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Right after last week’s baptism-in-booze/church desecration, Tommy finds himself in the county lockup, where, surprise, he looks miserable and feels guilty. To demonstrate this, here the ghosts of Cousin Jimmy and Adult Connor show up. They don’t even have to say anything. The glares say it all.
Tommy starts apologizing. He didn’t mean any of those things he said. He was drunk and went batshit. This is in reference to a couple episodes back when Tommy beat the shit out of Jimmy and Connor’s ghosts in a drunken rage. He insists he loves them both and not a day goes by when he doesn’t miss them or wish he could have saved them. Which, I think is genuine, and I is actually the reason he beat up their ghosts in the first place.
That’s the state the on-duty officer finds Tommy in when he comes to release him. Colleen isn’t pressing charges, so he’s free to go.
Technically that wouldn’t happen in real life because New York State law says if you assault a family member, you automatically have to appear in front of a judge even if charges are dropped. It’s considered domestic violence. (I only know this because I was watching Sportscenter Wednesday night and one of the Mets got arrested for domestic violence).
Tommy heads over to Janet’s place, where he finds Colleen hanging out. She’s looking a little green at the gills from last night, and things are, shall we say, tense. Tommy asks Colleen how she’s doing, and she testily answers that she’s fine, but he was only referring to her drinking, not how she’s doing physically. Has she lost her taste for booze? She doesn’t know.
So let’s put her to the test!
He puts a glass of vodka in front of her. She doesn’t want it, but he commands her to drink it. She tries a sip and promptly pukes on the kitchen floor. “Are ya happy?” Janet asks.
Nope. Next it’s time to try Scotch. He sets another glass in front of her, she’s again reluctant, so he lifts the glass to her lips and forces a sip into her. This time, she gets it down.
“Well, well, well,” Colleen smirks. Then pukes again. Then runs to the bathroom to continue puking.
Janet is blown away. She can’t even imagine where Tommy came up with all these alcoholism remedies, and he can’t either, but whatever, they work. Janet is apparently turned on, too, because Tommy starts to ask her out, and she’s so eager to go for it she agrees before he’s even finished the question.
When Colleen comes back she can barely stand, but Tommy pulls a bottle of white wine out of the refrigerator juuuuuuuust to be thorough. She can’t even look at it without retching “Not in the fridge!” he shouts.
And that, friends, is how Tommy cured his daughter’s alcoholism. Wait, we still have 38 minutes of Rescue Me to go? Sigh…
The next day Tommy and Black Shawn are on the way to the firehouse in his truck. Shawn is feeling guilty about the fight he had with Franco last episode, the one where he confronted Franco for flirting with Janet, and when Franco called Shawn out for overlooking Colleen’s alcoholism, and when Lou let them fight it out.
Tommy doesn’t see what the problem is. When your brother steps out of line, like Franco did, it’s your responsibility to kick his ass. You cold-cock him, maybe kick him while he’s on the ground, but then you prop him back up. That’s how you express brotherly love. But Tommy can also see how Shawn might want to rectify things. He advises Shawn to act friendly around Franco for a few days and see if the mood is “organic.” Then if it feels right, apologize. Shawn can dig it. He goes to give Tommy a dap, but Tommy turns it around and they do an Irish potato.
Also, Tommy warns him not to turn his back on Franco the next few days. Just in case.
They arrive at 62 Truck to find the rest of the crew milling around outside because the doors have been boarded up. The FDNY has shut down 62 Truck.
“The bullshit has finally caught up with us,” Needles laments. Particularly, one of the firefighters getting arrested for assaulting his own daughter in a church. That’s not going to help when you’re on double-secret probation.
Garrity and Mike also worry about the strongly worded e-mail they recently sent to the FDNY about Mahoney, the cancer-stricken firefighter. The one they wrote without telling anyone, and which they only sent because Garrity accidentally hit “send” instead of “delete.” Yeah, that probably doesn’t help, either.
So it looks like they’re screwed. But then lady walks up to them wondering where the cookout is, and when she learns the FDNY shut it down, she’s pissed. She asks them if they’d like her to organize a protest. Because, she says, “the only thing black people like more than a cookout is a protest.”
