The third season finale of Rescue Me, happened to air just days after a raging fire in Bronx, NY (not too far from the Ladder 62, now that I think of it) claimed the life of Engine Co. 42′s Lt. Howard Carpluk and “Probie” Michael Reilly, 25. The news broke hard around NYC like a quick kick in the chest – there hadn’t been a day this bad for the FDNY since last year’s “Black Sunday”. Although the men died as heroes, in the truest, purest form of the word, their deaths were tragedies, the heft of which were felt across the five boroughs, as every newspaper in circulation applauded, honored and recounted their final moments, including Lt. Carpluk’s last request to save the new guy. I have to admit that certain aspects of Rescue Me are lost on me as a television viewer. How can Tommy Gavin be such a truly horrible human being but so devoted to his firefighting brothers? And yet, while Tommy Gavin is only a fictonal character who brutalizes his family, cheats on his wife and acts, in general, like a total asshole, one could easily imagine him making the same plea in his final moments: “Save my Probie.” That is the spirit, despite the characters actions (it is fiction, after all) series creators Denis Leary and Peter Tolan are trying to honor. To that end, this episode couldn’t have come at a better time. While some of the plotlines remained outlandish (hurrah! Probie is Bi-Cured! Sheila’s gone bonkers again! Would we want it any other way?), the brotherhood that this show represents in spades was extremely present, as the once fractured firehouse came back together. For so many reasons, that was a really good thing.Tommy starts his morning off by receiving the first of several “I’m in love and I don’t care who knows it” phone calls from Sheila. After he told her last week that he was leaving the FDNY, she’s been all on him about putting in his retirement papers, moving into their new house together, giving her the shocker, etc. Tommy very obviously has cold feet about this deal, but denies it when Sheila asks him. Oh Sheila, how your heart will break…
Tommy gets to the firehouse, and because I’m dumb from watching too much TV, I don’t quite understand what’s going on. People are there I don’t know, Capt. Jerry is calling Franco a Probie and bitching him out, and, most oddly of all, Tommy looks happy. Then it hits me that we’re getting a look at Tommy remembering the firehouse during the good ol’ days. Before he was divorced. And off the sauce. And his son was dead. And his brother was dead. And he had Chlamydia. The culmination of this scene is when Cousin Jimmy and some of the other guys bring out a huge stuffed animal to celebrate Janet being pregnant with one of Tommy’s kids (I’m assuming Connor). That doll is for the baby. The sex doll that Lou brings out is for Tommy. Hope you don’t mind sloppy seconds, Tommy! The fire alarm goes off, and Tommy is snapped back into the present. Cousin Jimmy is dead, the sex doll is boxed up and Sean is there. Bummer.
At the firehouse the conversation turns to the large gaping, gnome-like hole left by Capt. Jerry’s Viagra OD absence. The guys need a Captain. DUH! Lou! I feel like I’m taking crazy pills over here! Why isn’t Lou the Captain!?!?! Maybe it’s because they have a new Captain, and his name is, Captain Pecker. Well, actually, it’s something French, but that doesn’t really matter. It’s Captain Pecker now and forever.
In the dining room, Lou asks Tommy to go to dinner with him. Somewhere fancy. Ooh, a date; how romantic! Good for Lou, I’m sure Tommy puts out on the first date. Meanwhile, Franco is studying hard for his Lieutenant’s exam, which I hope he doesn’t pass, because then I’ll have to start calling “Lou” by his real name, Kenny. No thank you. As Franco is studying hard, you can tell because his ears actually start emitting steam a la Daffy Duck, Probie, is chowing down on the noisiest bag of Tortilla chips in the world. I try, week after week, but I just can’t hate Probie. Or Franco, especially when he rips the bag out of Probie’s hand and screams at him like El Nino on crack.
Just then the new Chief Pecker comes in and is mercilessly mocked for his last name. Pecker is pisst off and explains that his name is French, as if that’s a reason NOT to make fun of someone. It’s very funny when he tells them that he’s heard it all before, and asks Tommy what his name is, so Pecker can give him a taste of his own medicine. Sadly, Tommy Gavin doesn’t have the connotations that Pecker does. And Tommy “Going to die alone, because he’s a soulless, miserable pile of garbage” Gavin, doesn’t have a very catchy ring to it.
