'Rescue Me' recap: Lou goes from Jeter to Judas
The most obvious one in this episode is Franco, or should we say “Francostein.” Apparently becoming a temporary lieutenant of 62 Truck has made him a monster. Since taking over as acting lieutenant, he’s gone from suave ladies' man to task master, barking orders at Tommy and Lou and making his crew polish every inch of the firehouse in an effort to prove his worthiness. It backfires on him all too quickly, but we’ll get to that in a second.
What’s really interesting is Tommy’s utter stupidity when it comes to trusting Lou a second time with a new batch of personal letters he’s written to his loved ones--including Janet and Sheila--to be given to them in the event of his death. Apparently the absence of actual firefighting in this season has afforded him the time to become a writer all of a sudden. But given Lou’s handling (a.k.a. opening) of Tommy’s letter to him last week, it’d be no surprise that he does it again.
As much as we’d like to see the show pull off its crazy intersection of nuanced plot lines, this episode in particular gets kind of tangled, especially in moments like the one at Tommy’s house where he’s dealing with the anger over Colleen not wanting him to walk her down the aisle at her wedding, Janet wanting him to quit firefighting and Sheila hating him for reading her secret love letter from dead cousin Jimmy last week. The foreground presence of female drama on this show has gotten tiresome, much like Tommy’s letter-writing shtick.
After Lou reads Tommy’s letter to him, filled with teary-eyed sentiments of friendship, it sends Lou into a disturbing, googly-eyed stupor that leads him on a well-intentioned path to mess things up for Tommy by episode’s end. It’s a little surprising, given how highly Tommy speaks of Lou when Franco quickly disproves his readiness to become an officer.
As the firefighters arrive on call to rescue a man teetering over the edge of a river in his car, hot head Franco’s heroics almost get him killed before Lou steps in to order the crew to reel the car in with a chain on the rig. The scene ends with Tommy whipping out baseball metaphors, comparing Franco to a glory-seeking A-Rod and Lou to Derek Jeter, the guy who simply goes for the win. The only thing more annoying than the cliche comparison was how quickly Franco’s chance to be an officer gets tossed after building up to it for three episodes.
Although Lou betrays Tommy’s trust yet again by giving Sheila her letter and Janet a special rewritten version of hers, his ability to add more quality, (albeit preachy) monologues this week that helped salvage a somewhat disappointing episode. Lou’s prop-filled song and dance involving a shot glass, photos and lighter fluid seems to convince Sheila that Tommy is a good person despite his faults. Though he tries the same thing on Janet, it becomes a physical comedy scene when he accidentally starts a little fire in her kitchen.
One thing that was most off-putting was how Tommy’s mushy letters to the people in his life had them treating him like a prince. Apparently it doesn’t sit with Tommy either (no one’s ever this nice to him). At the celebratory dinner for Black Shawn and Colleen's wedding, he finds out Lou had already given them out.
But what Tommy’s really mad about is the fact that after accidentally burning Janet’s letter in his kitchen fire mishap, Lou rewrote a new version that promises that Tommy’s finally going to quit the New York Fire Department. In Tommy’s mind, his pal, Mr. Jeter, was immediately downgraded to a backstabbing Judas, which no doubt will put a strain on their friendship in episodes to come. Although the episode tried to use this strain on Tommy and Lou’s friendship to foreshadow dark events, it’ll be interesting to see what aspects of all this interpersonal drama are actually going to amount to anything by the end of the season.
Photo: Dennis Leary as Tommy Gavin on "Rescue Me." Credit: FX