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Nurse Jackie – Soul Review: Jackie Celebrates One Year of Sobriety in a Strong Finish to the Season

On the season finale of Nurse Jackie, audiences are able to see Jackie make a big step in her recovery as she celebrates on year of sobriety. The beginning of the episode shows the family together, and while Grace is frustrated with the way her mother has treated her recently and refuses to go, she ends up attending a nice celebration for Jackie's milestone. Thanks to Zoe kidnapping her from school, Grace is able to join Jackie's ex-husband, current boyfriend and all of her co-workers at the hospital in an important moment where everyone in the room sings happy anniversary to her. Jackie has certainly come a long way and improved a lot in the past couple of seasons, and this episode wraps things up nicely to end the season on a positive note.

Jackie and Frank have up and down moments throughout the episode, but luckily by the end they are happy together again and he is able to come to her celebration, too. Frank is a very likable character and it is good to see that he will be sticking around for another season as Jackie's boyfriend. The first interaction we see is Frank telling her that they are done, after having put up with enough of her recent harsh treatment, which makes sense. Jackie was certainly not in a normal situation when she started dating Frank; however, it seems that she is inching closer and closer to that status after being sober for a year now and deciding to give up her girls to Kevin, due to Grace's recent drug problems. 

In the following scene, we are taken to the hospital, where two patients are being treated simultaneously by each of the main characters. Dr. Cooper is with someone, helped by Jackie and Thor, and we also see Zoe and Dr. Prentiss flirting while tending to another patient. When compared to recent episodes, this episode focuses much more on events that happen at the hospital. There is one patient in particular who has a large impact on both Jackie and Thor. Thor recognizes him and is able to connect with him because he remembers seeing him sing at a piano bar in Hell's kitchen. Jackie also shares a connection due to their drug addictions, which provides a fitting and an important sign for her on her milestone day. In a pivotal moment, with Thor and Gloria present, the patient ends up dying, and Jackie reads him his last rites.

Before Jackie comforts the dying patient, Thor also talks to him, and we get to see an emotional and serious side of Thor, a side that we have not seen much of up to this point. We're treated to a great acting performance by Stephen Wallem (Thor) throughout this episode, as he relates to this particular patient, and during an interaction that he has with Jackie involving the patient. In one scene he is even shown singing at the piano bar after the patient has died, and he gets emotional in a way that we have not seen from any nurse or doctor on the show. It's obvious that Thor really cared about and respected this man, even if he had never formally met him before. While Thor is always seen as Zoe's sidekick, and he does not get much attention, maybe this is a sign that he will get more serious screen time in the next season.

In a somewhat disappointing turn of events, we have another side plot involving Dr. Roman and her future in the hospital. She becomes aware that peer reviews are on the way, which means that Dr. Cooper, Dr. Prentiss, and Gloria will all be present to evaluate her, along with Jackie, who has done a lot of work with her as well. Dr. Prentiss has a completely negative view of Dr. Roman's performance at All Saints, and while Dr. Cooper is willing to step up and defend Dr. Roman, everyone else votes against her in a 3-1 vote that should secure her removal from the hospital. It is too bad that Coop wasn't willing to evaluate honestly and had to let his feelings get in the way. It would be nice to see a smooth removal of Dr. Roman, which would mean we wouldn't have to put up with her next season. Unfortunately, even after a final vote to terminate her position from the hospital, Dr. Roman decides to be clever and get a lawyer willing to help her make excuses and say that she's being forced out of a hostile work environment. What makes this even more outrageous is that she has to keep looking at her phone and can not even bring her complaint to Akalitus' attention without looking up simple terms like "hostile environment." She is clearly incompetent as a doctor and it is sad to see that she will be returning to the show.

The season finale of the fifth season of Nurse Jackie certainly nicely wraps up a number of storylines and we are left on a positive note. Jackie is on good terms with Kevin and finding herself in a great relationship with Frank that only seems to be getting better. While the basic premise of the show started with Jackie as a drug-addicted nurse, the initial premise has changed a bit, and with her being one year's sober, the show may start to move in a new direction. It is good to see that she has improved her life, and Edie Falco's portrayal of the improving, but still addicted Jackie continues to impress audiences. The supporting cast is as good as ever, with Willem providing a strong dramatic performance in this episode especially; Zoe's character has changed some over this season, but she is still a great joy to watch.

Thoughts and Quotes 

-- Jackie: "Why are you making this so difficult?" Jackie questions Frank and wonders why their relationship has to be so complicated. Jackie knows their relationship is being tested by the drama that surrounds her family and that continues to trouble her.  She does what she can, and while she may expect Frank to put forth even more effort, he is certainly doing the best that he can as well.

-- Frank: "You know I can be pissed at you and still love you, right?" Throughout this episode, Frank and Jackie have some issues, but he wants to make it clear that he is in love with her and just wants to make her happy. He is very supportive and it is great to see that Jackie finally has someone.

-- Eddie: "I give you work advice, relationship advice, do homework with your kid...exactly when did I become your girlfriend?" Eddie has clearly been thrown to the wayside during this season and feels like he has lost what he once had with Jackie. This statement clearly shows his frustration with the way things are and while I can totally sympathize, at the same time he also had an affair with a married woman.

-- Dr. Roman: "I so would not have worn this outfit if I had known that i would be standing in front of you guys today." Wow, Dr. Roman seriously cares more about the outfit that she is wearing during a peer review than about her peers' impression of her as an incompetent doctor. This is yet another reason to despise her character.

-- Patient: "22 years sober. That may not mean anything to you, but I'm not giving in now." This was a key moment in the episode. The idea of being sober for 22 years certainly hits home with Jackie, and we can tell that she is looking up to him and proud of him at this moment. Normally patients do not get such a large amount of screen time on this show.

-- After making up with Jackie, Frank mentions to her in bed, "I'm a guy who's done some stuff right and some stuff wrong and trust me right's a lot better. You, you're what's right, Jackie." Aw.

-- Thor: "We only just met, formally anyway. But I want you to know what an example you are to me. You are not just a survivor. You have survived it all so elegantly...I am honored to be with you now." What a touching moment between Thor and the patient. He is more emotional than his usual, and it's sweet to see. 

-- In a nice, fitting way to conclude the season, Jackie addresses her group of addicts, along with her friends, and says, "Hi, my name is Jackie. I'm an addict and today, I am sober for one year." Good for you, Jackie. What a nice moment with which to end the season.



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