Jimmy (Justin Chatwin) is off his game when it comes to pleasuring Fiona (Emmy Rossum) – he can’t stop picturing his dad with Ian’s junk in his mouth. What a coincidence – neither can I!! He wonders if his dad checked out his friends when he was younger, and if his feathered-haired racquetball partner was a partner off the court as well. Fiona doesn’t have time for this.
In the backyard, a guy in a city worker uniform gives an incapacitated Frank (William H. Macy) an orange Pepe Le Pew stripe and tells Fiona that they are working on a main in a few days. She puts together that this means they will be digging up the yard.
Over at the Jacksons’, a manic Jody (Zack McGowan) is installing a sex swing above a disgruntled Sheila (Joan Cusack), who points out that she is not used to being the submissive one in the sack, but “it’s good for us to grow. As people.” Looks like Jody is off the wagon and back in the saddle – er, sex swing, eh?
Back at the Gallaghers’, Molly swats Carl (Ethan Cutkowsky) down in the hallway to get to the bathroom first, and Fiona tells Mandy (Emma Greenwell) that she’s gotta tell Molly that she’s a boy. Mandy gets all clingy to Lip (Jeremy Allen White), which wakes Ian (Cameron Monaghan) up all grumpy. Downstairs, Debs (Emma Kenney) compliments Molly’s dress, and Molly points out that it “hides her girl penis.” She adds, “Mom says it’s not polite to show off my bulge.”
Debs reminds the family that Aunt Ginger is buried somewhere in the backyard. Which is about to get dug up by the city. They clear out of the kitchen and Jimmy is left looking very uncomfortable around Ian, his handsome new stepmother.
Jimmy tries to explain to Ian why the fact that Ian’s d*ck has been in his dad’s mouth is throwing him a little, and Carl asks what the hell that means. Jimmy tries to cover. Carl asks if Ian’s gay, and he actually sounds a little excited about the prospect (Jimmy denies it). Frank tells Carl to come help him get some tools from Sheila’s house, and when Carl says he can’t because he’s sick with the cancer, Frank tells him that oh by the way he got a call from the clinic and the pills worked and Carl doesn’t have cancer anymore.
At the city pool, two rich girls in bikinis ask Debs, “Are you a lezbo?” and Debs says that she isn’t but that she supports relationships regardless of sexual orientation. Atta girl. They tell her, “Stop staring at us, and grow some tits.”
At Sheila’s – which is now stocked like a West Village sex boutique with all kinds of novelties – Carl picks up a buttplug and asks Frank what it is. Frank answers, “It’s a pacifier for your anus.” I guess that would make it an assifier? Meanwhile, a priest is bringing in a new hospice patient (for Sheila to kill?!): she’s a nun who has taken a vow of silence. Jody welcomes them while wearing a feathered purple robe clearly designed for a lady. (Or Prince.)
At the Kash and Grab, Lloyd (Harry Hamlin) checks out Ian’s dimeslot as he stocks shelves and tells him he’s sorry. He wants Ian to kiss him (he won’t) and also to break into his old house to steal his fancy suits, a painting and a bottle of wine (he will).
Carl’s gay sex education continues as he asks Frank, “So some guys like to lick wieners?” Frank confirms this. And when Carl tries to work out the whole two-wiener logistical situation, Li’l Hank fills him in on the fact that “When gay dudes get horny, their pee holes open.” Oh sweet Christ. Frank puts the kids to digging for Ginger (no, I’m not referring to Lloyd’s new favorite pastime, but rather to the literal digging for Aunt Ginger) and they hit a power main AND a gas main. Luck o’ the Irish!
At the supermarket, Fiona’s ladies are getting back at her by putting thumbtacks in her register drawer and, later, by locking her in the bathroom and making it look like she was smoking. She doesn’t have any time for it: “I got five kids to feed.” Is she counting Frank?
V (Shanola Hampton) is at the lady doctor, who tells her that she has a 99.999% chance of NOT getting pregnant – apparently not the same odds that V understood from their meeting two weeks ago. Kev (Steve Howey), meanwhile, tells Lip on their trek to stock the drug cream truck with fireworks that he and Mandy are “Ghetto Married”, and that he should enjoy it.
Back at home, Jimmy is still going on about his dad’s being gay, insisting that he has no problem with gay guys because they always hit on him. See? The cure for “gay panic” is simple vanity. V tells him that with his designer jeans and coconut hair product, he’s like “gay flypaper”. She attacks a cut of past-date meat and Fiona quietly suggests that they try a surrogate.
