Whenever Mick shows up, we know by now that sunshine, daisies, and all manner of happiness can’t be far behind ... not. This time, though, frowny Gavin has inadvertently caused some actual glee. Teddy opens the episode wheeling into town declaring his love for all mankind (and whiskey), all thanks to the DVD of family videos Mick bestowed upon him. Janet is perpetually in the mood — leading to an amusing in-truck tryst for all the crew to see. And even poor Garrity, about to undergo cancer surgery, is singing! (In an anesthesia-induced dream.) But all this joy leads to more obnoxious behavior from Tommy, both in and out of his cousin’s presence.
Black Shawn: “You don’t turn a hose on a black man! Did you see the footage from Birmingham?!”
Hilarious though Black Shawn’s sudden embrace of civil rights may be, it’s a classic Tommy moment when he immediately believes Colleen’s end of the “he called me a whore” story. Has Tommy yet to learn that his daughter isn’t ever honest? Much easier to run off and turn the fire hose on poor Shawn, who then goes through the humiliating, if hilarious, description of the chunky–peanut-butter incident. We’re still not sure exactly how this whole, disturbing act went down; at least Tommy eventually concedes that Shawn may have experienced “trauma” at the hands of the, erm, culinarily inclined daughter Colleen.
Needles: “I’m basking in this moment. For the next ten years, I’ve got you by the balls. Mint?”
We presumed Tommy would be too stupid to go at it with Janet in the truck, directly in front of the firehouse, but there’s our boy, always surprising us with his “I am immune to that which embarrasses the rest of the world” attitude. We laughed maybe harder than at any other point this season when Needles pulls up in the truck and innocently asks, “Would you be available to help us with one of our fire thingees?” A much-needed moment of bringing Tommy back down to Earth — half clothed and looking a wee bit sheepish — follows.
Tommy: “That’s my little message. I’m gonna spend the rest of my time on this planet drinking. And liking it.”
Mick’s hardheaded attempts to wrangle Tommy into attending meetings have finally hit a wall. Withholding the DVD o’ Memories isn’t enough to stop Tommy from going on a selfish rampage, speaking — or, rather, yelling — at the meeting about how much he hates the “whiners” in the room, and how he never was, really, an alcoholic. Tommy’s feeling all well and good until he gets home and pops in Mick’s DVD — which shows not family footage, but a reel of Mickey Mantle speaking, shortly before his death from liver cancer. “Don’t be like me ... talk to kids about role models,” Mantle intones from beyond the grave. It’s ghostly, all right — especially when Tommy, who looks like he’s about to put down the bottle, goes right ahead for another swig.