After two weeks off on my recaps (see public apology here), both Rescue Me and Umnata are back on the gasm. And not a second too late, either! If the last two weeks, albeit recap-less, left something to be desired in the way of action, that was definitely the calm before the Gavin storm. Things that were set in motion over the last two weeks started to take form here, in the third to last episode of the season. Expect some real fireworks in the next two episodes now that transfers have been signed, ex-wives are pregnant and the raping has finally (hopefully) come to an end.
To further make amends for my recap lapse, I’m going to take sometime to summarize what’s happened to the characters over the last couple of episodes. This should get us all up to speed for this week’s recap. So without further ado, let’s see what’s been going on in the lives of the Ladder 62 crew while Umnata was on his little sabbatical.
Tommy: After being drugged, raped and duped into thinking he fell off the wagon by an off the deep end Sheila, Tommy is having a tough time of it lately. His survivor’s guilt over his son’s death, not to mention the upcoming 5th anniversary of 9/11 – the day he lost not only his cousin but many friends, has reached new levels of misery, with crying jags coming and going as often as skanks in Franco’s bed. To add insult to injury, his promising fling with ex-sister-in-law/partner in crime Angie came to a screeching halt after a very awkward encounter between ready for action Angie and a scantily clad Janet looking for some rough sex. Tommy is also having some big problems with the fact that his firehouse may be falling apart, with many of his brothers in arms looking to leave for greener pastures. When Tommy isn’t brooding over all this, he’s at the hospital watching over his old Probie School buddy, Stack, who was burnt in a fighting a fire, saved by Probie and is currently in a coma, with his legs amputated. Downer.
Janet: Janet’s boredom with Tommy’s brother Johnny has reached all-time lows although she won’t admit it. Instead, she keeps going back to Tommy for violent (and quick) sex. However, things seem to be looking up for the perpetually dour Mrs. Gavin. She’s preggers! Bu who’s the daddy? It don’t matter! Everyone cross your fingers for a Gavin baby boy to appease increasingly crotchety PapaBear.
Probie: Poor, sweet Probie. He ticked off his roommate/blowjob buddy, the Lumberjack, by hooking up with the frizzy haired Paula, and finally coming to a realization: He likes pussy. Yes, Probie, we all knew that. Word on the street is that Exec. Producer Peter Tolan is very upset with the way he handled Probie’s dip into the gay pool (which is way cleaner and more decorative than the straight pool). Apparently, the storyline was supposed to work itself out one way, like coherently, and in reality worked out another way, you know, incoherently. As much as I joked, I don’t think I ever really thought that Probie was really gay, or even bisexual. And that’s what made the whole plotline a little convoluted. Regardless, hell hath no fury like a Lumberjack scorned, so after kicking Probie out of the apartment, he moseyed on over to Ladder 62 to drop the bombshell that Probie was planning on transferring firehouses. He also gave some hints about Probie’s gay leanings, but since these hints were directed towards Sean of the Dumb, they landed with a thud. After some serious miscommunication with Sean yelling at Probie about the transfer, the poor kid inadvertently admits to being the receptor of a little man-on-man oral gratification. (Funniest part of this was how when Franco or Lou entered the bunk room during Probie and Sean’s argument, Sean would tell them that Probie’s gay, and they both responded, jokingly, “No kidding”). This led to a gay intervention, where Probie explained the story (lonely, Lumberjack, blowjob), and that he wasn’t gay. The guys react with various levels of homophobia. Sean is disgusted, Franco doesn’t want him in the showers and Lou is surprisingly horrified. Alas, Tommy comes to the rescue and says that they are brothers, so they need to accept Probie. Before this little revelation about Probie, he was finally getting some much overdue respect for successfully saving Stack’s life in the fire that left him amputated.
Franco: Franco, still ignoring the fact that his daughter has been kidnapped by an Oscar Winner who has not yet signed a contract to appear in additional episodes, got out a little and met the hot photographer Natalie at a bar. Franco began to fall for her hard, starting when they went back to his place for some face to face love making, as opposed to his usual ho banging. This was something Franco wasn’t used to, but could see himself growing accustomed to. After a few days of seeing each other, he is rather smitten with her, even telling her about the fake baby mama drama he’s got going on with his daughter, Keela. He is concerned, however, about the fact that he’s never been to her place, assuming that she must have another guy on the side. The kicker is that she DOES have another guy on the side, only it’s her mentally challenged, racial slur hurling, inanimate object eating (dude chowed down on a plastic Checkers piece) brother, Richard. Franco, having some experience with dealing with retarded people (Sean, Probie), embraces the brother, since he wants to get in good with Natalie.
