fool the Pill-O-Matrix isn’t working. That means she’s sober. On a day that seems to be pushing her to use.

First of all, Mr. Lederman is still in a coma from the overdose Zoey gave him last week. Zoey is depressed and showing her grief by wearing gray scrubs. Everyone tries to persuade her to switch back to her regular pink-with-bunnies wardrobe and, with hope, back to her cheery disposition. Zoey just wants Lederman to wake up. Though when he does, the surly film critic comes back singing the praises of "Showgirls," and Zoey’s reaction is, “I broke him.” Ah, Zoey. I’m going to miss you until next season.

Akalitus wants an official report on what happened to Lederman. Luckily for the nurses (and unluckily for her),  Akalitus gets stuck in the elevator for the entire episode. She cleans off gum, plays with her dress and imagines her interview by David Letterman.  Between this and her Tasering herself earlier in the season, I’d be surprised if Akalitus ever uses the elevator again.

Jackie continues to fend off the romantic advances of Dr. Cooper. Coop deduces that Jackie broke her own finger in an attempt to spend time with him. Get close enough for that infamous kiss. Of course, when Jackie hears this theory, she calls Coop an idiot and … kisses him again? I’ll have to trust Jackie on this one. I have no idea what she’s trying to do with Coop. Maybe she has a master plan on keeping him confused and chasing her around. Or maybe she’s just looking for a replacement for Eddie. You never know with Jacks.

In the background off all this, Dr. O’Hara has somehow managed to get her comatose mother transferred from London to New York and admitted to All Saints as a Jane Doe. Yeah, they must have purposefully given this story less time, so no one would have the opportunity to ask how any of that is possible. When her mother is brought to the hospital, Dr. O’Hara is desperate for Jackie’s moral support (and immoral fixing of records), but Jackie has too much going on. And seriously, smuggling a critical patient across the Atlantic is a little basic for Jackie. Call her when you have something a little bigger.

At the end of the day, Eddie shows up, drunk off Kevin’s beer and whiskey. He has his disgruntled-fired-employee moment near the nurses’ station while Jackie desperately tries to get him to leave. Before he goes, he leans in to whisper to her that he’s seen the bar and met her husband, which sends Jackie over the edge. She grabs three containers of morphine out of the Pill-O-Matrix (using her own sign-in) and downs them in an empty examination room. As she slowly drifts into another state of consciousness, she notices a rat running across the light fixture. That’s right. Last week we got the cliffhanger of Eddie watching Jackie and family through the window of the bar, this week we get a rat in the light. Doesn’t seem to carry the same weight.

And that’s how we fade out on the first season of "Nurse Jackie, " with her lying on her back in a drug-induced stupor. Same as we started it. Seems like Jackie’s going to have a lot of explaining to do come next season, though if there’s one thing we’ve learned this year, it’s that she’s just the one who could explain it.

-- Andrew Hanson

Photo: Eve Best as Dr. O'Hara and Edie Falco as Jackie Peyton. Credit: Showtime Television