Well, so much for Carla — after that nice little heart-to-heart with Franco in Central Park last episode, it turns out the boys’ infantile predictions were right. Despite her absence, emasculation ran rampant this week, and Lou’s impending marriage to Candy (guess he didn’t choke on those mashed potatoes) is the least of it. Garrity’s sudden zest for life has Lou, Mikey, and Black Shawn getting all sensitive; Mrs. Needles (the chief’s new mail-order Russian bride) is putting all the men to shame with her underwear-free antics; and Maura Tierney drops by for a crazy end-of-episode visit in which she runs into a burning building, compliments Franco (Carla replacement, coming right up!), and leaves the crew feeling like wusses. That includes Tommy, who ends the night saying, “I feel like I’ve been neutered.” We agree with Needles: About time.
Cousin Eddie: “I never wanted to thank you for anything, but I want to thank you for getting me drinking again. For the first time in years I feel like I’ve got nothing to hide.”
Yes, at first it was oddly heartwarming to see the alcoholic Gavin clan happily drinking together again. And Tommy does, for the moment, seem to be handling his alcohol well. But the combination of a few factors worries us. There’s the matter of sponsee Derek, who’s already running around shirtless and drunk; Teddy, who’s peeing in sinks with abandon; and the small matter of Katie, who’s slowly warming up to her parents — but remember that frighteningly manipulative little “promise me you’ll never drink again” talk with her father?
Needles: “And, by ‘all this shit’ you mean your excessive drinking, sex with your wife in the storage closet of this house, a physical altercation with a superior officer … namely, me. And your general Tommy Gavin cowboy bullshit behavior?”
Tommy: “Yeah, that would be it. So are we square?”
Needles: “We’re not even close to square.”
We’re getting to like Needles more and more each episode; Adam Ferrara is getting some nice little one-liners, and he’s managed to put Tommy at least a bit more in his place. Of course, Tommy continues to lord it over the poor guy with his knowledge of Mrs. Needles’s fondness for females, so we fear little progress has been made in the realm of the Gavin ego. Maura, maybe you can help out next week?
Janet: “There are very definite strings. Would you agree?”
Sheila: “I would agree. I would agree that there are now very definite, previously unattached strings.”
We’re not sure what exactly prompted the showy bit of animosity between Janet and Sheila at the firehouse, especially after both seemed perfectly happy with the arrangement last episode. But no matter — Janet has finally issued an ultimatum, which reminds us that she’s still Tommy’s wife, and oddly makes Sheila seem full-on desperate for the first time in a while (then again, maybe it was her choice of a daytime halter top).