Sean: Sean makes the biggest mistake of his life, by proposing to CrazyTaty in front of a Falafel cart. Dude, if John McEnroe can’t handle her, I doubt you can. This, however, leads to some very funny scenes involving “brothers” Tommy and Sean, as well as, Sean asking PapaBear for CrazyTaty’s hand in marriage.
Sheila: After raping Tommy and convincing him that he’s fallen off the wagon, Sheila laid kind of low. She accepted an apology from Tommy, since he thought that his behavior was out of control. But Sheila’s madness didn’t stay dormant for too long. After Tommy expressed his concern about the current status of his firehouse, Sheila basically proposed to him, saying that with all her widow money they could run away together. Tommy has yet to officially say no to this proposal.
Lou: Lou finally received some closure from his Porn Star/Grifter drama last year, when he opened up a newspaper and found his little liferuiner was caught mid-swindle and sent to jail. This led Lou down the road to self discovery. He decided to get back in touch with himself and throw out all the anger he had from the past year. He started taking Yoga (hysterical when he farted from being too loosened up), bought himself a motorcycle and started manscaping. Much to Tommy’s chagrin, he’s strongly entertaining the notion of moving down to Florida and working on his cousin’s boat.
Capt. Jerry: The portly Captain finally caught a break when he got some money together with the guys to bet on a horse. Unfortunately, he sent Probie to the OTB to bet on the race and Probie got the horses mixed up. Fortunately for everyone, the horse Probie mistakenly bet on inexplicably won. Now his Alzheimer inflicted wife Jeannie’s expensive treatment home can be paid for. After the breaking up with Ellis Grey, he was told by one of the nurses at his Jeannie’s home that he might want to consider stopping his visits. Jeannie isn’t getting anything out of them, and they are only upsetting the Capt. The Alzheimer’s has already taken over Jeannie’s life, it doesn’t have to take over his, as well. This was a hard truth for Capt. Jerry to hear.
Uncle Teddy: He’s enjoying his conjugal visits with his nutso new wife, Ellie, but the chinks in the armor are starting to show. As per the warning of one of the prison guards, we’re starting to see that Ellie likes her men behind bars and behind bars only.
Johnny: He wants to make amends with Tommy once he finds out that Janet is pregnant. In other news, Johnny’s still a dick.
Now on to this week’s episode!
Tommy is continuing his perch at the bedside of amputated comrade Stack. The guy looks pretty bad. Burns over his entire body, legs amputated and in some kind of drug induced coma. No good. He starts making some pretty gross noises, although I’m not trying to judge, cause brother’s got to be in a good deal of pain. Tommy tries to coach him through the pain, telling him to think about the cabin he owns, his wife, his kids and Eva Longoria. Okay, he doesn’t suggest Eva, but I think that Stack might’ve benefited from such a tasty thought. Before Stack’s wife, Deb, enters the room, Stack’s eyes open up like something out of a horror movie. Tommy doesn’t say anything to Deb, who is talking about the kids and how they shouldn’t have to see their father like this. As Tommy is hugging Deb, Stack opens his eyes again, points a weakened finger at Tommy and whispers: “YOOOOUUUUUU.” Okay, that doesn’t happen either, but it does seem that Stack is starting to come around, something that might not be so good, considering his burns, lack of legs, and general negative prognosis.
Tommy is about to leave the hospital room when Deb tells Tommy to send her thanks to Janet for letting him spend so much time at the hospital. Apparently, Deb is too wrapped up in sitting vigil for her paraplegic, burn victim husband to discover that Tommy and Janet are on the outs. Get your head out of your ass, Deb! Selfish!
This leads Tommy to give his erstwhile wife a call to request a face to face meeting with her to discuss the questionably fathered bun in her oven. Tommy suggests they set up some rules and get their stories straight on this whole pregnancy issue. “This family is screwed up enough…” Tommy says, surprisingly concerned about his brother’s feelings. Janet agrees to meet Tommy tomorrow at 6:00 pm, but they have to be fast because Johnny gets home at 6:30 pm. Silly Janet! Haven’t you figured out that fast isn’t really Tommy’s problem? Zing!
