Nurse Jackie series finale recap: An exquisite end

Nurse Jackie series finae, season 7, episode 12 Barb Oates

Nurse Jackie series finale recap Season 7, Episode 12 “Say A Little Prayer” (original airdate June 28, 2015, Showtime) Series creator Clyde Phillips delivered on his promise in the Nurse Jackie series finale, providing an “authentic” end to the show’s seven-season run. True to real life, addiction can be a losing battle and Jackie Peyton reminded us of that continuously — losing absolutely everything she loved along the way. As much as we so Nurse Jackie series finale, season 7, episode 12wanted to trust her this past season — after working so hard to get her family and her job back — we expected her to disappoint, and she finally did.

But Phillips warned us earlier in the season, when he told EW about the finale: “There are several things you can do with an addict. You can have the addict die, you can have the addict be completely clean and have a happy life, or anywhere in between. As Edie herself will say, you’re an addict for life. The character of Nurse Jackie is an addict for life. There is a price to be paid for that. There are consequences. We examine those consequences very closely at the end.” And those consequences were so very true and Phillips never wavered.

Mackenzie Aladjem of Nurse JackieAs the series finale begins, Jackie (Edie Falco) is alone in a church praying. She prays, “make me good,” a prayer that has yet to be answered. Then we find her next to her ex-Kevin (Domenic Fumusa), and daughter Fiona Grace (Ruby Jerins) as they watch Fiona (Mackenzie Aladjem) struggle with her Catechism as she prepares for her confirmation. It’s a happy family moment. In walks a young boy, asking Jackie for a lunch date. She turns to find Dr. O’Hara (Eve Best) back for her godmother duties.

Nurse Jackie series finaleO’Hara accompanies Jackie to All Saints for their final day, where she receives a warm reception from Zoey (Merritt Weaver) and Thor (Stephen Wallem), as well as, Akalitus (Anna Deavere Smith). O’Hara puts on her coat and helps make final rounds. As they serve their final patients and clean out offices, Jackie is offered a job at Bellevue. She extends the job opportunity to Zoey, who needs to think about it before making any commitment.

Eddie in Nurse Jackie series finaleJackie’s one and only faithful ally throughout all of this, Eddie (Paul Schulze), is facing criminal charges and he hires Jackie’s lawyer Barry Wolfe (Mark Feuerstein) in hopes that he can perform a similar miracle to get him out of his “drug misappropriations.” While Eddie’s paperwork checks out, his bigger problem is that the DA served a search warrant on the pain management clinic (that pill mill where he and Jackie made their money to pay Barry). Looks like the samples they took from the clinic match Eddie’s pill numbers. Oh, they also have him on tape. He’s screwed. Barry asks Eddie to divulge others involved to help save him from prison time. Eddie confesses to it all, keeping Jackie safe, as he is prepared to pay the price whatever it ends up being knowing he will eventually start a fresh life with her, as she’s his “everything.”

O’Hara calls Jackie out for being high. Jackie doesn’t have to admit it to her, she knows. O’Hara reminds her that she’s more than just a good nurse, she’s a mother, a friend, a fucking human being and her moving to another hospital isn’t the answer, it’s just a continuous circle. It’s too late.

Into the ER comes a man demanding to know “where is he,” and he pulls out a gun and points it at Jackie to get the answer. No one knows who “he” is, but this guy’s head is wounded and he’s clearly not stable. For a minute, you think this is how Jackie’s going to exit – this guy is going to blow her head off but Phillips was just setting it all up. Dr. Prince (Tony Shalhoub) comes to the rescue one final time and asks the man to point the gun at his head instead, announcing himself as Captain Bernard Prince of Major Crimes. He gives the guy like 10 seconds to get out of there and Prince starts counting. The guy bolts. Well done, once again, Dr. Prince.

Jackie heads to the bathroom where she finds the “where is he” guy cowardly hiding next to the toilet bowl. He explains that he hurt someone and doesn’t know why and that now the guy is looking for him. Yeah, Jackie tells him the guy is gone. She assesses immediately that he’s a fellow addict – shooting heroin into his toes – and tenderly cares for the man, cleansing his feet and wounds, while confessing her addiction and giving him hope. When they transfer him to Bellevue, he leaves his belongings behind willing to try and make a fresh start.

He was to be their final patient. And the doors of All Saints close for good.

Jackie presses Zoey on going to Bellevue with her.

“I need to move on,” Zoey tells her. “And I need you to let me.”

“We can move on together,” Jackie says.