Over at the Jackson house, Sheila cleans her sex toys with Clorox wipes while confessing to the tight-lipped nun that she and Jody are putting a few new wings on the temples that are their bodies. She moans, “I’ve never had so many things inserted into so many parts of my body at once!” and confesses that inflicting sexual pain on others gives her pleasure. Wow. That’s as close to character development as we’ve seen for her this season, isn’t it?
Jimmy continues his pink-tinted traipse down memory lane, coming up with more odd events from his past that now make perfect sense knowing that his dad is gay (and a total slut, by the sound of it). More than anything he’s upset that his father didn’t trust him to just tell him the truth. Says the guy who went by “Steve” to his girlfriend for like a year.
Carl is amazed to learn, “There’s butthole involved?” and laments, “I need to know where the gay wieners go!” Lip explains: “Think of it as one dude plunging another dude’s toilet.” That Lip – ever the romantic.
Turns out V got an STD from a (bad) rapper at 17 and it messed up her babymaker. Aww! She’s upset that she and Kev aren’t fighting harder to beat the odds, so they fight. By “fight”, I mean “boink”.
Ian does agility drills in a cement yard as Mickey “Pig Pen” Milkovich (Noel Fisher) shoots a gun off nearby. Ah, young love! Mickey asks Ian what he likes about Lloyd, and Ian tells him that he buys him stuff and isn’t afraid to kiss him. Ooooh! Will jealousy get the best of our stinky little Romeo?
Lip kicks Mandy off the truck and tells her to go to her own house for once. In the middle of selling cigarettes and drugs to minors, Kev points out, “That was harsh.”
Debs borrows Fiona’s bikini and wears it to the pool. The bitchy girls tell her to swim – and when she gets out of the water not only can you see the stripes from the sweat socks she’s used to pad the bra showing through (precious!), but they’ve put ketchup on her seat and scream, “Period!!!”, embarrassing Debs in front of everyone.
Jimmy’s pity party continues at the Alibi, where it won’t get him a buyback from Bartendress Kate. She also marvels at his word choice: “’Fairy’? Hello, 1983!” I always knew I liked her. Frank comes in and spins a yarn about his mother burying jewelry in the backyard, and gets two guys to fall for it. One of the men has lost an arm. I hope it wasn’t his digging arm!
In front of V’s mother’s salon – Un Be Weavable, lest we forget – she and Kev try to come up with viable surrogates. V says Fiona is “too white” and Kev balks – she points out that she wants the baby to at least sort of look like it could be hers. They both spot her very pretty mother in the shop window, and their collective hamster wheel begins its adorably squeaky rotation. Oh please no.
Ian comes downstairs in his camos and Lips asks, “What, is it Desert Storm night at the Cheesecake Factory?” I don’t even know what that means, but I love it and plan to use it daily. Ian tells Lip that he’s being a jerk to Mandy (who happens to be his best friend, remember) and says that just because Karen treated him like garbage doesn’t give him the right to do the same to Mandy. Good point, G.I. Ginge!
Fiona tells Molly that he’s not a girl. And Debs cries in the bathroom, telling Fiona what the mean girls did. Fiona says, “Some girls are just jerks” and comforts her for a second before telling her that they have to dig, or they’re all going to jail. This scene pretty sums up the show’s enduring struggle: trying to do the right thing for the people you love in the midst of having to do the very, very wrong things for the people you love.
It turns out Sheila’s new boarder has been making daily updates about Sheila and Jody to her “Sins of My Caretaker” blog. HA! Dennis, is “The Backlot” a done deal? If not, I think her title’s got legs!
[Editor’s Note: Done deal– too bad, because that totally would have made the shortlist.]
Carl blows up part of the yard with the fireworks – Fiona flips out for a second before realizing that it’s probably not a bad way to dig stuff up. Jimmy shows up, drunk, and starts going on about his dad again. Fiona finally snaps and tells him that they’ve all got problems and he needs to get over it. He tells her that he’s always there for her and she isn’t supporting him. He kind of has a point. She tells him that they are literally digging up a body here, and you can’t compare the two. He storms off and she screams, “Go home and cry to your gay dad!”
Down the block, Kev masturbates in the closet into the bulb of a turkey baster and V delivers it to her mother, who puts it in right then and there on the couch, noting, “It’s warmer than I expected!” Ohhhhh Mylanta.
