Rescue Me Season 3 Review
Alright, I love this show, it’s true. I love it and I think it’s nigh on perfect but I’ll try not to be swayed by my bias when writing this review, I need to take the show on its merits, and there will be some suggestions for improvements made here.
For those who don’t know, Rescue Me is a show with Denis Leary playing a firefighter, Tommy Gavin, in post-9/11 New York. It’s got its fair share of gung ho, pro-US sentiment but I don’t feel it’s ever over the top. It’s strong, sure, but this is a show about people who were at ground zero and who lost colleague, friends, family, it needs to have the spectre of that terrible event looming over it to some degree. Denis Leary writes the show, as well as created it, so it’s his baby in the end, but this doesn’t stop him painting himself in a pretty crummy way at times.
I haven’t watching this show in about 2 years, as I had to wait that long for the DVD set at JB Hi-Fi to get any sort of discount to it and be damned it I was paying full price. I waited them out and sure enough, I won. So I finally got to sit down for a weekend, while the wife was away, and just immerse myself.
In the last season (*SPOILERS BEGIN*), Tommy’s son had been killed in a hit-and-run and his family had broken down because of it. We pick up the new season and Tommy’s seeing his son, just as he sees the ghosts of many of his dead firefighter buddies. It’s just something he has to deal with, and the ghosts are more emotional manifestations rather than real ghosts, though I don’t think they ever truly explain it so overtly. Tommy’s life is a mess, as always. His wife hates him, his dead cousin’s wife is still loitering around after their affair the previous season, and any other females he ends up sleeping with seem to be more on the unhinged side of life.
I could recount all of the events of the season in this review but that would only spoil the fun of seeing it all unravel for yourself. I will say though, there’s plenty of sex. Absolutely stacks of it. Tommy manages to sleep with about 5 different chicks, not to mention the other characters all kind of evenly sleeping around as well, and they’re all interesting situations but ones I know I’ve been exposed to as well, to some degree, whether through a friend or whatever.
Denis Leary does such an amazing job of constantly making Tommy a volatile and yet lovable character. He can snap but we understand why and in the end we care for him. He toes that line perfectly and deserves far more accolades and buzz than I hear him getting. The scripts are also very well crafted in that a lot of the scenes come full circle, things are circular. It’s funny, and yet the times where it sets out to get real the business is very serious. I’d love to be in the writing room as they work these things out. They capture that flavour of just men talking exceptionally well.
The rogue’s gallery around Leary are in fine form this season with Steven Pasquale’s Garrity still remains my favourite character, besides Tommy, as he’s absolutely hilarious and extremely watchable. This guy is a good actor, in this role, and I want to see him continue to go on to do some things after the show ends in 2011. The episode where Garrity accidentally takes sleeping pills and sleep walks through the town is hilarious. Pasquale nails it all and I don’t think there was a scene that he didn’t nail. I didn’t love his story with Tommy’s sister, Maggie, but it still worked pretty well for me.
The wife of the dead cousin, Shiela, as played by Callie Thorne must be a hard role to play. She’s a bit unhinged, but rightfully so when her husband was lost in the terrorist attacks and she’s basically left with no centre after that. All she wants is happiness but there don’t seem to be any viable options for her to get it. Thorne does an almost perfect job with her by really showing the terrible reality behind this existence and putting on the happy face when necessary. It’s harsh and as much as you feel for her at times you just shy away from her because she’s, in a word, crazy.
The greatest character arc of the season is undeniably John Scurti’s journey as Kenny Shea. He goes from depressed to stumbling stewbum to finally having an epiphany and getting his life back on track after such a long time down in the gutter. You almost want to cheer for him as he starts to get things right. Scurti is believable and likable in this role and this season he got to show some extreme range.
I wasn’t completely won over by the subplot for Uncle Teddy as he takes a wife from gaol. As it doesn’t really impact on everything else it seemed to feel tacked on at time, even though it was pretty damn hilarious at times as well. I also would have liked more build up for the story around Tommy’s brother, Johnny. I thought Dean Winters did a great job in the role and could have been explored more instead of Uncle Teddy. There are plenty of other subplots but mostly this show is about Tommy trying to keep his world just the way he likes it. He doesn’t want the boys to leave the station house and he just wants to be happy with a woman, but because he’s constantly got more than one on the rotation he ends up nearly always blowing it for himself.
The ending to this season is extremely strong, and felt completely organic in build up. It’s all Tommy’s fault but you can’t hate him for it because, if you’re honest with yourself, we’ve all been in these kinds of positions before and made these sorts of decisions. Or maybe it’s just me, maybe I’m a bad person, but I can feel for Tommy in so many ways. Life gets like that sometimes and I swear it isn’t your fault.
I’m rating this show just behind LOST in the stakes for greatest show ever, and I think this might just have more watchability that LOST. Maybe. I certainly realised how strong the writing is in this season and I can only wait until the Aussie version of S4 is released, and then comes on sale, or else someone sponsors me a season, so it sucks to know it might be a while before I get back into this world but I guarantee I will wait. This show is absolutely too good to not continue on with.
If you haven’t seen Rescue Me yet then you probably need to, especially if you read this site. It’s a fantastic portrayal of what I would call real life for amoral people. The lines are always grey, and still managed to be blurred too.
Do it, you’ll laugh your ass off and thank me later.
Posted on July 12th, 2010 by ryan
Filed under: television