But that can’t happen, Zoey explains. “I wanted to be you. Now all I do is worry about you. Jackie, I need to go out there and make my own mistakes and have nothing to do with you.”

Jackie’s eyes well up and her true love for Zoey is clear, “You’re like a daughter to me.”

“Then you should understand, and let me go my own way,” Zoey says. The tears from both of them seem all to real.

Jackie gives her approval by telling her how proud she is of her. Zoey’s real plans involve going to Haiti to help serve with Doctors Without Borders.

Jackie then sees Dr. Prince smoking a real cigarette in the lobby. “Don’t blame yourself,” Prince tells her, rubbing her back. He thinks she’s one of his ex-wives – it’s that tumor of his taking over. She goes along with it and they say their goodbyes.

As the rest of the staff turn the ER into a party scene. Jackie quietly grabs the addict’s belongings and heads into the bathroom. She takes the razor and prepares several lines and snorts them all down. Her high takes her out of All Saints — where she turns in her badge, takes off her stethoscope and exits — walking down the streets of New York where she eventually encounters a flash-mob type, maybe yoga gathering of some kind — she’s beyond high —and lays on an empty red mat. It’s not real.

It’s Zoey we hear next, as we return to All Saints where Jackie is passed out on the floor. Zoey screams for assistance and to call an ambulance to Bellevue. The irony of not being able to help her in the now shut down hospital. “You’re good Jackie, you’re good,” she tells. And all her friends are hovered over her, as Jackie takes her (maybe) final breathe.

I hate (loved) you Jackie Peyton.

Four-time Emmy winner Edie Falco told us earlier this season that she was pleased with the ending. “I am very, very pleased,” Falco said. “I thought it was sort of exquisite. We had great writers who were very true to the character, and the other characters, and the storyline — about what the whole show was about.”

And we thought it was exquisite, too. Thanks for the thoroughly entertaining ride. If only real life wasn’t like this TV ending …


Photos: Credit: David M. Russell/SHOWTIME



  1. I haven’t watched the final episode. But I’ve read enough about it to know what happened. I had already thought about the pilot, and how the end of the show would seem to have come full circle. And so I believe Jackie died. Unfortunately, I didn’t want her to die, and I guess since the hospital was closing, they wouldn’t have had a dose of Narcan handy to bring her back from the OD. I came to this show late, but quickly fell in love with it. And as a nursing student, I tell all my classmates to watch it.

  2. Is this the same lady who sang in the play Evita? She should stick to Broadway.

  3. Jenny, yes I saw the symbolism you saw, too. But I don’t think Jackie died. Okay, I’ll admit I want her to live. Jackie asked God to make her good, and His answer was having her live to face her problems, to deal with those whom she’s hurt and angered.

  4. I would like to point out that she walks past people who (now I only watched it once) resemble the dead. There was the green headed kid, aka charlie. And the bike messager, like the one coop didn’t save in the first season… I think jackie died :/

  5. I would like to point out that she walks past people who (now I only watched it once) resemble ghedead. There was the green headedki, aka charlie. And the bike messager, like the one coop didn’t save in the first season… I think jackie died :/

  6. I for one was VERY pleased with the way it ended and I also noticed all the symbolism in it. Upon reading other comments on the web I noticed someone mentioned that in the pilot episode it almost started the way it ended so I immediately had to track it down and re-watch it. It stared with her passed out on a white floor with an almost empty pill bottle, with the same song from “Valley of the Dolls” playing. Then at the very end of the episode she says “Please make me good God, just not yet.” Certainly came full circle and ended the only way a show like this could.

  7. I have not seen anyone address the obvious symbolism in this episode! First, Jackie asks God to “make me good”. When she finds the drug addict in the bathroom she brings him into a room to take care of him. The light is coming in the window behind him, and he is gowned in white, and he resembles the image we think of as Jesus. Jackie is washing his feet and confessing to be an addict. HellOOO—did no one else see Jesus here, with Mary Magdelene washing his feet and confessing to her sins? Then he is taken away, but leaves his stuff with Jackie–“I don’t need it.” He left it with her and gave her a choice–to be good, or to use. She chose to use, and she died.

    • Jenny Anderson, I saw it! And He does. Give us a choice. Very symbolic. And so profound.

  8. Thank you doesn’t say it for these years of honest and beautiful art you
    have given us. But, thank you to everyone who made this show so
    worth every moment spent watching…I will miss you

  9. given the spate of white people dying from heroin overdoses, nurse jackie needed to die.

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