While thousands of teen girls and women were standing in lines Tuesday night eager to be the first to see “Eclipse,” the third of the "Twilight" movies, many a firemen and Denis Leary fan were tuned into FX to catch the season premiere of “Rescue Me.”
The sixth season opened with central character Tommy Gavin legally dying on the way to the hospital for treatment of two gunshots caused by his uncle; Teddy was angry that Tommy served his wife, Ellie, drinks which ultimately resulted in her death in a drunk driving incident in season five.
Tommy, played by the ever talented Denis Leary, is as real at they come. He may be a “rebel” hero, but as is often the case with such personalities, his personal life is a mess. This makes Tommy a believable character. He seems to have a death wish on the job, pushing himself beyond what most consider reasonable limits, often with unexplainably successful results. He loves women and keeps bouncing back and forth between the mother of his children and his cousin’s somewhat psychotic widow; he often hallucinates seeing his dead cousin, including conversations in which he’s counseled by the dead fireman. Tommy’s wife, in a previous season, has a fling with his cop brother, who dies. He’s on the downhill slide to the bottom of the bottle, and his oldest daughter seems to be following in his addictive behaviors. In a nutshell, the Gavins’ disfunction :make the Jacksons look like the Osmonds.”
Even in the afterlife Tommy can’t quite get it together. He has that brief moment when he’s “dead” and is met by his dead firefighter cousin and all of the other firemen who died in 9/11. But, just as he starts to follow them into the light, he’s plunked from the sky into a burning buillding with what appears to be no escape, the floor under him smoking and fire evident from the many doorways around him. He’s “brought back” just before things can explode on him.
Tommy’s family is determined to keep him alive, even Uncle Teddy — who finally acknowledges that while Tommy may have been the instigator of his wife drinking before her fatal crash, he didn’t force the alcohol down her throat nor on any of the other family members present that night — is in on the intervention. But this family believes in tough love — which sometimes involves a pistol.
Tommy is picked up at the hospital a week earlier than he was supposed to be released — typical Tommy not wanting to endure rehab therapy — by a driver who appears to be guzzling down booze as he takes adrenalin junky Tommy on a harrowingly fast ride the wrong way down a one-way road, before being deposited at the curb. He’s called out about “lifting” morphine from the hospital.
The plot is ever twisted where Tommy Gavin is concerned and includes a confession from psychotic Sheila that she seriously had to talk herself out of killing him at the hospital. He’s jealous of the guys from his firehouse who did stop at his place to take care of his daughters and their mom while he was at death’s door.
On top of all that, stunts leading up to the seaon five finale garnered the wrong kind of attention from city officials, who put Tommy’s “house,” 62, at number one on the list of FDNY houses being considered for closure due to budget cuts.
I wasn’t as pleased with the season start as I have been with some in the past, but I’m going to hang around and see how things go. This show’s smoldering embers have a tendancy to blaze at just the worst possible time for the Tommy, Gavins and the rest of the guys at the fire house.
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