Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Rescue Me, "Thaw": The gift of grab

Spoilers for tonight's "Rescue Me" coming up just as soon as I use sex as a weapon...

"Thaw" was the last episode of the season I've seen in advance. I have the next six(*), but for schedule and blogging purposes, I suspect I'm going to be watching them one at a time, not long before (or maybe shortly after) they air. But this felt like a very strong episode, give or take some of the show's usual peccadillos.

(*) At one point, there was talk that FX was going to split up the airing of the season, since there are 22 episodes, but as of now, the plan is to run them more or less straight through.

At this point, I just roll my eyes whenever Janet or Sheila are throwing themselves at Tommy -- and here, we got them both doing it in one week(**) -- and I still find the idea of Grown-Up Ghost Connor a little too weird, even by the usual standards of Tommy's alcoholic fantasies. But I really liked the rest of "Thaw," from the serious stuff like Needles continuing his pledge to be tougher on the guys (and, in this case, Fienberg) and Mike out-fighting a drunk and out-of-control Tommy, to the sillier moments like Franco being taken out by a one-eyed geezer and Dwight returning to exact his seven minutes of revenge on Tommy.

(**) I will give credit, though, to whoever came up with the idea to dress Sheila all in red and make her boudoir look like Hell itself. That was funny, even if Sheila's really only useful as a serious character these days.

Again, I don't know what's coming next, but I feel confident that it's going to be interesting, and that the good stuff is more than likely to outweigh the bad.

What did everybody else think?

19 comments:

Brian said...

Off-topic, but I saw your tweet about liking Nurse Jackie and I'm debating whether I want to watch the pilot online: do you think this show will appeal to someone who has never had any interest in hospital shows? I like Falco (duh) and firmly believe that no genre is inherently bad, but the hospital-drama genre has never hooked me before.

pdf said...

I'm really interested in this whole "nobody's afraid of/impressed by Tommy Gavin anymore" theme that Rescue Me is exploring this season. I thought the confrontation with Mike was great.

Anonymous said...

I don't think grown-up Connor is Connor at all, I think he's the baby (now a toddler) that Janet thought she had with Johnny, but is actually going to turn out to be Tommy's kid. When Janet was tucking him in tonight his hair was noticeably lighter than it was last season.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to post on the Rescue Me thread, but Alan is there any chance you watched the series finale of According to Jim? My first episode was mercifully the last. It somehow managed to be worse than I thought, with a more obtrusive laughtrack than Sports Night season 1...

Yet another anonymous said...

I was a little tired of the ghost aspect of the episode, but you did remind me of my favorite part: Mike standing up to Tommy, and sticking with it. Despite all the same old same old (ghosts, Janet/Sheila), here was a distinct change from the beginning of the show - heck, from last season.

And though there isn't too much meat in Michael J. Fox's character continuing on in the show, I really enjoy seeing him on the small screen, and he and Leary work off each other nicely.

Anonymous said...

From Jan:

I agree with everything you said, Alan: both Sheila and Janet in one week?? And grown up Connor is just silly. But the other stuff I enjoyed. I really liked the ghosts from first season where Tommy had some interaction with Jimmy, but the others who had been fire victims just sort of silently followed him around. I'd have to watch the episodes again, but I don't remember anyone else talking. Sometimes silence IS golden. I could buy the punk robbing the bar, but when it turned out to be Connor--in a way too long fantasy vision anyway--a few episodes again, I thought the writers had kind of lost it. And I love the interaction between Dwight and Tommy. Too bad that's probably going to end soon.

Anonymous said...

Anyone else think that Sheila had a look of pure evil on her face as they were getting it on?

erin said...

Sheila IS pure evil. I really wish they understood what to do with her character. There's a potential of making her so interesting, and I know this will sound sexist, but i think if there was a woman writer on the show, they'd understand how to write Sheila. But they just...don't. Even the no-strings attached sex, and the conversation exchange of "safeness" with her and Tommy make sense in a certain light, but then they ruin it by making her so ridiculous. I get she plays the devil in Tommy's life, but it's so OBVIOUS. And the character should be so much more complicated than that.

I LOVED the scene with Sean...it felt so real to me, and his relationship with his brother and his mom was explained instantly.

Also loved the Mike scene, and PDF--I'm agree it's interesting that Tommy is losing his Saint-like status in the firehouse with the drinking and the inability to pull rank. Mike becoming his own person is a great development.

This was the most fun I've had watching MJF since he started guesting. And yes, their chemistry is pretty great. Loved the unbroken shot when Sean walks away to get the tool and talks to Lou as Tommy is groaning in the background in MJF's vice-like grip. Ha!

When Rescue Me is on (as it's been this season), it's so on for me...I just wish they wouldn't be so dense about the parts that don't work (and the ghosts trick is getting old). It's the unevenness that makes it so frustrating. But I won't give it up yet!

Whew! All that vodka. How is Tommy's liver not completely pickled??

Oaktown Girl said...

I'm in the minority here, but I rather liked the idea of Tommy standing by and helplessly watching Connor be a negligent asshole to his wife and kids. In his imagination, whether Connor grew up to be a junkie or a financially successful professional who is an asshole to his wife and kids, it shows just how rotten Tommy feels about the kind of example he would have been to Connor had he lived.