When Tommy arrives in the parking lot, Sheila is waiting for him in front of a brand new Escalade. Tommy doesn’t realize this but he should feel VERY lucky that she isn’t holding a baseball bat in one hand and a Roofie/Viagra Colada in the other. Nope, the only thing she’s got is a set of keys and a guilty conscience.
She’s bought the Escalade pick up truck because Damien has been begging her for a car (and some screen time?), so she thought that she’d buy this new one for Tommy and give Tommy’s beat up old truck to Damien. Everybody’s a winner!Tommy at first resists because he can smell a bribe a mile away (well with that schnozz…). He still hasn’t agreed to run away with Sheila and it seems that this “gift” is coming with all kinds of strings attached. Sheila swears up and down that if Tommy decides not to run away with her that he can keep the truck, no questions asked. And I believe her, because Sheila might be crazy (like CrazyTaty) but she’s not evil (like Janet); I really think the gift is more of a way to assuage her own guilty conscience for drugging Tommy, riding his meat rocket and convincing him that he had morphed back into a violent drunk. Now that I’ve laid it all out on the line like that, I guess a new Escalade is probably about right on the pay back scale. Tommy doesn’t need to be nudged too hard to take the car however. He takes it with such abandon, in fact, that he totally blows off Sheila for a breakfast date. Now, I know what Sheila did was reprehensible (or at least I have to say that – come on, who doesn’t want to get raped by Callie Thornton?), but you can sort of see how someone could be driven to such desperate measures by Tommy Gavin. His “I got to get to work, sweetheart”, is more painful than most people’s “Go to hell.”
Over at the firehouse Franco is explaining to Sean and Lou about his new girl Natalie and her functionally retarded brother. In what becomes my favorite moment of the episode, Lou asks if Richard, the brother, is retarded like Rain Man or functionally retarded like Paris Hilton. Seriously, throw me a Paris Hilton joke and boy oh boy am I a happy little blogger. She is what is wrong with America. Franco is really into Natalie, and who can blame him being as she once dated Antonio Vega.
Tommy finally arrives at the firehouse, after a brief mid-life crisis detour, street racing another SUV on the road. Tommy runs into the firehouse to get the guys and show off his new whip (sorry – I just heard someone refer to a car as a “whip” the other day, and I laughed and laughed and laughed – haven’t heard that since Ja Rule was cool). When Tommy rushes back to the street however, his car is on his way down the street without him. Yeah, that feels about right, karmic-ly speaking.
A short while later the cops are announced to be on the case of the missing Escalade, which means that in a few days Tommy, will get the exciting phone call that his car has been stripped to less original parts than Joan Rivers. I’ll be here all week, ladies and gentlemen – try the veal! Tommy is worried about his lack of transportation, though. He is referred to this crazy thing called a New York City bus (Umnata’s form of NYC transit of choice) or the subway. Tommy bitches and moans about the fact that he lives in Brooklyn. Wah, wah, wah. I’m commuting in from Long Island, you rat bastard. Try a month on the LIRR and you’ll be begging for an express subway from Brooklyn! Whoa. I’m sorry, what just happened? I had some kind of commuting rage blackout. Tommy makes some offhanded comment about being sandwiched on a subway by Dom DeLuise and Ruben Studdard, prompting Sean to ask if Ruben was the gay guy? No, silly Sean, Ruben was the fat guy (at least they didn’t call him the black guy), Clay Aiken was the fag. Lou chimes in that Clay Aiken isn’t a fag (he’s actually a lesbian, because apparently, he’s now KD Lang ), he’s just talentless. Lou should know, because he voted for him. Before I can wrap my head around the fact that Tommy knows who Ruben Studdard is, that Franco knows the difference between Ruben and Clay Aiken, and that Lou is not only an American Idol watcher, but a voter, it becomes clear that this surface conversation is not what’s important here. P.S. – I wonder if Lou reads B-Side’s recaps. Okay, seriously- back on track now. At this point, Capt. Jerry chimes in with a firm ahem, so the guys will stop throwing around the homophobic slurs in front of Probie. Sean realizes his mistake: “Sorry Mike, I forgot you were gay.” Probie is uncharacteristically incensed. “I just got finished being ragged on for being the Probie, now I got to deal with this shit. This sucks.” Oh, Probie. Sucking is what got you into this mess in the first place.
