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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.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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