Image A Sound A Extras C
"Devil," "Discovery," "Torture," "Sparks," "Chlamydia," "Zombies," "Satisfaction," "Karate," "Pieces," "Retards," "Twilight," "Hell," "Beached"
by Walter Chaw SPOILER WARNING IN EFFECT. As much a product of our post-apocalypse as "Deadwood", "Rescue Me", like that David Milch masterpiece, is about the flattening of society and the reconstruction of it according to masculine, animal logic. Indeed, it's a good argument that society has never been constructed any other way. As such, the series, Denis Leary and writing partner Peter Tolan's brainchild and baby, demonstrates a wonderful insight into the male psyche: how it deals with grief, as well as its caveman attitude towards women. The two things are compatible, after all, and authors no less than Faulkner and Freud eventually gave up trying to write women. The only sensible thing is to let the nightmare of "Rescue Me"'s exuberant misogyny wash over like a warm tide; why fight it? I've had a hard time watching Leary without wishing that they'd cast him as Garth Ennis's John Constantine, but it occurred to me some time in the middle of "Rescue Me"'s third season that Leary's firefighter Tommy Gavin is as close to a consort of the devil as Constantine ever was. Perhaps closer. Tommy's infernal, even demonic (I see that now), and the show he haunts is a very specific vision of a very personal hell. Women are bitch goddesses here: temptresses of mysterious purpose who reward misdeeds, punish valour, and steal children. They're succubae that distribute venereal diseases and, worse, get pregnant. I wonder if the premise of the whole shebang is that nobody survived 9/11--that no matter the misdeed, Tommy is rewarded with gardens of earthly delight, the price being that he lives with ghosts in an empty city that periodically bursts into flame.