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Rescue Me: Demon Spawn

It’s going to get a whole lot darker before we see the light. Or so “Iceman” would have us believe: The episode’s title has us thinking about how Iceman in Top Gun tells Maverick, “Every time you go up in the air you’re unsafe. I don’t like you because you’re dangerous” — that’s why so many disdain and adore Tommy. And then there’s melting under pressure — the firemen avoid that on the job, but not in their personal lives. After some joking around about a slush fund for cancers, Garrity’s rushed to the hospital when he pees blood and collapses; a cocksure Damian cajoles Mikey into letting him into a fire scene, only to be trapped in a sudden blaze. And then there’s Tommy, who comes face-to-face with every one of his demons in a heart-stopping sequence.

Temptation
Papa Gavin’s ghost: “Bottom line, we’re just a couple of drunks.” Tommy: “Yeah, but I’m like, higher level than you.”

Though the promise of sandwiches gets the rest of the crew going to Scores, Tommy decides (with a portentous face) to stay behind and lock up the bar.  Except Mick’s whole “sit with a drink and don’t drink it” method of sobriety hasn’t worked since Tommy’s fateful date with Frenchy overlooking Ground Zero. Two shots of Grey Goose ease Tommy’s worry about never seeing Jimmy again. “We felt bad leaving you in a room full of booze,” Lou says later. “So much temptation.” Too late, friend.
 
Guilt for Past Sins
Papa Gavin: “So, what, you’re saying he’s the Doug Flutie of fire?” Johnny: “Hey Flutie, where were you on 9/11?” Jimmy: “Doug Flutie my ass. Doug Flutie woulda run in. No balls, Tommy, no balls at all.”
Tommy may be getting drunk, but his dreams are lucid. He endures an attack from all sides; suddenly, wanting to look for Jimmy isn’t explanation enough for not running into the second tower. “You were scared,” Johnny sneers. “All the show, all the bravado — it’s all bullshit.” Tommy’s literally in a corner, the closest ever to breaking down as he accuses his dad: “You never told us what to do after. You only open your mouth to pour booze in, and you cheat on your wife ... Here I am, after. Surrounded by booze and dead assholes.” This explains a few things; turns out, everything really is your mother’s fault! Or your dad’s.

Egotism
Ghost of junkie/grown-up Connor: “You want to be a hero, asshole?”
We knew that junkie from earlier in the evening would return — though we didn’t expect him to manifest as the nightmarish future Connor, who holds up Tommy at gunpoint and decides to go on a one-man murderous rampage (in Tommy’s head). We’d ordinarily find Tommy’s miraculous skills with a rifle another eye-rolling example of his insta-heroism, but this time, it’s the vision of what his son might have become that’s downright frightening. It’s a wake-up call for the man who always comes first — and makes a fine time, later, for Lou to suavely rub Tommy’s actual nose in his grudge-hump note from Frenchy.

Photo: Courtesy of FX