Is it me, or have the Gallaghers been too well behaved this season? I know that might seem crazy to say considering Lip sent a cocaine pizza to a recovering addict and V tried to have Svetlana deported, but that’s amateur hour compared to the past seven seasons. And yes, while it’s good that this family is growing up and maturing, I miss the days of Frank stealing prosthetic legs and Carl strapping drugs to little Uncle Chuckie!
“The Mis(Education) of Liam Fergus Beircheart Gallagher” steers us a little back in that direction, even if it’s for a good cause. The thief Carl caught at the end of last week’s episode wasn’t handed over to the police or let go with a stern warning. Instead, Carl has him locked up and detoxing in the basement for his “crime against America.”
The criminal is chained up, and he’s still not the person being most harmed in the Gallagher house. That distinction goes to Lip, who’s having more rough sex with Eddie. “I’m a s—ty little lady,” he says under physical pressure.
Thankfully, there’s no violence going on in the kitchen. It’s a big day for Frank; he got a promotion at work and he’s moved into his spiritual 40s. “Men in their 40s soar in their career and bang the parents at their kids’ school,” he opines. And if his interaction with a mom named Bev at Liam’s school is any indication, he’s well on his way to the latter. She’s turned on by the fact that he works with his hands, so he suggests she stop by his store. “She knows a renegade when she sees one,” he tells Liam. “Also, she thinks I’m teachable. Women love a long-term project, especially when it involves the improvement of a man.” I can’t think of a more long-term project than Frank Gallagher.
Carl takes a break from playing hostage-taker to go for a run with Ian. He might be a dedicated soldier and great torturer, but Carl’s a terrible runner. They make a stop at a church that Trevor hopes to rent to house the kids from the Youth Center. Later, Ian joins Trevor for a meeting with a donor named Quentin, who quickly agrees to fund the rental. It’s not until they’ve left that Ian realizes why he recognizes the man. Quentin was a notorious customer at the gay club where Ian use to work. Let’s just say he had a thing for accessible bathroom stalls and turtlenecks.
Trevor and Ian aren’t the only ones taking notice of the abandoned, run-down church, which happens to be in Fiona’s neighborhood. It turns out that her boss Margo owns the building, and she suggests that Fiona should buy it. Our burgeoning entrepreneur can’t swing it, but she isn’t thrilled with the idea of a shelter taking it over since it will conflict with her attempt to raise the neighborhood’s profile. Apparently, an art gallery was previously interested, and with Mel running in a similar circle as them, Nessa suggests Fiona ask her to get some info. Mel forces Fiona to grovel and apologize for “being a megac—t.” Even after Fiona obliges, Ms. Blond and Bitchy says no.
Fiona’s not just asking for favors — she also grants one. Carl is desperate to get his job back at the diner after learning he’s lost his scholarship to someone who’s actually Native American. “Comanche bastard took my scholarship money,” he tells his sister. He rebuffs her suggestion that she lend him the money, offering instead to empty and clean the grease trap (it’s even worse than it sounds).
Now freed from the risk of deportation, Svetlana has returned to the Alibi, where she and V are being very cold toward each other. V becomes angered upon discovering that Svetlana is taking half of the bar’s earnings and not splitting it three ways. Since her “Russian hour” brings in more money, Svetlana thinks she deserves more, which Kevin kind of agrees with. Speaking of “Kentucky fried redneck,” Kevin is all in on his newly discovered Southern culture. He’s still learning though, judging from the fact that he dresses like a cowboy and is confused about whether it’s collard greens or colored greens.
Lip takes a break from getting beat up during sex to visit Brad and his new baby, who’s currently feeding on his mom’s breasts. “I’ve been around babies and boobs a lot,” says a comfortable Lip. Consumed by being a new dad, Brad insists that Lip get an interim sponsor. After some rough motorcycle sex with Eddie, which leaves him looking like he went 12 rounds with Mike Tyson, Lip begins wondering if he wants something more than just rough, casual hookups.
