Zoey’s refusal of Jackie’s offer is significant in that it
demonstrates Jackie can no longer maintain the level of
compartmentalization she once had. Jackie believes Zoey will
come with her and counts on that, but Zoey has realized that she
needs to move away from Jackie. As Zoey continues to serve as a
conduit for viewers’ perceptions of Jackie, this shift invites viewers
to change their allegiance away from Jackie’s character. Even
though Jackie has managed to salvage her career one more time,
the road has been rocky and trust in her as eroded, which creates
distance between Jackie and everyone in her life. Perhaps it is this
distance that keeps her coworkers from realizing that Jackie started
using drugs immediately after regaining her job and her license to
practice nursing. This seems a believable and fitting way to wind
the series down; just as Zoey is ready to move on and get on with
her life, viewers of Nurse Jackie are ready to move on, too, because
there is nowhere left to accompany a character that refuses to end
her addiction or to finally come clean about who she is.
In the series finale of Nurse Jackie, the sale of the hospital
is final, and staff members celebrate their last time together in that
space. True to form, Jackie takes a heaping dose of drugs in the
bathroom during the party. Jackie is then shown leaving the
hospital and walking around New York City. This ephemeral
journey is brought back to reality, however, when Jackie’s
coworkers discover her unconscious on the floor. Zoey comforts
her friend one last time, “You’re good, Jackie. You’re good. You’re
good.” The camera pulls out on Jackie, revealing her stretched out
on the floor and surrounded by her coworkers. With this, the series
concludes, leaving viewers to determine if Jackie dies from the
overdose or is revived. At minimum, Jackie has been caught using
at the hospital for the last time and can no longer rely on the
benefit of the doubt, which has given her a great deal of benefit
over the years. Her compartmentalization has attained the ultimate
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