Fiona tries to make things right with Debs and Gus. (Spoiler: It gets worse, instead.)

By Amanda Michelle Steiner
January 25, 2016 at 12:32 AM EST
Monty Brinton/Showtime
S6 E3
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  • TV Show
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This week’s episode of Shameless opens with Fiona vomiting out of her window in Frank’s general vicinity, with some even landing on him. It felt right. Soothing. Warmed me right up from the inside.

Frank is hanging out in the yard because he’s adopted a family from the neighborhood who were recently evicted. Fiona is not thrilled about them camping out in her yard, but she’s got other things to worry about.

Yanis survived being hit by a car after Kevin accidentally cut the brake cable on his motorcycle, but he’s been paralyzed from the waist down. Kevin and V visit him in the hospital, and Kevin can’t keep himself from over-apologizing about what happened, clarifying that he’s only “sorry like any good neighbor would be” after V gives him the stink-eye. Of course, Yanis suspects the Lisas of having done this to him and wants to skin one of them and make the other wear said skin. Gruesome, but as far as V is concerned, it’s a free pass.

Back at the Gallagher house, Fiona apologizes to Debs for her recent behavior, admitting that she, too, is pregnant. Debs is thrilled (“We can raise them together! Sister-cousins!”) for about two seconds, face falling when Fiona tells her that she’s only sorry for being “harsh and cold” when Debbie’s brain is being taken over by pregnancy hormones, and that they can both go make appointments at the clinic together: “It’ll be like a family outing! Like Disneyland — but with abortions!” Debs becomes furious, calling Fiona “disgusting” and a “horrible human,” accusing her of ghosting both Gus and her baby. Upset, she enlists Frank into walking her to school, as if willingly spending time with Frank Gallagher isn’t a harbinger of doom and bad decisions. Naturally, he tells Debs the pregnant high schooler that she is in her “prime child-bearing years,” encouraging her to keep the baby.

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Kevin and V visit Fiona at the diner, and Kevin immediately tells Sean that he “accidentally cut [his] neighbor’s brake cable and now he’s paralyzed for life,” a guilty habit that does not thrill V. Kevin is one of the most tender hearts on this show — it’s absolutely in character for him to be consumed by this, and would also be in character for him to confess to Yanis and to the authorities. But if we lost him to jail like we lost Mickey — R.I.P. Gallavich — there wouldn’t be any purely good people left on this show, and that just can’t happen.

Fiona tells V that she’s pregnant, and V bursts into helpless giggles when Fiona says the baby is Sean’s, and then, “Maybe Gus’. … Possibly Jimmy’s.” In either case, it doesn’t matter: Fiona intends to abort it and has no plan to tell any of the contending sperm donors. However, she’s still affected by what Deb told her, about “ghosting” on Gus — she decides to go see him, if only to give him his ring back.

NEXT: Ian has a new job, and Frank introduces Debs to her future (welfare)

Meanwhile, Ian has a new gig thanks to Lip and Prof Youens, a man whose name I must Google for spelling every time I write a recap. One day I’m just going to refer to him as The Professor like he’s an X-Man. Anyway, Ian is now a janitor at the university, though Prof Youens thinks he looks too smart to be emptying trash, which is condescending and none of his damn business, but, well, it is a shame that he left high school to join the army. Ian fends off the pseudo-praise, and says that Lip is the genius of the family. “So that gives you an excuse not to finish [high school]?” Youens asks. Again, that is not your business, my dude. Ian later tells Lip that Youens is “kind of a dick,” but Lip counters that he’s “harmless,” and that he reminds him of a more privileged Frank. Ian takes off to go empty more trash when one of Lip’s classmates, Joaquin, catches up with the brothers and starts talking quantum physics. Ian was clearly uncomfortable with understanding nothing of their exchange, but don’t worry, Ian: You were not alone.

