S2E9: The true test of a great TV family is that moment when you realize your hopes for their success is just as ardent as the brothers’, sisters’, fathers’ and mothers’ themselves. Shameless has clearly passed that test. Not only do we hope with every fiber of our beings for the Gallaghers to find even an iota of happiness or respite, but when their mother finally returns “for good” we can’t help but hope, maybe harder than they do, that this time, for good actually means permanently. Experience tells us it won’t last, but it doesn’t change that temporary optimism.
“He told me you need me too.” -Monica
“He lied. We don’t.” -Fiona
Fiona discovers Frank and Monica in the kitchen just as she gets the call about Grammy’s death. It’s an overload of information and the kids are all resistant to Monica’s attempts to smother them with overdue motherly love. Her sudden breakfast presentation doesn’t undo the years of disappointment, but it doesn’t take long for the kids to realize she’s actually being genuine.
Fiona is convinced that Monica is going to suck the life out of the family, and she’s barely even willing to let her watch Liam for the day while Fiona goes to work as a maid at the motel, but as it turns out, Liam is just fine. Still, Fiona is convinced her mother can’t parent, and one night while she’s up late making banners for Carl’s football game, Frank and Monica are hosting a party in the living room. Ian comes down to make them stop and Frank opposes him, but Monica actually defends Ian, sending a shock through her children. She follows that by asking Debbie to come play and dance, and Fiona wants to stop it, but Frank says its the only shot Debbie might get at bonding time with her mother. Frank is actually right, likely driven by his complicated emotions over losing his mother, but Fiona can’t stand it - likely because it brings into stark relief the relationship she never had with Monica.
Still on the Monica war path, Fiona shoves birth control in her face as a condition of her staying in the house. But the honesty train keeps rolling and Monica finally thanks Fiona for taking care of the kids and the house for as long as she has. She then delves into girl talk about Steve, and giggles about how they’re going to get rid of Steve’s Brazilian wife. It seems she finally starts breaking through to Fiona. The final pieces of the puzzle are Lip and Ian, and she starts to win Ian over with her genuine sympathy about his sexuality and Mickey. Lip, on the other hand, is a little too consumed with his rebellion and Karen’s demon spawn to manage a second to forgive his mother.
“Karen’s like cancer. You kill it in one spot, it pops up in another.” -Ian
To be fair, Lip’s got himself a handful. He gets kicked out of Karen’s when Sheila wants him to pay rent and Karen doesn’t fight it. The harpy doesn’t care whether he’s there or not, she’s already visiting her past partners - including a married man - and hitting them up for “abortion” money. She is evil incarnate.
While Karen walks around with dollar signs in her eyes, Lip tries to find a place to stay. V won’t let him stay her and Kev because she says they can’t get in the middle of the Gallagher issue. Lip ends up living on the L and begging his professor friend to get him a job at the University of Chicago, but the prof refuses and rightfully tells Lip to go back to school. Apparently, a well-to-do professor’s opinion isn’t enough in the sea of reasons for Lip to return to school though, because he goes to Steve and asks to stay, swearing it will bring Fiona right to his doorstep.
Steve allows it as long as Lip hacks into “someone’s” voicemail for him. In the process, Lip finds that Etsi is calling her long lost love, Marco, and having phone sex with him - an act she couldn’t care less about hiding from Lip. Karen says he shouldn’t do anything about it, because there’s no money in it for him - have I mentioned what a harpy she is?
Lip finally decides he should tell Steve about Marco and Steve seems to know who the guy is. This seems to give Steve the push he needs to tell Lip he needs to get back in school. If anyone can convince him, it’s Steve, but even his power of suggestion might not work.
If only these two talking points led to Lip graduating from high school and Steve and Fiona making up. This is another one of those places where we hope ardently, only to head into surefire disappointment.
“Sometimes when I pronounce ‘hospice’ in my head I say it as ‘ho-spice.’” -Sheila
Sheila is enamoured with Jody and begs Karen to take him back, but that ship has sailed. And with Karen’s dedication to making money off her bun in the oven, that gives Sheila plenty of time to let Jody run around naked in the house and help her inspect the strange creaking sounds she thinks are a product of Eddy’s spirit haunting the house.
Her fears (and Jody’s) are confirmed when Frank and Monica break into the house to steal back Grammy’s money. Because Sheila never does anything half-assed, she has a priest come over to see if it’s possible that Eddy is haunting them. He says she probably has to repent for something - all that strange sex and euthanasia might have done it - but she says she can’t recall anything she should repent for.
Because she can’t repent, Jody tries a sage stick to rid the house of spirits and Sheila take a moment to tell him that he deserves better than Karen. Apparently, she means he deserves her. Strangely, this coupling isn’t as disturbing as I thought it would be. Perhaps it’s that they both have such strange tastes in sexual practices. Karen comes home to hear “Kiss From a Rose” blasting from her mother’s room and Jody’s enthusiastic grunts. It’s the disturbing homecoming that brat deserves, but she almost looks a little disappointed.
“You don’t always have to be responsible for everyone, Fiona.” -Steve
Fiona goes to Steve and begs him to kick Lip out. He says it’s not her concern, and he echoes V’s advice that she take the opportunity to live her life while Monica’s around. Then, to force her into doing something fun, he tells Etsi that Fiona wants to take her drinking. Luckily, we’re not treated to girls night out, because they get tied up with the Gallagher family shenanigans.
Monica and Ian return from spending the evening at a gay bar, where she showed acceptance of his true self and they danced happily the rendezvous back at the house. Once the music gets going, even Fiona gets into partying with her family. They have this little perfect family moment when Debbie gets up on the table and gives a speech about Grammy. It’s clear this is the happiest the whole family will ever be - Frank is even able to come to terms with his emotions about his mother as he hides in the corner.
The next morning, that happy moment is over. Monica brings home Grammy’s ashes so she and Frank can roll them into a joint as a final tribute. Classy. But this unconventional, yet happy moment is dashed when Mandy’s dad comes crashing in and bashes Ian for knocking her up, which is of course, impossible. Frank’s disgusting, yet completely expected thumbs up is all the closure we get, so we can bet there will be a lot more angry fathering from Mandy’s dad in our future. Clearly, it’s not Ian baby, because he’s actually hooking up with Mickey. It could however be Lip’s, which would be astronomically awful considering the baby drama he’s already got on the Karen front.
How close do you think this news about Etsi gets us to a Steve and Fiona reunion? Do you think Lip actually fathered two babies? Let us know in the comments or get at me on Twitter @KelseaStahler.