As I was watching the finale, I was taking notes on my computer, and here is exactly what I typed as Sheila went into the kitchen to fix Tommy another drink:
Oh, God, she's again crushing the roofies into his drink? NO! NO! NO! NO!Dammit, not even "Grey's Anatomy" or David E. Kelley have the ability to make me as angry at a show I otherwise love. How can they be as brilliant as they are in moments like Tommy telling Stack to let go or the visit to the 9/11 memorial tonight and then do stupid shit like having Sheila go for the RoHypnol AGAIN? And to trot out a cliffhanger that, while it fits as a bookend with Tommy's dream in the season premiere, is a classically phony Hero in Jeopardy stunt that even Leary and Tolan admitted the audience would see through. A conference call excerpt, after a reporter asked why they would do that if the audience knows Tommy won't die:
LEARY: "Because it's television."Look, you drug Franco or Garrity or even, God help us, Lou, and trap them in a burning beach house, and I can picture the possibility that they could die, or get scarred or crippled or whatever. But Tommy's going to emerge physically unscathed -- how is he going to maintain his supernatural ability to bag hot women otherwise? -- and even if Sheila dies, I won't exactly mourn the loss of the poster girl for how horribly this show usually writes women.
TOLAN: "There's always an element of false jeopardy in a cliffhanger because you know we're not going to kill Tommy -- probably. But the question is, 'What is it going to get you for next season?' And we thought about this, and we're going to have a lot of fun with what gives us."
LEARY: "Don't forget: when a person on this show dies, their part only gets bigger."
And yet the show that can be so predictable -- they barely even bothered with the pretense that the squad was going to break up -- and annoying and self-indulgent at times can also give us bits like:
- The entire flashback sequence, which was done so slyly (with Tommy staying in modern costume and there never being an obvious edit) that at first I thought Reilly was going senile when he was calling Franco "Probie" (it wasn't until Jimmy and Lou's Red Sox argument that I figured it out);
- Chief Pecher (nicely played by Tolan) walking in on Garrity and Maggie humping away in his office ("I had a magazine..."), and also his random singing of "Poor Wandering One" from "Pirates of Penzance";
- Tommy's rant about his sperm having "ant strength";
- Mike's "Guys, I think I'm not bi anymore" (predictable, but the way the camera framed it was hysterical);
- Lou's sadness at seeing Reilly show up at the station in his hospital gown;
- Lou crawling around on the docks;
- The entire 9/11 memorial scene, even if, like the scene in the season two finale where they're looking at the skyline, the actors were clearly talking as much to the audience as each other;
- The whole "Don't look at me, I'm the dead guy" shrug Jimmy gives Tommy before quickly exiting what he knows is going to be a hellacious argument between his best friend and his widow.
Some other quick thoughts and notes:
- On the call, Leary also said that Tommy's karmic payback for The Incident (or, as Tolan described it, "Tommy's thing with Janet") wasn't Sheila raping him, or Johnny's death, or even him getting trapped in the fire. "It doesn't happen until sometime in the middle of season four, but it's coming." I dunno; I have a feeling that Sheila raping him was intended to be the payback, and when the audience didn't buy into it, they changed their story.
- Even after all the contortions to keep the rest of the guys in the house, is there any chance they might actually follow through with that Chief/Lou scene and get rid of Jack McGee next year? And, if so, what type of character might you like to see as the new chief, since I know Tolan's not moving to New York full time to play Pecher? Also, since they've talked about adding a new Probie, what kind of character do you want to see there? (I liked Tolan's suggestion in our interview of it being a super-capable woman -- straight or lesbian, I don't care -- who forces the guys to reassess a lot of the macho BS that chased away the Diane Farr character.)
- I wasn't really feeling either of the precocious kid scenes, whether it was Katie playing with Tommy on the definition of sperm or Keelah's "Did you try your best?" speech to Franco. I don't know about Tolan, but I know Leary has two kids, and those two scenes felt off to me.
- Where does Jimmy get off calling Tommy's 5'2" conquest a midget when Sheila's lucky she's that tall in heels?
What did everybody else think?