Five episodes were provided for reviewing purposes prior to broadcast.
It’s one step forward and two steps back for Jackie Peyton (Edie Falco), the determined yet deeply flawed titular heroine of Showtime’s Nurse Jackie. Last time viewers saw her, in an attempt to flee New York City following a relapse into pills, a near-death incident at work and growing combative work relationships save for one, she ran into an ambulance.
More precisely, she ran into an ambulance after stopping to take care of a woman involved in a highway accident, with many, many prescription pills in her car. Thus, our premiere of season 7 – the final season of the acclaimed dramedy – involves a lot of uncertainty while looking to move towards some semblance of a conclusion. The seemingly familiar cycle that Jackie finds herself in, wherein lies lead to relapses which lead to lies, should in theory come to an end.
Salvation, though, still seems a ways away, at least through the first half of this last ride. In its current form, the embattled health practitioner begins her final stretch in jail, with her job in jeopardy as well as her relationships with her ever-estranging family.
At times, it does appear that the show is ready to wrap up, as it moves quickly through the first half of the season with drastic plot changes. Other times, though, the show dwells on a singular idea or theme to great effect. None of this is particularly surprising though, especially not for a series that is billed as a comedy and runs nearly 30 minutes an episode but has always had serious drama undercutting its various styles of amusement.
In addition to Jackie’s problems, the secondary and tertiary stories in this final season deal with saying goodbye to Coop (Peter Facinelli, who last year said he wanted to exit the show), his relationship with Carrie, Zoey’s new responsibilities and scholastic endeavors, and the introduction of a new twist (which we won’t spoil here) that looks to carry the show toward its finale. That conceit is perhaps too convenient, but it serves as a literal problem facing Jackie and company as well as a metaphoric flagpole.
For a show heading to the end, Nurse Jackie is not afraid of change; no fewer than three of our employees find ways, at least temporarily, out of the hospital. New faces and guest stars come and go as well, including Tony Shaloub, a welcome presence with an eccentricity and macabre sense of humor that fits nicely with some of the more casually absurd moments of the series.