What happens when you mix an ex-priest, flowing amounts of alcohol, some inappropriate jokes about Mexicans, a drunken former lover, and a firefighting father trying (and failing) to avoid a scene?
A Gavin wedding, of course!
Where so many other television shows tend to romanticize nuptials, "Vows" found a fresh and highly entertaining way to experience a bride and groom coming together. In fact, longing gazes and background pop songs were nowhere to be found. It was all about awkward moments and the many possible ways a wedding can go anything but smoothly.
Tommy managed to take part in a majority of the hilariously uncomfortable scenes. From forcing his way into walking his daughter down the aisle to discussing the Black Rainbow with Black Shawn's parents, Tommy was left uneasy, rambling, and without success. Being on your best behavior is a lot harder than it looks.
Sheila knocking over a woman and shouting, "I paid for this bouquet, bitches!" had me laughing. She was the perfect person to play the drunken Chatty Cathy, even though her intoxicated speech felt a little too drawn out. And was it just me, or was that not a very flattering outfit? C'mon, wardrobe people.
I continue to enjoy Sean and Mike dialogue because it's hard to not laugh at their lack of logic and reasoning. Sean's complete ignoring of advice was classic. These two play off each other so well even when it's a short amount of screen time.
I did feel that asking Emily to marry him was forced, though. Then again, I guess sometimes when you find love, you find love. No matter how atrocious it smells.
But clearly love (or convenience) was in the air because Tommy and Janet renewed their vows. It was funny when everyone raised their hand after Mickey asked if anyone thought they shouldn't be married. I'm sure many viewers would agree and often it's hard to see them together with their long history, but Tommy wants it to work and that's what matters. He's stepping up.
Granted, I'm still not a fan of Janet strong-arming Tommy into retiring. I think an ultimatum like that is a cheap, even if her intentions are to keep Tommy alive and involved with the family. I'd rather he make the decision on his own, if that were his choice. After all, why would he get rid of the one thing that truly allows him to shine?
Yet, even with all of the festivities, the episode went one step further and included a firefighting sequence that not only contrasted with the first half, but also marvelously transitioned the moment and reminded viewers the true dangers of being a firefighter.
The entire time I kept waiting for something bad to happen to one of the crew. With this being the final season, no one is guaranteed to survive. It's as great as it is frustrating knowing something could happen, especially to one of your favorite characters. Watching everyone's grim looks and frustration at being trapped left me with a sinking feeling. Those final moments were reminiscent of the movie Ladder 49, but let's hope the outcome doesn't involve the same fatal tragedy.
And with that cliffhanger explosion and close up exchange between Tommy and Lou, I couldn't help but be on the edge of my seat. Once again, Rescue Me had me laughing one second and nail biting at the next. There's a reason this show has been critically acclaimed.
But how will it all end? Will it go out in a blaze of glory or a puff of forgetful smoke?
Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.