Spoilers for the "Rescue Me" season finale coming up just as soon as I give a dog a bone...
And so the most disjointed season of the already disjointed series ends on... a disjointed episode. I suppose if you're going to be wildly inconsistent, you may as well be consistent about that. Or something.
I really have no idea what story or stories Leary and Tolan were trying to tell this season. Chief Reilly's suicide went nowhere. The insurance scam went nowhere. The baby storyline sort of went somewhere, then got to that insane, out-of-character moment at the river's edge, and then all but disappeared. (What happened to Janet and Sheila each assuming that the other was going to give up Elvis/Wyatt for good?) Nona (remember Nona?) was here because why? And on and on. There were some threads that got followed all the way through the season, or close to it -- notably Tommy quitting booze -- but for the most part this year felt as made up on the spot as your average "24" season. The difference is that, when "24" is working, you don't care that the storylines keep shifting abruptly because there's a gun in somebody's face; it's much harder to pull that off with a character-based show that's never been big on plot on the first place.
The last few episodes felt particularly random, with the introduction of the drunken crew that works out of the same firehouse and Tommy's out of the blue decision to start playing extracurricular fireman in his cousin's old coat. I suppose an argument could be made that the fragmented, seemingly random pacing was supposed to reflect Tommy cracking up under the strain of sobriety, but if that's what the writers and directors were trying to convey, it didn't really work. There were too many scenes where Tommy was just the same ol' Tommy, beating off the hotties with a stick (and getting to act out a caveman fantasy with Gina Gershon in the finale), busting balls at the firehouse, harassing Colleen's boyfriends, etc.
This series started off with a very clear mission statement: depicting life in the FDNY in the wake of 9/11, through the eyes of an extreme personality case. They moved off of that a long time ago, and while they shouldn't be obligated to make WTC references forever (it was actually jarring to see a snippet of Tommy's WTC lobby dream from season one's "Inches"), I don't think the story of Tommy Gavin, irresistable chick magnet has been nearly a worthy enough replacement.
Outside of Tommy dangling the baby over the river for the sake of a misleading cliffhanger and the writers blowing off Tolan's promised emotional fallout to the Chief's death, there wasn't anything about this season that especially angered me. The flip side, though, is that very little excited me. I used to use the old "girl with the curl" cliche with this show, talking about how the good stuff was so good that I put up with the bad stuff (even though it was very bad). Now the show just seems lost, and I'm not sure I'm going to search hard for it if/when it comes back next summer.
What did everybody else think?