For a little comic relief we check into the conjugal visit trailer to see Uncle Teddy dirty talking to his distracted new bride, Ellie. Uncle Teddy only thinks he knows what his dirty little girl wants. What she really wants is to redecorate the conjugal visit trailer. A few drapes, some plants, maybe a painting or two. Man, nothing will take the wind out of a guy’s sails like interior design talk. Actually, nothing takes the wind out of a guys sails like Starr Jones, but interior design talk has got to come a close second.
Probie is pisst off. He’s licking ass and taking names. Oh. I mean kicking, KICKING ass- he’s KICKING ass and taking names. He all but knocks down the Chief’s door to hand him his completed transfer form. “I want out!” Probie exclaims, with more conviction than I’ve ever seen him express thus far in the series. “From what I hear, you’re already out.” That Chief, he’s a real swell guy. Oh, but didn’t anyone tell him? Don’t kick a Probie when he’s down: “Thanks for the insurance policy. Put my transfer through or I dial up my union rep and tell him what you just said.”
I don’t want to see Probie switch houses or anything, but I feel compelled to give him a big fat: You Go Girl! No, seriously. After three years of getting picked on for his every move it’s time that Probie got a little justice. It’s really great to see him stand up for himself. Blackmailing the Chief is just icing on the cake.
Franco is chatting up Natalie on the phone, being uncharacteristically sweet with her. He misses her. Hey, Franco, do you miss your daughter? Remember her? I realize at this point that there is nothing that Peter Tolan can do to satisfy me on this plotline. Franco loses his daughter, barely mentions it, and I’m annoyed. However, I’m well aware that if Franco was a wallowing mess about the loss of his daughter for the past 6 episodes I’d be complaining about the shift in the character’s personality. My solution? Erase the whole plot point. Take Probie’s is he or isn’t he plotline and pull a Dallas. It was all a dream. No? Okay, then I guess I’ll keep complaining about Franco’s indifference to his daughter’s KIDNAPPING. Like all predatory males, Franco knows that the best way into Natalie’s heart is through her loved ones, in this case her mentally challenged brother, Richard. Franco would really like to spend some time with Richard, so he suggests taking him to a Yankee game tomorrow. Natalie loves the idea, but there’s one problem: Richard has been banned from Yankee Stadium. Ehh, don’t sweat it Richie, as long as you are still welcome at Shea Stadium, everything will be okay. Franco then offers to give him a tour of the Firehouse, which Natalie thinks Richard would love.
Tommy is stuck at the firehouse. He needs a ride to his meet and greet with Janet in Queens. He asks Franco for a ride, but he can’t do it because he needs to study. Study!?!?! Tommy is shocked and appalled by this. Franco is still planning on taking the Lieutenant’s test? But why!?!?! Keela’s not around anymore (ouch) so why does he need to better himself (yikes). Franco says he has his reasons, but Tommy wants to know what they are. “This conversation for starters.” That Gavin dickhead gene really spread equally to all three Gavin children, huh?
Lou notices that Tommy is stranded and offers him a ride on his hog, which sounds way more dirty than it actually is. Lou drives a motorcycle now, as phase two of his midlife crisis. Tommy’s not getting on that thing – I think he means the bike – but he wants to know if Lou is still considering taking that job on the boat with his cousin in Florida. Lou tells him that it’s such a sweet deal that he’s definitely still considering it. Tommy thinks this a bad idea. For completely unselfish reasons, of course. It’s just that they are a family in the firehouse, and they just aren’t equipped to be out there with “normal people.” Cue Background Firefighter #4 walking through to announce Probie is transferring. Womp, Womp.
Tommy decides he’s too good for the 7/F/A/E/J/Z subways and decides to cab it from the Upper Upper West Side to Queens. I’m assuming that Tommy mugged an old lady on his way to the cab, because that’s going to be one costly cab ride. Regardless, the cab is pretty slow moving, and Tommy is getting restless. All of a sudden he sees an Escalade whip around the corner. He gets out of the cab, jumps in the driver’s seat and starts following the car. He gets held up, though, by a passing truck right by my old apartment! Tommy accepts defeat, and takes this time to discuss religion with his Muslim cab driver. They start arguing about the Muslim belief that when they die and go to heaven they are welcomed by 72 virgins. Tommy gets this wrong and keeps stating that it is 77 virgins, incensing the cab driver. What Tommy doesn’t get is why you are rewarded with virgins. Why not whores? You know as the ultimate reward for dieing, wouldn’t you want someone who knows there way around the old twig and berries? The cab driver, getting reasonably flustered, claims that there are no whores in heaven. Well than Tommy wants to go to hell. I have to echo the sentiments of the cab driver by saying that I’m pretty sure that won’t be a problem.
