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''Rescue Me'' (Spoilers if You Haven't Seen Tonight's Episode)

By RD Heldenfels Published: August 29, 2006

Fingers crossed on technology: Since I saw tonight's season finale last week, I'm posting this with a timer set to display it after the telecast. Hope it works. If it doesn't, well, I warned you in the header about spoilers.

So let's consider tonight's show. I liked the bit on the dock. Very funny, especially since they were willing to keep it going. And the business with the 9/11 firefighters' memorial, contrasted with the gaping hole nearby, made a good point about what people can accomplish privately versus what politicians cause on the public stage. (There is, by the way, a firefighters' memorial  in New York City -- but the one in the show is a facsimile.) And Franco's scene with his daughter worked well at showing how completely he had given her up -- although the scene also felt a little contrived because we never saw Franco talk to Susan Sarandon's character, which I guess resulted from availability issues.

Now for the bad stuff. Every guy is staying at the firehouse? Every one? Yeah, there's the hint that the chief's ailments are getting insurmountable (and that was series writer-producer Peter Tolan playing Pecher, the fill-in chief). But an FX rep told me all the cast is signed up for next season. And the core guys are still there, after all the plots this year indicating one might move on. And at least one should have.

Then there's the fire. Does anyone believe that Gavin was going to die in that fire? In a telephone press conference with Tolan and Denis Leary, they joked that death actually gives characters a bigger part -- but Tolan came as close as he could to saying Tommy's not dead without saying it outright. Are they willing, then, to sacrifice Sheila when she has been such a part of Tommy's dramatic arc? Leary loves working with Callie Thorne, and I don't think he's ready to be done with her.

Even so, ending the season with a fiery cliffhanger felt lame. Anyone want to agree/disagree?

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