So, here’s why this is retarded: 62 Truck is actually in Harlem. I’ve watched every single episode of this show, all 81 of them, and only ONCE has Harlem showed up in an episode. That happened when the guys weren’t able to save some kids in a fire, and Al Sharpton accused the FDNY of making black communities a lower priority. (Or at least, footage of Al Sharpton did. They couldn’t actually get Reverend Al to appear on the show).
So now that 62 Truck has been closed, suddenly an entire neighborhood we’ve basically never seen before mobilizes to save it? Why not just have Zeus reach down and fix it?
Oh, also it’s retarded because they completely skipped actually having the cookout that’s been a major plot point for several of this season’s episode. Whatevs!
At least they ended the scene on a decent note: Lou shows up with an axe to try to hack the door down, and the guys wonder why, since the FDNY confiscated everything inside the house. He explains he was up all night making those chocolate cupcakes of his that have the peanut butter frosting, and more peanut butter frosting inside when you bite into it. Hearing that, the guys all attack the door.
After another commercial break, we’re back outside 62 Truck for a super long scene.
The protest is in full swing now…
Well, maybe they’re protesting because they lost their protection from fires and not out of any particular love for the crew, but still.
Garrity is amazed at the “million man march” they pulled together in an hour’s time. They also learn the FDNY didn’t just close 62 Truck—they shut down so many other houses all over the city, so a bunch of emergencies are happening without receiving any response.
God, don’t you love the way the FDNY plans shit on this show? They just close down firehouses and let the city burn to the ground?
Then, Damien worries to Tommy about the closure happening right as he’s beginning his career. Tommy reassures him they’ll get assigned to another firehouse, but that’s not what Damien is really worried about. He’s proven to himself that he can handle the job, but seeing Tommy frozen in his seat during a call last week has made him question things. Is the job worth a life of torment? Damien doesn’t think so. He feels like he’s only become a firefighter because Tommy wanted him to, and maybe it’s time to figure out what he really wants to do with his life.
Tommy thinks something else is going on. He thinks someone planted this idea in Damien’s head, and Damien admits he and Penny have been talking about it, but it’s his own decision. But Tommy doesn’t buy it.
Then Sheila, Teddy, and Mick show up at the protest. Teddy comes over to chat with Tommy, and neither of them can believe how Sheila’s bed-hopping has brought her to Mick now. “Who does she think she is, Marilyn Monroe?” Teddy wonders.
Tommy, unsurprisingly, figures Sheila is doing this to mess with his head, but Teddy knows otherwise. Sheila’s been getting with Mick so he’ll talk to Damien about quitting the firefighting business. (Who better than an ex-priest to get your son to quit his vocation?) Tommy knew it! I did, too. The kids on this show have always existed as pawns in the adults’ schemes. They’re not going to become independent now.
Tommy wants to show Mick some of the brotherly love he was telling Black Shawn about, but Teddy holds him back. Beating Mick down would only make things worse. Best try another route.
And who should show up at this point but Peter Gallagher? He’s come to see how everyone is doing, but immediately after he arrives he spots Sheila across the crowd. He knows a collar-chaser when he sees one. Apparently there’s a whole group of women who “go gooey for the collar.” And yes, he wants to meet her.
So Tommy takes him over. For a priest, he’s got some game, because seconds after introducing himself he’s won her over with a compliment and invited her to the church next Wednesday for movie night.
You know what? I bet Peter Gallagher isn’t even a real priest. For real. I bet this is a Talented Mr. Ripley scenario. Peter Gallagher murdered the real priest so he could take his place, and he set the church on fire to create a diversion, and now he’s taking advantage of all the priest groupies and handing out bogus life advice to people.
Because why not, at this point?
At this point Niels arrives. Emergency! A school is on fire! The fire department can’t spare any trucks! SOMEONE HELP!
Needles has an idea: let’s save the kids ourselves! They’ll save some kids, and it’ll be ta perfect opportunity to prove how valuable to the FDNY they are.
So they get in their cars and head over. One of them is Niels’s personal vehicle, which is a total shitbox:
And because they don’t have sirens, he crashes:
Actually, that’s a pretty awesome joke. When Niels, the huge burly rig driver, has the rig taken away from him, he becomes totally useless.
