Debs finds a job, and Ian (maybe) finds new purpose

By Amanda Michelle Steiner
February 01, 2016 at 01:46 AM EST
Parrish Lewis/Showtime
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For the six years we’ve known them, the Gallaghers have been aging themselves prematurely by spending their lives putting out one fire or another. And while not a single one of them has ever been able to live peacefully for a full season, they’d always had a place to land: their home. Ramshackle though it is, it was theirs. (Well, kind of.) Last week, they were served an eviction notice. “Going Once, Going Twice” deals primarily in the fallout from that, and the episode’s title pretty much spells out the inevitable. Still, let’s visit everyone separately this week before we dive into that particular disaster.


Luckily for my withered, 900-year-old black heart, Ian’s life just might be on the up and up. As I predicted last week, being saved by an Incredibly handsome firefighter did wonders for propelling him into doing something, anything. In this case, it was baking snickerdoodles for the man who saved his life. When he stopped by the firehouse, he learned that his savior, Jason, is gay. And he works on the gay fireman shift (???) with all of the other gay firefighters (?????), which is apparently a totally normal practice for this firehouse and one that is probably not at all steeped in a brand of straight-man-gay-panic homophobia.

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Unfortunately for Ian, who immediately makes eyes at Jason like he’s a canteen in the desert, Jason is married with children. Caleb, however, appears to be perfectly single and perfectly handsome and kind. When he asks Ian what he does for a living (“I…guess I’m a janitor”), Caleb just laughs goodnaturedly: “I had that gig! It sucked.” His response makes Ian look like it’s the first time he’s felt normal in forever. Then, the firehouse alarm begins blaring, and everyone snaps into action. As Ian watched them move in a concerted way, everyone with their specific role, it felt pretty clear that his next job is as a firefighter — and Caleb will help him on his way.

I like the idea of Ian becoming a firefighter. He has always needed — and enjoyed — structure, something which the Gallagher home lacks. He was so eager to join the military that he left school and home early, after all. There’s something comforting, steadying, about being a cog in the machine, and being a firefighter could be just the thing to give Ian a role, an identity, a sense of purpose.

NEXT: Debs finds more than one source of income, and Lip and Helene take their relationship to the basement level

Debs (and Frank)

Debs continues to be astonishingly delusional. Frank taught her the art of welfare last week, but he tells her it won’t be enough if Fiona really follows through with kicking her out of the house.

She thinks she can support herself and her baby with a part-time job, but Frank suggests that she get herself a dying sugar daddy. (“Good news is there’s lots of lonely men, and they know you put out, so that’s a plus.”)

I can’t get my head around how Debs is so ignorant of how the world works. Sure, the Gallaghers aren’t exactly well-traveled or well-educated, but they grew up in a pretty harsh little world. They know the value of a dollar — and a lack of one. Debs thinks she can start her life over by having a baby, a little family all her own, and that’s understandable enough given that she comes from a broken home. But her hand-waving, everything-will-be-fine attitude is incredibly naïve, even for a teenager.

Anyway, after rejecting “an old, dying robot” (a 750-year-old man with lung cancer and a voice prosthesis), Frank — essentially acting as Debs’ pimp — secures his teenage daughter with a job as a nanny to a family with three kids, a dying mother, and a handsome father (played by Michael McMillian, who will always be Reverend Newlin to me). Debs pretends to be 18 so that she can swoop in once the wife dies. Sigh. Next.

Lip (and Helene)

Helene took Lip to an academic conference in Indianapolis, where she was scheduled to deliver a talk on “the origin of feminist rhetoric in post-war Europe,” something she’s been working on for three years.

It begins well enough, until someone in the audience stands up — not minding his own damn business — and pulls at the foundation of her argument until it totally collapses, thanks to new evidence found about three weeks prior that Helene had yet to see.

