After last week’s courtroom gut-wrencher, even the kids’ struggle to keep hold of the house felt like a bit of a step back in Shameless land this week. How’d our scrappy gang do? Let’s dig in.
Cousin Patrick scatters Aunt Ginger’s ashes on the street corner she used to work. [pause for laughs] Frank (William H. Macy), by way of a eulogy, calls her a “legendary pole-smoker – could unhinge her jaw like a Burmese python!” We should all be so lucky as to be remembered so fondly. As he dumps her remains, Patrick points out, “Even a mean old bitch deserves a sendoff.”
Fiona (Emmy Rossum) confronts Patrick about his stealing the house and faking the will, but he ain’t budging.
Over at V and Kev’s, V’s mom, Carol (Vanessa Bell Calloway), pop over for an impromptu procreation session, and this time she’s all done up. Uh-oh. She tells Kev (Steve Howey) she pretends she’s having sex with Denzel – and if she accidentally opens her eyes, with Johnny Depp. V (Shanola Hampton) seems to be regretting this plan for the first time.
Back at the Gallagher house, the kids consider their options for dealing with Patrick and keeping the house. Frank points out that “he out-Gallaghered us.” Lip (Jeremy Allen White) thinks he may be able to challenge the will (which they know is fake). Upstairs, Jimmy (Justin Chatwin) tells Fiona that together they can make this work.
Down the hall, Ian (Cameron Monaghan) interrupts Lip’s hummer from Mandy (Emma Greenwell) to tell him that Karen (Laura Slade Wiggins) is outside. Uh-oh. She tells him it was nice to hear from him, even if his voicemail told her to go f*ck herself. She tells him that she was with a guy that promised to take her to Paris (so she got a tattoo of the Eiffel Tower), and then he tried to sell her to a sheik. She says she wants Lip to be happy, even if it’s with Mandy. Am I wrong to not trust her any farther than I could throw her and her new Ke$ha hairdo?
Sheila (Joan Cusack) tells Karen that they should attend a Down Syndrome support group to better understand Himey’s needs. Sheila also kicks Frank out – no baby, no nanny.
Debs (Emma Kenney) comes down for her first day of middle school wearing an outfit she borrowed from Mandy – and it shows. Fiona sends her right back upstairs to change, and V calls Mandy a “skank” while Mandy is in the bathroom – and she overhears. Poor thing! V decides it would be wise to leave.
Patrick shows up with his sons to survey the place, which they will be renovating once they render all their cousins homeless.
At the Down Syndrome meeting, a guy named Jerry wants to reclaim the word “retard”. Some of the other attendees are not so gung ho about it, but there’s a spirited debate about who is allowed to use the word and who is not (“normies”, mostly). Jeremy calls Jody (Zach McGowan) “Fabio” and begins a chant, “Me tard, you tard, retard nation.” I’m pretty sure I’m going to hell for just transcribing that.
Fiona gets a call about a gig with the cleanup crew and she brings Jimmy along to a slaughterhouse that has had some sort of spill. It’s just as disgusting as it sounds – and Fiona’s supervisor asks her, “Is your girlfriend gonna be okay?” Turns out he’s not – an increasingly green-tinged Jimmy freaks and leaves.
Frank – who is still attending court-ordered AA meetings – meets a jolly guy named Christopher, who asks Frank to be his sponsor. Frank isn’t feeling it until he realizes that Christopher might be a roof and a meal ticket, so he agrees. He also grabs one of Sheila’s “I’m A Retard and Proud” t-shirts, which she will be selling at a table outside the market. Oh this woman.
Carol shows up for more baby-making and tells Kev that she wants a “warm-up” – V says she draws the line at that. Fiona walks in on the three of them doing their thing, and is appropriately scarred for life.
Jimmy, meanwhile, gets a job at the Coffee Beanery – and while working his shift he runs into a former med school classmate who invites him out to dinner with a few other residents.
Back at the house, the kids decide to unleash Mandy’s feral brothers on Patrick (for $200). Mickey (Noel Fisher) and one of his brothers ambush Patrick in his garage, but then his wife, Ellen, pulls a shotgun on them. Whoops. Lip comforts Fiona, telling her that this isn’t all on her. Patrick uninstalls the toilet, and leaves it in the living room. It goes surprisingly well with the existing decor.
V tells Kev that she thinks her mom is too into the baby sessions – it’s like she thinks they’re dating or something. She asks what he thinks and he says, “My job is not to think.” At least someone around here is excelling at work! They then cut to Jimmy working at the coffee bar. SUBTLE.
Fiona and Lip, meanwhile, scope out a possible new home – a trashed rental that is currently occupied by crackheads and has the front door kicked in. Yeesh.
