'Rescue Me' recap: Revelations come in all shapes and sizes
There’s typically no shortage of problems brought to the table in the drama and soot-covered world of “Rescue Me.” But it was interesting to see one of this week’s heaviest issues was Lou’s waistline. Especially considering the comedy of errors that befell the crew of 62 Truck while it was conspiring to keep the pudgy veteran from having to take his department physical. This week, Lou’s cohorts are finally calling him out on his weight problem and poor health. After an argument with Franco in front of the crew, Lou’s backside becomes the source of foreground tension amid a much larger emotional sore spot in this episode: the 10th anniversary of 9/11.
There’s no denying that the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center lays its ghostly veil over every aspect of the series. Until now, the ability of the main characters to struggle with the aftermath is the most wrenching and riveting part of the show. And the 9/11 TV special being filmed during the course of the last episodes, despite being pitched as a “hero piece” about the FDNY, just seems like salt on an open wound that refuses to heal.
So there was no doubt that looking back at the tragedy a decade later would stir something major in Tommy, something you might not have seen coming. He finally comes clean to someone outside his family about the paranormal visits and hallucinations that have haunted him since Episode 1 of the series.
His confession pops out in a conversation with Kelly, an ex-lover who waltzed back into his life as a bald-but-still-beautiful breast cancer patient. Apparently the need for positive attention from a female combined with Kelly’s questions about God and obsession with breast implants created a comfortable opening for Tommy to spill about the ghostly visions of firefighters and family members, specifically his fallen firefighter cousin Jimmy. But his hope of using Kelly as an outlet to air his subconscious is quickly slapped down with some of Kelly’s snark-filled mocking at the idea that ghosts actually exist. Despite her humor, her scoffs seem a bit like a defense mechanism, given that she still pines for the memory of her young daughter who passed away prior to her cancer diagnosis.
Of course not all the revelations in this episode are so intense, or totally unexpected. For example, this week we watch Mike assume the title of “wedding savant” when he steps in to help Colleen and Black Shawn plan their big day. Over the years the writers on the show have made no secret about spotlighting this firefighter’s flagrant metrosexual, bi-curious lifestyle. But the instincts that allow him to pick out wedding dresses and elegant decorating motifs with the precision of a young Tim Gunn seem to catapult his feminine tendencies to a whole new level.
Another side story you might have seen bubbling up in the last few episodes it Chief Sydney Feinberg’s slow decline into dementia. As he starts to become less and less aware of his surroundings or the guys in his crew, you can feel him reach a pivotal moment in his character plot line.
But perhaps most satisfying is the surprising role Tommy takes on by episode’s end: the compassionate problem solver. Engaging in a comical showdown with Lou over a batch of homemade cupcakes in the firehouse kitchen, Tommy gives his fleshy friend the ultimate inspiration to slim down. He asks Lou to be the godfather to the baby his wife Janet is about give birth to. Imagine that -- getting Lou to shrink his stomach by making him realize that the boy inside Janet’s womb might actually need him someday. Maybe Tommy’s a lot smarter than we sometimes give him credit for.
-- Nate Jackson
Photo: Dennis Leary plays Tommy Gavin on "Rescue Me." Credit: FX