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Featured TV on DVD Review: Nurse Jackie: Season Seven

October 18th, 2015

Nurse Jackie: Season Seven - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray

Nurse Jackie: Season Seven

I have reviewed every season of Nurse Jackie, except for season five. Season six was regarded by most to be the worst season and that was the season I officially gave up on the show. However, when I learned Season Seven would be the show's last season, I decided to give it a shot. Was that a mistake? Did the show finally solve all of the problems that were bugging me over the years?

The Show

Before I get to season seven, I should first give a recap and say what I liked and disliked about the previous six seasons. The show stars Edie Falco as the titular Nurse Jackie. Her life is a mess. At the beginning of the show, she was living two lives. She was married to Kevin and has two daughters, Grace and Fiona. She works as a nurse at All Saints Hospital in New York City. Here's where her second life comes into effect. Except for her best friend, Dr. Eleanor O'Hara, no one knows she's married. This includes co-workers like fellow nurse, Zoey Barkow; her boss, Gloria Akalitus; or her boyfriend, pharmacist Eddie Walzer. To add a further complication, she's addicted to prescription painkillers and might be dating Eddie just to get an easy fix. She admits that she doesn't even know.

So that's the setup and throughout the show things change. Things tend to change too much, which is part of problem. Jackie doesn't have a character arc as much as she has a character wave, because she keeps going back and forth between getting better and falling back to old habits. Her situation went from interesting, to frustrating, to exhausting quickly enough that the show wore me out. I wanted her to learn from her mistakes and show character growth. Any growth she did demonstrate was reversed too often and the show became pointless.

Does this season correct that mistake? Let me put it to you this way... At the end of season six / beginning of season seven, Jackie is in prison having tried to flee New York due to her drug problem. She's fired, obviously she's fired. But she decides to sue to get her job back. This already shows she hasn't grown as a person, because being a drug addict is clearly grounds for dismissal. Worse still, she can't afford the retainer for her lawyer, so she turns to selling drugs to -- oh for the love of all that is holy. We are only in the second episode of the season and Jackie has reached a new low. I no longer cared about what she did. It is really bad when you no longer care about the lead character.

There were some aspects of the season's storylines I did like. Dr. Fitch Cooper and Dr. Carrie Roman's relationship is arguably the best part of the season. However, Cooper leaves less than halfway through the season. I don't know if this was something writers wanted or if this was a result of an issue with the actor (he was on another show this year and perhaps schedules had to be adjusted). Either way, the show lost a big asset, although I do like the replacement doctor.

There's a really good four-season show that could be created from Nurse Jackie. We could see Jackie fall victim to her addictions, bottom out, then recover. As it is, we see her fall victim to her addictions, bottom out, then recover. Then while she's getting better, fall victim to her addictions again, bottom out with a new low, then recover. And then we do it again. The repetition robs the show of its lasting impact. That's too bad, because the cast is fantastic and they make me want to like the show, even during its weakest moments.

The Extras

Extras in the first disc include audio commentary tracks on two episodes, as well as two featurettes, and deleted scenes. Disc two has two more audio commentary tracks, a featurette on the finale of the show, and finally some outtakes. This is really good for a TV on DVD release.

Likewise, the technical presentation is excellent for a TV on DVD release. That has been true of the show from the beginning, so I'm glad that part didn't change.

The Blu-ray is $23, which is the same price as the DVD.

The Verdict

Nurse Jackie had a great cast, but the writing kept Jackie repeating the same mistakes over and over and over again. I was planning on giving up after season six, but when Season Seven was announced as the last season, I gave it a try in the hopes that it would fix past mistakes. It didn't. On the other hand, the DVD and Blu-ray are a good deal, so if you do like the show, it is worth picking up.

Filed under: Video Review, Anna Deavere Smith, Peter Facinelli, Edie Falco, Paul Schulze, Tony Shalhoub, Merritt Wever, Ruby Jerins, Dominic Fumusa, Eve Best, Mackenzie Aladjem, Betty Gilpin