Shameless Recap: Welcome, Baby Gallagher

Jeremy Allen White as Lip, Emmy Rossum as Fiona, Dermot Mulroney as Sean. Photo: Cliff Lipson/Showtime
Episode Title
Paradise Lost
Editor’s Rating

Last week, I was thinking about the oddball structure of Shameless's story arcs. The episodes ebb and flow around many characters, so it can be difficult to foresee what strange trouble lies ahead and to whom it will befall. This week's episode is a bit itinerant, spending almost equal time on each character's plight, once more drawing everyone back together beneath the Gallagher roof. Except Frank, of course.

Despite the Gallaghers' efforts to convince her to give up the baby, Debbie is ready to see her child into the world. However, she's beginning to realize that giving birth on the commune might not be as idyllic as she had imagined. As her contractions start to kick in, she's taken to the birthing tent, where she's met by a concrete tub strewn with decades-old placenta and a grizzled woman whose tools resemble something from a medieval torture chamber. No longer willing to go along with this band of weirdos, she begs Frank to take her back to the South Side, where the clan welcomes a new Gallagher into the world, right there on the kitchen table. But when the time comes to head to the hospital, she snubs Fiona, telling her that she needs to do it all alone.

It seemed natural that the season's climax (or cliffhanger) would land on Debbie giving birth, yet we've still got two episodes left. This leads me to believe that some complication lurks ahead, which may derail Debbie's plans to raise her child independently. Perhaps this unknown bump in the road will lead her back to Fiona?

Fiona and Sean
It's unclear why Sean is moving into the Gallagher household — after all, that's where his son discovered Carl's gun — and yet, he's packed up his apartment and headed straight into the eye of the storm. Meanwhile, Fiona is in wedding-planning land, deciding to have Monica's hideous ’80s-style dress altered and doing shots out of penis-shaped glasses at a bachelorette party. She keeps repeating to herself, "I want it to be different this time," which leads me to believe that this mantra may be covering up her nagging concerns. Prediction: None of this will end well.

Having shed his virginity with Dominique, Carl is (as predicted) committed to both making her happy and impressing her hard-ass cop father. Over breakfast, Dom begs Officer Dad to give Carl a chance, and Carl — wearing a button-down and a belt — attempts to smooth things over by paying for breakfast and riding along on his rounds. While scanning the neighborhood, they come across a couple of hoodrats up to no good. After a quick chase, Carl nabs one of the guys and brings him back to Dom's dad, who is still nonplussed. No matter, though: The experience gives Carl a feeling of power and adrenaline, allowing him to envision an alternate life as Sargeant Carl Gallagher.

With the reintroduction of Dominique last week, it was clear this switch was coming. Stay tuned for the inevitable clash of Carl's gangster past with his straight future.

Lip's difficulties have slowly built up over the course of the season, and may culminate in the crumbling of his hard-won intellectualized world. Unwilling to face the seriousness of his hospital stint, Lip begins to pay in other ways. The head of his sorority fires him for peeing on her during his blackout, the school administration insists that he enter an alcohol-treatment program, and Professor Youens slams him for shirking his responsibilities as a research assistant. His only glimmer of hope lies in an internship, the interview for which he aces with his charming, rugged candor.  

Lip's downfall has been a long time coming, and, sadly, it's not yet complete. On one hand, he could turn it all around with AA and a new internship, but he seems set on sabotaging everything he's earned for himself, simply because he can.

Kevin, V, and Svetlana
Last week, Svet was in danger of getting deported. In that short span of time, she was somehow able to divorce Mickey and marry V, who has begun affectionately calling her "Lana." Meanwhile, Kevin — intent on keeping V for his own — finds Svetlana a janky fake identity. It's all for naught, though, once he discovers they've run off and secretly tied the knot. To put it lightly, Kevin is pissed.

It would be very Shameless to turn Veronica and Svetlana into a real couple. However, I can only hope that Kev and V find a way to stay together. They're the show's only longtime functional couple. Could the answer be a thruple?

Ian heads into the doctor for an HIV test, and in his awkward way, doesn't want to say how many partners he's had while Caleb is in the room. Thankfully, his test comes back negative. And then he's headed for his EMT test. Thankfully, he passes. Piling great news atop good, Caleb totally accepts his past, including the bareback porn he made while working at a strip club.

It seems like everything is looking up for Ian. However, I can't help but be skeptical that something bad is coming. This won't last.

Frank and Queenie
Now that he knows there's something in it for him, Frank embraces commune life, and has christened himself keeper of the poppies. However, his presence is threatening to the group's established harmony, so one of the group's male leaders — Jupiter — challenges him to a wrestling match in "the pit." As expected, Frank prevails with an aggressive scrotum squeeze, enamoring a clan of wrinkled ladies. The sex scenes that follow are, in keeping with all things Frank, pretty gross.

Once in awhile, Frank redeems himself from his despicable nature with a good deed. And this week, the bill is due: He shows up (like a real father!) when Debbie begs to go home to give birth. Of course, it's short-lived. As soon as he steps back into the South Side, the coke dealers from whom he fled haul him off into a torture chamber. He narrowly avoids a blowtorch scalding by promising to deliver the commune's opium. But Jupiter knows better than to let the poppies go unmanned, and a shoot-out ensues. The resulting winner is still TBA.

Shameful Observations:

  • Debbie names the baby Frances, after Frank. Fiona balks. Why does Debbie continue to put Frank on such a pedestal, when he's so clearly using her as a means to an end?
  • Is this the end of the commune and Queenie? I sort of hope so.
  • Another prediction made true: The mountain lion swipes Chuckie's forehead right across that nasty swastika.