This week’s RESCUE ME ended on shock image: Lou was found collapsed on the floor of the station, eyes open, apparently dead. That’s one hell of a cliff-hanger! But then, moments later, the previews for next week’s installment ruined the whole frakkin’ thing by showing Lou alive, and just as combative as ever! Spoilers, FX… spoilers!
Okay, okay, so I didn’t really think Lou was going to die; but how about making the effort to sell the illusion? That’s what episodic storytelling is all about: trying to get the audience to invest in a given week’s story when we all know that the status quo will be restored by the end of the story. So maybe FX was giving us viewers credit for being savvy enough to know John Scurti isn’t going anywhere, and so the network decided to wink at us through the promos. Yeah, that’ it! Way to get all meta on us, FX. In a way, that makes the network hip, doesn’t it? (Personal aside: um, no… no, it does not.)
This week marked Tommy’s (Denis Leary) return to 62 house in an official capacity, and things did not go well right from the beginning. Make that before hr even got started. Tommy was bitter that the guys didn’t throw the welcome-back party that he pretended to not want. He snuck out of the hospital and did his own rehab to get back on the job, only to be greeted with apathy. No, actually, he was greeted by a call. And it was in responding to that call that Tommy’s co-workers discovered that he was not entirely “back.” Tommy seemed to have lost his gift for snark! He had no snappy comebacks for the snotty guys from the rival firehouse. When the guys returned to the house, Uncle Teddy (Lenny Clarke) and Mickey (Robert John Burke) gave Tommy a bottle of Irish whisky. They think he’s a lost cause, and they’re cutting him loose. “I’m out of bullets,” Teddy noted, “both literally and figuratively. In vino veritas.” Tommy tried to turn it down, claiming he only drinks wine now, but he kept the bottle.
Tommy’s day just kept getting worse, like, for instance, when Janet called Franco for fashion advice. Not only was Tommy’s ex-wife calling another (younger, fitter) man, the call was emblematic of the fact that everyone else had moved on while Tommy was in his coma. And that’s what really pissed him off. How could the world continue turning without the mighty Tommy Gavin? How dare Janet adjust? How dare his coworkers adapt and carry on doing their jobs?
And they all had to keep doing their jobs. Another call saw the guys have to rescue a child from underground, and Tommy noticed that Lou seemed to be struggling. Lou’s physical deterioration has been a recurring theme this season, with remarks about his donut fetish and expanding waistline, and lack of stamina. Here, Lou could barely stand. “We ain’t gettin’ any younger, my friend,” a defensive Lou snarled at Tommy when he expressed concern. “We all have our crosses to bear, Tom, all right? Bulimics puke. Pillheads pop pills. Junkies shoot junk. Drunks, drink. I eat. Now if you’ll excuse me, you’re making me kind of hungry.” Wow, rationalize much, Lou?
Firemen put out fires and save people. The last call of the night sent the boys to a church, which was fully involved. Tommy rushed in and saved a 575-year-old statue of Mary. However, the parish, Father Phil (played by Peter Gallagher, who is also in the new COVERT AFFAIRS airing opposite RESCUE ME on USA) was livid that Tommy had put a hole in the plaster. I don’t know whether it was getting back in the flames, or the ungrateful priest, but Tommy hauled off and punched out the rival and cursed him out. Tommy was back!
Back at the fire house, the boys finally unveiled their welcome-back gift: A flak jacket. It was amid the good-natured back-slapping that Lou’s lifeless body was discovered. What a buzz kill, dude!