‘Shameless’ Recap: Hope Springs Paternal

Cameron Monaghan, ShamelessShowtime

Chaos continues to reign in the Gallagher household.

Fiona’s trapped by house arrest and insomnia, Carl’s suspended (with looming threat of expulsion) for bullying, Lip’s still juggling school with his siblings, Ian’s starting to look like he inherited his mother’s bipolar disorder (his pages upon pages of scrawled notes were reminiscent of Carrie Mathison), and Debbie’s scheming to get back her 20 year-old boyfriend. Whew!

With an ominous ankle monitor at large, and nothing to keep her occupied, Fiona’s going stir-crazy (the episode OD’d a little in terms of montages of Fiona manically doing housework, in my opinion). After spending much of the episode alone, she finally cracks and invites V over for booze, and it’s game over: presented with the chance to cut loose, they proceed to get so drunk they let dinner burn in the oven. Which might have been fine, only Lip comes home and catches them at it – grossly inebriated with the whole house filled with smoke. Like last week (and the week before that, and so on), he shows open disgust at her actions, and swoops up Liam and Carl, and carts them back to school with him.

And Lip’s not the only one who has lost his respect for his older sister — Ian’s AWOL literally and figuratively with Mickey, and Debbie’s furious at her for throwing away her disturbing “virginity countdown” and subsequently runs over to stay with Sammi, which leaves an empty house. In a heartbreaking (though slightly overwrought) scene, Fiona goes through the house, saying goodnight to everyone’s (even Frank’s) empty beds – an action that reads as more than a little suicidal. She recognizes the death wish in herself, though: she calls Lip, and begs him to bring back her family — she knows he doesn’t trust her anymore, but she admits to him (and herself) that she just might be dying without them. And after all of the crazy cleaning montages and tears and screaming, we know she’s right. The look on her face when she wakes up to Liam patting her cheek and Lip smiling ruefully at her from across the room is like the light at the end of a long tunnel of angst. Is Fiona finally on the upswing after hitting rock bottom week after week?

Signs point to yes (though not for long, knowing this show).

Stray Observations:

* Can I just say that I totally called Lip getting together with his roommate’s girlfriend?

* Good to see Sammi got the Gallagher conning genes.

* How did Ian and Mickey slowly become the big romantic center of the series? In other words: Mickey finally admitting that the two of them were together was a big “aww” moment for Ian/Mickey shippers the world over.

* After some advice from big sister Sammi, Debbie looks like she’s on her way to man-eater status.

* V’s mom finally had the baby! And Kev and V decide to let her keep it (much to Kev’s chagrin – he even dons mourning black for the occasion).

* Frank’s speech on the benefits of bullying was kind of gold.

* Shameless writers, we still want more Sheila! And while you’re at it, could you kill Robbie off? Excrutiatingly?