For weeks now, I have been complaining about the current season of Shameless lacking the emotional depth that has made it one of the better shows on television over its 6+ year run. Well, Sunday’s episode “Going Once, Going Twice” delivered the most powerful and entertaining hour of the season yet.
The week saw Fiona and Lip step up in their respective relationships, Ian hopefully find a place he feels comfortable, Debbie begin to secure a life for her baby, and Carl learn a valuable lesson, all with an eviction notice looming over their heads. After weeks of being disappointingly stagnant, the Gallagher’s have finally woken up to their surroundings and done some much needed growing up.
The episode also saw Kev and V come to terms with some harsh realities, with the neighborhood turf war “heating up” and the Alibi being too hip for their old crowd and too mainstream for their hipsters. I expect that the neighborhood will rest a little easier though, after Yanis lighting himself on fire following Kev’s admittal that he, in fact, cut Yanis’ brake cables. The death of Yanis does also provide the show some options with how to deal with the Gallagher’s impending eviction.
Thus far, the joy of this season has been the incredibly enjoyable development of young Carl and his friend Nick, who finally uttered his first words (“this one”). Who would have thought that in an emotionally driven episode that a character who didn’t get his first line for 3+ episodes would deliver one of the most poignant moments when he told Carl why getting a bike meant so much to him? Even though he is still mired in crime, Carl’s growth this week was evident. Nick taught him the valuable lesson that life is not just about the nicest things money can buy, which helped him gain some ground in his pursuit of Dominque.
As if getting pregnant at age 15 wasn’t a poor enough decision, Debbie is continuing to spend large amounts time with Frank, going so far as to actually take advice from one of the absolute worst human-beings on television. As Frank tries to match Debbie with a sugar daddy, both for the benefit of Debbie and her baby but most of all himself, let us not forget that Frank literally has called the authorities on his children and had them all shipped off to foster homes, not to mention his other abysmal parenting skills. One can only imagine how his idea to have Debbie nanny (read: seduce) for a father of 3, whose wife is terminally ill will go for the both of them. Yet, I cannot say it enough, Emma Kenney has delivered time and again this season with the emotional rollercoaster that Debbie has been on. This week, the joy on her face during her first ultrasound emanated off the screen and showed just how much being a parent means to her.
Following his heroics last week, Ian went to visit the firefighters who responded to the burning vehicle he pulled a woman from. Upon arriving at the station, Ian learns of the “Chicago Fire Island” – a shift comprising of all gay-male firefighters. If the scene in which he walks in on them working out and making smoothies didn’t make you immediately laugh while picturing all the super-cliche fireman calendars, then you just haven’t lived. This was a perfectly light yet meaningful way to help Ian begin to find a place where he feels fulfilled and welcomed. Cheers to his impending fireman career and boyfriend, even if I do still miss Mickey horribly. At home, Ian also continues to challenge Fiona’s hegemonic decision-making, which is something she has certainly needed the past few weeks.
As for Lip, he was called upon to take on a role beyond solely a playmate for his professor girlfriend. After being embarrassed during her presentation at a feminist conference, Helene proceeded to hit the bottle, which led to Lip helping her back to the hotel room where he proceeded to hold Helene’s hair back as she threw up into their toilet-bidet. Helene admitted to Lip that one day when Lip is married and they are no longer together, that she will still think of their time together. While this was welcome news to the fawning Lip, the next morning she swore it off as nothing more than foolishness, asking Lip to forget it happened. This may have been crushing to Lip but regardless, he answered the call to take of Helene in her time of need and seemingly is beginning to realize that their relationship is simply unsustainable. Lip was also treated to a view of the high life, while back home his sister struggles to put together just $3,500. Hopefully, this will make Lip more aware of his potential since this always something he has been woefully blind to. We’ll see what happens next with the previews showing Amanda re-entering the picture. Is anyone actually surprised that she is the crazy-vengeful type? I certainly am not and am worried of what trouble this will mean for Lip.
While Fiona was originally much too quick to give up on the Gallagher’s chances at keeping the house, she eventually came around. When push came to shove, Fiona remembered the Gallagher way of putting the needs of the family first by any means necessary and pawned off Gus’s grandma’s Holocaust ring. Beyond putting her family first, this was a major move for Fiona personally as well, symbolizing her firmly moving on from Gus. The money from the pawn shop allowed her to get a loan of $100,00 to try and buy the house back, once and for all granting her ownership. And, finally, after weeks of selfishness and a total lack of understanding towards everyone in her life, Fiona displayed the acceptance audiences were used to after Sean’s disclosure that on top of being a heroin addict, he also “killed a guy.” Welcome back, Fiona!
Yet, when it was all said and done, all the growth the Gallagher’s managed this week was not enough to keep their home after being outbid at auction. For those of us who have spent over 6 years watching the (somewhat) controlled chaos of the Gallagher’s in this house, it really hit an emotional chord to see them lose it. I was surprised at how strong of a reaction I felt since I was anticipating this moment since last week but still, as I mentioned above, the death of Yanis presents the Gallagher’s with some possibilities. If I was a betting man, I’d wager that somehow, someway they find a way to stay put. Those Gallagher’s always do.
By Matt Atwell
Photo taken from http://www.sho.com/sho/shameless/home?s_cid=pse-shameless-2428