(S05E01) "No penalties. No judgment. No fines. Absolute forgiveness. Plus coffee and snacks. " - Mick
If I didn't know any better, I'd have thought Tommy said that line. Talk about an Alcoholic's Anonymous mantra at the most base level - you screw up, it's OK. You can still come back have a cup of burnt Chock Full 'O Nuts.
Rescue Me itself is sort of in the same boat. After a lackluster and critically panned fourth season, the Denis Leary FDNY drama screwed up. Thanks in part to the writer's strike, an extended hiatus has given most fans time to forget and I, for one, have forgiven. Rescue Me is finally back after a year and a half, and I tell you what - burnt Chock Full 'O Nuts never tasted so good.
Hard to believe that it's been over a year and a half since Rescue Me bowed its season four finale. The minisodes that aired last summer served to remind us that the FDNY drama was alive and kicking, but more than anything, they made one other point clear - there ain't nothing like the real thing.
Rescue Me returns to FX this coming Tuesday, April 7th at 10PM ET, and after screening the first nine episodes of the fifth season's 22, trust me when I say that all the bad reviews associated with the mediocrity of season four can be forgotten. Tommy Gavin is back and better than ever.
(M3) "I like a bar with a nice clean head." - Lou
I'm gonna have to agree with Lou on this one. Nothing is more disgusting than walking in to a bathroom at a bar and seeing water(?) all over the floors, toilet seats with yellow stains, no toilet paper, and sinks that don't work. Some people though, that won't bother them. After all, you are just going in to pee and leave. Unless you're Lou. And you've had 12 beers. And the "pains" kick in. And there's no toilet paper. And you use your sock. The most troubling thing to me about that? There's lot of people who would probably do what Lou did in the same situation. Ugh.
(M2) "Do you have a boner?" - Franco
Wow... if Tommy isn't drinking anymore, maybe he should start. Fantasizing about his estranged wife is one thing. Thinking about your deceased cousin's widow isn't much better. Getting it on in your dreams with both of them? Well... OK. But having a sex dream with The Probie (even if Mike isn't "The Probie" anymore... he still is) is just plain freaky.
(M1) "Holy sh*t, you haven't had a coffee, a smoke, or a Twinkie in three days dude?!?" - Mike
Rescue Me is back... sort of. Since the full order fifth season (we're getting 22 episodes!) has been bumped until spring 2009 because of the writer's strike, Denis Leary and Peter Tolan decided to give us fans something to watch in the meantime: ten, five minute minisodes. Last time they did this, between seasons 2 and 3, we got one fifteen minute minisode and it was hilarious. All I'll say is this: it must be the wolf! Anyway, these short vignettes are what makes Rescue Me so great. More often than not, it's those goofy scenes in the firehouse (and not the ongoing plot) that make an episode memorable. Despite the fact that I'm bummed it'll be so long before we get new episodes, I don't see how a batch of these minisodes can be a bad thing.
(S04E13) "OK, so jet skis and neck vaginas? This is your idea of a great Kevin Costner movie?" - Tommy
Is this the end? I've only just started hearing about it. Unsubstantiated rumors, chit-chat on message boards... but we may have just seen the final episode of Rescue Me. Period. The argument? Every other season has had news of a renewal around the fifth or sixth episode. John Landgraf has kept quiet during this season of Rescue Me, a season that's seen some of its lowest ratings since the first. Coupled with what many considered to be lackluster plots and I can't say that I blame the FX brass for weighing their options. That being said, nothing is official. This episode (it saved the season if you ask me) was clearly written with a fifth season in mind. Here's to hoping that FX lets Leary finish out his vision.
(S04E12) "Where's Mark David Chapman when you need him?" - Tommy
One down and one to go. This season has gone by fast, huh? The horrible thing about it is that other than Jerry's suicide, I don't feel like all that much has happened. The stuff that has developed sort of just sputters along, offering no real resolution. Some of it is damn funny, but often that's not enough to salvage it. Here's to hoping that next week's finale puts a good spin on what has officially become my least favorite season of Rescue Me.
It's not that I don't like the show anymore. I still love it but I think it needs a fresh direction. That and it needs to be wrapped up in two more seasons at the most. Any longer and it definitely has the potential to become pretty stale. Look at this episode though. Natalie coming back to ask Franco for a favor. A new feud between Black Sean and Mike. Garrity putting on the beer goggles and hopping in bed with some ugly chick. Lou is sleeping with Latrina. I could go on but my point is this: do you really care? That's the problem. I don't. I just want to see what stupid crap Tommy is going to pull next.
(S04E11) "I've got eight Frescas in me Lou. I'm on a massive NutraSweet high. Don't get me started." - Tommy
Did I miss where the title of this episode was referenced? I've racked my brain, but for the life of me, I can't figure out how the word "cycle" played into this episode. Doesn't matter. I've finally figured out what this whole season has been about. Maybe I'm slow (because it's been hinted at right along) but this time around it was thrown right in our face. Tommy's search for faith. The mysterious black figures. The prayer books. The only thing missing is Tommy's personal Jesus from season two. I know I've said before that maybe Tommy has a death wish. Maybe he doesn't, but he's definitely trying to defy something. The funny thing is that I don't think he knows what it is.