Lip calls Karen and leaves her a message telling her what an evil monster she is and how everyone is way better off without her. Ouch. Fiona calls Jimmy and leaves him a voicemail to call her back, and then she cries. Jimmy, meanwhile, is back at his apartment banging Estefania (Stefanie Fantauzzi). Oh God, is she really still around?!
Lip admits to Mandy that he’s been a total jerkwad. She tells him, “I’m not a tool, so you can’t treat me like one.” Hey – nice! It’s good to see one young woman in this place stand up for herself besides Fiona. Or, you know – who doesn’t have a girl penis. Lip sets off fireworks for her under the El and she smiles. It’s really nice to see.
The next morning, Ian takes Mickey and his cousins to Lloyd’s house, where they are going to pose as a moving crew and haul stuff out as his wife sleeps off her pills and gin. Ian makes them put down the guns, and before running into the house Mickey plants a quick kiss on him. Aww! But in the middle of cleaning out the mansion, Mickey’s cousin drops a grandfather clock and rouses Miss Julia Duffy, who comes after them with a gun and puts a few ounces of shot into Mickey’s prizewinning pooper. They get the hell outta dodge.
Debs, meanwhile, takes Fiona’s “You gotta stand up to bullies” speech to heart and fills two bags with sand, slings them over her neck, and uses her Esther Williams-caliber breath-holding endurance to hold one of the mean girls underwater by her hair. Ouch. Not exactly what she meant, kiddo.
At about this time, we meet two new characters, who sit in a car outside the Gallagher house. They are from Child Protective Services, and if you do not think that they have arrived just in time to see a perfect storm of Southside wrongness, I don’t know what show you’ve been watching for the last three years.
Turns out it’s one of the ladies’ first home visits. And just for her, the Gallaghers have whipped up something extra special. We’ve got:
- Mickey, bleeding profusely from his ass, being hustled from a speeding van and into the house by Ian.
- Lloyd, in scrubs, following shortly after with a doctor’s bag.
- Molly, wearing a bikini that in no way hides her bulge and facepaint that would make Ronald McDonald look subtle, dancing on a table.
- All of the Debbie Daycare kids.
- Mickey, ass-up on the kitchen counter, getting shot dug out of his buns by Lloyd – who celebrates by slapping his tush for good measure.
- Debs, barging in to brag about the fact that she “just almost drowned a slut.”
- And Fiona, who comes in from ACTUALLY FINDING PART OF AUNT GINGER to see the woman from the city witnessing all of this.
This is not gonna end well.
Later, we see Sheila – in a big floppy hat, a raincoat, and galoshes – dropping the nun off in front of a church, and throwing her suitcase (and iPad, one can assume) under a bus.
I thought this episode was fabulous. My favorite Shameless eps are the ones that manage to perfectly balance the moments of joy with the everyday horrors of life in the Gallagher neighborhood. The simple, destructive beauty of the fireworks display (which reminded me quite a bit of the fireworks in the opening scene of the equally heartbreaking Beasts of the Southern Wild) and the momentary happiness it brought poor Mandy (who really grew on me this week for the first time) was the perfect sweet to counterpoint the all the salty. I am horrified at the prospect of Debs being taken away, and conflicted about that response – isn’t there a possibility that she’d be better off away from all of this? I’m scared that Karen’s return – even as a voicemail phantom – paired with Lip’s concession to Mandy means that she’s going to be bringing her unique brand of crazy back to town (only to find her ex-husband and mom running a dungeon out of her old bedroom).
I’m also delighted about the return of V’s mom – I loved her in the first season and can’t wait to see what goes down with her carrying Kev and V’s baby. And will Molly begin to identify as a boy now that he knows he has been one along, or will he rather stay a girl?
But beyond all that, the episode marked major turning points or shifts for almost every character (save Frank, who is as steadfast and unchanging as John Travolta’s hairline): Lip finally got over Karen and embraced the smallest possibility of romantic happiness; Fiona and Jimmy finally hit the wall in their rich boy/poor girl star-crossed romance; Debs suffered her first – possibly puberty hormone-driven – major lapse in judgment; Ian leveraged Lloyd to get Mickey to man up or get out; Shiela owned her sadistic side while pushing Jody back into the hot tub of his own sex addiction; and V and Kev went to their greatest lenghts yet to add to their family. Lots of development, and all of it exciting and scary and inspiring and wrong and totally Shameless.
In all, I’d give it a solid nine out of ten Old Styles (which made a prominent appearance this week):
But that’s just me. What’d you think of “The Sins of My Caretaker”?