Dark times lie ahead for Jackie Peyton. In the Season 6 finale of “Nurse Jackie,” the titular character hit her lowest moment when not only did she lose everyone she loved in her life, but she lost her freedom as well.
The show is already renewed for a seventh season, which hopefully means Jackie will ask herself whether her addiction was worth literally losing everything. She lost access to and the respect of her children, who she always treasured. She lost (or likely is in the process of losing) her job, which she always considered the one thing that defined her. And she lost the respect and love of her peers, who always stood by her.
But she still has her addiction, the one thing she could never shake. “Nurse Jackie” has tried putting Jackie through rehab, and it didn’t work. Even when Akalitus offers her a way out in the Season 6 finale, Jackie can’t bring herself to take it. She looks at the pay cut and the humiliation as the worst things that can happen to her, but she is proven wrong. Hitting an ambulance with her car while carrying a suitcase full of pills and driving under the influence, on the other hand, will hopefully be the lowest point she hits before she forces herself to get better.
Over the course of “Nurse Jackie’s” six seasons, there has never been an outside force important enough to Jackie to cause her to make a longterm commitment to her sobriety. Family wasn’t enough, love wasn’t enough and safety in the hospital wasn’t enough to keep her clean. What many addicts say about their path to recovery is that the true desire to heal needs to come from the inside. With Jackie’s incarceration at the end of Season 6, hopefully she finally gets the self-motivation that she needs in Season 7.
When viewers leave Jackie, she’s still in a very clear sense of denial about the toxicity of her addiction in her life. Jackie did some horrible things this past season to cover up her addiction, and she hurt everyone close to her. Eddie begs her not to die when he sends her away to the airport, and that is one very possible resolution to this long-running Showtime dramedy.
But our hope is that “Nurse Jackie” has a happy ending. Where there is darkness, there must be light. The low point Jackie hits in Season 6 could have been a series finale, but it’s just the end of one late chapter of her story. It’s hard to imagine things getting worse for Jackie, so here’s hoping Season 7 is when they start getting better.