Desperate to reclaim her life, Jackie devises a typical, undermining plan.

By Michelle Newman
April 13, 2015 at 01:31 AM EDT
David M. Russell/Showtime

In six seasons we’ve seen nurse Jackie Peyton throw many people under the bus: friends, lovers, random strangers—even her kids have been pawns in her dangerous game of deception. It’s not surprising, then, that season seven—the final one for our friends at All Saints—starts off with yet another betrayal, and it’s poor Gloria who is once again Jackie’s victim. But before we get to her final (and, as usual, undermining) ploy, let’s back up to how Jackie got herself out of that season six cliffhanger. You know, the one where we were supposed to think Jackie’s jig was finally up but we all laughed and laughed because we know her too well to fall for that. Again.

Immediately following the crash into the ambulance where the suitcase of pills she was taking to “aid the hurricane victims” (puh-leeze) exploded like a narcotic piñata, Jackie is booked and thrown in a holding cell. After making a collect call to warn her on-again lover and legal-but-not-really-legal dealer (that’d be Eddie) as to what’s happened, she’s held a little bit too long and begins detoxing, eventually collapsing in her jail cell. Two days later Jackie awakens to discover herself handcuffed to a hospital bed and learns that she’s gone through sedated detox and is now clean. Pissed off at losing her right to choose sobriety and at the news that she’s been charged with drug trafficking, Jackie takes off to All Saints to reclaim her life. I guess she forgot about all those bridges she’s burned there.

Immediately running into Zoey, Jackie tries to make amends with her number one groupie by thanking her for being the reason she’s now clean, but it’s clear that Zoey’s gone through a detox of her own: a Jackie detox. Zoey doesn’t buy what Jackie is trying to sell, and tells her to leave, after a glimpse of the old Zoey appears just long enough to ask Jackie where she got sober. Verifying with the detox center that Jackie, indeed, has an upcoming appointment, Zoey’s faith is instantly restored in her hero, and with her usual Zoey-gullibility, she falls off the wagon and deletes the final piece of evidence she has against Jackie: the photo of Nancy Wood that Jackie had taken on her phone and used to make the fake ID. Face palm.

Happy to have that weight lifted from her shoulders, Zoey reports to Gloria that Jackie is in a recovery program, but Gloria doesn’t care. She’s clean and won’t be tempted by the drug of Jackie again. Instead, she offers Zoey the newly created job of head ER nurse, but Zoey refuses, still obviously not wanting to step on Jackie’s toes. As usual, I want to shake some sense into that sweet girl and give her a hug at the same time.

Jackie continues her journey of attempted redemption and goes to Kevin’s bar to convince him to leave the lawyers out of their custody situation, but Kevin drops the bomb that he’s not going to let Jackie near the girls at all. Jackie tries to play her sober card again, but Kevin isn’t buying it. He knows about her stint in jail and declares her unsafe for the girls to be around. “You don’t have any compassion,” Jackie tells him. “I do,” Kevin tells her. “For my daughters.” Word.

Nearing the end of her rope, Jackie meets with Barry Wolfe (Mark Feuerstein, Royal Pains), a hotshot lawyer the nurse’s union suggested. Unfortunately, she strikes out yet again, as Wolfe tells her that her case isn’t strong enough to get her job back. Looks like Nurse Jackie might have to get used to being just Jackie (insert jazz hands here).

NEXT: Jackie is backie

Finding Eddie at her house, Jackie tells him he shouldn’t be there, that she’s “radioactive.” Eddie risks radiation and kisses her anyway, and then discloses that he forged Gloria’s signature on the invoices for all the drugs he packed in her suitcase. “If I get in trouble, I get in trouble. You’re not getting rid of me,” he tells her. Despite his terrible sense of judgment, these two have always made sick sense together, and I’m not just talking about their co-dependency (Jackie’s of his enablement, and Eddie’s of Jackie). They are each other’s Kryptonite, and I’ll go ahead and say it: I’m rooting for them to make it work this time around, even if it is from Rikers Island.

Jackie asks Eddie to help her sweep the house to get rid of all the pills. She needs her life—and her job—back, and needs people to believe in her again and not look at her like she’s a junkie. I mean, at least I think that’s the gist of what she told him. I was too busy sighing and shaking my head back and forth to hear clearly.

Back at All Saints, difficult daughter Grace pops in to beg Zoey to let her crash with her (apparently Kevin and Mia are driving her all kinds of crazy, which I’m assuming is a mutual feeling). Zoey kindly refuses, and tells Grace that things will get better now that Jackie is in rehab. Grace spits out that Jackie was in jail, not rehab. “Oh NO she didn’t,” you can almost hear Zoey thinking, as she stalks to Gloria’s office to accept the head ER nurse job. Girlfriend’s ready to kick ass and take names. Finally.

The next day, Jackie shows up with purpose in the ER, wearing her scrubs and reclaiming her desk. Gloria tells her she’s not welcome; that she didn’t hold up her end of the diversion deal. Jackie continues to stand her ground until Gloria snaps and fires her, shouting, “I’M DONE WITH YOU. YOU’RE DANGEROUS. GET OUT OF MY ER!” Watching Jackie walk out of the ER with a smirk on her face, you get the sickening feeling that she’s once again figured out a way to win while taking down those around her.

It doesn’t take long for her to make that happen. Back in Wolfe’s office, Jackie tells the lawyer that she was wrongfully fired and publicly defamed in front of her colleagues by Gloria Akalitus, which he agrees is cause for a suit. And there it is. Hey, Gloria, how’s it feel to have Jackie’s bus back up over you after it’s already run over you before?

In other news:

Coop is being very protective of pregnant Carrie (at least that’s the story she’s still sticking to) and discovers she lives the life of a slob: a dangerous slob. But really, if she is pregnant, CPS might want to go ahead and step in, like now. Coop suggests they move in together, but since Peter Facinelli isn’t going to be a series regular this year (which I’m still in denial about) I’m guessing either the co-habitation or the entire pregnancy isn’t going to get to play out. Bummer. As a fanatic member of Team Coopman (and yes, I did just make that up), I’m already in mourning.