S2E5: Well, we certainly can’t accuse this week’s Shameless of being boring. We find a dead body, a hooker living at Chez Gallagher, a potentially-cheating Kevin, Frank in handcuffs, some seriously below the belt prison violence, Fiona’s rich girl charade and of course, the return of Steve. And even with all these ambling storylines intersecting, the series still manages to give each aspect weight. It genuinely feels like family life – except for the part where most of our families don’t encounter murder, statutory rape, hooker-tenants, agoraphobia, an eleven year-old drunk, or a child bride on a daily basis. But that’s why we call it entertainment, folks.
“Hey, I want her out of the house now.” –Fiona
“75 a week.” –Carl
Now that the pregnant woman has moved on and Carl has been charged with helping the family make money, he’s rented a room out to a hooker. This cuts a little too close to home for Fiona, who’s agreed to be Richard The Potential Sugar Daddy’s date to a wedding. It seems that she fears she’s nothing better than a high class version of the woman asking for Vagisil so she can stop “scratching under the hood” and this prompts Fiona to tell Richard that even though she’s going to a wedding with him, he shouldn’t automatically expect sex. But then she takes it a step further: to support her lie about being a Princeton student home for the summer, she gives him a fake address on Lake Shore Drive – which, if my limited knowledge of Chicago geography serves me right, is the exact opposite of where Fiona actually rests her head. It’s Adam’s address, which seems like it should come into play, but there’s enough danger in the lie without complicating it.
She manages to meet up with Richard at Lake Shore Drive and sneaks away in his limo before she has to tell any more lies, but at the wedding, she’s having a hard time keeping it up. One of Richard’s friends starts to catch her in a lie about Princeton because he actually went there. After she has a relatively nice time with Richard, his friend corners her and her fears about the whole encounter with Richard are realized: the friend thinks she’s an escort, and he threatens to expose her unless she “gives him a taste.” So, she does the awesome Fiona thing and avoids this disgusting threat by telling Richard point-blank that she’s not in college and never went as she tries to storm out. He insists that she let him take her home. This is just slightly a problem because she can’t go back to her non-Lake Shore Drive address.
“It’s only a matter of time before the whole country is Mexicans and Gallaghers.” –Frank
Meanwhile, Lip has even more piling up on his plate. Ian is visited by the Colonel from the Dept. of Defense who personally delivers a Westpoint application – too bad it’s not for Ian. It’s for Lip. Ian tells Lip that the application came and that now he doesn’t want Lip’s help, throwing fuel on Lip’s Karen fire, calling her a whore and saying Frank might be the father of her bastard. Needless to say, Lip has hit his lowest point, and he hasn’t even done all that much to deserve it. Things had better turn around for him because by the end of the episode, he’s getting beat up by some meathead and I don’t know how much more we can take of seeing one of the show’s best characters being trod upon.
“Murder’s not my bag. I don’t have the constitution. Blood makes me queasy.” –Frank
Sheila is in hiding since the plane wheel fell from the sky and she burrows in even deeper when the police show up to say they found Eddy in the lake. She’s not coming out for a long while. Of course, Frank is working another angle, “offering” to “help” Sheila take care of Eddy’s pension papers, but she’s not taking the bait because as usual she’s missing the point. But there’s plenty to distract Frank from this fool’s errand for a while. The police think Frank might have killed Eddy because the body was tied to a cement block, people heard Eddy threaten Frank, he lives with Sheila and he’s a notorious schemer. And as Kev points out, the more they look for clues about the murder, the more offenses they’ll find on Frank’s record. That’s when Frank sets out to find a decent alibi, begging his sons to say he was on a father-son camping trip with them in Wisconsin. They don’t agree, but even if they did, no one would believe that Frank Gallagher took his sons camping unless Jesus himself came back to proclaim it.
And it’s too late; Frank gets arrested, but not for killing Eddy. The detective found the tape of Karen having sex with Frank and he’s locked up for statutory rape – even though he wasn’t cognizant enough to really be there. The officer visits Sheila to tell her what happened and then comes back and frees Frank. It turns out Karen confessed everything, including that she took advantage of a drugged-up Frank. And then Sheila says it: “I’m so sorry my daughter raped you.” It was the sentence we all expected but still couldn’t believe our ears when we it was uttered. But why did Karen do it? Because she’s convinced that Frank killed her father – a development for which she’s eternally grateful. The little psycho.
Of course, getting out of this jam still doesn’t stop Frank from looking pretty guilty regarding Eddy’s murder. And the detective makes sure to tell him she’s going to prove he did it. He’s totally innocent this time, but it seems that something he didn’t actually do may be the thing that serves as retribution for all his other wrongs. Either that, or Sheila will actually get him to marry her; now that Eddy’s gone, she’s legally single! Frank’s going to need a whole case of Old Style to make it through this one.
