They can’t all be winners in the end. This of course isn’t saying that this episode of Shameless was bad, it was still very good compared the earlier half of the season. Yet my issue is that with how good the last three episodes were, I both understand and am annoyed by the same old criticisms returning to haunt the season. With just two episodes left, there’s a lot to look back on and not all with fondness. It’s really up to these final hours to not only keep up with the gaining momentum of proper genre story telling and to keep us invested enough to look forward to the next season rather than hope it ends up being better than this one.
This episode opens up with more Carl and Kassadi shenanigans that only serve to keep Ian and Liam awake in disgust. Meanwhile Lip is kind of returning to his Sierra obsession. However, she fears for her life because her murderous father was released from prison. Lip allows her and her son to stay with him, doing his best to console her while she cries in fear. The next morning, Fiona makes steps towards what she needs to do about being sued by the worker who fell off her roof and is staying in her apartment. Old Frank is back in full swing as he begins a new scheme to claim someone’s social security benefits by retiring under their names. Everyone but Frank gets on Carl’s ass for marrying Kassadi.
Debbie gets out of the hospital to learn she shattered three toes and broke her foot, as a result, three of her toes might need to be amputated. This is of course, extremely expensive. Lip finally decides to ask Sierra about what her father did to her mother; turns out he was a drunk and liked to beat women. One day he went too far and beat her to death. Her retelling is heartbreaking and vividly violent. Her and her brother ended up testifying and putting him away. She asks Lip if he could take her to her apartment later to pick up a few things, and it seems like she’s going to be staying for some time.
Ian continues to see the dangers of being so influential, as he can’t even go to an event without an escort anymore. In the background of the clamoring you can hear teen yell that his father hired men to kidnap him. This goes mostly unheard. Meanwhile, Rodney’s family have barricaded themselves in Fiona’s apartment, keeping her dog hostage and changing the locks on the door. Not only that but the insurance representative is investigating the roof and tells her she’s only covered for half a million, but she’s being sued for six million. They plan to go after the contractors insurance, but unfortunately he doesn’t have any. This puts Fiona in a pretty bad situation.
Carl and Kassadi continue their post marriage sex-a-thon, and she tells him that she wants to experience his life. All the places he’s lived, worked, and been over the seasons. Back on Ian’s front, his benefactors discuss finding a new way of sending his message directly to the people rather than attacking conversion ceremonies. It’s interrupted by an attempted kidnapping but Ian comes to the rescue, laying down in front of the car. Everyone follows suit, causing the would-be kidnappers to release the teen.
Things between Eddie and Lip get weird as she brings another man to the shop; it gets worse when Lip reveals that he’s helping out Sierra. Back in the filler part of the story, Kev and V continue to try and get Svetlana set up with a rich old man by hanging around rich hotel bars. This backfires hilariously as all the men are attracted to V, and then they’re kicked out because of the hotel’s strict “no prostitution” rule. Svetlana comes to the conclusion that she needs to grovel to her rival and beg her to tell her how she managed to find her husband.
Carl and Kassadi end up going around to a few places from Carl’s past, and the first is a homeless settlement under a bridge. They accidentally fall into a dead body and her first instinct is to take a selfie… After this they head to where Carl sold drugs and end up being involved in a drive-by shooting. Warranting another selfie from Kassadi. Frank is pretty unsuccessful with his current plan to retire, as all the social security cards he’s obtained are of people who are already retired or dead. Out of curiosity, he asks about benefits with his own card and it only amounts to a little over three dollars.
Debbie finally see’s a surgeons about her foot. She suggests that the toes be removed because they are not getting any oxygen and will shortly lead to necrosis and gangrene, which will cause her to have her entire foot removed. To fix the toes without amputation, she’ll be off her feet for months and in physical therapy for over a year, and that’s not including the high price of the surgery, fifty grand.
Lip decides to convince Sierra to let him go to her apartment alone to pick up her things. He also asks for a picture of her dad and where they paroled him to. Debbie hilariously asks Liam to google “if you need your toes.” Ian and his group decide what to do with the would-be kidnapped teen, but since he’s a minor, they can get into serious trouble for keeping him form his family. Ian talks to the father and allegedly, the teen suffers from mental illness, and they’re trying to get him to stop from working street corners as a drug dealer and a sex worker. Fiona meets with a lawyer and it’s all bad news. Apparently letting them stay in the apartment was an admission of responsibility. As it stands she’s looking at hiring an unlicensed contractor, a starving family that a jury will be sympathetic with, owing over five million for the rest of her life, and possible jail time.
