TV

The ‘Shameless’ Dysfunction Watch: Everyone’s Now ‘Lost’ Except For Fiona

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This week’s Shameless recap catches up two weeks after the last time we visited the series, and now, everything feels like opposite day. That is to say, Fiona truly (and finally) hit rock bottom last week after losing her bad boyfriend, job, investments, and home (the latter while kicking and screaming with Lip). Yet she’s quickly pulling things together in this week’s installment, “Lost.” The irony here is that Fiona’s finding herself, while the rest of the Gallaghers are falling spectacularly to pieces. Perhaps what she really needed was last week’s not-so-dandy experience of waking up next to Frank in an abandoned building — the same joint that she used to own — and promptly vomiting her guts out.

That’s not exactly the father-daughter bonding experience that anyone, let alone someone who’s loathed Frank since he took away her childhood, wants. It’s enough to send anyone to AA, which is what happened.

Anywho, Fiona’s weirdly doing alright. Supposedly, she’s doing much better than expected at the end of the episode after encountering Max, who sees her working at a gas station and promises to buy out her old investment. I don’t trust the guy, but maybe that’s the set up for Emmy Rossum leaving the series. She’s also still working with the public defender on provocation grounds for drunk-punching that racist neighbor, and Fiona’s convicted-felon status (because of the coke-on-the-coffee-table thing years ago) may stand in the way. What I found most telling about this episode, though, is not the Max-fairy tale but how Fiona questioned that she’s possibly not an alcoholic while at AA. Folks then pointed her toward Al-Anon, where she scored a 20/20 on the entry questions, due to belonging to the most dysfunctional family on the South Side.

That’s perhaps the most realistic thing we’ve seen on Shameless in quite some time. Al-Anon is for family members/significant others of alcoholics, and it’s a related 12-step group to CoDA (Codependents Anonymous). Very clearly, the Gallaghers are a codependent bunch, largely because of Frank, and while this show might not dwell on that fact for long, I appreciate that Fiona might find the key to climbing out of her rut for good.

Fiona’s not the overall winner of this episode, though.

Liam rose victorious after disappearing days/episodes ago, and no one (not even the audience) noticed. Now, he refuses to answer his family’s calls. “It took them two days to realize I was gone,” he tells a pal while they play video games and eat cookies. “Can’t be too worried.” Good for Liam. How’s everyone else?

They’re falling apart, even Lip.

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Although Lip’s eased up on Fiona — he’s actually thrilled to see her admit that her life had grown unmanageable — he’s also got a pregnant Tami to deal with. She’s closed off and won’t ever let him inside, and maybe for decent reason, given that she might face an early grave due to the BRACA gene, so there’s not much hope for a happy ending for these two. There’s no telling whether she’ll have the baby, but she’s awfully (and rightfully) upset that her father’s decided that there will be no abortion. And given that Tami’s a grown woman, she’s understandably disgusted. This isn’t over yet.

As for Debbie and Carl? They’re competing for who’s having the worst life.

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The high-scorer in that contest (for now) is Carl. He lost his cool girlfriend and got rejected for West Point, and then he beat the holy hell out of a would-be robber at work. Still, Debbie’s convinced that feeling lonely is worse.

Debbie: “Why can’t anyone love me?”
Carl: “Someone shot at me today. At work. I fucked them up.”
Debbie: “I’m glad you didn’t get shot.”
Carl: “Yeah, me too.”

The exchange is a bittersweet one. They’re both entirely wounded and broken, probably irreparably so, because of one key reason.

That would be Frank, who finally gets what’s coming to him.

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That was quite a metaphor with Frank being inside Fiona’s old building when the wrecking ball came through. He spends the whole episode finally being treated like the narcissistic garbage he is, and even the hospital has had it with him after dozens of emergency visits over the years and him ducking out on the bills. So, Frank gets dumped on the curb near the family house after surgery without the narcotics he desires. Not even the tiny violins came out to play.

Meanwhile, I can’t even begin to care why Kevin ended up in this Jesus wig.

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Kevin and V. are in an odd place now, simply functioning as comic relief while everyone else unravels and sews themselves back together, only to fall apart again in the near future. Does Kevin dragging a giant cross down the road mean anything at the end of the episode? Maybe not, but here we are with only two weeks left before Fiona is outta there. To be reborn elsewhere (aha!), perhaps, but we’ll have to wait and find out whether Shameless gives her the worthy send-off that she deserves.

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