Rescue Me: A Carny With Teeth

Rescue Me

Season 5 Episode 4

As this week’s episode, “Jimmy,” ends, we hear familiar voices — the Clash, Rescue Me soundtrack regulars, whose stark “Guns of Brixton” provides a backdrop to the closing scenes. It’s a fitting end to an episode that’s all about the choices the firemen must make about how to respond to that constant soldier at their door: grief. Some surrender, perhaps losing a little dignity while gaining some sanity (see Mikey, who’s writing notes to his dead mom about how to fix up the bar, but seems back to his dopey-go-lucky old self). And then there’s Tommy, who, as usual, puts up a front, thus earning the unique privilege of seeing Jimmy Keefe in 9/11 footage from after he died.

It’s no wonder Tommy has ego issues, when even Sheila’s psychodramaturge is calling him a “seething urgent animal” who slays dragons and lives outside of society’s rules. But it’s high time someone other than Janet put him in his place: enter Kenny and a magnificently moving bitch-out session brought on by 46 pages of poetry by the illustrious Lieutenant Shea himself. “You weren’t the only one down there that day,” Kenny screams, “and sometimes you forget that.”

Our favorite bulldoggish, strangely-Boston-accented Gavin cousin, Mick, shows up at the new bar to confront Tommy with his options: succumb to the Jimmy visions and walk right back to the bottle, or “move on — leave it in the past” and go to a meeting. We’ve always been a little skeptical of Mick’s own stability and “meetings cure-all” mentality, but Tommy ignores the voice of reason, quite literally going back to the bar — and then home for more quality time with Jimmy’s onscreen ghost, who now appears to be winking right back at him.

“This whole psychic thing sounds pretty, uh … retarded,” Tommy tells Mikey with trademark sensitivity, before asking him to make him an appointment. Livid after the psychic — who, hilariously, is like Janet’s evil, calmer twin — says she knows he has “the gift” for seeing dead people, Tommy storms out, only to give people different stories: He’s seeing someone! He’d never see a psychic! She’s “a carny with teeth!” Oh, wait, no, maybe she’s not. “The footage doesn’t lie,” Dr. Blonde tells Tommy. We’ll see if he takes the advice in next week’s episode, enticingly titled “Sheila.”

Rescue Me: A Carny With Teeth