Rescue Me‘s Tommy Gavin is, to say the least, a flawed man. Alcoholic, egomaniac, cheater — take your pick. He has messed up, he is messed up, and he often takes responsibility for other’s mess-ups. (Also, Sandra, the word is called “mistake”…but it lacks impact.) Often on television, the only escape from such a murky past and dark existence is death. But I really don’t want Tommy to die at the end of the series, which begins its seventh and final season tonight. And I don’t think he will. It’d be the wrong message to send an audience who tuned in to a show about the post-9/11 world of a group of firefighters.
Instead, I’d like to see the troubled firefighter see a light — find the clarity he’s been seeking and that has escaped him since the series began in 2004. There were times during the series when I felt like Tommy was irredeemable as a character. Remember the “rape episode” controversy? (Denis Leary has always claimed it was not the intention to depict marital rape, but the audience perceived otherwise.) I won’t get into the specifics of the discussion that took place, but the incident was, regardless, another on a growing list of reasons why this character was not always someone I supported.
Above all, Tommy represents anyone who has made a lot of mistakes and suffered a lot of tragedy, from the loss of his cousin on 9/11 to the death of his son in season 2, a scene that still almost makes me physically ill. (Damn your somber silky pipes, Ray LaMontagne!)
That’s why I want to see him come out of it all on top. Find peace/redemption/clarity — any and all of those. If only to prove that we all can.
What about you PopWatchers? How do you think Tommy Gavin’s story should end? Should he die? Does he deserve a happy ending? Or should he quit and run away with Lou to write a book of poetry? (That’d be awesome.)