Relative to last week’s episode of Shameless, Sunday’s episode, “The F Word,” was downright calm. I, for one, am relieved by this and thought it was the deep breathe the show desperately needed after an over-the-top episode the previous week. Since it is the Gallagher’s we’re talking about, there obviously was some drama but the show managed to stay within itself this week.
I’m glad to see that gentrification is here to stay as a storyline last season. When introduced last year, I thought it could offer the Gallagher’s a path out of the ghetto and to a better place. However, last season it seemed to quickly be forgotten about after a few episode. This year, it is driving serious action, as Sunday’s episode began with Frank in the backyard partying it up with a recently evicted Latino family. Gentrification is also what has brought the two Lisa’s into the neighborhood and spawned the increasingly hostile turf war between them and Janis even if they were trying to make amends this week, albeit for selfish means. Janis didn’t take kindly to their attempts at a truce as he attempted to steer Kev’s car directly into the Lisas.
Speaking of Frank, he seems to be over the loss of his beloved Bianca. Big surprise that he has sprung into action trying to teach Debbie his trade of rigging the welfare system for all it’s worth. He has now become the only ally for Debbie to keep her child, which as Fiona says should “scare the shit” out of her.
Carl’s gun dealing operation has become increasingly lucrative. Through his increased cash flow, he has started to help out around the house, through fruit loops and orange juice with the pulp, while also using Liam to try and convince his new love interest that he is in reality black. He got some surprising help in this area as well, with the school principal stepping up and telling Dominique that Carl is an upstanding African American citizen. Of course, this is all thanks to Carl’s gun trafficking market expanding to the faculty and staff of his high school, leading to a lunchroom standoff.
After getting fired by his sister last week, Ian has now been set up in a new job by Lip cleaning his college’s campus, although he doesn’t last long. Following a night of partying in Lip’s residence hall, Ian asks if he could crash there for a few days. When Lip refuses citing his belief that he has “earned his space,” Ian becomes deeply upset, which leads to the two brothers physically fighting the following morning, and Ian storming out repeating his new favorite line “I’m fucking done.” This exchange brings me back to something I said in regards to Fiona last week. Whatever happened to the Gallagher siblings all looking out for each other to no end, understanding where they all had come from? I get Lip wanting his space to a point, but again where did the selfishness come from? The Lip that I know would have said yes without hesitation, doing anything to help his brother who is clearly struggling.
Thankfully, Fiona has not rekindled her romance with Gus, which I worried about last week. Rather, she attended one of his gigs trying to apologize and return his grandmother’s ring only to be humiliated when Gus plays a revenge track he wrote about her. While it is good to see Fiona attempt to atone for some of her recent mistakes, she continued to display a profound lack of acceptance and understanding to those around her, especially Sean and Debbie. While Debbie may be ill-suited to raise a child at age 15, as she points out, FIona is in no place to judge due to her rampant sleeping around. Fiona also compares her choice to get an abortion to Sean’s struggle with addiction, which is off on basically every single level possible. Again, I say, it is disappointing to see a character who has been through so much and seemingly has so much solid perspective on life act in such an incredibly selfish manner.
And just as the episode began on the topic of gentrification and eviction, so too is where it ended as Fiona and Sean came home to find an eviction notice on the front door. While this is not the first time that the family has been faced with losing their home, I think the challenge offers them – and the show – a real opportunity to get back to what allowed the audience to fall in love with the Gallagher’s in the first place. For me, that was a group of siblings up against all odds, doing whatever they had to in order to survive, armed with one simple truth – that the only people they could count on where each other (and Kev and V of course). Let’s hope that having their backs up against the wall will allow the Gallagher’s to remember what allowed them to get this far.