Tommy arrives at Janet’s late so they have to hurry. On a side note I think that it’s very amusing that Janet is tending to her garden as Tommy pulls up. And by garden I mean plant on the stoop. She’s got gardening gloves on and everything. Babe, you’re in Queens. Nothing can grow there. Janet pretty matter of factly tells Tommy that she wants this baby. She doesn’t care whose it is, Tommy’s or Johnny’s, but she wants it. She had an abortion the last time Tommy knocked her up and she regrets that fact. She wants this child to replace what they lost. “We?” Tommy echoes. “I was being kind,” Janet replies the Ice Queen that she is. Let me just say that as much as I hate Janet (and it’s a lot), I have to say that Andrea Roth, while not the most dynamic actress around, does a great job with certain aspects of the role. I mean, it’s probably much easier to play a mother who lost her child if it’s played for the full-tilt emotional fireworks. However, Roth has to play Janet as somewhat dead inside, with all the anger, reasonable and unreasonable alike. In scenes where Connor is mentioned, she really is quite good.
In reality, Janet is having this child for herself, and she admits as much. She’s doing this for herself, and for the girls. It will help them all a great deal, especially if it’s a boy. In fact, a boy would solve a lot of the Gavin family problems. No more talk about an heir to the Gavin Throne from PapaBear, etc. Tommy is annoyed by the insinuation that he has no more chances to produce a child. Here Janet goes into full-on bitch mode. Who is going to want Tommy’s baby? He can freeze all the sperm he wants, but he’ll still be missing a woman who wants his child. It hurts just retyping it, and believe me, Janet said it a lot nastier than that. But this is the emotional brawl, that doesn’t involve ripped panties, these two have needed for quite some time.
Janet continues to fly off the handle. “Why didn’t you listen to me?” Tommy is confused, “When?” “Six years ago! When I asked you to spend more time with the kids. To spend more time at home. To spend more time with me!” It seems like lazy writing, but I give the writers enough credit to realize that Janet has been holding on to all this for quite a while. Her lack of logic in her argument, kind of makes sense, when you put it in the context of a mother’s grief. Tommy claims that he did listen: he stopped drinking, he quit his third job, he was home every Saturday. Err! Wrong answer Tommy! Try again! He wasn’t home every Saturday. He was out playing softball or hockey. And he only quit drinking because there were lots of talk behind his back at the firehouse about his alcoholism. Janet goes on and on, about why couldn’t he just listen. If he just listened everything would be fine. It’s quite sad, actually, to hear Janet lay all of this on Tommy. Even sadder that she believes it.
Janet starts to throw some fisticuffs at Tommy, so he is forced to pin her up against the wall. They get dangerously close to Rescue Me Rape, but this is an emotional smack down, not a sexual one. Tommy’s had enough. He is enraged, by all this. “You’re telling me that because I didn’t listen hard enough… you’ve ruined my life so far beyond what I could ever imagine…that’s why you’re sucking my brother’s cock.” Janet retaliates by grabbing down on Tommy’s balls hard. And not in a fun way. Janet tells him that she was scared shitless; she had just buried her only son and she needed Tommy. She needed the old Tommy. But the old Tommy was dead. He’s buried with his lost brothers. “You can tell all your lost brothers to go to hell. Because we’re here and they’re not.”
Thank God, Johnny comes in and beats the crap out of Tommy, because I don’t know how much more of that high octane emotional breakdown I could’ve taken. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I feel sorry for Janet – I don’t think that anything could really justify her actions – but you get a better idea where she is coming from, I’ll give her that. Johnny tells Tommy that if he ever sees him lay a hand on Janet again, he will kill her. And he’s totally SERIAL. In true Rescue Me fashion, this extremely heated encounter is followed by Tommy coming back to the living room, asking for cab money. It’s hysterical, especially in the context of everything that’s just happened.