Back in the neighborhood, Debs is doing some studying of her own: Frank decides to teach her “the Gallagher art of living off the American government.” At the welfare office, he advises her not to take too many prenatal vitamins because a birth defect like a cleft palate or a club foot yields more free money; however, “don’t cut out the folic acid entirely,” says Frank, because while intellectual disabilities yield the most government assistance, they’re also the most costly. Well, the more you know. Cheers, Frank; always nice to have it confirmed that everyone — even your own children — can be broken down into their component parts, i.e. what, exactly, they can offer you. Debs still has her mind on Fiona’s impending abortion and asks Frank to help her give Fiona an intervention, or, as Frank coins it, an “interbortion.”

Thanks to a Facebook invitation and a mailing list from which she was never removed, Fiona arrives at the bar where Gus’ band is playing, much to his surprise. She’s got V for emotional support, but for a moment it seems as if she might not even need it, because Gus seems incredibly chill in the face of the wife who, yes, ghosted on him. When he tells her that he’s written a song for her, she doesn’t even appear to feel the deep, anxious foreboding that I feel on her behalf.

When Gus hops onstage, he introduces the crowd to Fiona, even coaxing her into giving a little wave. The song is called “The F Word.” It goes a little something like this:

Choice lyrics include, “F is for Fiona / I felt like I could fly / But then Fiona was f—in’ everyone / F— you, Fiona / Now I’m f—in’ done.” Sums it up, really. As Gus expressed his latent aggression, the audience kept sneaking peeks at Fiona, who slipped Gus’ grandmother’s ring back in her pocket, having decided that a little public humiliation was enough to keep her from mending fences and returning family heirlooms.

NEXT: Two sibling relationships destroyed and an interbortion

And the relationship dumpster fires keep burning: At the university, Ian and Lip get drunk during a dorm party, and Ian asks to crash, “like, for a while.” He says he hates it at home, and that Fiona treats him like a child. Plus, they’ve been sharing a room for nearly their entire lives. However, Lip is not into it, saying that he’s “earned [his] space” and that Ian is welcome to crash for the night but that he can’t stay longterm. Ian is totally floored by his brother’s reaction.

When Fiona arrives home — after having a bit of a cry with Sean, still not admitting that it’s an unwanted pregnancy that’s got her so emotional — she’s surprised by her family with the interbortion.

FRANK: We’re here to stop you from destroying your soul, this family, and my legacy.

V: I came to back you.

KEVIN: I came because I paralyzed a dude.

Kevin. Still playing it real cool and chill. Anyway, Fiona is obviously upset by the ambush, especially because she confided in Debs, who immediately decided to tell the whole family. “I want our babies to play together,” Debs insists, but Fiona tells her that “they are not babies, they are not cousins,” but a bundle of cells. Fiona and Debs continue to stand firm and continue to let the potential arrival(s) tear the family apart.

The next morning, Ian is cleaning up after the dorm party and refuses Lip’s help, much to Lip’s hurt confusion. “This is it for me,” Ian says. “This job. This is where I land.” He’s upset because he thinks that Lip thinks he’s better than him, but Lip is just upset that Ian is refusing responsibility for dropping out of high school. It comes to blows, as it always does with the Gallaghers. Joaquin pulls them apart, and Ian says he’s “f—ing done” before flipping a table on his way out, mouth full of blood and things he’ll never admit.

That’s one sibling relationship destroyed. How are Fiona and Debs? Well, Debs approaches Fiona back at the house after leaving school early and tells her, voice measured, position firm, that she wants her sister to support her decision, and she’ll support Fiona’s decision to abort, in turn. “I want you to support me, too, because no one else does. Not our family, not our neighbors, not my school. Just Frank. And he’s Frank. If you love me, you will support my decision in having this baby because I know I’m going to be a great mom.”

Fiona is visibly moved, but she won’t budge. Holding Debs’ face in her hands, she tells her little sister that she will be a great mom, but someday. Not now. “We made mistakes, but it’s not too late to fix them.” Debs tells her that she got pregnant on purpose because she knows what she wants, and Fiona’s patience and understanding wears out. I’ll transcribe her speech in full, because it’s devastating:

“You’re right. Frank is the only person who thinks this pregnancy is a good idea. You have Frank on your side, and that should bother you. You should be crying. I want you to really get this, too: If you have this baby, I will not support you. Not physically, not emotionally. I will not change a f—in’ diaper. I will not be woken up in the middle of the night because it has a fever […] because you will not be living under my roof. You are on your own if you do this.”

