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Shameless Still Struggles but Moves in the Right Direction…Kind of

Well there was at least one thing I could say I loved about this episode. Even though the season hasn’t completely returned to its prime form in storytelling, it has begun to feel like it’s old self again. That’s probably a really vague statement but with the kind of humor portrayed, the situations at hand (even though they only last one episode so far), and the pure unapologetic aura of the series, this episode made me remember why I fell in love with this series in the first place. Yet, at this point is it enough to keep me watching. The answer is pretty simple for me, and it’s because I believe they are trying to reclaim former glories. However, I don’t represent the complete consensus of every fan of the show. I still have really high hopes that this rocky season will start changing for the better.

Recap

The episode opens with Fiona complaining about her previous fight with Ian about the church to Nessa as she goes on about what she likes about screwdrivers. She notices that there’s a leak coming from the apartment of the old lady who barks at her. Upon entering, she discovers that there’s a dog…and that the tenant, Mrs. Cardinal, is dead and being semi eaten by her cute small dog. Frank further takes steps back to his old self, minus the junkie part as he tells Liam not to judge junkies. He gets his first credit card…well a non fraudulent one anyway. Lip gathers Professor Youens and the workers at the bike shop to see where they can find Brad since his disappearance in the previous episode. Youens is pretty cold about it considering his own alcoholism.

Nope…just enjoying Nessa’s little screen time.

Kev, V, and Svetlana are a couple, er, throuple, again. Kev starts to doubt not only his sexual talent but his and V’s relationship as he feels he can’t satisfy her like Svetlana can, especially after that, ahem, scene. Hilariously this conversation leads to Kev wants to be with a man to get the same ‘gender liquid’ experience. (I laughed when he said this so hard.) The police end up telling Fiona that until they find a next of kin for Mrs. Cardinal, her belongings will remain and the poor little dog will have to be euthanized for eating human flesh. Kev also goes to Ian to try to figure out if he may be gay or not while inadvertently hitting on Ian and a straight guy who was just being nice…oh Kevin. Lip continues his search by going to Brad’s home, where his wife is pretty set on him not coming back unless he’s sober. That baby is annoyingly adorable as well.

Debbie awakens from an ecstasy filled stupor and discovers she’s had unprotected sex with one of her friends and is pretty convinced she’s pregnant again. So begins the 39 hour hunt for the morning after pill as Frank buys a car. She tries another pharmacy but discovers that she needs to be 17 to buy the pill. Fiona goes through her dead tenant’s stuff looking for any sort of clue on a next of kin only to discover the woman had quite a life, as she infers from a collection of photos. Lip’s hunt for Brad gets interesting as he and Carl find his truck containing massive amounts of donuts, hair extensions, and Michael Jordan’s arm from his statue in Chicago.

Debbie gets desperate. She gives a stranger money to buy her the pill and ends up getting arrested when the woman tries to run with the money and Debbie goes in for a royal beat down. The two fight like crazy between cells as the pro choice/life debate is reduced to shouting. V tries to convince herself she isn’t a lesbian by not being able to hit on Fiona. Not that we doubted that she doesn’t love Kev, it’s more that she enjoys being dominated, something that isn’t in short supply with Svetlana.

Fiona finds out that her tenant’s name was actually Helen and that her husband died in Vietnam. Her granddaughter is finally found and the woman really has no interest in keeping anything because she barely knew her. Kev finally gets the gay experience he’s looking only to realize he’s actually not gay. This scene was hilariously uncomfortable with how forward his partner-to-be is.

It’s okay, we still love you Kev.

Lip’s search gets warmer as he finds the woman who was with Brad this whole time at the bakery they robbed. He obviously cheated on his wife and Youens tries to give him a lecture on how Brad is not his problem. Lip has a serious point about wanting to help his friend after being helped the same way. Yet, Youens also has a point about trying to save someone who clearly does not want to be saved. Finally the conflict we’ve been waiting for comes around as Fiona goes to Ian about their last fight. He gives her the cold shoulder before finally confronting her about her behavior this season and the last. Both have their points, but by the end of the conversation Ian simply tells her that he has no idea who she is anymore.

Fiona ends up saving the photos that Helen’s granddaughter is throwing away. Lip finally finds Brad, still drunk and very violent, and forces him into his car after the two fight with one another. Lip’s patience is extraordinary but then again, Brad dealt with his stuff too. Animal control finally comes for Rusty and we all want to cry because you’re a monster for killing a dog. Kev tells V about the failure in his gay mission but also tells her he was just trying to make her jealous. V tells him that the domination turns her on with Svetlana, and she’s into more than just women.

