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'Rescue Me' Series Finale Brings Laughs, Tears and Closure (VIDEO)

by Jason Hughes, posted Sep 8th 2011 1:46AM
After seven seasons, it was the end of the journey for Tommy Gavin on 'Rescue Me' (Wed., 10PM ET on FX).

It's hard to say if it's a great ending or a disappointing ending, but a lot of that depends on your expectations going in. I would say it is definitely a satisfactory ending and, more importantly, a consistent ending.

'Rescue Me' has always been about dark humor, guys being the idiots that guys can be, and moments of danger, violence and occasional poignancy. In that, this finale delivered by being absolutely consistent with what this show has always been about.


The most beautiful and heartfelt moment, ironically enough, wasn't even real. It was all part of a fake-out opening that saw an injured Lou giving a very moving eulogy to his five fallen brothers. This, as it turned out, was all a dream of Tommy's.

In fact, it was Lou who died in the fire, though the show was slow in revealing to us that everyone else did make it out. In fact, we never even got to see how they get out completely, though we did get a reflective scene where Tommy was supposed to be writing up that report.

The power of this scene is that it showed us how much Tommy has grown through the course of the series. First, we saw how the old Tommy would have handled the emotions of writing about his best friend's demise with him downing a drink and going on a destructive rampage.

But he didn't do that, and this gave us hope that Tommy has truly kicked his addictions, even if he can't completely stop being the a****** that he is. It would have been a complete change of character for Tommy to actually retire, as he was contemplating. Sheila, as usual, called bull immediately on his plants to retire. She knows him better than anyone and though he tried to deny it to himself, the reality is, that when it comes to the inner workings of one Tommy Gavin, Sheila's got it exactly right: Sex and fire.

As we saw in the playground incident, and it really had the makings of an incident, Tommy's not fit for civilian life. He is who he is, and rather than give up the life that haunts him and drives him, as many might have expected, the show rather had Janet and the family finally accept that that's a part of who he is. They've finally accepted him for who he is, and in exchange he's the best version of Tommy he can be.

He stood up and took charge when Janet realized she was going to have the baby before the paramedics could arrive. This scene was perhaps the most frustrating, because it is such a television cliché, but it was important to show us that Tommy, who has a tendency to faint in situations like this, could be there for his family when needed ... and apparently not a moment longer.

Black Shawn was particularly hilarious in this scene, getting more giddy and excited than the girls about the prospect of delivering Janet's baby. But all the guys, even minus Lou, continued to bring the laughs, and none bigger than when Lou's ashes exploded in the car, coating the guys.

That entire scene, up through Sean trying to shake the last bits of Lou out of his bottom when a cop pulls up, was the kind of classic humor this show so excelled at. It's a style of natural humor that few shows can achieve.

As a perfect coda to that, they mixed cake mix into Lou's ashes for his funeral scene at the clifftop. In a way, that actually made it perhaps more Lou even than Lou would have liked. The man's sweet tooth was such that if he'd been offered a way to be half man half cake, he probably would have taken it.

And then to have a content and satisfied Tommy -- after being able to speak openly and honestly about 9/11 and the work that firefighters do to a group of new recruits -- share a friendly hallucination with the ghost of Lou was the perfect way to say good-bye to 'Rescue Me.'

Even death can't stop their friendship. And where it was ghosts that haunted Tommy's darkest hours throughout the series run, those were ghosts built from Tommy's guilt. I don't believe this Lou was guilt. Of course, it still means Tommy's probably a little crazy, but when did we ever doubt that to be the truth.

While it may not have given me a sense of fully satisfied closure, that could be the rawness of having just seen it. I have a feeling that as time passes, I will be content with how the story played out.

I'm pleased to say it didn't frustrate or disappoint me as so many series finales do. The writers stayed true to themselves and the guys stayed true to these characters, and really that's all we can ask from a long-running show. It didn't go out with a bang, but nor did it go out with a whimper. It went out with honesty.

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Great show one of the best. The ending did not disappoint, I laughed so hard I cried when the ashes exploded. Classic for the show. This show should be nominated for an Emmy. Great writing, great acting. Sorry to see it end. Denis Leary has always been one of my favorite comedians, actor. I will miss the two morons too.
Thank you FX for giving me something enjoyable to watch.

September 08 2011 at 10:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have not laughed that hard in years. Between the park scene, the car trip with the ashes, and the policeman driving up as the last of the ashes was retrieved, tears of laughter were coming out of my eyes. To be honest, I haven't watched the program regularly, however, the finale had to have been a real tribute to some great writing.

September 08 2011 at 5:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

you all done did good" car scene was the best - will miss you all. thanks for the many years of laughter and crying.

September 08 2011 at 5:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dexter Morgan

Another major FX hit........bites the dust.........

This was the ONLY "Dramedy"....... I ever watched.....
One of my Top 5 hour shows... that i will replace in the Top 5.... with SUITS........
and add to...........
Game of Thrones
Boardwalk Empire
Close runner ups/ Honorable mention
Justified/ Mad Men/ Spartacus

September 08 2011 at 4:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Between the car scene and the ash's being spread the scenes were hilarious .............we'll miss you truck 62.........its always better to go out on top and you guys did that...Thank you for some great television and better moments

September 08 2011 at 2:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Thanks Denis for everything. I laughed, cried and I and all the fans of Rescue Me will miss everyone of you guy's for so many reasons. Perfect ending for a perfect show ! Now all of you go do more Great things !!!!

September 08 2011 at 1:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Great finale. I laughed so hard at the car scene I was in tears! I love Denis Leary and will miss Rescue me.

September 08 2011 at 10:14 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

The car scene was hiliarious! Gosh, I miss this show already. Are there playgrounds in New York that really
act like that? Good Grief. Thanks for the great show. All you guys are my favorites.

September 08 2011 at 8:59 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Catie Meunier

I cried and cried and laughed and cried some more. My husband and I will miss this in-your-face, THIS is reality, fckd up show. We loved it. You fellas will be missed. I'm going to bed now and am going to imagine another quick Rescue Me show, maybe a year from now, that will give us an hour or two of good laughs. We need to see how the, "new Lou," fit in :)

September 08 2011 at 4:10 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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