And thus deteriorated the first Gavin AA meeting. These people are nuts. Everyone drinks, no one can listen, they're all stubborn, and none of them think that Sean is actually an alcoholic. I tend to agree. No one with a raging booze addiction thinks that God is a "giant cloud of pink gas."
That scene was only a dent in this episode though. I can't remember an episode of Rescue Me having so many things going on at once. It got a little tiresome to be honest. There was no real direction as each new scene rarely had a connection to another one. There were short little blips. Valerie called Tommy again and he blew her off since he was playing with that dog. Or take Richie. He came and told Franco about Natalie's new guy. Think about it for a second though. There was a lot going on here. But where's it all headed?
(S04E09) "I mean... shit. We got enough drunks in this room to start our own meetings." - Maggie
Well I hope everyone else enjoyed that as much as I did because this was by far the best episode of the season. At this point, it doesn't seem like we're going to get a huge story, other than Elvis... Wyatt... whatever his name is. Character development seems to be the name of the game and even though plenty of us have complained about the quality of this season, it's about par for the course if you think about it. Three seasons down. It'd almost be weird if we weren't getting some new perspectives.
Take the Gavin family intervention. It still bugs me that the "forgotten siblings" (Timo and Rosemary) are never mentioned at things like this, but we still got some great stuff. Maggie is sick of being addicted, Eddie is in denial about his addiction ("I nip!"), and Teddy loves being addicted. This clan covers all the bases. Mr. Gavin finally made an appearance too... and he was drinking the whole time! Maggie's suggestion to have their own A.A. meetings was perfect though. I can't wait to see one of these things go down. They'll all be drunk.
(S04E08) "Yeah... let me, um, just put the axe away." - Tommy
Well it's about time. This is the Rescue Me I remember. Granted, Tommy never got drunk, but there were moments where it sure felt like he was. From the fight with Janet, to the onslaught of all his ghosts at once, to running into that fire all by himself, Tommy seems to be back to normal. Sort of.
I suppose we should talk about the ghosts first. They've been far and few between all season, but it was all building up to this. The only missing spook? Connor. But that makes sense to me at least because Tommy never sat down with his late son and got advice from him like he did with Jimmy.
But everyone else, including Jimmy, was there. Billy (all the way from season one) along with that other unnamed firefighter who died in 9/11, Johnny, and even Jerry. Although it wasn't Jack McGee in the chair, from the backside it was clearly meant to look like him. What are the ghosts up to these days? Poker and lighting themselves on fire.
(S04E07) "Balls to the wall gentlemen." - Needles
Wow... that was some cold open, huh? Arguably the best the show has had yet. Barely any spoken words and set to some eerie song by who I think was The Twilight Singers. Babies being thrown out windows, bodies piled up on the sidewalk, and seven children who didn't make it. Even Lou said it was one of the worst infernos he'd ever seen. The entire sequence was just very powerful. I even got a little choked up. So does someone want to explain to me how an episode that started off so good ended so flat?
(S04E06) "The hunt begins." - Lou
There's been a lot of talk about how this season of Rescue Me hasn't been that good. People have been disappointed with the lack of continuous plot, the way Tommy has evolved, and lousy way they got rid of Jerry. It's not that I disagree with everyone out there, but I've still loved every episode this season. The show has reached a point where it's starting to evolve. Episodes have much more hidden meaning, there's less of a connection with on-going plots, and often times the ending of an episode doesn't exactly feel like an ending. It feels less like a show and more like a look into the actual life of Tommy Gavin. I agree that it's been tough to watch at times, but I do feel like the show is becoming richer in many other ways.
(S04E05) "Wow... looks like the bottom of my Dustbuster." - Sean
Well there you go. Leary and Tolan still have plenty hidden up their sleeves. After last week's extremely sub-par episode, we came back with this one. That was one hell of an opening, huh? From Janet forgetting the baby in the parking lot to the tractor-trailer truck bowling right into it... just another Tommy Gavin nightmare. If anything though, this is just his way of manifesting his very real concerns for the safety of this still unnamed baby. Tommy has been sober for some time and it doesn't take a genius to see that Janet is going downhill fast. Is his new option really worth pursuing though?
(S04E04) "Next time I'm on the can and I want a drink, I don't want to have to reach back and come up empty!" - Maggie
I think this may have been the first episode in the history of Rescue Me where the cold open didn't have one moment that made you laugh, smile, or chuckle. How could it? A montage bouncing back and forth from Mike's mom's funeral to Needles discovering Jerry's body! Wow. That being said, I wasn't 100% satisfied with this episode. It just felt a little stale, like nothing really moved. I suppose when a close friend kills himself, life comes to a bit of a screeching halt though.
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