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'Nurse Jackie' season finale recap: Diversion interrupted

Season 6 | Episode 12 | “Flight” | Aired June 29, 2014

Buckle up, Nurse Jackie fans (and, spoiler alert, Nurse Jackie herself): The season 6 finale was full of so many fantastic twists and turns, it might knock you out of your seat. Everything we’ve been through with Jackie for the past 11 episodes (and for many of us, the past five seasons) culminates in one epic and colorful explosion. Literally.

But first, let’s check back in with everyone where we left them last episode. After getting kicked out of Kevin and Mia’s wedding (for throwing punches with her drug-dealer date), Jackie ends up at Eddie’s apartment, looking for her old boyfriend to comfort her the way he used to. Score! (Both in bed, and later, in another — also familiar — way.)

Zoey, arriving in Akalitus’ office (remember last episode’s ending line, “We have to talk about Jackie?”) tells her superior that — “hypothetically, somewhat possibly, speculatively” — Jackie almost killed a patient by administering 10 times the ordered dose of insulin. Akalitus writes up the incident and asks Zoey point-blank if she’s actually seen Jackie using at the hospital. When Zoey says that she hasn’t, Akalitus asks if there’s anything else pertinent she’d like to share. Hesitating, Zoey looks at the photo on her phone of Helen (the photo that Jackie used to make the fake ID naming Helen as “Nancy Wood”), puts it back in her pocket and says no. I yell at Zoey through my screen. Akalitus tells Zoey that she’s legally bound now to follow up, and Zoey sadly remarks that she only wants to help: “I’m worried for her. I’m also worried for us.” Someone give that girl a hug, please. 

The next day, Carrie needs help with a new admit to the ER. When Jackie steps in to help, Akalitus steps in to take her away to her office, where she immediately begins grilling Jackie by asking her if she’s been treating patients while impaired. Jackie, as usual, is quick to deflect.

Jackie: I’ll tell you who’s working while impaired. Dr. Carrie Roman.
Akalitus: Impaired how?
Jackie: By thinking she’s a doctor.

In a welcome but rare show of tough love, Akalitus offers Jackie “diversion,” where she’d self-admit, go to rehab, be on probation but be able to return to her job, albeit with a pay cut. Otherwise, she’ll test her urine in an hour, and if the test is positive, Jackie will be stripped of her license and won’t ever practice medicine again.



“What is this, fucking North Korea?” Jackie spits. Akalitus gives her one hour to decide: diversion or the drug test, and she’s not to touch another patient until she makes her decision.

Realizing she’s quite possibly at the end of her rope, dangling over a pit of vipers, Jackie runs to Coop’s office and does what she does best: lies. She tells the ER chief that it was Carrie who ordered the wrong level of insulin that nearly killed the patient, and that she hopes he’ll handle it appropriately. Later, when Coop confronts Carrie, his girlfriend matures about 30 years and accepts responsibility. Just when I was feeling disappointed in the Carrie we know and love proud of the new Carrie, she continues by telling Coop that she trusts he’ll deal with this fairly and not let the fact that she’s carrying his child have any effect on his decision. I don’t know if she’s lying or not (remember, Coop’s swimmers are all treading water), but does it matter? If she is, it’s classic Carrie, and if she’s not, can you imagine the beautiful disaster those two will be as parents next season? 

Jackie runs to her recent (and past) sleeping buddy, Eddie, and bemoans the decision Akaliuts is forcing her to make. She comes to the realization that the shame and pay cut that will come as a result of admitting to drug use isn’t an option, and asks Eddie to help her “go back in time.” 

Next, Jackie confronts Zoey and tries to convince her that the insulin mix-up was all Carrie’s fault. Zoey admits that she knows about Jackie using the iPhone photo to make the fake ID for Helen/Nancy Wood, and tells her that stealing a DEA number is a federal offense. Taking a page from Akalitus’ playbook, Zoey gives Jackie an ultimatum: “If you don’t go to rehab, I’ll hand the picture over.” Jackie, looking more flustered than I’ve seen her all season (maybe because she didn’t expect Zoey to be one of the aforementioned vipers), begs Zoey to believe her. “I did believe you. I always believed you,” our no-longer-innocent and newly skeptical favorite nurse admits. BRB, I have something in my eye. 

As Akalitus (and a few official and scary-looking people) sternly call to Jackie to “come talk to us,” Jackie puts on her coat, grabs her satchel and walks out of All Saints. First stop? Kevin and Mia’s house, where she talks to Grace and tries to get her to go inside and grab little Fiona and take off with her. 

Jackie: The three of us need some girl time! Just like the old days!
Grace: The old days suck.

Mia comes storming out and tells Jackie that she ruined her wedding, not to mention the honeymoon they had to cancel because Fiona was so upset by Jackie’s drug-induced brawl. In fact, Kevin is thinking of pressing charges (apparently, in the scuffle, Mia’s money purse, which contained thousands of dollars from the dollar dance, went missing). As Jackie turns to leave, she spots her younger daughter watching from a window, and gives her a heartbreaking wave and blows her one (last) kiss. 

After going home and snorting a few lines, Jackie frantically packs a suitcase with clothes, then meets Eddie, who fills the suitcase the rest of the way with vials and vials of pills. As he hands her plane tickets, he gives her some parting words of advice: “Don’t die.” (But here’s enough pills to kill a dragon.) 

Back at All Saints, Zoey discovers that Jackie is gone, and with a quick, depressing declaration  “I don’t feel like I deserve a hug right now”   immediately moves on. She asks Akalitus to write the recommendation for her nurse practitioner’s program (“You weren’t my first choice”), and when Thor introduces a new temp nurse, who comes in bubbling with excitement, Zoey takes on the role of a season 1 Jackie: “Sit there, don’t talk too much, watch what I do,” and takes her new seat at Jackie’s old desk. Sigh. I already miss the old Zoey. 

Are you still buckled in? Good, because now is when you’ll need to be. Jackie is caught in a bumper-to-bumper traffic jam four miles from the airport. Knowing that she only has 45 minutes until her flight leaves, she cuts her car out of line and drives along the median. At the head of the line is an overturned car and a man screaming for help for his bloodied wife. With an open highway straight to freedom in front of her, Jackie retains the part of her that we all still knew was in there, and stops to help the man save his wife. After the ambulance arrives, Jackie changes her bloody shirt for a clean one from the suitcase (full of pills, don’t forget) in the backseat, and because she’s in a rush to catch her flight, leaves it unzipped. Nurse Jackie, episode 612: Jackie (Showtime)As she cuts her car around another one, she slams head-on into the parked ambulance, and the impact forces hundreds of colorful pills to explode around her like a giant narcotic piñata. Game over, sister. 

“Ma’am, are you in any way impaired?” the officer asks as he shines his flashlight around the car full of tranquilizer confetti. Um, no sir. I just have a really bad headache and am on my way to slay a dragon. 

Nurse Jackie, episode 612: Jackie mugshot (Showtime)Season 6 closes with Jackie’s mugshot, and with this recapper both happy that our antihero will finally have to pay the piper for all the pain she’s caused while finally (hopefully?) getting clean, and disappointed in herself for thinking for a second that it’ll actually happen. 

OK, Jackie fans and foes, let me hear your thoughts on the finale and the season, and any predictions you have for season 7. If you need me, I’ll be busy planning a baby shower for baby Cooper.

Nurse Jackie is on Showtime.

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