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"Voicemail," "Harmony," "Balls," "Twat," "Sensitivity," "Reunion," "Shame," "Believe," "Rebirth," "Brains," "Bitch," "Happy," "Justice"
by Walter Chaw If we proceed from the premise that the first season of FX's firefighter series "Rescue Me" is an overt metaphor for the reconfiguration of society post-9/11 along tribal/machismo lines, the second season sees the rules established, leaving only the playing-out of über-civilization's system of justice. It's post-apocalyptic in the same manner as Walter Hill's The Warriors: a diary of urban demolition and the erosion of decorum; the crude, reductive barbarism of its survivors is worn as a badge of honour. They're martyrs in uniform flying the banner of the underpaid and overworked--credit the series for acknowledging their position on the cross a time or two through the firefighter's natural archenemy, the bulls. The world as we knew it ended one day, and from its ashes rose cowboys, cowboy crusades, and a "bring it on" attitude towards loss of life and the dealing of death. If the show gets progressively more unpleasant and hard to justify, it also charts the same arc in our culture and society. And it makes perfect sense in this way (if in no other) that Season Two's cliffhanger revolves around the senseless death of a child enlisted in a war not of his making and certainly beyond his comprehension.