In the cab, Tommy has one of his increasingly infrequent chats with dead Cousin Jimmy. He wants Tommy to get out of the firefighting biz. When you start questioning whether or not you should be in there in the first place, that’s when you should get out, because that is when you’ll get someone or yourself killed. It’s totally the same thing at TVgasm. Jimmy thinks Tommy should take Sheila’s deal. Tommy is surprised, because Jimmy used to be so anti-Tommy & Sheila. Ahh, yes Tommy, but since Jimmy is in fact a manifestation of your conscience, he’s only telling you what you already know and believe. Duh.
Capt. Jerry hasn’t stopped visiting his Alzheimer laced wife Jeannie at the home he has her in, despite the nurse’s suggestion that he not let the disease take over both of their lives. Capt. Jerry notices a distinct change in Jeannie today, and inquires about what it could be. The nurse tells him that she’s been playing reggae music for all day. Capt. Jerry remembers that they listened to a lot of reggae on their honeymoon, so maybe that explains why Jeannie is responding so well to it. The nurse, now getting all saucy, invites Capt. Jerry to join her at a reggae club by her house. Later on at the club, which seems like an awkward date to me for the 50-something Capt. Jerry and the Jamaican nurse, Capt. Jerry is told that he can’t tell anyone about their little date. Besides it being against the rules to date patients’ spouses, the nurse is an illegal immigrant. I don’t know how this could possibly play into the next two episodes, but I’m assuming it’s relevant to something if they are mentioning it.
Tommy stops at a firehouse where his friend Needles is the Chief. The firefighters who work there don’t look old enough to drive none the less fight fires. While one of the young bucks goes to fetch Needles, Tommy notices a wall honoring some of the guys that died in the September 11th attacks. In a great, small moment, Tommy cleans off some of the dust that has built up on the plaque with his fingers.
Tommy and Needles discuss how much things have changed over the years for firehouses, Needles himself admitting that he isn’t old enough to be a Captain. Tommy then gives Needles a head’s up about the transferring Probie: He’s gay. Oh man! Needles thinks it could be a problem, but in this post-Queer Eye for the Straight Guy day and age, he can’t justify not taking a transfer based on sexuality. Tommy, always thinking quick on his feet, also mentions that Probie is a coward, which we know isn’t true at all. Needles might not be able to deny a Gay but he sure can deny a coward. It’s moments like this (and the conversation Tommy had with Franco earlier) that make the line between anti-hero and unlikable blur for me with Tommy. When Tommy is duct taping a yapping girl’s mouth shut while having sex with her or bedding his brothers ex-wife in an act of revenge I side with him with unmitigated glee. However, when he behaves like a petulant child and worse, bad friend, I just plain dislike him, despite his motives. I know I’m supposed to dislike him in these moments, so score one for Peter Tolan and Denis Leary, but if he has such respect for his friends, to the point where he considers them brothers, shouldn’t at least a little part of him want what’s best for them?
Tommy breaks and finally takes the bus somewhere. But when he gets on the bus, he notices a kid who he thinks is Connor, so he jumps off and quickly realizes that it was just another trick his eyes were playing on him. Conveniently enough, he has gotten off the bus right in front of a bar that might as well be called Eve & the Forbidden Apple Saloon. Tommy asks the punk bartender for eight fingers (a full glass) of their finest whiskey. He starts chugging it, and when the bartender notices that he’s drinking his $100 glass of whiskey rather quickly, Tommy cops to only having a few bucks in his pocket.
Punktender starts the process of kicking Tommy out, but Tommy stops them with some harrowing stories of his FDNY prowess, complete with scar show and all. He also lays out his whole sob story for the bar: Ex-wife banging brother, dead son, etc. Then Tommy starts to talk about 9/11 and you know that we’re in for it. Tommy derides the people in the bar for knowing five American Idol finalists but none of the FDNY who died in 9/11. It’s a real kick in the ass of a moment. I think Tommy Gavin’s words here will particularly sting a lot of East Coast viewers. I know they resonated more with me more than I would have expected. The bartender is impressed, and possibly guilt ridden, so he hands the bottle over to Tommy. Again this show walks the line between high drama and smart comedy as a slutty barfly starts to cozy up to Tommy after his speech. “Sweetheart, believe me this is way way more bad boy than you’ll ever gonna be able to handle. So do yourself a favor… go blow a drummer.”
