When we last left the Gallagher clan, everything was pretty much a mess, per usual. Frank had just ruined Fiona’s wedding by storming into the ceremony and outing her fiancé for still being a junkie; Lip was in jail for reasons pointing to his escalating dependence on alcohol, and was later dropped off at rehab; Debbie was dealing with the difficulties of becoming a new mother (at the age of 15) and refusing everyone’s help; Ian was doing his best to convince his new boss to trust him, despite having lied about his mental illness on his EMT application; and Carl, finally accepting his own apparent whiteness, was trying get his girlfriend’s cop father to accept him, too.
One thing to note from the beginning: At what point do we, the loyal viewers, stop getting berated for not watching last week’s episode? WE WATCHED! We don’t need to be scolded! One of my favorites yet was this episode’s, though — “Will you please pay attention so we can stop doing these f—cking recaps?”
To kick off a new season with Chicago’s most deplorable family unit (and three months early to boot), we’re subjected to a bizarre dream of Frank’s. He’s swimming underwater in his suit from Fiona’s wedding, and his children swim by him in outfits representing varying stages of their lives (save Debbie, who swims by attached by an umbilical cord to baby Franny). As the viewer, you think (and hope) Frank is perhaps dead — he’s drowned in the lake into which he was tossed at the end of last season, and everyone will finally be able to go on living in semi-peace without his periodic interruptions.
No such luck on this show. His existence, at this point, has got to be the best joke the Shameless writing staff has ever pitched. No one can cheat death as many times as Frank and still manage to truly wreak havoc on the lives of everyone around him, year after year. And yet here he is, still breathing. Frank is officially trolling all of us.
What everyone’s been up to in the past “30 days”
Frank was rescued from Lake Michigan, after which he landed in the ICU in a coma. The nurse cleaning him is humming Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger” as Frank awakes from his 100th near-death experience, and nothing in the Shameless universe has ever been more apropos. Frank is informed his coma rang up a $150,000 bill, and he attempts to flee the hospital as fast as his atrophied muscles will allow him to go. He’s also ridiculously upset to learn no one came to look for him in the 29 days he was at the hospital, seemingly unable to accept the fact that everyone truly wished he was dead.
Debbie is attempting to ditch Franny, admitting to herself that “Fiona was right. I can’t do this, I’m too young to be a mother” (and the older sister in me prayed that maybe, one day, Fiona will finally hear that herself!). She drops Franny off in front of a fire station, but thinks better of it when she sees Franny nearly get run over by an exiting fire truck. Debbie and Franny go to the park instead, where Debbie begins her foray into stroller theft, a venture she finds to be incredibly lucrative over the course of the episode. Not only does she steal a $4,000 stroller, but she also stole the attached diaper bag filled with lots of new clothes, toys, and cash.
Fiona has given herself a bit of a makeover in her latest attempt at “caring about herself before everyone else.” She dyed some of her hair blue, she got a tattoo, and she’s not cleaning up the messes of her siblings or their offspring, despite it being instinctual for her to do so. Instead she heads to Patsy’s Pies, where she’s still working as the manager (no mention of Sean whatsoever), and spends most of her time putting out fires there (but at least she’s getting paid for it).
Lip is fresh out of rehab and Professor Youens picks him up. His car windows are still missing and shattered from when Lip took a bat to them, but he seems to be doing fine. The professor offers to take Lip to an AA meeting, but Lip asks to go to the diner to see Fiona. She’s thrilled to see him, and Lip assures her he’s not an alcoholic and he’s doing okay, but he does need a job. Fiona is hesitant, asking Lip when he’ll be finishing school and finding a professional job, but Lip seems to think Professor Youens will have that all figured out for him.
NEXT: “Who’s going to wash my back?”