Welcome back to my weekly review and recap of Shameless. Catch up on previous coverage here.
I think I know why I’m already having such a big problem with this season of Shameless and it all comes down to the characters. Or I suppose I should say who the characters used to be compared to who they are now. Chalk it up to people changing as they grow, teenagers particularly, but there is almost no similarities to the Debbie we see in this week’s episode as the one we met back in season one. Similarly, characters such as Fiona and even Ian to an extent are being written in bigger, different strokes all in order to service storylines that the writers feel are fresh, even if it relies on rewriting character’s personality traits.
I’ve done a lot of justification for this, Debbie and Fiona especially, because of how attached I am to the show and the Gallagher’s themselves. But this week I just didn’t have it in me to ignore Debbie’s antics. The Debbie we met was young yes and her precociousness was bound to wear off in the environment she was living in, but the extremes of self-delusion and selfishness that we see her displaying don’t just make her out of character for the hyper intelligent girl we met who had too big a heart for her surroundings but it also makes her an unlikable one. I think her plight of being young and foolish about having the baby makes sense with teenagers, but I couldn’t help but spend the entire episode thinking about how ungrateful Debbie was being. Debbie’s push back at all things abortion related, her cruelty is telling Fiona she would never let her baby near her and her stunt at leaving the house with a packed suitcase just screamed selfish. There was a part of me that wanted Fiona to say screw it and either let Debbie leave or pack up and leave herself.
It’s not just Debbie that’s being terrible though. Ian hasn’t been the same version of Ian we met for a while now and the show has never really nailed down his personality, but man was his blowout at Fiona also unjustified. Luckily he didn’t have a major storyline this week so it was only a minor blip in the narrative.
Don’t even get me started on Carl. Let’s just say the less we see of him the better. I’m not even remotely okay with his newest illegal antics but at the very least we can say that they are entirely in character with the kid we met.
Even Fiona is pushing my suspension of disbelief. I like her and Sean together and Sean relapsing adds a layer of nuance and maturity to her character when he tells her that he can’t promise that he’ll never shoot up again. Fiona has been apart of the real world for a while now and never truly got to be a kid, but even she has some growing up to do as witnessed by her reaction to Sean’s addiction and what it means when he says that even when he isn’t using he’s still an addict.
That’s all fine and good and Emmy Rossum knows how to tinge Fiona’s frustration with the slightest edge of desperation. Her scene with V as they took a cigarette break was naturalistic and a good reminder of the relationships that build this show. If it had been more of this I would have been pleased but instead we learn that Fiona’s pregnant and she had no idea and while I’m sure the writers got the response they wanted from the audience it came at the cost of character building.
Because no, I don’t believe Fiona is the type to accidentally get pregnant.
It sets up an interesting storyline no doubt and it will make her plight with Debbie all the more dynamic to watch play out but we’ve seen Fiona struggle for so long playing mother and sister to her siblings that the idea that now she might have another child to watch, even if it is her own, seem more heartbreaking than it should.
Lip get’s some nice moments this week with Debbie as he tries to play good cop to Fiona’s bad by telling Debbie he only wants what’s best for her. His scene with his professor about the internship is also a nice touch, what with Lips “I don’t work for free” but also his professor brow beating him into taking it. If only the bizarre morning routine with Helena hadn’t been included. Her casually suggesting that Lip kill her husband was good for a chuckle but I won’t be here for an actual storyline that involves Lip and murder.
The episode oddly enough is at it’s best when it’s with Kev at the Alibi as he continues to grow acclaim due to his new hispter crowd and him walking outside to accidentally cut his neighbors break wire while in his robe and thong was a nice visual gag. But if anything his plot works because Kev and V might be the most consistently stable characters on the show at this point and the show needs some semblance of security. I miss the relationships on this show and the underlying theme of the Gallagher’s doing shitty things but don’t dare mess with one because their family has their backs. That group support and dynamic has been missing for quite a while now and bringing that back, rallying the troops so to speak, would be one good move in the right direction.