It’s the beginning of the end for ‘Rescue Me’. The show began its seventh and final season last week. Is the series primed to go out in a blaze of glory, or has it already burned itself out? After the season premiere, I’m honestly not sure.
Technically speaking, ‘Rescue Me’ wrapped up quite a while ago. The show’s production staff filmed the final 19 episodes together as one big season (a typical season for the show runs 13 episodes), which the network then split in half to make two shorter seasons instead. These last nine episodes have been in the can and waiting to run for almost a year. The cast and crew already moved on to other projects. It’s kind of weird to see Callie Thorne back to playing Sheila again while her brand new show ‘Necessary Roughness‘ is also on the air.
One consequence of this decision is that episode ‘Mutha’ doesn’t feel like a season premiere at all. Nothing particularly momentous happens in it. It feels like a filler episode in the middle of a season’s run. Which, frankly, it originally was.
As we last left things, Tommy’s nephew Damien (Sheila’s son) had been in a bad accident and was left in a vegetative state. Tommy spends a lot of time at Sheila’s apartment taking care of him, which has really pissed Janet off. For her part, Janet recently found out that she’s pregnant. She’d been hiding that fact from Tommy, until he stumbled upon a letter from her doctor with the test results.
In the premiere, Tommy confronts Janet, who hasn’t decided whether to keep the baby or abort it. Tommy wants her to have it. She tells him that she’ll only do so if he straightens up and starts acting like a responsible family man. I feel like we’ve already been down this road before, with disastrous results.
The episode jumps ahead five months later. Janet is well into her pregnancy. Somehow, she and Sheila are friends again. All we’re told about this is that these two mortal enemies have “bonded.” Tommy thinks this is very strange.
Tommy has been in a peculiarly good mood, because he knows that Janet usually gets really horny when she’s pregnant. However, Sheila pulls him aside and tells him that Janet is worried about the health of this baby and doesn’t want to be touched. She tells him that he’ll have to do without sex for the next six months. Tommy puts on a game face and acts very sweet to Janet, but he’s clearly dying on the inside.
At the fire house, there have been no fires for a couple weeks. Everyone is bored and on edge. Black Shawn confides to Franco that he’s thinking of asking Tommy’s daughter Colleen to marry him. Black Shawn no doubt expects that ladies’ man Franco will try to talk him out of it, but Franco instead tells him to go for it.
Colleen has been working at the bar, which is now owned by Teddy and Mickey. This seems like a very, very bad idea, but the three of them insist that they have a support system in place to prevent each other from drinking again. After Black Shawn proposes, Colleen is ecstatic, but then immediately starts pounding down shots as soon as he leaves the room. Eventually, she passes out in the bar’s storeroom.
Mickey and Teddy call Tommy to come collect his daughter. He’s really pissed with the both of them. He goes into the back room to get Colleen, finds her on the floor, sits down, and takes a shot of liquor himself. Immediately, he sees a vision of his dead father, brother Johnny and cousin Jimmy. They all tell him that everything’s going to be all right, and encourage him to start drinking again. He stares them down and then spits out the drink. He hadn’t swallowed any of it.
Tommy exits the back room, pulls Teddy’s shotgun from behind the counter, and starts shooting up the bar. All of the customers flee. Mickey and Teddy hide behind the counter. Teddy comments on the irony of the situation, since it wasn’t too long ago that he’d done the same thing to Tommy. When he’s out of ammo, Tommy declares: “Party’s over, assholes!”
Aside from the final scene, this is a very low-key episode in which not a lot happens. It doesn’t have the excitement of any fire scenes, and lacks much hilarious banter between the boys in the fire house. It has hardly any of the bracing dark humor the show is known for. Honestly, I’m also starting to be bothered by the inconsistency of how many of the characters are written. It seems to have been almost completely forgotten that Teddy tried to kill Tommy. Now it’s like nothing at all happened between them. How does a convicted felon and notorious alcoholic get to own a bar, anyway? Did the state really give him a liquor license?
Immediately after watching it, I was left fairly disappointed with the premiere. However, I remember that the last season started off really slowly as well and took a long time to warm up. Perhaps the same will hold true here. I’m hoping that it picks up soon. I’d like to see this show go out on a strong note.