I’m beginning to wonder where Sean is, but I assume that his new bride, CrazyTaty, has peeled his skin and is wearing it to help her exfoliate, when we discover the both of them banging away on Pecker’s desk. Thank God, this is the last episode of the season; I don’t know how many more CrazyTaty and Sean sex scenes I can take (unfortunately there will be 1 1/2 more before the hour is up). Pecker apologizes for interrupting, but delivers the best line of the episode: “I had a magazine.” Sean searches for it, pulls it out of CrazyTaty’s cooter and hands it to Pecker.
That night, Tommy and Lou go on their man-date to a “Japanese-Tarzan fusion” restaurant, but Tommy instantly smells something fishy. No, it’s not Janet; it’s a set-up from Lou to meet Sister Teressa EasyCooch, his new lady love. Tommy is freaked out, rightfully so. The man is not only packing some serious Catholic guilt (like Jewish guilt, only dirtier), he actually starts to burst into flames whenever he is in close proximity to a religious figure. That’s what happens when you are Satan walking on earth.
At Natalie’s apartment, Richard the Retard is helping Franco study for his Lt.’s exam. Because of RTR’s Tourette’s his response to Franco when he gets an answer right rhymes with Ligger. How sweet. Imagine if that’s how things were in school?
Miss Anderson: “Timmy, what’s 4 plus 4?”
Timmy: “Umm, 8?”
Miss Anderson: “COCKSUCKER! Way to go, Timmy.”
Ugh. If only. I feel like there isn’t enough swearing in Grade Schools nowadays. Although Franco got the first answer correct, he’s crashing and burning on all the subsequent questions. RTR reveals his 4400 power is to memorize things, and he keeps reciting the answers back to Franco, making him feel even stupider.
Probie is kind of lonely, so he decides to call the chick that he met last week at the bar with Sean. Remember, the one with the gay brother whose number Probie also got? Because he’s bi, remember? Or did you forget because you’ve blocked everything about this plotline from your memory? Unfortunately, my dedication to the gasm is deeper than my hatred of inane plotlines, so I remember it all too vividly. The girl says she’d love to hang out with Probie, but would it be okay to bring her brother along. Sure, not awkward at all.
Back at dinner with Tommy, the sinner, Lou, the saint, and Sister Teressa, the slut. Fine, you don’t want to be a nun anymore, but does that mean you have to be a sure thing? The conversation gets awkward very quickly, with Sister Teressa EasyCooch, starts throwing around phrases like “specter of death” when wondering about Tommy’s life and career. She starts to mention the boat to Tommy, which he has selfishly, been against for Lou, this entire time. She invites him to come out to Montauk for the day with them to check it out. Tommy says he didn’t want to be a third wheel, and Lou calls him out on the lame excuse. He should’ve just cited the Hamtpons weekend traffic. Yeah, I’ll take a firey blaze any day. Sister Teressa EasyCooch says grace before she eats dinner, which I think is hysterical. So she thanks God for this bounty before her, but she has no problem having sex out of wedlock with a stranger after meeting him in the supermarket?
Speaking of premarital sex with strangers, Probie meets up with the Flowers in the Attic duo. They are no Kristy Swanson and Jeb Stuart Adams but they’ll do, I suppose. The sister asks Probie if they have to go through with this whole “dinner” thing or can they get straight to the sex. It’s just like every date I’ve ever been on. Probie doesn’t respond but just points to his erect penis to signal a yes. It seems the brother/sister combo aren’t into incest, they just like to fool around with someone in the middle. Is it just me or does any activity done with a sibling that needs to be distinguished as NOT incest, hit a little too close to the incest line? The brother asks Probie if he’s freaked out, and Probie again points at his erect hog. Okay, he doesn’t, but it’s cool with him, because, you know, he’s bi. Totally bi. That’s like someone saying they are Muslim because they drove by a Mosque once.
