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`Rescue Me:' I love the Internet!

August 17, 2010 | 11:01 pm

After two straight disappointing episodes, "Rescue Me" regained some of its form Tuesday -- thanks in large part to Adam Ferrara, who has really come on strong this season in his portrayal of Chief `Needles' Nelson.

Once a rival to Denis Leary's Tommy Gavin, Needles is now firmly entrenched as a leader of the squad. When Chief Feinberg takes a softball approach in a meeting with the brass downtown and gets nowhere fast, Needles takes charge. Most of his biting attack on all things bureaucratic can't be printed here, but it was a banner scene. Thanks to the home video of Truck 62 rescuing the deaf kids last week and the Internet, Needles muscles his way into getting the house opened up again.

RESCUEME8 Whether Feinberg was trying to sabotage the efforts to keep the house open or just had a more subtle strategy remains to be seen, but his authority with the squad has been undercut. Even he knows it, cracking that the Jew is now out of favor for the Italian.

The doors are barely open for business when the first call back to duty comes and Damien, Tommy's nephew saves his first baby. He naturally wants to convert that into sex with Penny, the female firefighter from a rival squad that he's been seeing. He goes to Franco for advice and it pays off. There's just one problem, though. Damien may be a natural firefighter but his skills in the bedroom need a little work. Penny likes him, but she would like him more if his clock ran a little slower.

While Damien keeps trying to make a lasting impression with Penny, Sean Garrity and Mike are again trying to cheer up Pat Mahoney, the firefighter who is dying of cancer and is feeling very despondent. They decide that if Mahoney meets some of the people he saved over the years, it would cheer him up. The project gets off to a strong start when a restaurant owner shows nothing but gratitude for Mahoney's work.

It goes quickly downhill from there. Mahoney learns that one person he saved later went on to kill a woman and her three children and another one is bitter that the firefighter was not able to rescue his wife. Mahoney is not bothered by this and notes "you don't get to pick who you save." You also don't get to pick when you go and Mahoney dies during the car ride back to the hospital.

The Mahoney plot was handled nicely by Leary and "Rescue Me" co-creator Peter Tolan. It made an impact and was over rather than dragging on throughout the season.

Alas, the same can't be said for Tommy and the two women he's bounced back and forth between all these years. Last week, Tommy and Janet reconnected and Tommy wakes up the next morning determined to make it work this time.

Janet is not all that sold on the idea -- especially if it means trying to eat Tommy's breakfast -- but she is willing to try under one condition: Tommy has to get Sheila out of his life once and for all.

Tommy agrees but we all know that the only way Tommy and Sheila get hot for each other is when they are either drunk or arguing. In this case, Sheila listens to Tommy explain why he can no longer see her in any way shape or form and she proceeds to tell him he doesn't care and that she's moved on with Tommy's cousin Mickey.

No one really believes that and Sheila's half-hearted efforts to drive Tommy away only lead him to jump on her. For a second, it seems as if Tommy might force himself on Sheila the same way he forced himself on Janet years ago. No worries though as Sheila is, as always, open for business. They start to go at it when Mickey walks in on them.

Tommy then races home, worried that Mickey will spill the beans to Janet and his reconciliation will be over before he can try his hand at cooking dinner. He gets home and all is normal and while Tommy has the worst poker face in the world, no one seems the wiser. He's just about to enjoy his dinner when Mickey walks into the dining room and the screen goes black. Yes, a rare cliffhanger from "Rescue Me."

What might be good for Tommy is if Mickey does spill the beans. Tommy won't really ever be able to change his life if he is always either playing up to Janet or using Sheila. Tommy is the classic case of someone doing the same thing over and over again expecting the results to be different. If he is to have any chance of rising above his manipulative ways, he has to lose a little more.

One loss may be on the horizon. Lou is headed back to the disabled list if not on the way out for good. Still recovering from a heart attack from which he never really recovered, he clearly can no longer do the job. Like Tommy, Lou is a little too stubborn for his own good.

-- Joe Flint

Photo: Mike Zegen as Damien in "Rescue Me."  Credit: FX.

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