After Tommy’s drinks at the bar, he calls his sponsor, Cousin Mickey. Tommy, like any kid backed into a corne,r starts making up excuse after excuse. I saw the plaque dedicated to the 9/11 firefighters! I thought I saw Connor! Mel Gibson made me do it! Nothing is working on Cousin Mickey, who has had it with Tommy’s survivor’s guilt/alcoholic bullshit. “You think this honors them!?!?” He keeps screaming in Tommy’s face as he smacks him around. “Now this is all going to start all over again.” Cousin Mickey packs Tommy up and takes him to a meeting. Tommy really should stop drinking out of pure fear that Cousin Mickey will kill him next time.
At the firehouse, Franco is trying everything this side of a backrub to get in Richie’s good graces. Franco is really digging Natalie, so it’s important that he and Richie are pals. Richard absorbs this information, disseminates it and comes up with this tasty lick: Best Friends Forever if Franco lets him go down the fire pole. Franco is considering this when Sean and Probie come into the room fighting. One of Probie’s friends over at his prospective new firehouse said someone told him that Probie was gay. Probie suspects Sean. Franco needs to call Natalie and ask her if letting Richie slide down the pole is alright, but doesn’t want to embarrass the poor guy by doing it in front of him. He leaves Sean and Probie in charge of Richard while he steps out of the room, which is as colossal a mistake as it sounds. If you’re the nurse at a mental hospital, you don’t’ leave the two least retarded patients in charge. However, this does lead to an extremely funny confrontation between Probie and Richard (who for some reason I keep wanting to call Charles). Richard asks Probie if he’s gay, because he heard what Sean was saying. Probie says no, but that he had a roommate who used to give him blowjobs. “And they call me a retard,” Richard says, sending Sean into a laughing fit so fierce I thought for sure that he’d bust something. Needless to say that this turns into another bitch match between Probie and Sean (“Come on, an actual retarded person says that your gay. I mean come on, that’s [funny].”), leaving Richard just enough time to slip out. When Franco returns, there is no trace of Richard and he is angry (“You two can’t even look after one of your own.”).
Check out this segue: Speaking of things that are lost, the cops call Tommy at home and they have found his car, the driver passed out in the front seat. This prompts PapaBear to say: “Nobody knows how to drink and drive anymore.”
CrazyTaty and Sean are discussing their upcoming wedding. Sean seems to have some kind of wedding binder out at the bar they are drinking at. I think Sean might be a Bridezilla and I love it. Where does CrazyTaty want to get married? The Beach? While scuba diving? At the asylum she had her first breakdown in? How about the bar, she suggests? Sean starts to worry that he won’t be able to find a tux that matches the decor, but he agrees.
After hours of searching for Richard, Franco shows up at Natalie’s apartment only to find out that Richard was found roaming the streets of Harlem, not exactly the safest place for a guy whose favorite Turret-induced word to throw around rhymes with bigger. Natalie starts to chide Franco for not taking good care of her brother. She tells him that he can’t ask to spend time with Richard and then not look after him. Franco admits he done wrong, but says that aside from the whole “lost” thing, they had a pretty good time. Natalie scoffs at this. According to Richard, Franco and his buddies spent the day making fun of him and calling him a retard. Franco can’t believe this. He doesn’t want to call Richard a liar, but that’s not what happened. Natalie kicks him out of the apartment, but before Franco can leave he catches a devious stare from Richard, who seems very pleased with himself.
Tommy ends the episode where he began it: Stack’s hospital room. Deb tells Tommy that now the doctors think Stack’s hands need to be amputated as well. When she leaves the two of them alone, Tommy goes over to Stack and tells him to let go. Stack was always a bull, even kicked Jimmy and Tommy’s asses in Probie School. But this isn’t a life for him. Wheeled around all day, no arms, no legs; having to be dependent on Deb and his kids for everything. He’s not going to win this battle. Tommy promises to take care of Deb and the kids. At this point, Tommy looks at all the tubes and wires keeping Stack alive, so I think he’s going to pull the plug. Hey, if Izzie can do it, why not Tommy Gavin? But he doesn’t. Later Tommy wakes up in a chair in Stack’s room to the sound of him flatlining. Apparently, Stack was listening to Tommy, and let go. Two things strike me odd about this scene: 1) While the nurses and doctors are working on this “code blue”, no one bothers to kick Tommy out of the room; 2) Tommy is eerily calm about watching his old friend die. The second is odd, in a wonderfully off-putting way. Tommy can’t find peace about the death of his son or his cousin, but for some reason, this death he just takes in as a natural progression. It’s a pretty great moment.
All in all after two weeks off the case, I think this episode was possibly the best of the season. What’d you think?