Despite’s Frank guidance, Liam failed his latest test. But his father disputes the result, claiming “cultural bias.” He’s got a point, because writing in “sniffed” for “____ the glue” isn’t necessarily wrong. When tucking his son in that night, Frank plays the role of loving father by reading to Liam, though he quickly goes off book for a lesson on needing to take advantage of the way people at the school look at them. Frank does that just that when Bev comes by hiss work to update him on the PTA’s mission to eliminate cultural bias from the curriculum. She becomes increasingly turned on the dirtier his hands get, leading to them having sex in the warehouse. Who would have thought that getting clean, being a good father, and getting a job would be the greatest thing to ever happen to Frank Gallagher? (Recap continues on page 2)
After sealing the deal with their donor for the church money, Ian and Trevor seal a much different kind of deal. (Damn, Fiona and Liam are basically the only two not getting any action.) But their excitement doesn’t last long, as Margo is no longer interested in renting out the church. Unbeknownst to them, Mel came through with some info and Fiona convinced the art gallery guys to reconsider buying it. Ian isn’t ready to give up, so he goes back to the donor, hoping to get him to help them buy the church. He resorts to blackmail, but the man’s wife already knows about her husband’s trips to the gay club. And she actually hopes Ian is willing to pleasure both men and women. “Do it for the kids,” says the man. Not even Trick Daddy loves the kids that much.
A day of cleaning grease traps and spray painting the church has left Carl with only $150. Knowing he needs to start making much more, he chugs some Red Bull and takes Fiona’s car so he can drive for Uber. And when I say drive for Uber, I mean randomly driving around to steal their customers by offering a lower-cost ride. He’s also finally ready to free his hostage. “Go forth with integrity and courage,” he tells the seemingly grateful addict. “Right your wrongs and help others do the same.” Saint Carl.
Hoping to settle their differences, V and Svetlana meet at the Alibi before opening. But Svetlana isn’t interested in talking business; she wants them to go back to having sex. V (kind of) tries to resist, but Svetlana begins pleasuring her. Upon finding out about the intimate meeting, Kevin tells V, “She can’t just slut her way back into our lives.” He says all three of them will meet to sort things out and they won’t let her “pull that titty hypnosis sex s—.”
A week after Sean’s return rocked Fiona’s world, Debbie feels her sister’s pain. When picking up Franny at her grandmother’s house, Debbie is shocked by the emergence of Derek, her baby daddy who ran off to Florida. She storms out and takes Franny with her. How does she react to this surprise? By taking an ecstasy-fueled road trip with her friends and Franny. That’s from the school of old Frank Gallagher parenting.
If Lip didn’t already find a new sponsor, he’ll need to now, because Brad has officially fallen off the wagon. Lip finds his boss drunk and belligerent at a bar. The duo get in a physical fight when Lip refuses to let Brad drive home drunk. Brad wins, meaning Lip’s few weeks of ass kickings continue.
It’s going much better for some of the other Gallagher men. Liam got an A on his latest test and Carl has a prospective new business. The druggie hostage was so thrilled with Carl’s out-of-the-box detox program that he’s returned with $5,000 from his parents, plus his girlfriend; Carl will receive $2,500 for getting her clean. What a transition from drug dealer to drug counselor.
Ian’s hard night of work for the kids paid off, and he’s ready to put a down payment on the church. One problem: Fiona, Margo, and the art guys are finalizing the sale. Somehow, this is the first time Fiona and Ian have realized they’re on different sides of this deal. The siblings get in a huge argument over it, with Fiona declaring, “Find another f—ing church.”
That’s one way to settle a dispute. Svetlana has other tactics. Our favorite throuple is negotiating a three-way split of the Alibi’s profits, but Kev makes the mistake of making a KFC run (he’s now officially taken his Kentucky love too far). He returns to find Svetlana leaving the bedroom with a signed contract for a 50/50 split. I don’t know whether to be more impressed by Svetlana or disappointed in V.
The most shameless character of the week: Carl kept a guy hostage. And yet he also helped the guy get off drugs. But he still held the guy hostage.
What do you think? Do you miss the characters being a little more, dare I say, shameless?