Wow. They draw us in with helpings of the usual funny stuff and funny it is: You know Tommy and Johnny are never going to see the money they think they'll be getting from their dad's dead wife. Not on this show. Then right into Tommy and Janet's scene with the ring maker and the renewed vows. (The pearl symbolizes faithfulness? Better skip that one.) What Rescue Me gets away with better than any other show on the air is making us laugh even when we know what's coming. Of course Laura walks in on Sean and Mike's package check, but it doesn't matter. Still beautiful. Tatum O'Neal overplays her part a bit, but it's still nice to see she hasn't lost her Addie Pray gutter-mouth chops.

But then we slip into darkness. Rather, we get kicked into it with the relentless scene of Debbie brutalizing Sheila, followed by Jeannie cutting her own throat (and that after a truly touching scene in which she tells the chief how much she loves him). A brief bit of comic relief as we once again see the expected in this case, nearly all of dad's wife's money going to her cats, which, again, works even though it's no surprise and enjoy another chuckleworthy exchange. "I've changed. I quit drinking," Tommy tells his pop. "That doesn't mean you've changed," dad fires back. "That just means you're a p---y." After which we're right back to the gut-punch, with Lou discovering that Candy's pimp isn't going to let her go so easily... if at all. And then poor Connor being run down by a hit-and-run driver, followed by an absolutely wrenching scene in the hospital and the heartbreaking use of Ray LaMontagne's "All the Wild Horses." Well done, all of these moments right up there with Deadwood, in fact. But I need to just sit here and breathe a while. You?