Episode 6: Revenge
By: Carlos Uribe
Rescue Me is about firefighters in New York City. It aired from 2004 until 2011 on FX.
This is an episode where the love life of Tommy collided. It could have been worse. It could have included Sheila but she was nowhere to be seen. Considering that the relationship with her is only starting, that was probably a wise decision by the writers. It probably would have been a much messier, and probably entertaining scene, if they had held off the collision so they could include Sheila. The two characters who are involved in that collision is his ex-wife, Janet, and the girl he's been having sex with. He doesn't know the girl's name and this is a scene where he's forced to admit it to both of them. He tries to call her Lauren but he guessed wrong. It turns out that the names from the envelopes were completely wrong and that her name is actually Karen. It's pretty obvious that Karen and Tommy are now through but Karen doesn't take this situation lightly. She sets Tommy's house on fire and proceeds to smash his car window. Janet's response to Tommy's new girlfriend is one of anger, but that anger doesn't quite fit.
It's really just bad timing that Janet discovered Tommy was sleeping with a new girl. After Roger is arrested due to his friends beating up Tommy, Janet breaks up with him. She was manipulated by Tommy to believe that Roger is dangerous and capable of anything. This made her reconsider her past decisions and she was open to the idea of getting back together with Tommy. It's this bad timing that probably led to her getting so angry. It couldn't be jealousy. She had just exited a relationship with Roger and she would be completely hypocritical to freeze out Tommy for that reason. If she's allowed to move on but he isn't then she's almost as damaged as Tommy is. If she is a hypocrite and thus jealous then it needed to be made more clear. These first five episodes have portrayed a Janet that has largely moved on from Tommy. For the most part, she seems to only tolerate him due to their kids. The problem with Janet isn't that she's not well-defined but that what she feels for Tommy is very unclear. Her anger merely adds to that confusion.
There's also some advances with Franco's daughter. She has been placed in a foster home but with a guy whose only in it for the money. He's not afraid to abuse her. Franco manages to discover this information and he decides to save his daughter from that home. Since he knows that he's not ready to be a father, he drops off his daughter to his own mother. It seems like he has given his responsibility to the people who raised him. His mom doesn't seem too happy with him. The funny thing is that I have mixed feelings about his actions. On the one hand, he can barely take care of himself. He's truly acting in the best interest of the child. On the other hand, he continues to fail to claim responsibility for his own actions. This is a complicated situation and it's one that is being very well-handled by this show. It definably has helped Franco be more defined in this show. It'll be interesting to see if he'll be ready if the situation changes.
The poetry plot led to some pretty good scenes. It had Lou finally get the courage to read his poetry to a group that claims to have post-traumatic stress disorder from the twin tower attacks. When he finds out that not a single person in the group had been directly affected by the September 11th tragedy, he gets frustrated. He thought that he had found an audience for his poems only to discover that they couldn't truly understand what was in them. There was also a small plot that involved Garrity accidentally going out with a transvestite. It was played for comic relief, but it didn't really work and his discovery of her penis simply felt it was there to shock rather than to be an organic part of the show.
This was a relatively average episode of Rescue Me but it was held back by the Garrity sub-plot and the lack of defining exactly what does Janet feel for Tommy. If the show had at least been able to establish the latter in previous episodes, then this would have made for a much stronger episode. As it stands, it's one that was entertaining but seemed to create more confusion about Janet than anything else.