September 2, 2009By Joe Diliberto Posted: Sep 2, 2009
Now that's hot! Bravo, Denis Leary and Peter Tolan! I was shocked and awed by the spectacular fifth-season finale to RESCUE ME, which featured a truly harrowing cliffhanger. At 22 episodes, this was the longest season ever, and (from beginning to end) the best. So this was the finale the series deserved. The story was all about waiting for the other shoe to drop — more than one shoe, in fact. And when they did, they landed with devastating effects.
First of all, Janet finally served Tommy with divorce papers. As Lou pointed out, this has been years in the making; years that Tommy has spent alternately looking over his shoulder and trying to rescue a long-dead marriage. But the relationship is burned beyond recognition. And it is not helped by Tommy's dalliance with Sheila. He seems to have a good thing going — but Sheila's idea of a "no strings" relationship seems even more binding than Janet's idea of marriage. (Tommy is supposed to be watching over Sheila's son Damian at the firehouse, but Damian is actually keeping an eye on Tommy for his mother). Not even new gal Kelly is what she seems to be. She seems to offer the ultimate "no strings attached" relationship — she can barely remember Tommy's name. But even she draws the line at sharing personal information. When word of Kelly reached Sheila, she declared a truce with Janet long enough to tag-team Kelly. But of course they could not keep the claws sheathed long enough to take down a common enemy. The Sheila/Janet catfight turned into a rumble in the jungle, with the gals hurling shoes and bricks at each, and it ended with Sheila using a garbage can lid to beat down a passerby who tried to intervene. Which was fitting, because in a lot of ways, this has been Callie Thorne's season, and she has really run with the role of Sheila. By turns shrill and crazy-sexy-cool, Sheila is the model of a passive-aggressive nightmare girlfriend.
But the life-and-death stakes came from Uncle Teddy, who was inconsolable over Ellie's death. He finally found solace in a warm gun. This comes as no surprise to longtime viewers, who doubtless remember that Teddy shot the drunken driver who killed Tommy's son Connor. (Teddy's stint in jail for that slaying led to him meeting Ellie in the first place!) Calling attention to the fact that while Tommy himself is a train wreck, it's always everyone else who ends up dead, Teddy decided to punish Tommy for pushing Ellie off the wagon. So Tommy shot him. Twice. In front of all his buddies from 62 Engine. So the season ended with Tommy lying on the floor of his bar, bleeding out while his closest friends look on, helplessly, held at bay by the crazed Teddy. Now that's a cliff-hanger!