Disclaimer: This is my first TV show review I’m writing here, so forgive me if there are parts of this week’s episode that I’ve missed out or didn’t discuss.Also, I will be posting more TV reviews as I get comfortable with my blog, as well as a ton baseball and fantasy baseball-related articles.
Season four has certainly found its stride over the last couple of weeks. The increasing intergration of the supporting cast, the symbolic tendancies of certain characters’ actions, and the downright brilliant script and writing are all gelling and Shameless continues to fire on all cylinders with “There’s the Rub.”
Poor, poor Fiona. If you’re one of the many who felt bad for the fallout from her infidelity then suffice to say I’m with ya. However, I’m not at all surprised that Mike broke it off with her so abruptly. His decision to transfer her to another part of the firm, his physical approach to Robbie upon hearing the news from him, and his declaration of being a nice guy who worked to support his family while maintaining truthful relationships were all strikingly appropriate given the circumstances. Again, I feel for Fiona and her problems with sex and living a more “interesting” lifestyle (remember who her father is.) This was just simply the wake-up call she deserved. Was her plea about doing all this–not feeling as if she truly deserves Mike because he’s so honest and normal–an excuse for screwing his brother, or just a method of manipulating him and turning his feeling against himself? One can’t be crazy for considering the latter: Fiona’s learned and witnessed plenty of Frank’s old manipulation tactics. Veronica even made a great point about her interest in him in the first place, comparing it to Kev’s lack of enthusiasm for tater-tats. Nonetheless, Mike was a great guy, and his willingness to encourage Fiona to yield to a truth-filled relationship were admirable, making this breakup a tough pill to swallow.
On a lighter note, the Alibi Room’s finally getting some “renovating” courtesy of Mickey and his stolen whore house of russian prostitutes. Stan’s son makes another hilarious appearance here, as he and his intramural tennis club drop by to collect some monthly cash as a part of his agreement with Kev over the bar. It’s a little concering that Kev is already behind his monthly payments with a sudden lack of customers and everything he and Veronica have on their plate, but luckily for them Alan’s tennis crew isn’t gay (Kev asked) and they’re willing to buy what Mickey’s girls are selling. This sparks a boom in the rug-and-tug business, but more importantly sets up The Alibi Room as the place for all things raunchy and outrageous for future episodes.
Frank may have discovered a cure for his liver this week, but it appears to have come with some implications for him and Carl. Thanks to some help from Shiela and her boyfriend, Runningtree, an ancient indian sweat lodge gets built from the ground up in an attempt to save Frank’s life the easy way. Joan Cusack gets some funny material here (“Carl. What’s your Indian name?”) and Frank even intervenes during dinner with his usual race-bending cracks on America.
But the real gem of this side story was Sammi’s involvement in the whole process. From providing Frank with her trailer home to sleep in, to working out a potential five figure settlement for his “injury,” she truly went out of her way to look out for her long lost father. Kudos to her, especially since Frank already appears to be reeling her along with his needless comparisons to his other kids’ hatred toward his behavior. Still, the possibility that she may be doing the same is very much alive.
If so, it’s only more coal in the fire for Carl, who took Frank’s negligence with disappointment. This season alone we’ve seen him do so much to help Frank, legal and illegal, that it’d be difficult not to understand him walking away from his dad. Looks like the young Gallaghers are really growing up.
Above and beyond all the craziness this week was the search for Ian spearheaded by Lip and Debbie. This was my favorite part of the episode as it finally gave Debbie an interesting story arc, while allowing the two to vent over their recent issues on a grounded basis. We haven’t seen a lot of these two together, but they feed off each other rather well. Part of that is Jeremy Allen White and Emma Kenney being so darn good with their roles, but Debbie’s maturity definitely shines through here. She wants to grow up by seeing the world for what it really is, and after her first adventure with boys she’s not afraid of what she discovers.
Their journey through the slums of Chicago takes them to the White Swallow, a gay bar harboring the labor of none other than Ian Gallagher. Seeing Ian for the first time since last season was extraordinarily relieving, and considering the mess he’s made with the army (stealing a helicopter, surface to air missile, army-issue boxer briefs…,) there are a myriad of questions left to be answered. The fact that he ran off in the first place, spent time living with Jimmy’s dad, and found shelter briefly with Monica thereafter all suggest that there are multiple personal issues at play here. My assumption is that he’s abusing some sort of ecstasy or emotionally stimulating drug considering his giddiness to see Lip and Debbie at the gay bar. No matter how you slice it, he’s in deep s#*+ and unfortunately for Lip he may be too regarding the identity swap.
Sadly, they’re not the only ones. Fiona made an incredibly critical decision at the end of this week’s episode by snorting a bag of coke left over from Robbie at her home, which found its way into Liam’s nose as well. This brief layoff of awareness becomes the launch pad for one of the most intense scenes the series has ever had, a testament to the few parallel superlatives this Paul Abbott remake shares with the original UK series. We all knew Fiona would eventually get arrested for her irresponsibility, but the suddeness of it all–to have it happen with the family awaiting the results of Liam’s condition at the hospital–was a bit of a shocker. So was Lip’s reaction, as he stayed inside and decided not to follow everyone else outside as she was carried away. There’s no doubt in my mind that his relationship with Fiona is scarred forever, and it certainly looks non existent now. There has never been a greater time for him to acknowledge how important college and his contributions to the family are, and hopefully we see that come into fruition soon.
“There’s the Rub” is classic Shameless: a motley crue of plots and subplots intertwined with hilarious, visually suggestive, heart-warming and emotionally intense results. Sprinkle that with Sammi and Frank’s evolving relationship, the Alibi Room’s recent adjustments and Ian’s return and we’re left to plenty to chew on for weeks to come. An excellent episode such as this one could only be the precursor for a thrilling second half to an already great season.
Rating : 9.3
+Lip and Debbie continue to grow
+Fiona continues to regress, but subtly
+Ian’s back in Chicago
+Joan Cusack going tribal
+”Cum this way” LOL