”Where can I get knives and blunts?” –Debbie
There’s nothing quite as hilarious as Debbie’s ardent attempt at her latest venture: arresting Little Hank’s affections. She picks Carl’s brain about his new friend, even if it involves drugs and guns. She asks Lip if she can be easy and convenient, like Karen was, for Little Hank, he tells her that Hank will be in juvi soon and that attraction is more about pheromones than anything. The only think is that he doesn’t tell her how those work, so she thinks it entails stealing Fiona’s makeup and earrings. Fiona stops her and tells her rather bluntly, “Hymen stays intact.” I didn’t realized that was an issue at age 11, but there it is. Debbie gets a lucky break when Holly stops by to pick up her skanky underwear that she so desperately left in Lip’s room and Deb asks her on that double date Lip promised Deb. Of course, Holly is giddy at the chance to seduce the eldest Gallagher boy once again.
But Holly does manage to give Deb a hard time for her clown make-up (to be fair, someone needed to tell her) and so Debbie runs to Mandy Milkovich to get help with painting her face. Mandy, who knows all too well, tells Deb she’ll look back one day and she’ll wish it didn’t happen so fast – just as her creepy dad makes eyes at 11 year-old Debbie. Later, Debbie winds up finding success with Hank when he gets sick from drinking beer at the neighborhood barbeque and reluctantly hands her a bunch of old flowers.
This whole interaction is simultaneously endearing and heartbreaking. It sends us all back to that time when we were awkwardly trying to figure out the art of seduction, but our stubborn youth and clumsiness got in the way – only Debbie is already chasing an 11-year-old drunk, which is all too close of an approximation to her drunkard father. This, in case you couldn’t tell, is the heartbreaking part.
“I know what goes on in a playground besides hopscotch and middle aged men jacking off. That kid’s a player.” –V
“He’s the best player.” –Ethel
Ethel is spending more time with Malik and V is pretty upset about it, but she’s doubly upset because one of Ethel’s playdates with Malik proves that Kev lied about being at a basketball game. Then she finds a poorly written Valentine in his pocket and all hell breaks loose. She’s convinced that Kev, the most saccharinely sweet, devoted man ever, is cheating. V should know better. Still, there was that girl who spelled Chicago with an “S” that one time. Could be her. V asks Kev about the game and he lies to her again, so she tails him to a woman’s apartment. We know almost immediately that he’s there for some adorable purpose, but V is not having it. She seduces him, ties him up and then threatens to dismember him if he doesn’t tell her who that woman was. He says it’s his reading teacher but V doesn’t believe him, and if we didn’t know how wonderful Kev is, we might not either. He’s always been dumb, but since when did he need a reading teacher? But all that aside, V goes to the woman’s apartment, guns blazing and then sees that when she answers the door, there are kids there and she’s holding reading flashcards. Veronica goes back to Kev, who admits that he’s not “unliterate” but that he can’t read good. (I know it’s “well” – it’s for effect, people.) He’s taking classes so he can write her a love note. And with that, V is the biggest jerk. They make up in true Veronica and Kevin style though, but we’ll leave that part out.
Meanwhile, Malik is also proving V wrong. Ethel opens up about having sex with her husband; her sister wives had to hold her down and it felt like knives. Poor thing. Malik is sweet about it, but he’s starting to realize what he’s gotten himself into. Ethel is worried that Clyde doesn’t have anyone to care for him in prison because her poor little mind is so brainwashed. Malik sees an opportunity to do something about the old pervert and he tells his relatives in prison to “take care” of Clyde – this involves an actual, bare-handed dismembering. And normally, this kind of violence would make me wary of Ethel’s new suitor, but he’s obviously aware of her issues with sex, so there’s more to his attachment than that. Plus, Clyde is a child molester so anything (and any violence) headed his way is going to be received as a bit more heroic than it would in normal circumstances. Malik may just be the person to bring Ethel out of her pilgrim gown shell.
As they head away from the wedding, Richard says he knew Fiona didn’t go to Princeton because his job is to read people. He asks where she really lives and she finally admits that she lives on the South Side. When he drops her off, he says that her house reminds him of where he grew up, showing that he understands her life because he came from similar origins – now that’s something she’s not so used to. And this new development could be good for her, but just as Richard asks her out to dinner and drives away, Steve is coming down the steps of Tony’s house. They don’t say much; he remarks that she looks good, but those looks speak volumes. Things are about to get a whole lot more complicated and salacious and sexy and dangerous – as they always do when Steve is in the picture. But still, this is what Fiona wants and she just turned things around a bit, finally doing the right thing by telling Richard the truth and by dating the guy she didn’t give a chance before, so of course that’s when Steve would come in. And as the previews from next week’s episode suggest, Steve is coming back with full force.
What do you think will happen with Steve next week? And what about the whole Frank paternity issue? Do you agree that it doesn’t make sense? Or is there something about pregnancy that I’m missing here? Do you think Karen is lying about being pregnant? Or is she just angry with the way her life turned out? Let me know in the comments or get at me on Twitter @KelseaStahler