Shameless just has some kind of unspoken law against upwards motion, doesn't it? The higher you get (no pun intended), the farther you have to fall.
Ian makes his long awaited first appearance in this week's "There's The Rub." We first hear tell of him when Lip gets a rather rude awakening (he's reading Bleak House in the john when two soldiers kick in the door), and long story short, he learns Ian's on the run after attempting to steal a helicopter. Hoping to get to him before the U.S. Government does, he makes it his mission to find him. With Debbie at his side (it's nice to see these two characters interact – their relationship is surprisingly sweet), he manages to track Ian down: he's working as a bartender at a bar tellingly named White Swallow. He's certainly … different. He's had a makeover (synthetically red hair, eyeshadow, and a sequined tank), and he is uncharacteristically hyperactive. Sharp Debbie notices his changed attitude: "Why is he acting like that?" she asks as a bouncer ushers her and Lip (both underage) out of the nightclub. Looks like he's finally decided to partake in his father's vices, eh? Lip and Debbie seem understandably shaken by their brother's abrupt shift in lifestyle, but unfortunately, Ian's not the only one letting responsibility take the backseat:
Fiona, too, falls folly to drugs (though not in the way you might think). She and Mike are officially done (Robbie finally spilled the beans out of spite). Fiona fears she's out of a job (she did sleep with her boss-boyfriend's brother, after all), but Mike's better than that – he just transfers her to a different department. Her explanation to him is heartbreaking: she tells him she thinks she messed things up between them to prove to herself that she didn't deserve him – and that in the end, she proved herself right. At least she gets the satisfaction of vindication: she hocks a loogey in Robbie's face, and gets in a few swings with a baseball bat. But during the last visit, he accidentally leaves behind a packet of cocaine, and "aye, there's the rub." Fiona decides to break it out with her little birthday party with Kev and V – all in good fun, until little Liam gets into it and seriously ODs. The paramedics rush him off on a gurney, and when Fiona utters the words, "He got into some of my coke," we know it's Game Over: she's pacing the halls of the hospital when they cuff her and frog march her to the squad car.
Emmy Rossum mentioned in a (slightly spoiler-y) interview with Entertainment Weekly that this season, Fiona would be finding out just how much she's like Frank. And I have to say, her little coke-fueled birthday party was very reminiscent of Frank and Monica's parenting style; even down to the way she insists to a stone-faced Lip that she was watching Liam, and that she thought he was in the living room (you know, just one room over from the cocaine). He's not forgiving her anytime soon, and maybe he's right not to. It's hard to see Fiona, who's often the show's most sympathetic character, take Frank's spot at the bottom of the totem pole of adult responsibility.
And Lip takes this shift in balance hard: as the Gallagher clan + Kev and V rush out after Fiona, he stands frozen in the hallway. In the last episode, he complained about her high expectations for him, and this week he feels the pressure even more: with Ian on the run from the government and Fiona heading to the clink, he might just be the only level-headed Gallagher left (sparing Debbie, of course). Will it fall on Lip to hold the Gallaghers together?
* I'm liking Sheila's new boyfriend Running Tree (who uses the dating site ChristianMingle, because it's "a good way to meet nice white girls"). And I also love how Sheila is simultaneously cringeworthy and sweet; the most considerate racist ever.
* Kev and V team up with Mickey Milkovich and open up a "Rub 'n Tug" in Stan's old apartment above the bar. That can't be good, can it?
* There was also a nice bit of tension between Carl and Frank -- even though Carl has been more loyal than imaginable to Frank (breaking his leg, stealing him drugs, etc), Frank's putting all his eggs in new child Sammi's basket.