When Tommy gets home, Janet and the girls are in the apartment waiting for him. Mourning looks so good on these people! Only Colleen seems to realize that they have just recently buried her beloved uncle. Janet needs to talk to Tommy, so at first I think that by talk she means bone. But upon closer examination it looks like she isn’t wearing something under her clothes that Pamela Anderson deemed “too trashy.” She really wants to talk, this time about the baby of questionable paternity. Is it Tommy’s? Is it Johnny’s? Did I turn on a rerun of General Hospital from the mid-90′s? Is Carly trying to find out who Michael’s father is? Janet wants to know what they should say to people about the baby from Tommy, the master liar. Just then Colleen, the older, sullen one, barges in on the convo complaining about the argument over the television, in which Katy, the younger one, wants to watch Big Love. Inappropriate, yes? Excellent program, also yes. Tommy shoos Colleen away, and then comes up with a mediocre plan to say that Janet and Tommy reignited their lust for one another, and bam, a baby was born. Like so many other aspects of this episode, Johnny will be left out of the plan. Janet, ever the brain surgeon, asks what if the baby looks like Johnny? Umm, isn’t that possible? I majored in TVgasms in college, not genetics, but don’t Tommy and Johnny have the same genes? Even if the baby IS Tommy’s isn’t there a good chance the baby will resemble Johnny? Tommy poo poos this, saying that in a race through Janet’s uterus, Tommy’s sperm wins over Johnny’s every time. Nice. Body’s not even cold yet, people. The conversation ends with little Katy coming in to tell on Lou for making the girls watch a special on the Nazis. She then asks, having obviously overheard the conversation between her parents, what sperm is. Tommy, flustered, tells her it’s “Like Spam, except with more protein.” Katy responds, hysterically, that she thought it was what comes out of man’s penis during intercourse. Oh how delightfully funny I find promiscuous grade schoolers!
Speaking of sperm (the segues are just writing themselves this week!), Probie is in the middle of his threesome with the Flowers in the Attic duo heading down south to his basement, if you know what I mean. Probie is enjoying the double header, when suddenly a hairy leg comes across his chest. Uh oh. Probie is expected to take Route 69 all the way to Bi town! Suddenly, miraculously, Probie is cured! “Hey guys, I don’t think I’m Bi anymore!” And with that, dear sweet merciful Baby Jesus (love you, Talladega) let this storyline come to a close.
Probie, stupid, stupid Probie, has told Sean about his near-cock experience and of course, Sean has told the entire firehouse. But Probie doesn’t even care, he’s transferring out. These guys are dicks! Sean and Probie get into a fight (Sean doesn’t want Probie to go. Tear.) involving multiple uses of the word “asshole”, which is Ladder 62 speak for, “I’ll miss you, if you go.” Lou settles the dueling banjos down, like say, a CAPTAIN would, telling the guys that they should be applauding Probie for his dipping into the Bi pool. When chicks do it, it’s alright, so why not men? Oh, how Ryan Seacrest is loving this scene! Sadly, Lou ends the inspiring conversation, calling Probie a queer, prompting Probie to grab his pashmina and storm out of the room in a huff.
Tommy sneaks into the Pecker’s office to try and steal some retirement forms. The aloof Pecker, having just serenaded the gang after Lou’s “Bi or Bust” speech walks in moments later, apologizing to Tommy for intruding. Oh Pecker, you just don’t know where you belong, huh? Tommy tells him that he was just looking for some overtime papers. After Peckers busting in on CrazyTaty and Sean, he cautiously asks: “Are you in here alone?”
Tommy is called downstairs, as Capt. Jerry has just been dropped off by the city’s most irresponsible cab driver. He’s wearing his hospital gown, ready for work, in a drugged out state. As msCCRN has said in the comments and forums, the only redeeming quality of having Capt. Jerry live over Johnny, will be seeing how fast he can call INS on Miss Malibu Rum. The guys take Captain Jerry back to the hospital where he certainly belongs. Guys, do me a favor, and swing by the morgue and just dump him off there? That’d be great, thanks. As they send him off, Lou tells Tommy to never let that happen to him; to never let him be the guy who doesn’t know when to walk away. It must be hard, though, especially in that kind of job, to know when enough’s enough.
