I’m proud of Nurse Jackie. Not just the character, who made it through a seriously stressful season sober, but the show. After three seasons in which Jackie seemed to be in an endless cycle of getting into trouble and then getting away with it, the series took a whole new direction and, in doing so, turned back into a must-see show. (I hope the Weeds writers were paying attention.) Congratulations to departing showrunners Liz Brixius and Linda Wallem on a job well done.
Last summer in an interview with AfterEllen.com, Brixius and Wallem acknowledged what we already knew: that Eleanor and Jackie are Nurse Jackie‘s main love story. Not a sexual one, but the closest kind of friendship. We’d be thrilled for them to fall in love, too, of course, but this season saw a deepening of their best-friends relationship. Once O’Hara knew how much Jackie had been lying to her, their friendship had to change. This season, the blinders are off and Eleanor sees Jackie as she really is. And she loves her through it. “Unconditional love” is meaningless until you actually see the conditions.
O’Jackie is better than ever now because the support is mutual. (NSFW for F-bomb.)
And when Eleanor has her baby, her second happiest moment is sharing it with Jackie.
FEELINGS, FEELINGS, FEELINGS!
The season’s final episode packed in enough feelings to last us until next year. Jackie gets fired, as expected, and we despise Cruz for his arrogant speech: “You’re a nurse – a totally replaceable, too high on the pay scale nurse.” Why was he so pissed? Because while he was off having a panic attack, Jackie hired temp nurses to help take care of the extraordinarily overcrowded ER. Nice. Cruz fired her for putting patients first.
As O’Hara hustles Jackie away, Zoey starts the best slow clap ever.
Fortunately, the episode’s good feelings outweigh the bad, starting when O’Hara goes into labor. I could not be more in love with Dr. Eleanor O’Hara. No matter what happens, she simply insists on being ravishing.
And then! Eleanor has a baby! OK, Cruz interferes with Jackie getting to the birth on time so Coop has to attend to O’Hara during delivery, but every pain and frustration we went through with Jackie this season fades away in these moments of sheer joy.
Jackie made it. I have something in my eye.
THREE FACES OF ZOEY
“You can’t leave me.”
“Oh, honey, where am I going? We live together.”
“I think touching your stomach will make me feel better.”
BTW, how great is Zoey when she gives Cruz her “map” to the people who work for him? “[It has] their birthdays, anniversaries, things that make ’em happy, things that make ’em sad, who cries when a patient dies, who makes a joke and cries in private. Things you should know. You expect us to be good at our job; we expect the same of you.”
LIES, SECRETS, AND SURPRISES
Jackie is not worried about getting fired, at least for now, and immediately goes to Grace’s school to free her from the place she doesn’t want to be. We haven’t seen Grace this happy all season — and it’s a pretty sweet mother-daughter victory.
In a strange way, the father-son story is about freedom, too. Charlie knew the only way he would ever be free from drugs was when he eventually took too many. That’s exactly what happened. Paramedics rush in with Charlie and Cruz drags Jackie into trauma with him. He refuses to let her do anything but watch, though, as Charlie flat-lines. (Bobby Cannavale‘s performance in this scene was Emmy-level powerful.)
We know from rock songs and sudsers what happens next: as one soul dies another is born. Jackie will have to deal with the grief of losing Charlie, but for now she looks to God in gratitude that she is still alive.
God, remember, is still on the roof, finishing his chalk masterpiece.
That’s Season 4, folks. In Season 5, which may be the last, anything can happen. I’m trusting the new showrunner to keep things moving forward.
How did you like the way Nurse Jackie Season 4 wrapped? What — and who — would you like to see next season?