Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Rescue Me, "Perspective": Cashing in his chip

Spoilers for the sixth episode of "Rescue Me" season five coming up just as soon as I abdicate my throne...
"Sometimes, when I'm falling asleep at night, I have this weird thing: I think I'm him, and I'm inside the first tower, and it's coming down on top of me." -Tommy
"Perspective" was the strongest episode of this season so far, and maybe one of my favorite "Rescue Me"s to date. Where the other episodes this season were a mix of scenes I really liked and scenes I grudgingly tolerated, virtually every moment here was a winner, including:

• Tommy and Lou tearing into each other about whether Lou has a shot with Genevieve, and how much Tommy's narcissism has raged out of control ("I'm a little overweight sad light, orbiting around the planet Tommy in the universe of Gavin!") was just a terrific dramatic showcase for Denis Leary and John Scurti, and then it was beautifully, hilariously followed with the two of them giving each other insulting titles (Turdmaster, King of All Douchebags) on the way to a fire call.

• While Black Shawn's relationship with Colleen has been one of the season's bigger misfires, I like Black Shawn as a member of the firehouse, and it was funny to watch him ruin the detente they'd achieved with the other fire company over Franco's 9/11 conspiracy theories.

• Needles' monologue about getting promoted due to 9/11, and trying and failing to instill discipline by being everyone's pal, featured some great work from Adam Ferrara, who to date has been mainly used as comic relief.

• Steven Pasquale continues to run with this storyline about Garrity trying to keep his cancer diagnosis a secret, and is even managing to balance the darker moments (Garrity chews out the other guys for bickering about Franco's conspiracy theories) with the lighter ones (Garrity pretends to masturbate so Franco won't suspect of him of stealing from the bar cash).

• Mike playing mentor to Damian was more evidence that the writers are trying to find a way to take every character seriously now.

• I like that this season has been more generous with giving big emotional scenes to other characters, like last week's Sheila monologue about wishing Tommy died instead of Jimmy, but Leary can still bring it when called, as he did in the scene at the diner overlooking Ground Zero. (I don't get to that part of Manhattan very often, so it's always unsettling to see that hole -- and to realize that there are so many businesses and residences in the area where it's become just another part of the scenery.)

Some people have been asking why Tommy is so unnerved to find out that Jimmy died in the second tower collapse rather than the first, and this scene sort of explains why: had Tommy known Jimmy was still out there, still trying to save people, maybe Tommy would have found a way to go into that second tower. But I think it's just as much a question of having finally made peace with the story of Jimmy's death, only to find out that the story was different. The new details almost don't even matter; whatever they are, they'd be enough to reopen all those wounds that seemed healed. And they've been reopened to the point where Tommy drank again (right after getting his one-year sobriety chip)...

...and we all know that he only sees the ghosts when he drinks. Is there a chance he's doing this because he wants to see Jimmy again, even if it's just an alcoholic delusion?

Episodes like this make me very glad I let myself be talked back into watching "Rescue Me" again. What did everybody else think?


Otto Man said...

I don't get to that part of Manhattan very often, so it's always unsettling to see that hole -- and to realize that there are so many businesses and residences in the area where it's become just another part of the scenery.I was worried they were going to show Tommy losing it against a crowd of tourists at the site. Lord knows every time I'm down there and see some grinning set of rednecks posing for a photo in front of the footprints, I have to suppress the urge to lash out in a blind rage. Tommy would've gone nuclear for sure.

But that would've been a cheap bit of drama. I'm glad they took the chance to back off and do the scene from the remove of the bar. And the shot of the couple arguing -- as unaware of the tension of the site as Tommy was keyed into it -- was really nice.

Great episode, all around.

erin said...

I agree--I loved the episode, and thought it had few, if any, weak spots. I thought it was an anti-climactic way to end it though--it seemed like it was just going on to another commercial break. Besides that, no complaint.

The show has had plenty of time to make jokes at some of these characters' expense, so I really like that they're showcasing interesting notes in each of them--Black Shawn the fighter (and his concern about telling Tommy his daughter is a slut, which was the best thing coming out of that dumb relationship), to MIke being a mentor and Lou's writing being not total crap and Sean's cancer. It's actually worth watching. I wonder how long they can keep it up?

Good stuff. Between this and Scrubs, I feel like I've rediscovered my favorite shows again!

dead souls said...

I thought this episode was great. I can't believe how much better this season is than season four.

I never thought I'd look forward to watching Rescue Me again, but now I do. Great performances all around by the entire cast.

olucy said...

Very solid ep. I wonder how much of the fight between Lieu and Tommy was improvised. Also a good argument between Tommy and Janet, who's not my favorite character, but I squirm when I see Tommy manhandle her.

So sorry to see Tommy take that drink. I was actually enjoying his sobriety.

Looks like I chose the right season to come back.

Anonymous said...

I wasnt as down on the show as youwere Alan, but the last half of season 3 and season 4 were mediocre. This season has easily surpassed the last 2. And it was just about getting back to the basics of the job.

The show has been terrific although the fact that there are 16 episodes left kind of worries me. Rescue Me is right behind Lost and Breaking Bad as the best shows on tv.

Anonymous said...

Are they still calling him "Black Shawn"? I thought they started calling the other Shawn, (by his last name)-Garrity?

Anonymous said...

Lou said he was an overweight satellite, not a sad light (hence the orbiting).


Jon88 said...

Well, as long as we're picking nits: the two of them giving each other insulting titles ... on the way to a fire call. They were coming back from, not going to.

Calside! (sounds like a soap)

dez said...

So sorry to see Tommy take that drink. I was actually enjoying his sobriety.Same here!

How good was Steven Pasquale in his scene ripping everyone over the 9-11 discussion? He tore that place up!

Looks like I chose the right season to come back.This is giving me an "Airplane!" flashback, hee hee!