Lip tells Brad everything he’s done in the past few days. Brad tries to convince Lip to let him go and that he can’t go back to Camy after what he’s done, especially the Michael Jordan incident. Lip basically tells him to get over it. Debbie finally gets released by her friends, and they end up getting her birth control. In the most offensive way possible. There ends up being too long a line at the pharmacy and her middle eastern friend ends up shouting in his language , terrifying everyone in the store away. Frank gets some bad news as he’s let go from his job, not by any fault of his own but rather because the store is going out of business. The episode ends with Fiona putting up a photo of Helen in the main hall of her building and Lip taking Brad to see Camy, who kicks him out.

Review

I’ll just get to it really quick now. I was totally okay with writers not completely expanding on the fight between Ian and Fiona in this episode. For one it’s clearly evident that it isn’t going to be something that is rushed like the whole meth dealer plot. In the previews for the next episode we clearly see that Ian is going to go full on war with his sister, and the building tension from this episode serves only to make us want it more. Hopefully it lives up to the hype.

While we’re on the subject of that fight, Ian brought up a very clear point, which is that Fiona’s moral compass is all messed up. For the record before I get into this, I am completely on Ian’s side in this, but it would be wrong to dismiss Fiona as simply being morally confused.

The sibling tension is real.

For one it isn’t a crime to try and better one’s self. Unfortunately, it is a cruel world and sometimes trying to reach for greatness ends making you step on the less fortunate. In this case Fiona is doing just that, not purposefully trying to hurt them. The amount of homeless people in this country is frighteningly high, and we can’t fault her for wanting make her neighborhood look less like the ghetto. Still, the way she is going about it is contributing to the gentrification of the south side. This is something that will only sit well with the higher earning populace who will come to live there, as Nessa’s partner said to her.

With Ian, his heart is in the right place and we’ve seen some serious personal growth in a short period of time. He seems to really care about the plight of these kids. He’s sincerely trying to help them with something as simple as a place to lay their heads at night, something that can go a long way into trying to better themselves. Just as Fiona is trying to do, but with different results.

My biggest issue with this episode was Kev and V in almost it’s complete entirety. It feels like episode filler, especially what’s going between V and Svetlana. It serves absolutely no purpose at this point, or none that we can see yet. While the Kev segment is funny to watch, it’s pretty much null once he tells V it was just to make her jealous. I mean, during certain parts of the episode I sort of felt that he was serious in questioning his sexuality, but of course by the end we discover only that it was pretty much a sham.

Overall this episode wasn’t the worst of the season. The Debbie sidetrack was pretty funny, although a little offensive. Lip’s end of things has become dark as he tries to help Brad, especially after what Lip himself went through. Much as I hate to admit it, I think it’s getting dragged out too much, but that’s just me. It’s still enjoyable to watch especially with what will happen to Brad next and the preview of Youens getting drunk again in the next episode. The start of the season was very rocky and the show is still struggling to find its footing but the writer are making a very valiant attempt.

One thing I mentioned in several of my reviews of this season is the fact that the show seemed to ignore the fact that there was no real overall problem or issue that the family was facing together. Not that there isn’t any character development of course, cause there is a lot. It’s one of the only reasons I’m still watching. What this episode did to renew my hope is not so much focus on the Fiona and Ian drama and begin showing us that it was something that was going to appear for the whole season. Rather, this episode gives their tension a moment to breathe. It takes its time about portraying where it will go and who it will bring into it. I’m more than okay with them doing this because it shows the writers aren’t trying to give us something that ended as quickly as the meth plot at the start of the season.

That being said there are still certain subplots that I’m not into and are coming across as literally just filler and unimaginative. The question of whether the show has runs its course or should be renewed for another season comes up again as we approach the middle of the season. Though I’m sure there are many who don’t want to see it end, but the time may soon be upon us if they can’t have more than one episode in which the filler isn’t so painfully obvious. We’ll have to see what the latter half of this season brings us.


Images Courtesy of Showtime

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Hey, everyone! Just your friendly neighborhood nerd. From NYC/NJ, 28 years old. Ask me about a Fandom and I can go on for hours. Firefly, Penny Dreadful, and A Song of Ice and Fire are my favorites, let's get nerdy.

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