An intriguing opening dream sequence shows a contemplative Tommy: He wanders about dumbfounded while observing his relatives drinking and laughing (only to end up the victims of a drunk-driving accident); as a silhouette falling, Mad Men–style, through a fire; and getting whispered to by Tinkerbell-esque versions of Janet, Sheila, and Maura Tierney — who now has a name, Kelly McPhee! All of which foreshadows a less Tommy-cenric episode. Now that he’s most likely over cancer, Garrity’s plot lines have thinned out (see episode title “Carrot,” the “baby carrot” in his pants, and inadvertent use of self-tanner), and Needles and Lou have busied themselves with the “Franco versus lesbo” bout in the making, so the ladies of the supporting cast take center stage.
“I always knew you were special and brave and all that shit, but I didn’t really get it until I did it myself.”
Forgive our excitement over Maura Tierney — it’s just been a while since a great new sassy character showed up, not to mention one who isn’t immediately obsessed with Tommy! It’s hard to pick just one great bit this episode: There are her names for Franco (“Pillow Lips,” “Brown Brad Pitt”) and her ridicule of Damian (“the pasty, skinny kid who looks like one of those Twilight assholes”). But we’re most intrigued by whatever’s hiding in the box she rescued from the fire last episode.
“Let me put this in terms you can understand. You’re a free agent. Sheila’s the Red Sox; I’m the Yankees. I have a hell of a lot more to offer.”
We’re still perplexed by the sudden 180 Janet’s made from sex in closets and promises of monogamy, but no matter. Her ultimatum to Tommy now stands at five years of the pretend mom-and-dad act, with no sex partners on the side (all for the sake of Katie). We may just be with her on this one: “It’s a little mean. And it’s not very romantic. But we took the vows, and I’m just trying to make the best of a shitty situation.”
“You’re not the only cock on this walk and as far as my crazy train’s concerned? I’m not the one who sees the dead husband. How’s he doing, by the way?”
We’ll try to separate our annoyance with Sheila’s noisy lip-gloss and sudden penchant for close-talking from our surprise at her ability to completely silence Tommy without even taking off her clothes. Her approach to bringing up Lady Choice 2009 is the polar opposite of Janet’s: avoidance (inviting Tommy over, ostensibly to fix her, er, plumbing) and then shooting for the lowest common denominator (squirmy sexual allusions!). The woman makes at least one good point: Tommy’s definitely still seeing Jimmy — maybe because he still hasn’t broken the news about how he can’t watch over Damian?