Fiona is her own worst enemy and ultimately is Frank and Monica’s daughter. Few things are as clear as that on this week’s episode of Shameless, which, while still taking its time in figuring out the season’s mood, is at least on board with Fiona’s storyline. Fiona hit rock bottom last season and the start of season five has seen her begin to slowly regain her footing while simultaneously embracing her chaotic junkie nature. The episode sees her parading her monitor-less ankle around to little enthusiasm, flirting with her boss until things come to a head (he tells her how dangerous she is for a person like himself), and foolishly bringing 14-year-old Debbie to a concert where she’s hit on where Fiona starts a fight and they run away. The ending shot of her looking at Debbie, who looks like she’s having the time of her life, and the dawning, sobering realization of what just transpired and what she dragged her little sister into is wonderful.
Fiona is a phenomenal character and Emmy Rossum has been doing beautiful work as this inherently damaged and frustratingly strong individual for years now. We run through the gauntlet of emotions for Fiona throughout the episode as we get annoyed with her for bringing Debbie with her while also being happy after seeing the excitement on Debbie’s face. We’re glad to see Fiona finding some happiness in a potential significant other, while knowing how disastrous the pairing could turn out. We’re happy she’s out of her ankle monitor but equally incredulous that she couldn’t wait a day to get it professionally removed. Fiona is a mess of contradictions and Rossum has always given a fearless performance as our lead. Fiona may be on the road to recovery, but it’s a long and bumpy one.
The other Gallaghers and their storylines range from inconsequential to meandering to enjoyable. Ian and Mickey once again get a poignant storyline, if not for the content than for what it continues to set up for them. Them luring the Westborough Baptist Church-like pastor into their home and capturing him in a compromising act is a nice, triumphant moment for the characters, but it continues to illuminate Ian’s current mental state and Mickey’s refusal to address it head-on in fear of losing him.
Lip’s storyline is like most of his storylines and far too brief to really sink our teeth into, but seeing the infallible Lip so bone-weary tired at the episode’s end is a nice shift for the character. Manual labor is an easy distraction for the character that desperately needed a moment of peace away from the realities of school, money and family.
Veronica and Kevin are heading down a troubling road so far this season, and while I find Kevin adorable and the moral compass of the show surprising much of the time, I can’t help but want to hit him over the head with just how obtuse he’s behaving in regards to Veronica’s mood swings. I’m curious if Shameless is up to tackling a postpartum depression story arc with the characters, but it certainly seems that’s where they’re heading. Kevin allowing another woman to breast feed his children when Veronica was self-conscious about it, however, was just a dumb move altogether.
Frank, Sammi and Sheila once again are saddled with the least interesting storyline of the episode, even with the bizarre invite from Frank’s donor’s family to eat dinner with them on Father’s Day. Sammi at this point is just an insufferable character, and William H. Macy getting one of his funniest episodes in recent memory is wasted with her taking up space next to him. However, the shot of Sheila and Frank running away from Sammi after ditching her was a surprisingly sweet moment in the way Shameless knows how to do.
It’s never easy to predict where a season of a show is headed on only episode two, but so far it’s certainly funnier and less hopeless. Veronica and Kevin and Ian and Mickey seem to be on the rockiest ground, and are the two pairings I’m the most worried about, but who knows this early on. Shameless wouldn’t be the show it is without shaking the status quo a bit each year, and I’m certain things are going to grow tumultuous before the season’s end.
A solid, entertaining episode, but one that suffers from the typical pitfalls of having so many characters. Also, Debbie’s storyline continues to concern me.
What did you think of this week’s episode of Shameless?