'Rescue Me' Series Finale: What the Critics Are Saying | Hollywood Reporter

'Rescue Me' Series Finale: What the Critics Are Saying

Rescue Me (FX)

Where we left off: Season 6 ended with the revelation that Damien (Michael Zegen) isn’t dead. Instead, he’s bringing out Sheila (Callie Thorne) and Tommy’s (Denis Leary) parental instincts -- and jabs at his paralysis. Meanwhile, Janet (Andrea Roth) reveals that she’s pregnant with Tommy’s child and blames him for neglecting their daughters while tending to godson Damien.

Premiere date: Wednesday, July 13 at 10 p.m.

Rescue Me ended its seven-season run Wednesday with -- SPOILER ALERT -- one death and an un-retirement.

In the episode, titled "Ashes," Denis Leary's Tommy Gavin decides he's not cut out to be Mr. Mom and decides to go back to firefighting.

Meanwhile, Lt. Kenneth "Lou" Shea (John Scurti) meets his untimely death.

VIDEO: Denis Leary Talks 'Rescue Me' Influences

The final scene features Tommy yelling at a group of new firefighters, then driving away as the camera pans upward to show the Twin Towers-free Manhattan skyline.

While the critics are still posting their reactions online, the early reviews are mostly positive, echoing viewer reactions.

TV Fanatic's Sean McKenna applauded the way the series ended.

"'Ashes' managed to uphold the show's particular style and pace in effortlessly blending drama and comedy," he wrote, adding that it was an "ideal way" to close out the show by having Tommy remembering those who died on 9/1.

"Each thought and sentence Tommy spoke flowed together perfectly as if fitting all of the final puzzle pieces together," he wrote.

VIDEO: 'Rescue Me's' Denis Leary Spills Series Finale Secrets

His only nitpick was that some of the story lines wrapped up too quickly or disappeared altogether, such Chief Feinberg's (Jerry Adler) Alzheimer's.

Matt Zoller Seitz of Salon also chimed in, arguing that tying the finale in with the 9/11 anniversary was a mistake.

"I don't know who made the decision to sync the end of Rescue Me to the 10th anniversary of 9/11, but it was a bad one, because it guaranteed that an intriguingly relaxed, sometimes brilliant final season got lost amid the din of remembrances," he wrote. "I didn't expect it to end as strongly as it did."

Q&A: 'Rescue Me's' Denis Leary, Peter Tolan Spill Secrets About Series in Candid, Funny Conversation

Indeed, Zoller Seitz was a big fan of the finale scene.

"The show's very last scene was perfect: Tommy reaming out a new bunch of recruits, then driving away from the scene, the camera craning upward to reveal the skyline of lower Manhattan," he wrote. "The towers will never return. Life goes on."

Rob Owen of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said the finale was more upbeat than expected.

The final episode "turned out not to be as bleak as I thought it might be," he wrote. "Sure, one character died, but Tommy Gavin lives on."

STORY: 'Rescue Me' Co-Creator Peter Tolan Drops Pants During Panel

Meanwhile, Merrill Barr of Film School Reject's Channel Guide blog appreciated that the final episode included humor.

"Just to make sure the series didn’t lose its edge, the final act turns the comedy up to 11," Barr wrote. "Between the ashes mishap, the letter that Tommy reads at Lou’s funeral and the song played by the bagpipers, it’s made very clear that the series chooses to balance its laughs and tears just as it always has."