This season might just be Shameless‘ bleakest yet, and that is no mean feat. It’s like when you started watching Breaking Bad, and thought, “It can’t get worse than strangling someone and melting their body in a tub full of acid” – but then it did.
And watching Fiona’s steady downspiral to implosion is certainly on par with watching that literal bloodbath burst its way through the ceiling on Breaking Bad. Yes, she gets bailed out of jail; yes, her tough public defender gets her out of serving actual time, but her face when she’s read the crippling details of her three-year probation and lifetime as a convicted felon? It says it all. And even worse is watching Fiona yell out her guilt over Liam’s overdose at an accusatory and stone-faced Lip – after he gives her the cruel truth that she might just have ruined her whole life with that ounce of cocaine, you could cut her self-loathing (not to mention Lip-loathing) with a knife. (We get even further down the hole when you factor in the fact that their screaming match was only put on pause because Frank is lying in his own refuse on the bathroom floor).
Yet, even as we feel for Fiona getting torn to shreds, Lip has a point. Liam could have died, and may even suffer lasting trauma (after getting teased on the bus, even Carl worries that Liam is now “retarded”). Lip can’t trust his sister anymore, so he spends most of the episode carting Liam back and forth to his dorm room (it earns him serious points with the ladies – even his roommate’s previously icy girlfriend), and the pressure of juggling school, work, and now a dysfunctional family of seven (did I count right?) all comes to a head in his blowout with Fiona. He doesn’t want to be in her position; holding the Gallagher clan on his shoulders like a Southside Atlas – he wants to live his own life.
Well, tough luck, Lip. With the Gallagher family in the state it is now, he may never get the life he wants. Frank’s dying and has less control over his bodily functions than ever, Fiona’s to be on probation for the next three years, Ian’s a drug-addled stripper – even sweet little Debbie has resorted to cutting (though given her shocked string of expletives at the pain, it doesn’t seem like she’ll be trying it again). No, the Gallaghers will continue on down, with no end in sight. It’s all very Sisyphean, isn’t it? Let’s hope at least Sheila’s having a good time on the Rez.
* Let’s unpack this humdinger of a title: “A Jailbird, Invalid, Martyr, Cutter, Retard, and Parasitic Twin.” Jailbird = Fiona, Invalid = Frank, Martyr = Lip? Cutter = Debbie, Retard = Liam, and Parasitic Twin = Huey (who, in V’s words, “Ate Dewey”).
* Yes, that’s right: V’s twins apparently resorbed their triplet. Which is a much grosser process than I’d previously thought.
* Mickey remains the lovelorn MVP on this season, perhaps even outstripping Lip’s years of Karen Jackson-torchbearing. Though does he really have to punch every single person who calls him gay?
* Matt: “I should probably date girls my own age.” Yes, Matt. Yes you should.
* I stand by my prediction that Lip will get it on with his roommate’s girlfriend.