We next get to see two of our Ladder 62 buddies head, unsuccessfully, to greener pastures. First, Franco is taking the Lieutenant’s exam, but since he’s good looking, and not, smart, the test isn’t going very well. We then get a glimpse of Lou’s first day as a Seaman, which is a funny word when you have a mind like a twelve year old. Lou and Sister Teressa EasyCooch are headed on to Lou’s cousin’s boat for the first time. Apparently, Lou had no way of gauging his inability to maneuver the sea. Lou never makes it onto the boat, as the movement of the dock alone, freaked him out. I hope this doesn’t spell the end of Sister Teressa EasyCooch, though. Despite the unflattering nickname, I kinda like her.
Watch this one: Speaking of Seasickness. No, I mean, nausea. No, wait. Dammit! Anyway, it’s gross Sean/CrazyTaty sex scene number 2, as Sean finishes atop the Crazy one. Funny, I assumed CrazyT would be a girl who likes to be on top. I guess her penis gets in the way though. Sean is very pleased with the way things went, but CrazyT is less impressed. She wants to have sex at the firehouse again. Sean says no at first but is convinced by CrazyT’s excitement over having that “blotter on her cool bare ass.” Mmm, anyone else repulsed?
Tommy is over at the FDNY headquarters standing in the lobby like a lost puppy. Someone offers him some help, so Tommy uses the old “my friend wants to put his papers in” line. Tommy is directed upstairs to the “FDNY guys who can’t hack it” retirement window. Come on Tommy. Man up.
Franco is having a pity party for himself that Natalie is crashing with her logical thoughts and psychoanalysis. Boo. Franco tanked the test; in fact he didn’t even finish it. He realized the only reason he was taking the test was for Keela, and with her living all Little Orphan Keela in the manse with Susan Sarandon, he doesn’t need to better himself anymore. Wait, there are some portions of that statement that don’t make sense. Shouldn’t Franco still want more for himself? No? Okay. Natalie gets all Dr. Phil on Franco, telling him that he could’ve gotten Keela back any time he wanted to, if he only fought for her. Deep down inside, Franco knows he never wanted Keela, and now he’s just afraid that Keela knows it too. My. Mind. Is. Blown.
Tommy heads upstairs to the retirement window, where he’s greeted by, “Tommy Gavin, you cock knocker!” A sweet hello, if I’ve ever heard one. It’s one of Tommy’s old firefighter buddies, who is now working the retirement window, after he got injured in a fire. He was offered the chance to retire “like some fag” or work the window. Ouch. Tommy makes up an excuse about pensions, and of course, doesn’t hand his papers in.
As luck would have it, just as Tommy leaves Headquarters, a pumped, pumped, PUMPED Sheila gives him a call telling him all about the house, the furniture, the dinner she’s cooking and the new crazzzzy life they’ll have together.
Franco takes Natalie’s advice and meets up with Keela for a few minutes in the lobby of her new home, while Susan Sarandon is off-screen somewhere looping lines for her new movie. Donald, the manny, is watching Keela and her little dog too. Franco is amazed about her new threads, her new life and the fact that she is called Miss Keela, whether you’re nasty or not. Franco apologizes for not being the best daddy in the world, and Keela, makes some kind of very powerful analogy about eating vegetables and doing one’s best. It’s sweet, but it plays a little too out of the mouths of writers, as opposed to out of the mouth of babes, to me. Keela is whisked away to school in Europe, and hopefully this is the last we see of her for a while, so we can all relax. Keela is really better off without Franco, and for us, the viewers, they’ve finally revisited this plotline, and tied it up. See you in a few seasons Keela!
At the firehouse, the guys are discussing the various fake victories they had, Lou claiming the boat was great and Franco saying that he aced the Lt.’s exam. Lies! All lies! They get a call about needing to cover Battery Park, and head over there. First though, Franco has to look for Sean who is making nasty nasty love to CrazyTaty in the Firehouse shower. Barf.
On their way to Battery Park, they are told that it’s a false alarm and to head back to their firehouse. Tommy decides they should make a stop. It’s a political one for Denis Leary and a sweet one of the Ladder 62 boys. It’s been 5 years since 9/11 and they are staring at a wall put up by families and fellow firefighters of the men lost in 9/11 honoring them all. They make it a point to tell us that the politicians and government had no hand in putting this monument up, it was just the people who actually cared enough to memorialize the sacrifices these brave people made on September 11, 2001. The most poignant moment, is when Lou says that the memories and letters and prayers were encased in the wall, so that they will stay forever between brothers, just as it should be.
