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The ‘Shameless’ Dysfunction Watch: We’ve Got Shouting Siblings And Shattered Sobriety

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I was wrong. In last week’s Shameless recap, I stated that Fiona had nothing left to lose, but she slid even further during this week’s episode, “The Hobo Games.” That title refers to Frank’s latest get rich scheme and matters very little to the rest of the episode, other than Ingrid finally getting a whiff of Frank’s flakiness and breaking up with him (probably because Katey Sagal landed her own ABC comedy pilot). There are several other plates in rotation, but the bulk of the episode follows Hurricane Fiona continuing to destroy everything that she touches, which culminates in Lip ordering his older sister (who raised all of her siblings as a teenager) to leave the Gallagher home.

Lip and Fiona

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The saddest realization this week with Fiona is that what pushes Lip to the breaking point with his big sister isn’t really her fault. She was recently scared into giving up liquor after a close call at Patsy’s Pies. Yet she’d already done so much damage that she was fired the next day, which gave her little incentive to continue pursuing sobriety. She then punched a racist neighbor, landing herself in jail, and we catch up with her in an even worse state than expected — wearing last night’s little black dress and raccoon eyeliner. Fiona ends up stealing and selling a partygoer’s oxycontin to make her part of the bills, but everything else that she does wrong this week is unintentional. No matter, for Lip’s got no empathy left for someone hell-bent upon self-destruction while inflicting collateral damage upon others.

And I get it. Even though I’m pretty ride-and-die for Fiona and sympathetic toward all that she’s endured (both during this season and throughout her whole life, she can’t catch a break), it’s long past time for her to get her act together. Especially given that her constant inebriation leads to huge fallout this episode. Here are the bigger incidents:

(1) Fiona’s blitzed when a DCFS investigator stops by the house for a surprise visit. Even though there’s plenty of stuff going down that’s not her fault — Debbie leaving kids alone in the house, a giant hole in the floor while the furnace is under repair — and she has no idea that Lip’s trying to adopt Xan, Fiona catches hell from Lip by being the proverbial day-drunk straw that breaks the adoption deal. That leads to shouting match #1.

(2) Fiona tries to apologize to Lip, and in the process, she inadvertently ruins the 100-day sobriety streak of Jason, who’s being AA sponsored by Lip. She doesn’t know Jason or that he’s an alcoholic, but what happens is bad — Jason sees her liquor, falls into a trance, takes a drink, and calls his heroin dealer. Lip’s absolutely incensed, and shouting spree #2 happens. Lip’s given Fiona more leeway than anyone else during her downslide, but he’s furious at how she’s grown so selfish. When he spits, “I want you out of this f*cking house,” she laughs before it dawns on her that he’s serious.

Fiona deserves an intervention for all of this, but there’s no malice involved with either Xan or Jason’s plights. Yet Lip holds her accountable, and his reaction’s excessive by Shameless standards, even if one takes into account Lip also being an alcoholic and very sensitive about all issues involving addiction. But we haven’t even seen Jason in several episodes. Why is Lip more invested in him at this point than his own sister? And where does the Fiona go from here, when even Frank’s still sort-of welcome at home? There’s no telling, but Emmy Rossum’s only got three episodes left.

Jason and Lip

Meanwhile, Lip also finds out that Tami’s pregnant, and yes, he’s the father. She absolves him of responsibility, but I think they’ll end up having the child together. And I predict that Lip will also persuade DCFS to let him foster Xan, so yup, it sure looks Lip’s the new Fiona. (And she’s still the new Frank.)

Frank and Ingrid

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As noted above, Frank’s newest lady has hit the road, and what a relief this will eventually be for her because Ingrid has finally realized that trying to carry six babies to term was nuts. So, there won’t be a new generation of Gallaghers, at least not in this way, for Ingrid has decided to keep two kids and go back with her husband. Frank gleefully signs away his parental rights for money, and we see the reinforcement that Frank’s only true love is alcohol.

Kevin and V.

Kevin and V.

Damn, I can’t even be bothered to care about Kevin and V.’s weird arc this season. Kevin spends the entire episode pretending to get a vasectomy and faking a sore crotch, which leads V. to threaten to “Lorena Bobbitt you myself” if he doesn’t reschedule. These two characters aren’t even effective comic relief anymore, and they’ve been sidelined in a way that any substantial development wouldn’t be believable. It’s unfortunate, but maybe we’ll see some improvement for them in the future.

Next week: We’d ordinarily see a finale next week, but due to Emmy Rossum’s departure, there’s 14 (not 12) episodes this season. So, more conflict to come!

Showtime’s ‘Shameless‘ airs on Sunday at 9:00pm EST.

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