Svetlana finally confronts Freelania and tries to grovel but it doesn’t work. She only antagonizes Svetlana more and more, spitting on an expensive gown and throwing it away rather than give it to her. In a hilarious turn of events, Svetlana discovers that the two aren’t actually married yet and her fiance thinks that Svetlana is Freelania. She devises a plan to use this to her advantage. Frank tries to further gain sympathy for his plight, but is instead given a lecture about the working man and the reality of retirement. Ian tries to have a talk with the runaway teen and gets a different story than was told from his father. Apparently his therapist put him on drugs that kill his sex drive. It seems like Ian believes him a little more.
Carl and Kassadi’s journey ends at a foster home where they meet an old friend of Carl’s who is still there. As soon as he mentions that he goes back to military school next week, Kassadi loses it and runs off. Here, he makes the worst decision he ever could. She threatens divorce and says she’ll never be okay with him being away from her, so he decides not to go back to school. Frank finds out that that Liam wants permission to go yachting with his rich friend’s family. A new scheme grows and Frank asks Liam to meet the family before giving him permission. The friend’s father claims he grew up poor, but Frank plays to being a good father. The two bond surprisingly well. Fiona resorts to extremes and offers to have a last talk before going on the offensive with the family, she offers them rent free living for a year but they don’t budge.
Lip also lives for extremes, so he tracks down Sierra’s father and provokes him into a fight, making sure that Norman lands the first hit. Eddie’s niece gets it all on camera as evidence that he is breaking parole, so he’s sent right back to prison. Fiona decides to lock in the family and shut off their water after they break into the apartment via wall damage in a closet. She steals back rusty and gives Trina some hard kicks to the face when she attempts to stop her. Debbie becomes desperate and gets herself quite high and drunk, asking Liam to cut off her toes with a heated blade shear. Both of them end up passing out but Frank comes to the rescue and cuts them off himself.
The episode ends with Lip telling Sierra that her father is back in prison. It seems that the two are an item again, or at least it looks that way. Debbie goes to the emergency room to get her wounds addressed and the would be kidnappers make a second attempt at Ian’s teen. Ian makes a big show of it this time by making the truck explode; in one instant his movement has officially become violent. Also Svetlana appears with Freelania’s passed out body in a bag…yeah.
I’ll get straight to it here. This was another emotional episode like the previous, but in different ways. For one, it’s no longer about showing us the differences between healthy and unhealthy emotion, but rather giving us a peak into the consequences of allowing the unhealthy to influence your decision making. Lip was probably the least affected by this, as his decisions were influenced by pretty noble pursuits. When you think about it, he never mentions that he wants Sierra back or not. Hell, he left her last episode looking like he regretted sleeping with her.
Yet, her father would be a real problem. Whether he was actually rehabilitated in prison or not, the fact remains that her fear was completely justified and the severity of his crime was too much for him to have been paroled, in my opinion. I actually commend Lip for doing what he did. However, there’s a tiny bit of worry concerning him getting back together with Sierra. I can’t really explain it but we’ll see where it leads for now.
Ian on the other hand is facing some real issues when it comes to being a speaker for a group of people. With the whole kidnapping plot he’s faced with an argument of responsibility. The fact remains, the the kid is a minor and Ian could face some pretty hefty charges should the father decide he wants to contact the police to get his son back.
The other decision is whether he believes that the father is trying to actually help his son or not. Whether he is a bigot or not, once mental illness is brought up I believe that hit Ian more personally than it would if someone brought up his gayness in a negative light. I really think this led him to the idea to blow up the truck as a message. However, we’ll probably see this brought back in the next episode as Ian’s movement taking a somewhat violent turn. If we know anything about the media, we know things are going to get blown out of proportion.
I never thought I could hate a character more than Joffrey Lannister, but Kassadi takes the crown on this one. Not only is she an incredibly possessive, obsessive, ball of crazy but she uses her guilt trips to the extreme, and now Carl isn’t going back to military school. I really hope this changes before the finale and Carl realizes what a huge mistake he’s making. However, his scenes were brilliantly done this episode. The whole point of us wanting to see Carl go back to school is so that he’ll make something of himself. Seeing where he’s been with Kassadi only reminds us, and him, of how far he’s come and what he had to do to get there. Staying with her will only destroy him and I hope he sees this.
In retrospect this episode wasn’t really dealing with plot problems like the earlier part of the season. If anything important is to be stated about the last few episodes, it’s that they set up for the rest of the season nicely. It would be pretty embarrassing if the viewers are left with something less than savory in the season finale, and if that’s the case I may not watch the next season. Either way, other than a slight misstep I still have plenty of faith in what the upcoming final episodes can produce and look forward to what they have to offer.