There are obviously spoilers ahead, so beware.
Jackie Peyton is one of TV’s biggest fuck-ups, plain and simple. With endlessly repetitive patterns of oblivious destruction, she is much like a scrubs-wearing tornado; only tornados eventually dissipate and cease their violent ways. This pattern is, of course, precisely what makes Nurse Jackie such engaging television, six years into its Showtime run. And with tonight’s Season 6 finale, “Flight,” Jackie has finally reached the point of no return: prison.
Or maybe not. If there’s anything we’ve learned about Jackie over the years, it’s that she has absolutely no trouble exploiting her personal relationships for her own gain. She does it several times in “Flight” even, such as when she attempts to use her role as Zoey’s role model to save her own ass. (Zoey knows Jackie used a dying homeless woman to take the blame for stealing Carrie's DEA I.D. number.) In one of this series' most emotional scenes, we finally get to watch Zoey reluctantly remove herself from beneath Jackie’s wing as she watches her mentor stammer her way through more lies. Sadly, the next few minutes of the episode were a complete bummer, not because of the somewhat shocking last scene, but because Zoey stopped being this series’ dependable sunshiny break in the dark storm clouds.
So will Jackie actually end up in prison, or will she figure out a way to get out of it? It should surprise no one that Jackie’s own ridiculous actions (and some wishy-washy scripting) put her in direct line for the mugshot that ends the episode. With her job pretty much in the toilet (since she isn’t going to admit her wrongdoing and take a paycut), Jackie once again looks to Eddie, whose unrequited love for Jackie has repeatedly blown up in his face. He hooks her up with plane tickets – though we have no real idea where she was intending to go, other than away from everyone fed up with her shit – and a stash of pill bottles big enough to open up a streetside pharmacy. Jackie + that much medicine = problems, right?
On her way to the airport, her nursing instincts kick in as she stops to assist in a traffic-jamming car accident. As she changes clothes to get back on the road, most certainly beaming for still being able to perform such duties, she doesn’t zip her suitcase. Cue the dramatic music. Jackie blindly drives into an ambulance parked mere feet away, and the suitcase launches up, with loose pills flying everywhere. While it's a gorgeous moment, I have a huge problem with this scene. Jackie was shown to be paying attention to everything in front of her, which means she absolutely would have seen that ambulance, and the low speed of impact would never have been enough to fling those prescription bottles everywhere, much less bursting all of them open. Someone should have spend a few more minutes figuring out a more realistic way to pull this shit off. Like maybe have a unicorn catch Jackie at work.
Still, that’s what happened, and Jackie was obviously arrested for driving under the influence. (Dilated pupils, much?) But we have no idea if that massive cache of pills is going to get her into trouble or not, or how hard it will hit Eddie if it’s discovered he gave them all to her. Considering she just had them idly sitting on top of her clothes in the suitcase, she was clearly ready to check that bag at the airport, so she must not have been afraid of it being found.
As well, Zoey’s ultimatum to Jackie was “go to rehab or I tell everyone you stole that I.D. number.” It’s doubtful Jackie was flying off to some luxurious rehab – though nothing is impossible on this show – so how will Zoey go about her admission? Will she find out about Jackie’s incarceration and have a change of heart, or will seeing Jackie in jail enforce Zoey’s stance that justice is in order? I’m thinking the former, but again, maybe the unpredictable will happen and Zoey’s backbone will retain its shape.
It’s going to be a long time until we get to see where Nurse Jackie ends up, but at least we know she will be back for Season 7. It almost makes me mad that the writers set this finale up without knowing for sure whether the series would continue on or not.
Let us know in the comments where you think Jackie will end up. And everybody pop a pill if you think Coop and Carrie’s baby is going to be the least intelligent character in TV history.