Rescue Me Needs Some Rescuing

I won’t lie, I’m easily disappointed. I’ll still be disappointed and watch a TV program, but it’s the disappointment that lowers my rating from rave to raving mad. Last night’s Rescue Me season finale falls somewhere in between, maybe “good, but beginning to unravel.”

The good: the cast is excellent, the writing is funny and touching at turns, and intentionally so. Dennis Leary is able to do both ends of the spectrum wonderfully well and is great to watch here, doing something he really cares about. John Scurti handles the vast majority of the humor and is able to turn the most mundane moments into pure hilarity. From time to time, Scurti is given the opportunity to make the emotional, moralistic plea, and it was true last night as the crew was standing in front of the Firefighters Memorial at Ground Zero.

However, that scene at the memorial highlights one of the problems with the show. It feels as though when the discuss 9-11 they use it as a way of excusing their bad or odd behavior. Unquestionably there are still open wounds and I in now way intend to minimize anyone’s pain or suffering, which is clearly real, often however in Rescue Me, it seems to serve as an excuse for doing the wrong thing

This though, was a minor upset for me. The major upset was the deus ex machina way in which they wound up all the plotlines this season. Everyone seems to be leaving the station house. It’s been talked about all season long, several episodes have been used to convince the audience of three different people’s desire to retire or transfer out. Each of these three people’s desires ended in single scenes in the finale. Turns out Kenny Shea doesn’t have “sea legs” and so he can’t be the first mate on a boat. Franco Rivera decides he was only trying to become a lieutenant for his daughter, and since she’s now gone he doesn’t want to do it anymore. Mike Silletti is simply called on his bluff of transferring. It’s all too pat; it’s all too simple.

And then there is Franco’s problems with his daughter being semi-abducted by Alicia (Susan Sarandon). Mainly the problem here is that Franco doesn’t confront Alicia, or at least he does not do it on camera and doesn’t discuss it with anyone else either. I would have to assume this is because they couldn’t get Susan Sarandon to come back for another episode, but if the story arc couldn’t have been wrapped up it shouldn’t have been done.

While it’s often gritty and usually well made the season finale of Rescue Me was a letdown. The storylines for the entire season were wrapped up in far too abrupt a fashion to satisfy the viewer.

My rating? I’d give it an: as long as you’ve come this far you may as well watch the finale too and it’s certainly not bad enough to stop me from watching next season as well.

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