It's been one long - possibly too long - strange and mostly impressive trip for "Rescue Me," and the end should leave fans happy.

It's been one long - possibly too long - strange and mostly impressive trip for "Rescue Me," and the end should leave fans happy.

The so-so Season 7 premiere is mostly a setup for later episodes, and while those episodes aren't quite a return to the greatness that the show once reached, they're incredibly solid. This series will stick the landing.

Much like fellow FX show "The Shield," "Rescue Me" suffered from some low moments in the middle of its run, but a strong ending will leave us with fond memories.

Speaking of memories, "Rescue Me" has basically been the lone TV show never letting us forget that day we'll never forget.

The tale of Tommy Gavin (Denis Leary), a firefighter struggling to "live" instead of being a walking zombie in the face of the horrors of 9/11 - losing 343 of his brothers, including his best friend and cousin, Jimmy - has been an understandably dark one, buoyed by blasts of ruthless comedy.

Co-created by Leary - who lost his firefighter cousin in a fire - and Peter Tolan, "Rescue Me" has produced some of the most intense and poignant moments of any drama during its seven-year run, especially early on. The difference in the final season is that the characters' anger and sadness have been supplanted by a sense of introspection and closure.

Season 7 hearkens back to many of the show's most moving moments as the firefighters of Truck 62 prepare for the 10-year anniversary of the attacks.

Standout storylines involve the media organizing a self-serving remembrance piece, forcing the crew, once again, to relive that day.

One big bonus is the return of Maura Tierney's Kelly. Kelly's fight with breast cancer - something Tierney has also faced - presents some incredible, emotional moments. She deserves to be part of the farewell.

John Scurti's fine work as Lt. Kenny "Lou" Shea also receives a good amount of well-deserved screen time.

"Rescue Me" may have been better served with an earlier wrap-up, but wading through some missteps to get to this ending is well worth it.