Back at home, Patrick pukes in the street next to his truck – and Carl (Ethan Cutkosky) reveals to V that he put rat poison in Patrick’s sandwich. OH CRAP. But can you blame the kid? IT LOOKED JUST LIKE SKINNY & SWEET!!
Sheila is trying to push her “I Am a Retard” shirts outside the market, but the owner kicks her out, telling her that she’s promoting hate speech.
Frank gets to know Christopher – who, it turns out, is NOT an alcoholic, but rather a very lonely man with a taxidermy hobby. Uh-oh. He dotes on Frank and Frank is fine with that.
The kids are at the probate hearing, wondering if Patrick is still alive or if Carl killed him – and they can’t decide which outcome is worse. Patrick shows up. Hate to say I was hoping Carl had gone full-darksided and offed the brute.
Karen talks to Mandy at school, and Mandy confronts Lip. Lip snaps that he never asked Mandy to move in and be so nice to him, and she rightfully responds that she doesn’t deserve to be treated like this. I can’t believe that I’m really feeling for this girl in all this. Fiona apologizes to Debs for losing the house, and Debs says that she was getting sick of the place anyway.
Carol comes by with wine, candles and D’Angelo. D’Angel-uh-oh is more like it! Kev and Carol do it and it’s a bit too romantic for V to handle, so she stops them right before the big finish.
Lip visits Karen and calls her out on sabotaging his relationship with Mandy in her like five seconds of being home. They then instantly have sex while Sheila deals with Mrs. Wong downstairs, who is threatening not to let Himey come back because of Sheila’s ridiculous “Retard” t-shirts. She also accidentally reveals that she has spoken to Karen…
And Frank – who is wearing one of the t-shirts – gets punched in the nuts by a woman with Down Syndrome. Later, at the Alibi, Frank tells the crowd about Christopher, and Kev points out that the guy is clearly a serial killer: “You’re gonna wake up dead with your d*ck in a Ziplock in his freezer.” Seriously, Kev? Any gay cannibal serial killer worth his organic sea salt knows that you NEVER freeze d*ck. It gets chewy!
Jimmy goes to his fancy dinner, and meanwhile Fiona gets a visit from Tony – hey, Tony! Where you been?! – who brings eviction papers from Patrick. Fiona is about to give up when Debs comes in talking about how Patrick loves her and touched her in “her nice places” and said it was their secret. Fiona is shocked but also clearly impressed. Also, just for reference, the expression on Emmy Rossum’s face in the above pic is the look on mine pretty much every time I watch this show. I even keep a stack of eviction papers handy to complete the tableaux.
They get Patrick to agree to rent the house to them for 50 years at $500/month. Okay, not bad – but still $500 more than they used to have to shell out. Although does this mean he’ll have to kick in heat and hot water?
Christopher chases down Frank – who is hiding out with hobos at a bonfire under a bridge – and offers to be his sponsor, which apparently involves getting Frank drunk and cooking him meals. Wait, can I get a sponsor? Christopher says that he’s not out to rape or kill Frank, but that if Frank insisted on having sex with him he’d probably manage. Ohhhhhhhkay…
The episode ends with the two of them in bed together, with matching sleep masks.
Meanwhile, Sheila confronts Karen about being the one who called the Wongs and told them to take Himey away. Karen, Karen, Karen – didn’t anyone ever tell you that two Wongs won’t make it right? I certainly hope not. Carl finds a dead rat in the crawlspace and is OVER THE MOON that he did, in fact, murder something. Debs explains to Jimmy what happened (“I was molested, it all worked out!”), Liam uses the big-boy potty for the first time (it’s unfortunately in the living room when it happens), and Kev gets a booty-call text from Carol at 1:30 in the morning, and lies to V about it.
Whew. Oddly, despite the fact that a lot went on and the big cliffhanger about the house was resolved, this felt like a pretty subdued episode. Jimmy’s pulling away actually doesn’t bother me that much – Fiona seems more than occupied with everything else going on, and he doesn’t seem nearly as invested in her or the kids as he used to. Are we moving towards another breakup – this time maybe for good? Ian hasn’t been given much to do since being beaten nearly to death (something that has been oddly underaddressed – wouldn’t Mandy at least notice his and Mickey’s matching shiners?) and the Karen-Lip-Mandy triangle is more depressing than interesting. The “Retard Nation” subplot made me legitimately uncomfortable (um… congrats?), and I’m not enjoying the prolonged babymaking factory down the street as much as I probably should be (is it just me, or has that been dragging on a bit too long?).
And yet, a mediocre Shameless is still better than most. I’d give it seven out of ten Old Styles.
And I cannot WAIT to see what the flying Frank is going on in next week’s ep with “the face of the gay rights movement”.