While at first this season’s third episode, “Wine,” has us thinking Denis Leary settled into a familiar Rescue Me theme — woman enters, men revert to 13-year-olds — we remember something the Chief said in episode one, after the firecracker-warehouse explosions. Chiding Chief Nelson for the botched job, Feinberg stared deeply into his eyes (making us think he’s still Hesh from The Sopranos) and intoned, “It’s the culture of accountability, kiddo, and you better get your act together.”
It kinda seems like everyone might be getting their acts together: Tommy drops his Section 8 charge in two minutes flat; Mike, Franco, and Garrity decide to start a bar together; even Sheila makes an attempt (a hilarious one) at de-crazy-fying herself by seeing a “psychodramaturg.” But then accountability comes in the attractive form of Genevieve Lazard (Karina Lombard), a French journalist writing a “tasteful” book about 9/11 and thus worming her way into the firemen’s hearts and brains, whether oh-so-lightly dragging lovelorn Kenny along behind her or inciting noted political philosophers Franco and Mike to fisticuffs over whether 9/11 was an inside job.
Lo and behold, beneath its veneer of boys-will-be-boys antics, this episode sees all the characters facing up to the results of their (often thoughtless) actions, whether it’s Franco’s recommendation of an “unorthodox” chiropractor to Garrity, Mike’s idiotically realized plan for an all-black bar, or Sean’s decision to tell Tommy he’s with Colleen. Which brings us to our favorite dodger of all, Tommy Gavin, who, as usual, deals with temptation and sin with varying degrees of success.
The episode opens with a classic Tommy-as-savior fantasy: Colleen is pregnant and on the street, and, like some Brooklyn-born Madonna, popping out three kids in a row (delivered by Tommy, of course) while beatifically grinning at dad and promising one will be named after him. There’s a rude awakening when Sean gleefully calls him Dad. When will Tommy learn that being a savior has its consequences? Maybe after a few more weeks of playing AA sponsor to the certifiable Derek, who seems headed for a crash-and-burn any episode now …
Colleen isn’t pregnant — and she won’t be anytime soon, thanks to Sean’s oft-spoken devotion to “keeping it real” and saving himself for marriage. Which makes Tommy … angry? Did he not just spend all of last season pummeling the idiot rock star she was regularly sleeping with? At any rate, this all leads to an ill-advised firehouse encounter, in which Tommy reminds his daughter of how he raised her to be a lapsed Catholic and how she should “test drive” her “parts” with Sean’s “until sex turns into a boring monotonous chore.” We’re also confused as to what exactly Colleen does all day — did she ever finish high school? — but no matter.
Just as the heat of Tommy’s dalliance with Valerie (Gina Gershon) is waning, along comes Genevieve, complete with gallery-opening and apartment-visiting invitations. Turns out she actually IS that into him and wants to rub her wine-stained lips all over his ready and eager face. But, miracle of miracles, Tommy’s episode with Colleen seems to have made him slightly more, yes, accountable than usual. He tells Genevieve about Valerie and about his alcoholism before making the wise decision to leave.