Oaktown Girl said...

Sorry about the redundancy there. I meant to hit "edit" and accidentally hit "publish".

Anonymous said...

I didn't mind having Connor back as an asshole when last week he was a junkie thief. There was a running thread through a lot of the episode about what it means to be a Gavin, from Tommy telling Janet about how they could lie about anything, to Colleen's "Other people run. Gavin's fight." to Tommy throwing himself on the fire for Mike with Needles. I think the more versions of Connor we see, the more variations on the selfish, self destructive Gavin identity we are going to be presented with. Both weeks have given Tommy a sort of Cat's in the Cradle "My boy is just like me" moment.

But, yeah. Both Janet and Sheila want to have frequent, string-free sex with Tommy. Just when I thought the writers had learned their lesson...

Karen said...

I wanted to cheer when Mike stood up to Tommy - it was excellent to see Mike as a strong person for the first time that I can remember, and pretty much, at this point, I am left with absolutely no interest in Tommy - which begs the question of why I still watch, I guess. Then again, if I can get through episode after episode with a character like Uncle Teddy, or Maggie, both of whom I cannot stand, I guess I can hang on through this - and hope that they somehow get me interested in Tommy again.

I do love that Michael J. Fox still, after all these years, does the slow blink reaction. I love it.

dez said...

ITA with Oaktown Girl and Anonymous 3:45 p.m. I'm looking forward to more Ghost Connors just to see what aspects of Tommy's personality they illuminate.

I wish they would knock off the sex crap with Sheila and Janet, though. It's boring. I know it makes sense that Tommy keeps making the same mistakes (drinking, hanging out with women who are toxic for him and he for them), but the Sheila/Janet story is played. The tearing down of Tommy Gavin is already intriguing and doesn't need the added "relationship" crap.

Loved Mike's and Sean's scenes this outing. Those guys are knocking it out of the park.

Anonymous said...

Erin is dead on.

Leary/Tolan DO NOT know how to write Shelia, and they never have. Its why we have an unfortunate pattern of really poorly written female characters.

What bothered me about Shelia in this episode is that her character had made such dramatic strides a few episodes back. (Callie Thorn should seriously be an emmy contender for that monologue alone). Why did she go back to...this? The same old same old? Granted, the odd artistic direction of that scene gives me the impression there is something more to it than meets the eye...but it really felt like a step back. And the same goes for Janet. She too showed SOME maturity by for once admitting her own flaws...only to go back and become kind of the same thing. Because this season has been so much better I have hope that they'll go somewhere with this, but I'm still nervous.

Also:
-Sean scenes? Really well done. Funny and sad, which is what this show does well.

-Really interesting to see Mike with a spine, and frankly...a good thing. I don't think it was out of character (he's been pushing for more respect for awhile) and I'm not surprised to see that the guy has ambition. He's clearly grown up and I think having him tell off Tommy is notable because its just further hammering how much things have changed...and how much Tommy hasn't.

-Here is what bugged me: Colleen said she hadn't heard from Black Sean in a week. Really? Didn't they say he'd been gone for three in the last episode? What is going on exactly? They need to resolve this. Also, good to finally see little Wyatt/Elvis/No Name...though I really wish we knew exactly what happened with that baby sharing arrangement. It clearly didn't take, but what exactly went down? We'll probably never know.

dez said...

Why did she go back to...this? The same old same old? Granted, the odd artistic direction of that scene gives me the impression there is something more to it than meets the eye...but it really felt like a step back.

As someone mentioned above, Sheila did have an odd evil gleam in her eye. Made me think she's trying get pregnant again, and that she really gets off on controlling Tommy. Still, like I said, that storyline is Played. Out.

Captcha = vands (German wands, natch!)

albee said...

I think Mike had a lot of nerve hitting Tommy, when he just saved his ass and Tommy's nephew's ass literally, especially when Mike showed such poor judgement bringing Tommy's nephew into the fire, last week. If Mike wants to show he grew balls, let him first learn to be more responsible, by saying no to people other than Tommy. Tommy is personally a mess, but professionally he is constantly making up for all the other character's shortcomings, including the chief's.

Anonymous said...

I understand why so many people enjoyed Mike standing up to a drunk Tommy -- Mike has been played as nothing more than a joke for so long that it's nice to see him growing as a person. The huge problem I had with it was identified by Albee: Mike was completely in the wrong. Damien could have died due to Mike's poor judgment -- he never should have brought him into the building and never should have shut him into a room to hide him from the others. It takes away from Mike growing a spine and becoming more of a real character when he stands up for himself so strongly in a situation where he was totally wrong. It's hard to root for him when I'm thinking that he should be officially reprimanded for such a stupid stunt.

Oaktown Girl said...

It's hard to root for him when I'm thinking that he should be officially reprimanded for such a stupid stunt.

Yes, albie and Anon, that was my feeling as well.

J-rod said...

I really liked the opening scene of this episode.

I am confused at the rank of Feinberg and Needles. I thought Fienberg replaced Jerry and then Needles replaced Feinberg, but then I realized that Feinberg is still around.

Sheila's proposal to provide Tommy with a vice Oasis in return for keeping Damien safe just screamed at me that Damien is going to die.