Fiona delivers her last words on the subject with deadly, calm precision, but she breaks down into tears as soon as Debs storms off. That’s when Sean walks in, because why not compound the issue, hm? Shameless: Just when you think you’ve reached peak emotional devastation, something else comes along to push you that much further. (I’m speaking, of course, on behalf of the Gallaghers and on behalf of myself.)

NEXT: Sean actually endears me to him, and Ian has maybe found new purpose

Finally, she admits to Sean that she’s pregnant, and “I’m not having it, and you don’t get to have an opinion about it.” He also doesn’t get to have an opinion on the fact that she’s not even totally certain it’s his, nor does he get to shoot up over any of this, either. He takes the news exactly as Fiona needed him to: by quietly acknowledging it and asking her if she wants to go for a walk. I really don’t like or trust Sean. I didn’t like the dubious level of consent involved in their sex as seen in “#AbortionRules,” and I really don’t think that Fiona needs another older, male drug addict in her life. Is Frank not enough? But this was a good moment for him, and for them.

Mulling over what happened with his brother, Lip tells Joaquin that Ian “thinks being bipolar means he’s doomed to be a piece of s— like our mother,” cutting to the quick of Ian’s problems right now. He perceives himself as a blameless victim of fate, and that there’s nothing he can do to change course. We see Ian walking down the street, and he catches his reflection in a store window. He’s wearing his janitor uniform, and he doesn’t like what he sees.

Later that day, Ian is still out — perhaps he’s not sure where to crash for the night? — and he witnesses a car crash, the perpetrator jumping out of his own car and hauling ass down the street. Ian is about to run after him, but the other car catches fire with a woman, unconscious, still inside. He rushes to her side, undoing her seatbelt and dragging her out of the car, but the effort has him inhaling a significant amount of smoke. Ian manages to drag her away from the car just as the car bursts into even greater flame, but he passes out on the road. The next time his eyes open, he’s staring into one handsome face. It’s a firefighter and, if I know anything about television, it’s Ian’s future love interest set to make him rethink his life and choices. Fingers crossed that whatever comes next propels Ian to better choices made by himself, and that he doesn’t become dependent on another person to make those choices for him. 

At the Gallagher house, an eviction notice is taped to the door. It’s the same one the neighbors received.

Stray thoughts, plots, and nitpicks:

  • Carl also did stuff. Allow me to summarize: He’s still selling guns. The teachers also bought guns. When a kid dropped a lunch tray in the cafeteria, everybody drew their guns, leading the principal to force them to give up said guns. Also, he is trying to convince this poor girl, Dominique, who deserves better — save her — that he is actually black.
  • At the welfare office, Debs told Frank, “I don’t have a boyfriend and I don’t acknowledge his family.” It’s a step forward, I suppose? At least she’s no longer deluded.
  • In a truly special touch, Debbie’s high-school bathroom had one couple having sex in a stall, one teen mom changing her baby’s diaper in the middle of the disgusting floor, and another girl peeing in the sink because the aforementioned boning was taking too long. “This is why teen moms drop out of high school,” Debbie said.
  • Kevin is almost definitely going to confess to paralyzing Yanis. V tried to tell him that Yanis maybe didn’t deserve working legs, and that he should “let go of the guilt and focus on the good,” but Kevin was stone-faced and silent in return. He won’t be letting go of this anytime soon.
  • And if Kevin doesn’t confess, it’s almost a sure thing that Yanis will have the Lisas killed.
  • “The F Word” is kind of a jam, right?
  • Finally, what do we think will happen to Ian? Maybe he’ll become a firefighter — Lip even made mention of all the push-ups he used to do before school for ROTC.
  • type
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    • 9
    episodes
    • 103
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    • TV-MA
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    Premiere
    • 01/09/11
    creator
    • Paul Abbott
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