'Rescue Me' recap: The power of 'Operation Oral Sex'
In Tommy Gavin’s world, there’s been no shortage of sex, lies and videotape. And even though the sex part of that equation has been lacking in his own life as of late, this week’s episode fashions him as a master of manipulation when it comes to exposing other people’s X-rated escapades.
It starts after he realizes that giving the middle finger to reporter Pam Keppler on camera during her scathing 9/11 TV special wasn’t the brightest idea. Turns out the televised outburst only whetted her appetite to dig up every once of dirt associated with him and the rest of his crew. We’re talking seven season’s worth of sins here. Not to mention the fact that Tommy’s already been suspended from duty for 30 days by the FDNY once his curse-filled rant starts a front cover media frenzy. From the outside, it looks as if Tommy’s loose cannon ways have finally cost him the last of his nine lives as a firefighter.
Meanwhile, it’s not completely certain how Franco’s new by-the-book attitude will play in the next few episodes as he tries to move up in the ranks of the Fire Department. The fact that he refuses to play ball with Chief Needle’s plan to bring down Keppler could easily spell the end of his friendship with Tommy. At the very least, the rift is sure to produce a few more fist fights in the firehouse.
Although Tommy’s rage got him into this mess, it’s obviously not gonna get him out of it. Neither is pride, apparently. He’s even willing to ask Todd, his longtime cop rival for help in tracking down dirt on Keppler in exchange for throwing the 9/11 10th anniversary hockey game between the fire and police departments.
The cop rebukes his offer, but luckily, the groveling pays off with some seriously salacious video courtesy of one of Todd’s fellow officers, who shows Tommy a videotape of the reporter giving him oral sex in order to avoid an arrest for nightclub cocaine possession. It appears Keppler’s reputation as a big mouth isn’t limited to her job as a reporter anymore. Sucks to be her.
The Keppler video only adds to the revelation that Mike -- the resident gay guy on the crew of 62 Truck -- also gave oral pleasure to a male officer named “Doug” down at FDNY headquarters after a Christmas party. Never has a pack of firefighters been so happy to hear that kind of news.
But before Tommy can deploy the evil plan he’s designed to clear his name, he’ll need help from the women in his life. That’s a little tough considering his wife, Janet, and Sheila are once again at each other’s throats planning the wedding for Tommy’s daughter Colleen. Oddly enough, it’s this frenzy of bridal bitchiness that sparks one of Tommy’s greatest moments of sensitivity and machismo.
It took both of those things to sit the women in his life down to dole out a harsh reality session centered on the importance of family and the fact that theirs is irreversibly screwed up. But if they can just acknowledge their dysfunction, embrace it and work together, there’s nothing they can’t accomplish.
With a little bit of blackmail and some of Sheila’s amazing acting skills, the Gavin clan manages to use "Operation Oral Sex" to hammer FDNY officials with info about Mike’s naughty affair with “Doug” (a.k.a. Lt. Hanrahan) that gets Tommy his job back. And that little video of Keppler becomes the ultimate leverage during her on-camera interview with Sheila about her sexual past with Tommy. Fittingly, the episode ends with Keppler going down, yet again.
-- Nate Jackson
Photo: Dennis Leary plays Tommy Gavin in "Rescue Me." Credit: FX