At the conclusion of season five, we were left pondering not whether Tommy Gavin would survive being shot (no one actually thought they’d kill the main character, right?), but what the fallout would be the incident itself. The premiere of season six, “Legacy”, captured the emotions the characters that were torn by the incident, but struggled with those who simply wanted to see Tommy doing well.
Fortunately for us, the majority of the episode focused on the wide range of characters who were both happy that Tommy was still alive, but furious with him for the build up of events that led to Uncle Teddy shooting him. Tommy’s shooting left Janet and his family in turmoil, Sheila considering granting Tommy’s perceived death wish, Father Mickey furious with Tommy’s lack of acknowledgment and his fire department in danger of being closed.
Even though the scene with Mickey picking up Tommy from the hospital and driving the wrong way through traffic while pretending to drink was over the top, it perfectly described Mickey’s anger with how Tommy’s life put him in a situation to get shot. I loved the unlikely opening reaction to Tommy being released from the hospital. Thought initially confusing, I found myself sympathizing with Mickey’s rage and in agreement with how he approached Tommy’s true intentions for getting out of the hospital early.
Equally as jarring was the reaction of Tommy’s family to returning home early. Besides his youngest daughter, there were no happy emotions to his unlikely return. Even with the table set by Mickey that most of the people in Tommy’s life were more angry with him than happy he survived, it was still wild to watch Janet intentionally punch Tommy in the shoulder and lay out guidelines for where he can drink and when he has to be home, as if he’s a teenager.Despite the ridiculousness of Janet laying out ground rules for a grown man, you could sense the reason why she felt the need to make sure Tommy was still in her life. She was obviously overwhelmed during his absence and even though she clearly disdains Tommy, she needs the father-figure presence in her life to help raise the children. The guys of the firehouse provided this presence while Tommy was gone, but now that he’s back, she needs him in her life, regrettably.
Perhaps even more awkward than Mickey and Janet’s reaction to Tommy’s release was the interactions with his daughters. On one hand Katie is excited to see her father and comes running to him. At the same time, Colleen greets her father as if he simply returned home from work and brazenly pours herself a cocktail in the presence of her parents. As our jaws were hanging from our mouths watching the scene, Katie makes it even more awkward by delivering a towering glass of whiskey to her father.
The dysfunctional nature of Tommy’s family presents a case for and against his presence in the family. Obviously the girls are a tad out of control with their actions and could use the assistance of a strong male presence. Conversely, much of their actions mimic those of their substance abusing father who continues to struggle with his desire for booze, etc. despite his recent shooting.
Although a bit disturbing, Tommy’s interactions with those who are mixed in their feelings about his survival were definitely riveting. Unfortunately, this emotion did not translate into the scenes involving the guys from the firehouse. Despite the possible culpability of many of the guys who were present the night Tommy was shot, there was no sense of strong emotions from the guys. The wrestling with emotions was not there, nor was there any pure emotion of joy at his survival or guilt that he was shot.
The attempt to add gravity to Tommy’s shooting by having the firehouse be in danger of being shut down because of the incident only barely worked. Chief Reilly’s reactions to the shooting and the news of the possible shut down were believable because they seemed very personal. The rest of the house lacked and personal feeling to how they reacted.
Nevertheless, the firehouse was a minor aspect of the episode and didn’t detract from what was overall a great start to season six. It should be interesting to watch Tommy awkwardly try to reconcile for the life he led that got him shot and caused so much stress in the lives of those who love him.
We want to hear from you as well. How did you like the reactions of Mickey, Janet and others? What did you make of the scenes when Tommy was dead or the flashes he experienced while sleeping?