Rescue Me Series Finale Review: Gone But Never Forgotten

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After seven years and 93 episodes, the firefighter doors of the fantastic television show, Rescue Me, have fittingly closed - mere days before the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

It was a drama that focused on aftermath of such a tragic event and the ways in which its characters struggled to overcome obstacles and simply live out some form of a normalcy. Love, sex, life, and death were key themes that surrounded the crew of Truck 62, and, even at the end, "Ashes" managed to uphold the show's particular style and pace in effortlessly blending drama and comedy.

Rescue Me Series Finale Pic

The episode's introductory tease/fake out sequence continued the somber and mournful attitude that last week's "Vows" ended on. Even though it was only a dream, there was still an emotional moment in watching those flag laden coffins moved down the church's center aisle.

Lou's heartfelt speech about bravery and heroism made the moment that much sweeter and I believed every word he spoke. "I shall see you on the other side," struck a chord that made the dialogue more sincere and honest. It was a far better scene than the ones in "Jeter."

As much as it was sad that Lou was the chosen character to meet his death, he was also the right character to push the others forward towards something positive. He really was a glue that kept them all together.

It was his letter to the guys that expressed the positivity in each of them and allowed them to reconsider staying at the house. Sure, all of them carried their own specific flaws, but working together made them something special. It was a letter that got to Lou's core and illustrated the bond that they had created and has made watching them all these years worthwhile.

Of course, using a sappy and overly mournful funeral sequence just wasn't the show's style. In fact, Lou's exploding ashes in the car was so darkly wrong, it made it so truly right.

I couldn't stop laughing at the sheer ridiculousness of it all and the crazy discussion on how to fix the problem. Red velvet cake to replace the ashes? Only Tommy and the gang could come up with that brilliant idea.

The absurdity of such an event didn't detract, either. Rather, it enhanced the moment and kept the feelings real, no matter how exaggerated or outrageous the circumstances. It was just another prime example of the show's ability to go to the extreme, express that life isn't perfect, and move forward despite all the ups and downs.

I was very pleased that Tommy un-retired (despite his humorous attempts at being Mr. Mom) simply because firefighting is his calling. His final speech to the brand new probies was reminiscent of a similar moment in the very first episode at the exact same location.

This time, Tommy has clearly grown. He knows that you can't drink or screw your way to understanding why people die or don't die. Life happens. Death happens. And in the profession of the firefighter, it's bound to happen a lot.

Even his reiteration of remembering the fallen 343 on 9/11 was an emotional backdrop. Each thought and sentence Tommy spoke flowed together perfectly as if fitting all of the final puzzle pieces together. It was the ideal way to close out the show.

Indeed, Tommy has come a long way before finally being "rescued" and he's managed to find that glimmer of light, even if he still doesn't understand why certain things happen. After all, it's a far better place than being swallowed by the fires of grief and despair.

Imagine if the show really did end with Tommy dying or never overcoming his demons. It would send a rather bleak and despairing message about life.

This rather hopeful ending not only concluded what's been a great seven years, but illustrated that any character can grow, no matter how flawed. Life goes on. Sure, Tommy still sees ghosts, but his outlook is far more pleasant than damaging.

It's great to see him find the right path.

Could I say that I was disappointed that the rest of the characters' storylines seemed to wrap up quickly or disappear (Chief Feinberg's Alzheimer's perhaps?) or that Tommy delivering Janet's baby was too unreal even if it did bring them together? Sure, but nitpicks like that get away from the heart and core of the greater story that Rescue Me aced with blazing glory.

In the end, it's a bittersweet feeling knowing it's all over. Yet, one thing remains for sure: Rescue Me will never be forgotten.


Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (106 Votes)

Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.


Will miss the show. Was one of the greatest. Just now got my husband into it these last few weeks and we are getting the dvds.
Looking forward to Denis Leary's next project but there will always be a special place in my heart for #62. Being from New York and having a Dad that was a volunteer fireman when I was growing up, gave the show special meaning also.


How can anyone say the finale sucked I've watched every episode the show ended true to its name tommy was truly rescued when he didn't drink she. He was typing his report... Anyone that was a true fan could read into that and believe he is a rescued


The show lost its way and just became too unbelievable. Terrible ending to a terrible last two seasons. Honestly I'm glad it's over.


I'm sorry to say that the final show wasn't real. The five men should have died and Lou should have lived. The birth of Janet's baby was nonsense as well as the ashes blowing away. Those scenes didn't live up to the drama that Tommy brought to the show. The reference to the 343 names of the men who died was nice but it didn't create the melodrama to match how Tommy felt throughtout the series of of what happened on Sept. 11th. The whole show was "too soft" and I was terribly disappointed. I love all the characters but it should have ended with a bang and not a shuffle. Sorry Dennis, but, you did a great job throught the whole series but in my opinion, you blew it with the finale..


I'm with Tim on this one... We're way beyond spoiler alerts at this point... I'm an analyst, so I appreciate the symbolism of the finale. Why did Lou yell back at Tommy "Go! Go! We'll be all right"? Where was Tommy supposed to go? Am I the only one who feels like the scene where everyone is covered in Lou's ashes looked a lot like a cut-scene from 9/11? At the expense of perhaps over-thinking it; I believe that it's all largely based around 9/11... And that Lou went up the stairs (in the towers) and that Tommy went down the stairs... and that's why he was so haunted.


Excellent ending perfect writing and could not see any other ending... Dennis learys dark humor and personality the and thru


I'm sorry but I think overall that it is the audiences' decision who died ultimately....too many scenes & scenarios (mostly exaggerated) occurred in the life of "Tommy living" vs. "Lou living." I think it is up to us to determine who lived & who died...between the birth of Janet's new baby & the scene in the park, I can't help but think it was "too perfect" for Tommy. Which tells me that Lou might have actually survived & Tommy & his gang are entering their own version of heaven & moving on in the afterlife.

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Rescue Me Season 7 Episode 9 Quotes

Black Shawn: I'm thinking I got to find a nice little Korean lady with little small fingers to get down here and get that itch, you know?
Mike: Or a baby.
Black Shawn: Say what?
Mike: Babies have small fingers.
Sean: Korean babies. Even smaller fingers.

Today, we are gathered together here to honor five men, my men, my brothers. Five men who were given a choice to run, to flee for safe ground, to seek clean fresh air, or to move deeper knowing the danger, knowing that two young people, innocent kids, were crying out for help, for my men, to save them. We all know which choice they made. These men, these five extraordinary human beings will forever live in my heart and in the memory of all who knew them and in the public records of this great city as heroes, the bravest of the brave, I shed no tears. I cry out not in agony. I beseech the sky not in anger but with pride and a voice that is strong and clear. I am a better man and we are all better people for having known them. Good night, my dear friends, my five unforgettable brothers. I shall see you on the other side.