Soon they all arrive at the fire house and get to work rescuing the kids. Here Franco shows up amid the commotion to help out. Apparently last week’s “fight” with Black Shawn was way more drastic than they made it out to be. Back when it happened it had that fake “TV fight” feel where you know the characters aren’t getting hurt, the way real people would in a real fight. But I guess not, because Franco might actually be injured. Was he taking the day off to recover? I have no idea.
I actually dug this sequence a lot. The guys don’t have their equipment, so they grab whatever’s available from Tommy’s truck—hockey sticks and baseball bats and such. And I guess they let non-firefighters tag along too, because Mick and Peter Gallagher are on hand to help out. Finally, right before they rush in, Needles makes sure Sheila tapes everything so they can Youtube it.
Everyone runs in. Tommy and Shawn head up to a chemistry lab on the second floor and find a bunch of kids huddled under a desk in terror. Chemicals are exploding everywhere as they shepherd the kids out.
It’s a success!
And our saga of loss and redemption gets wrapped up in about twelve minutes
Afterwards, as everyone is packing up their things, Franco apologizes to Tommy for flirting with Janet. Or tries to anyway. He overreaches and winds up complimenting Janet’s ass. It’s awkward, but Tommy walks off without slugging him.
Then Franco and Shawn have a minute alone together, and they both agree they were being asses last week. They hug and make up. Yay! Glad that’s over.
In his truck, Tommy gets a call from Janet. They’re really flirty and excited for their date tonight, but Tommy forgot to make plans, so off the top of his head he recommends a restaurant that isn’t any good. Luckily Lou gets in the truck and starts whispering a series of date ideas to Tommy. He basically plans their entire evening, right down to Tony Bennett tickets and what dress she’ll wear.
All systems are go.
Tommy and Janet sit down at Silvio’s, a really upscale Italian restaurant. Janet starts off the evening with…an apology. She knows how sometimes she can be too demanding, or disappointed, or expecting him to say and do certain things. Seems appropriate!
They agree to put all the old bitterness behind them. And for a while it looks like that might work. They’re both a little ill-at-ease with the unfamiliarity, but they’re making an effort. Janet playfully guesses correctly what Tommy wants to order, and Tommy compliments her eyes, then her tits.
Then the waiter comes over to tell them the specials…and the scene turns into an extended Vaudeville bit about how out of place Tommy is.
WAITER: And tonight we have the Linguine allabruze de Pisa.
TOMMY: Uh…what’s that?
WAITER: Well, sir, it’s simply traviatabuonoLeonardodaVincipesto Seattle Mariners wrapped in farfalerabemortaPopeJohnPaulthesecondella
That kind of thing. The waiter is a gigantic asshole, even for someone in a comedy bit.
But…then Janet gets pissed off and gets up to leave, because Tommy’s apparently ruined the evening. He gets up to stop her, but she’s already putting on her coat, and all she wants is the Tony Bennett tickets so she can go with someone else. They argue about how they can’t ever do anything nice, and finally he hands them over, and she rips them up.
He follows her into the entryway and the scene gets uglier. Janet dredges up all the shit Tommy’s done over the past decade, going all the way back to 9/11, then starts smacking them, and they start to scuffle.
Luckily their asshole waiter shows up with Janet’s purse, because that lets Tommy redirect some of his hostility, and they go back and forth, until the waiter leaves to call the cops.
During that, Janet has refocused a bit and we get to the heart of the matter. The last decade has been one long, bitter disappointment, and she’s just spent. Tommy tries to insist that going forward he’ll change…but then another waiter interrupts them.
He introduces himself. His name is Joey. He used to be a friend of Connor’s. He hasn’t seen Tommy and Janet since Connor died.
Tommy and Janet are speechless. Joey acts like a normal seventeen-year-old, so he makes small talk without sensing he reminds Tommy and Janet of their son. If Connor were still alive, he’d be Joey’s age. What would Connor look like?
Joey has to get back to work, so he leaves them alone. They put on their jackets and head home.
On the way back, they’re both quiet, and Janet starts crying. Tommy does his best to comfort her.
Back at Janet’s, they both walk into the kitchen and stand apart from each other, silently, like neither of them knows what the fuck to do next.
But finally, Tommy goes over to her and takes her in his arms. Tony Bennett starts singing “It Had to Be You.” He kisses her, and they go to bed.
You know all that exasperation I’ve been throwing into the Internet about this show? Not this week. This was some of the best stuff they’ve ever done.
And I’ll leave it at that.