Welcome back to my weekly review and recap of Shameless. Catch up on previous coverage here.
Shameless season six came to an abrupt halt in this week’s episode. Even in the series best seasons this has been a frustrating tendency of theirs, to quickly shift gears mid season, redirecting the characters into what will be their over arching plot for the remaining episodes. On the one hand, it was much needed this year where many of the characters have either seemed aimless or have been caught in storylines that we as viewers were unable to get caught up in. On the other hand, it makes it so that the season seems awfully fractured and making the first half of the season seem inconsequential.
The only character who isn’t given some sort of obvious crossroads in Ian who has done what I believed to be the impossible and become one of my favorite parts of the season. For once he is more than who he is dating and more than his mental illness (although my guess is it get’s brought up soon) and it’s doing him wonders. Not only is Cameron Monaghan a more comfortable actor when he gets to play with a more carefree character, Ian is also beginning to have fun again with Caleb, rather than dancing around him. The show could have gone for easy drama at Caleb’s family gathering but instead let the two have fun, their scene dancing at the wedding reception reminiscent of the similar gleeful sequence last season when Ian and Mickey came home, beaten and bloody but in love.
He’s close to being the saving grace of the episode, although Fiona’s complete contempt for her family comes close in matching it. Them getting the house back so soon is aggravating to watch because it complete erases any of the stakes or emotional responses the loss of it had created. It’s yet another reset to the statuesque but this time Fiona isn’t happy to be back. Instead, the moment Fiona is back she’s itching to return to Sean’s and their relative stress free time together. However, it’s a quick adjustment after her desperation to get the house back in the last episode, but if this means more oddly adorable scenes between Sean and Fiona such as when she’s sitting in the bath at the end of the hour, I’ll be okay.
Even Carl’s storyline seems to be going along at the right speed as we watch his deal with the fallout of last week. He’s still acing like an entitled little shit, but you can tell that what happened got to him and that Sean’s words about being able to move forward in his life didn’t just go over his head. I’ve never been a big Carl fan, particularly when he’s given solo storylines such as this, but I’ll be interested in seeing if his shock continues to play out.
Then there’s the rest of the episode and it’s a mess. V and Kev barely scratch by based solely on them being the most well adjusted characters on the show and their unshakable love being admirable in a show with so many loose canons but even their escape to a hotel for a weekend seems like a way to dust off the prior storylines.
Debbie’s storyline ends with a text and she’s thrust into another that is misusing her character and Lip, poor Lip, is given one of the most contrived plot points the show has ever written. After he’s kicked out of his dorm for vandalizing, he is about to have to move back home which would have been interesting and given the character a new hurdle but is instead picked up by a sorority as the house boy, someone who takes care of the house and sleeps in the basement and is gawked at by the girls. None of this isn’t so much a problem but it’s awfully convenient and it all boiling down to him screaming at Helene’s window from the sidewalk feels dangerously close to soapish. I don’t know where this storyline is going and I’m not sure how invested I’m going to continue to be.
The episode is a mess, fitting for the season it’s apart of and at the halfway mark it’s difficult to comprehend what the actual purpose of the storylines will have been by the end of it.