Hide the whiskey and check your helmet because Tommy Gavin and crew are about to hit the scene for one last go-around in their truck. As hard as it is to believe, Ladder 62 will be hanging it up at the end of the season after a successful, (arguably) groundbreaking run on FX. When last we left the boys, Damien may (or may not) actually be able to talk, Janet’s pregnant with another Gavin spawn (who will be born with a 30 day chip from AA in its fingers), and Sheila/Tommy looks to be done…for real this time. Maybe?
But don’t get too sad because even though we have to say goodbye to Franco’s smile, Lou’s cooking, and the greatness of Apache Stone, we have nine episodes worth of Rescue Me-brand craziness to look forward to over the rest of the summer and plus, we’ll be getting a conclusive final episode. Before we start looking ahead to what exactly the show could pull off to make for a great series finale, let’s check out what’s supposed to happen during the opening three episodes this season.
- “Mutha”: The seventh (and final) season begins with Tommy’s family life being shaken up by Sheila and the pregnant Janet, who are now best friends. (“We bonded,” Sheila says.) Meanwhile, Black Shawn wants to take his relationship with Colleen to the next level; Mickey and Teddy go into business together; and Damien is still in a chair in the wake of his on-the-job accident.
- “Menses”: Tommy responds emotionally when he learns about a 9/11 documentary featuring Jimmy Keefe. He also runs into Kelly (Maura Tierney), who has disquieting news. Meanwhile, Lou faces his FDNY physical with trepidation (and a little help from his friends).
- “Press”: Colleen gets some sage advice from Mike and makes an offer to Teddy that Tommy is not likely to like; Tommy tells Kelly about the ghosts in his life and makes an offer to Lou, who also gets a stiff dose of tough love from the guys, who want him to go on a diet. Meanwhile, Chief Feinberg remains alternately distant and combative; and Tommy decides to sit down for an interview for the 9/11 documentary.
Reading the episode descriptions for the first three trips back to the firehouse has given me some serious mixed feelings. I’ve not been as big of a critic of the show’s more recent seasons, as there’s always something great to take out of an episode and something that makes these characters all the more twisted and complex to watch. However, that doesn’t mean that everything they’ve done has been spectacular and the final season sounds like it’ll have the same consistency issue. I’m most disappointed that Lou hasn’t snapped out of his identity/age crisis; like it or not, Lou’s been the spirit, the moral compass, and the kindness of Rescue Me and for him to continue to firefight when it’s obvious he’s not in the condition to do so hits me funny. I understand that he’s dedicated so much of his life to his occupation that he may not want to give it up that easy (being a firefighter is in his DNA now), but he almost got Damien killed. Whether it damages his pride or not, Lou shouldn’t be a firefighter anymore and I doubt it’ll take anything short of Tommy/Mike/Shawn/Franco getting killed due to his actions for him to finally accept that fact.
I’m okay with Black Shawn/Colleen getting married (guess which episode they’re probably getting married in?), but I just don’t want it to become tangential. I grew tired of Colleen last season and I’ve never warmed up to Black Shawn (come back, Laura!), but it could be an interesting enough plot, mostly due to what kind of strain it puts the rest of the cast under. Will Tommy blow a gasket? Does Janet assume the role of “mother-in-law-zilla”? I’m less okay with anything to do with Teddy, mostly because I think he should have been in jail at least 2-3 seasons ago and I don’t find a thing about him to be redeemable. But since Mickey’s around with him, I wonder if he’ll try to get back with Sheila and how she’ll react to seeing him after he ran off at the end of last season. Maybe Tommy’s jealousy will rear its ugly head one more time?
What I do like, however, is the seemingly changing dynamics of the show. After 6 seasons of shrill, vitriolic fighting, seeing Janet and Sheila being best friends may take some getting used to, but I’m anxious to see just how that works. I want to believe that the hatchet has truly been buried, but considering how explosive and insane their dynamic has been since the early days of the show, I couldn’t put it past ’em to have at least one more knockout. I’m sure Tommy will be beside himself due to having his pregnant ex-wife and his longtime on-off girlfriend in cahoots, plus he has to deal with the documentary being made. I have a feeling that’ll be one of the best storylines of the season because whenever the show hits on PTSD, survivor’s guilt, 9/11, mortality, etc., it’s generally pretty well done and I think revisiting the catalysts for the entire series may help Tommy break his self-destructive cycle once and for all.
Even though Rescue Me has lost its critical buzz over the last few seasons with its uneven tone and circular storytelling, it’s always had its fair share of powerful moments and I think this season may have some pretty darn good material, as well. It’s very fitting that the show is bringing the story back to where it all began for Tommy Gavin and family: 9/11. Not only is this the final season of one of the only fictionalized accounts of September 11th, but Rescue Me will be ending its run a mere 4 days before the 10th anniversary of the tragedy, which will assuredly make the finale that much more cathartic for long time fans. I’m all for the show emphasizing its serious side during its last 9 hours, as brutal, naked emotion was a hallmark of the show’s creative peak and they’ll have endless options of where to go with their closing moments. It sounds like Rescue Me will be sort of going back to early days of the series in terms of Tommy’s psyche and he’ll be examining how he got to the point that he’s at today. A little Tommy Gavin introspection never hurt, so let’s hope that this season finally provides the peace that he’s been seeking since his time at the Twin Towers.
Will you be tuning into the final season of Rescue Me? What do you think about the episode descriptions? How do you think the show should end?