Friday, August 10, 2007

"One, two, three, vagina!": the obligatory two weeks of Rescue Me

Oookay. I've been kinda avoiding this post (I'll do Damages next), cause Wednesday's ep was kinda freakin' weird. But, I gotta talk about Tommy holding his baby over the Hudson river, so, let me talk about that first.

Hey! Guess what! Excuse the french, but that was BULLSHIT. Such a shame, too, cause it came at the end of the best ep the show's had all season, probably. The baby fire at the beginning was chilling (sadly, set to indie rock--basically, you can't walk anywhere on this show without it being set to indie rock. Next ep, I fully expect Tommy to be buying milk, set to indie rock). And hey, after the baby fire, things actually fell into place and had like, logical structure! Susan Sarandon shows up with Franco's adorable daughter. Lou confesses he wants a child. Sean and Mike....also do things that I don't really remember. There was the basketball game, and the scenes surrounding it, which were funny and well put together. Also, Tommy bonded with Black Sean, or whatever the hell he's supposed to be called, a character I'd be happy to have stick around. Jerry Adler has been good fun on the show so far too. Neither are doing anything particularly alarmingly good, but they're putting in good banter every episode and they're restoring a faint, faint air of normalcy to the firehouse scenes, which have felt off-kilter the whole season, especially after Jerry shot himself.

Then, Tommy, who's been kinda humming and hawing over the fate of Janet's nameless baby, especially in the light of the baby fire, sees brother Johnny (Dean Winters, we miss you!) who tells him to drop the baby into the river. Well, that's nice. Now, that scene, with Johnny's speech, would have been kinda on the nose if it had just consisted of the speech, and maybe Tommy looking out over the river, or looking at the baby and then at the river. But I coulda lived with that. Instead, we need to see Tommy actually pull a Michael Jackson and DANGLE the baby? Come on. We all knew he wasn't gonna do it. Maybe Tommy's vaguely entertaining the idea (even that seems like a stretch to me), but for it to be absolutely rubbed in our faces, AND used for an utterly lame cliffhanger, was not cool at all. Messed up what was a great episode, and that's sad.

All that considered, let's think about Wednesday's ep, "Solo". Now, basically, things were kinda back to weird and disjointed, but there was the fun extra of a ca-raaayzeee dream sequence at the beginning! That's right, Tommy comes home to tell Janet he...dropped the baby in the river. No, wait, he's kidding! Instead, he actually just gave the baby away to Sheila. What? WHAT? What's so crazy about that? Seriously, one of the worst things about the goddamn baby-dangling is it makes it seem like Tommy giving the baby away to Sheila is a rational and sane decision. When in fact it's both A: lunacy and B: a recycled plot on this show, which was lunacy the first time it happened. I have had quite enough of the child trafficking going on in Rescue Me, honestly. Back to that dream sequence, though: after Janet kicks the shit out of him for hocking the baby, Tommy is psychically assaulted by various ghosts, including Jimmy Keefe and Johnny Gavin, who seem to be spouting nonsense (were there a few lines from On the Waterfront in there, or was I imagining things?). Then, the apartment starts to burn down, accompanied by screams of agony, and Tommy puts an axe into various doors and walls before collapsing onto the floor, a wailing, devastated mess.

The problem with Rescue Me attempting this stuff (and they've done so in the past a fair number of times), is it always seems like Leary and Tolan are cribbing from shows like The Sopranos, but just...not getting it right. It's all too grainy, and unsubtle, and frankly kinda silly. Like, what did I pick up from that dream? Tommy's freaking out. Oh. The other problem is, that dream sequence set such an intense tone, the rest of the episode just couldn't really handle it. I sort of liked Tommy matter-of-factly describing his mental breakdown to the ex-priest cousin, and then marching off to an AA meeting. Overall, though, everything just felt off, and a lot of the episode's plots weren't too grabby. Worst of all was Susan Sarandon telling Franco to man up and go back to his fiance, which sucks, cause his fiance is boring and has the retarded brother, whereas Susan Sarandon is great and has the adorable child.

There was also Garrity trying to figure out what's up with his absent wife--Tatum O'Neal's feckless presence is sorely missed, also--but not really coming anywhere close to figuring out as to where she, y'know, was. Or when she was coming back. The probie mighta been involved in that one, too. Weirdest of all was, even though the firehouse is aflame with gossip about Tommy's latest freakout, and how badly his wife beat him up (she ran him over with a car!), but Chief Jerry Adler is still very interested in setting up his daughter with wayward Mr. Gavin. Now, we later find out his daughter is kinda loopy and irritating (and, of course, who better to take such a role than the wonderful Amy Sedaris), but still, TOMMY? Apparently he tried Lou first (wtf) but I'd pick the married guys before I picked Tommy! His home situation is too terrifying to even contemplate! Tommy's scenes with Sedaris were kinda fun, but the whole thing still felt pretty off. Too bad Sedaris couldn't be given a cooler role. She's kind of a strange fit with the show, but she really didn't get a whole lot to do except be odd for about five minutes.

Honestly, I saw "Solo" yesterday, and I barely remember what happened in it, but I still vividly remember "Seven", which I saw like a week ago. Next week sounds kinda promising (intervention for Maggie!) and I'm nowhere near giving up on this show. Still, there are a lot of crappy plots really weighing down some nice material, and it's sad to see week-to-week.

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