Friday, September 2, 2011

Saying Goodbye to 'Rescue Me'

As Rescue Me fans gear up for the series finale next week, I can’t help but feel sadness at the conclusion of this complicated, uneven, edgy but unquestionably button-pushing drama that plumbed the depths and sadness of 9/11 like no other piece of pop culture.

Though I gave up on the show for a season and a half – I was very put off by a scene late in the third season where Tommy Gavin sexually assaulted his estranged wife Janet – I returned for the fifth season and have remained a loyal viewer since. I’ve even been reviewing it for CliqueClack TV for the past two seasons.

This final season has been incredibly powerful, from its somber reflections on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 – how it’s being exploited, how it is still such a raw wound for many – to the depiction of firefighters facing their own mortality, ever aware of the dangers they walk into when they attempt to save someone who’s inside a burning building.

Tommy Gavin’s come full circle, from the crappy, alcoholic, selfish, wounded husband and emotionally AWOL father, to one who appears to have finally given up the booze, embraced his responsibilities as a husband and father and who can finally take a pass on temptations that come his way. He's made his peace with those around him (thanks to his buddy Lou prematurely delivering heartfelt letters Tommy wrote to be distributed to his family and friends in the event of his death).

Which of course means Tommy’s got to die, right? Well if you go by the second-to-last episode (I reviewed it here) it seems as though Tommy and his whole crew may (emphasis on may) have died in a warehouse fire (which reminded me of the 1999 Worcester fire, the one in which Denis Leary’s firefighter cousin and childhood friend perished as they entered a building intent on saving the people they thought were inside).

Who knows what lies in store for the finale next Wednesday night, whether Tommy Gavin will live or die, along with his brethren. Either way, I hope the series finale will be respectful of the show, the characters and the audience.

Image credit: FX.

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