I predicted that last week’s episode of Shameless might just be the nadir of the season, and that this week we’d get a little more lightness. Well, I was half right. We did get more lightness. this was the funniest episode of Shameless of the year – much of that was due to Mickey’s seemingly endless barrage of one-liners (at one point he yells at a sugar daddy trying to solicit him and Ian, “Well, this ain’t Macy’s, b**ch – you ain’t window shopping!”). Last week, was not, however, the nadir of the season.
This episode finds Frank very close to death, Fiona faced with the impossible task of finding employment after committing a felony, Debbie waging war on Matt’s new girlfriend (she’s a Gallagher, after all), Carl “popping his robbery cherry,” and Liam continuing to show signs of PTSD or permanent damage. Lip – well, Lip at least seems to be doing fine – with not one, but two FWBs.
Fiona’s finally out of house arrest, but she must find a job within 30 days – she starts the search out as optimistically, but soon finds that checking the “yes” box to the question, “Have you ever committed a felony?” pretty much excludes you from employment. She has a brief moment of hope when her Narcotics Anonymous group leader says she’ll refer her to her boss, but then it turns out her “boss” is a pimp. After finding that pounding the pavement is an exercise in futility, she goes back to World Wide Cup, in hopes that they’ll say that she was “downsized” instead of fired for disorderly conduct (so she can collect unemployment). Her former coworker seems amenable, but Mike’s sister is decidedly not. She humiliates Fiona in front of the office, and brings voice to some of Fiona’s worst fears: that she’s not a good person, and that she ruined Mike’s life. There’s only so much a person could take, but I sure wish Fiona could find someone/someplace/something other than the horrendous Robbie to turn to. Alas, the end of the episode finds her at his apartment.
Meanwhile, Frank’s condition is worse than ever, but damn if Sammi’s not going to give him the send off he doesn’t deserve. She does everything she can for him, but he refuses to admit that he’s dying. He screams at her, she screams back – all she wants is for him to stick around, and all he wants is to go to the Alibi Room (“I was always happy there”). Oh, and Sheila’s back too – turns out Roger Runningtree was a criminal (he was collecting Native American reparations, even though he was Mexican). Anyway, to combat her serious empty nest issues, she wants to adopt Runningtree’s nieces and nephews (remember “Stinking Wind?”). Only problem is, she needs a marriage certificate to legally adopt them. So on top of Sammi desperately trying to keep him comfortable (not to mention alive), Sheila’s setting up wedding plans ASAP – she needs to marry him before the funeral. After much hullabaloo, Sammi’s finally able to please Frank: by bringing the Alibi Room to him. The look on his face; the mix of joy, gratitude to Sammi, and wistfulness as he sits at his makeshift bar with his non-alcoholic beer and all of his drinking buddies is priceless. It’s one of those moments the show does so well – in a show where every character misbehaves so much, there are these pockets of humanity at its sweetest.
* The episode derives its title from Carl’s new friend from detention, Bonnie. Yes, Carl has managed to find a mate even more psychopathic than himself – she pulls a Heathers on him and convinces him to rob a convenience store with a “fake” gun. Hey, maybe Carl can be the new Gallagher clan breadwinner!
* At this point, we’re actually spending more time with Mickey than we are with Ian (which is fine by me, as Noel Fisher’s a much more interesting actor than Cameron Monaghan).
* Carl: “How can you tell when you’re in love with someone?” / Debbie: “When you want to rip someone’s heart out and stomp on it until it’s soup.”
* Debbie engages in all-out war with Matt’s new girlfriend – she makes threatening phone calls and leaves a snake in her car. Matt’s new girlfriend is not to be messed with, however – she threatens Debbie with a metal baseball bat. Game, set, match.
* Lip’s “arrangement” with Amanda (formerly his roommate’s girlfriend) seems promising – the schedule she makes for him (in five minute increments, with “BJ breaks”) and so-called “backdoor only” virginity are the perfect level of crazy for a show like Shameless.