This leads to an honesty fest. Lou admits that the boat was a disaster, he’s sticking around for a few more years, and Franco, cops to failing the test miserably. Probie is seemingly unphased; he’s still transferring to a firehouse where he can get a little respect. Sean totally calls him out on this, and Probie admits that he isn’t going anywhere.
This leaves Tommy, with his papers still unfiled and a house full of dreams with Sheila on the water. What do you think he’s going to do? He head’s over to the new house, and Sheila, is obvsiously, sadly, bursting with excitement. While Sheila is inside, Cousin Jimmy pops by to tell Tommy how great the whole thing is. Everyone there, dead and alive, is excited about this next step. Except, of course, Tommy. He admits to Sheila that he didn’t put his papers in. Cousin Jimmy walks off the table. Sheila’s heart breaks. In a moment, she goes through every emotion a crazy person in love feels. Love, hate, heartbreak, anger, rage, confusion, MADNESS.
It’s like that Simpsons episode where Ralph is in love with Lisa, and Bart slowmo’s the television to see the exact point where Ralph’s heart breaks. Except Ralph, in this case is Sheila, who presummably doesn’t eat paste. He tells Sheila that the guys are all staying and he needs to stay there for them. Sheila responds with the beautifully poignant, “You ain’t gotta stay.” She makes him take off his sunglasses and look at her. Was he even going to spend the night with her? Is that what you’re concerned about right now, Sheila? Getting some more Gavin dick? (You Drive Me) Crazzzzy! I just can’t sleep. Who’d have thought that the soundtrack to Sheila’s every move should be a classically annoying Britney Spears song?
Sheila claims to need a glass of wine and refreshes Tommy’s drink. UH oh! Roofie cocktail! Natch, Sheila drugs Tommy (we don’t however see her slip him a Viagra), so even though she is slumping in her chair in the living room when Tommy is passed out, we don’t know if she raped him or not. She just wants to scream at him without any interruptions, except from the voices in her own head. It’s a true testament to both this show and Callie Thorne that Sheila can act so completely nutso, and yet be so incredibly likable. Sure Tommy is drugged, possibly raped, on the couch, but I’m still siding with HER.
As Sheila continues her rant she start throwing things around, saying that she never wanted any of this stuff anyway. It was all for them. All for him. In one of her fits, she ends up knocking over a candle or something, and the house starts to light up. Sheila starts to panic, tries a fire extinguisher, but the directions are only in English and Spanish, they don’t write them in Crazy, so it’s useless. She tries waking Tommy up, but, whoops, she’s drugged him! Sheila calms down for a moment, and leaves Tommy. What!!?!?! She’s just going to leave him to die? Yes. Again, how am I siding with Sheila!?!? Get this girl an Emmy. That’s if Blythe Danner doesn’t win AGAIN, next year. Sorry, a little bitter. Sheila gets to her car, screams a little, and then makes a barely coherent phone call to 911, reporting the fire.
At this point not only is the fire blaring, but also the song “One I Love” by David Gray, a perfectly upbeat, melancholy song that perfectly describes Sheila’s feeling towards Tommy. In the house, Tommy wakes up but is kind of a zombie, stumbling around in a drug fueled haze. Poor guy should have never kicked the sleeping pills habit. Sheila is outside screaming bloody murder, and heads back into the house, where Tommy has passed out again. She tries moving him, but is overcome with smoke and heat. It should be noted, sorry to be a downer, that Sheila had no problem moving him last time she drugged and raped him, so I don’t see why she can’t move him now. Regardless, Sheila collapses as well, as we see the house fire rage on. BOOM BOOM BOOM. Season 3 over.
I was kind of disappointed by the ending. Instead of a cliffhanger, I was kind of hoping that Sheila would just sve Tommy. Symbolism rules! What’d you think!?!?! They can’t kill Tommy, but what about Sheila? Could this just be a way of putting a permanent pin in that relationship? I sure as hell hope not. IF they lose Sheila they will lost a big part of the heart of the show.