More than a score of running subplots could muddy up an hour-long cable series, but Shameless’ creators weave them all into a cohesive story, dodging between the comedic and the tragic. An adept cast and some slick editing have a lot to do with it.
As Sheila (Joan Cusack) expands her distances outside the house, Frank (William H. Macy) worries that he’ll lose his meal ticket, leading him to search for alternatives. When a fellow Alibi Room patron is in need of a heart transplant, the heartless Frank cozies up to her, obviously in pursuit of the lady’s pension via matrimony.
Ian’s (Cameron Monaghan) heartthrob Mickey (Noel Fisher) is released from prison, and Ian gets him a job at the Kash & Grab, the place where Mickey was originally arrested for robbery.
Fiona’s new friend Jasmine (Amy Smart) persists at her attempts to get Fiona a “sugar daddy”, something Fiona still resists. This is one plotline that grows tedious. Extending from last season into this one, the mystery of Jasmine remains tiredly mysterious. Time to wrap this one up.
Debbie (Emma Kenney), who is growing into womanhood, pushes Liam and his baby bed in with the boys. To make matters worse, Frank rents his unused bedroom to a pregnant, illegal Chinese immigrant. “I’m giving her sanctuary in a hostile country.” Fiona’s confrontation with him remains one of the highlights of every episode. The father-daughter bond exists on a tenuous plain.
Lip (Jeremy Allen White) is seriously jealous of Karen’s support buddy from her sex addiction group, although it doesn’t keep her from having regular sex with Lip, moments that Lip fills with questions about her “buddy.” Shameless may play up the nudity and sex scenes, but even those times are filled with affecting dialogue.
V takes the senior citizens on their weekly van excursion trip with a detour to the park. A great day turns somber when an elderly man dies back at the home, probably with a smile on his face, though, when he’s found in his lady friend’s room. The use of the Wild Yaks’ “River May Come” fits as the perfect soundtrack for the episode’s end.