Naturally, she gets spectacularly drunk, leading Lip to hold her hair back as she barfs into the fancy toilet/bidet combo in their hotel room. “I was humiliated in front of my peers by a gay Jesuit,” Helene tells Lip once she resurfaces. “It shouldn’t make it worse that it was a guy, but it does.”

She starts to get a little reflective, calling herself a Mrs. Robinson cliché and saying that one day Lip will find a girl his own age and he’ll tell her all about the “older woman” he once dated and all the wine and hotel bidets they shared together. “When you and I got together, I was looking for a fling,” she tells him, gaze steady. “It’s more than that.” She turns away from him to barf once more.

The next morning, Lip wakes to an empty bed with a note to meet Helene downstairs. She’s all buttoned up and looking entirely unlike she had spent the evening expelling everything she had eaten in the past 20 years. “I vaguely remember an extremely earnest conversation,” she says. “Sorry if I was a bore.” Lip looks like he’s about to speak up to tell her that she wasn’t a bore, he feels the same, and that it’s never been a fling, but she shuts him up pretty quickly: “Do me a favor. Pretend it never happened, and we’ll put this weekend behind us, okay?”

So, one of two things is about to happen with their relationship:

1) They’ll revisit that earnest conversation, proclaim their undying, genuine love, and she’ll divorce her husband and her life as she knows it.

2) More likely, they’re going to break up real soon. She’s embarrassed at having revealed herself, at showing a side of herself that did not make her out to be some perfect, flawless genius with an insatiable sexual appetite. And Lip — if he hadn’t already realized — knows now that he loves her, and she has just forced him to come to grips with the fact that he’ll never really have her.

But at least he got to experience a bidet.

NEXT: Svetlana has a new job, and Kevin’s guilt runneth over

Kevin and V (and Svetlana)

The Alibi Room is totally empty, and Svetlana’s found a new job at a speakeasy called Public Restroom. Svetlana is the most well-adjusted character on this show. A no-nonsense businesswoman who looks out for number one and who always finds a way to support herself and her child. I love it. She introduces V to her new boss, who tells V that the Alibi is dead because they advertised the fact that they’re the “best, s—iest bar on the South Side” with a ginormous banner. Now, their place is no longer cool to hipsters, and their regular customers cleared off once the infestation lost its sheen.

Yanis tries to get Kevin to help him kill the lawyer down the street, the one who Yanis thinks is responsible for his paralysis. Kevin tries his best to tame Yanis’ bloodlust but later finds him rolling down the street with a box of Molotov cocktails on his lap. Just as he’s about to send one sailing through the lawyer’s house, Kevin confesses: “I meant to cut the throttle so you would stop revving your engine — I’m just trying to keep the peace in the neighborhood! But the brake cable and the throttle cable look a lot alike — that’s a design flaw,” he says. For some unknowable reason, he seems to take Yanis’ silence, face, and murderous demeanor to mean that he’s forgiven Kevin or that he’s not about to throw a Molotov in his face. Kevin gets closer and tells him, “I can’t tell you how good that feels to get that off my chest. It’s like taking a 1,000-pound s—.” Yanis goes to light a cocktail, and Kevin finally cottons on, hauling ass in the opposite direction. But Yanis drops one of the cocktails in his lap and accidentally sets himself aflame. As he screams, spinning in circles, Kevin feebly calls out for help but it’s no use. Soon, Yanis stops spinning.

This might sound callous, but…this kind of worked out for the best, right? I mean, speaking fictionally, this is the best-case scenario for everybody involved. He set himself on fire! That’s not Kev’s fault. Sure, he’ll carry the guilt forever, but at least he’s not going to jail. Probably. Hopefully.

NEXT: The Gallagher home goes up for auction

Fiona (and Sean, and the Gallagher house)

The Gallaghers are being evicted because cousin Patrick no longer wants to be responsible for it, deciding to hand it over to the bank. You’ll recall that the house once belonged to Aunt Ginger, whose social security checks Frank cashed long after her death, and then the house was passed on to Patrick once the state finally discovered Ginger was no longer with us. Anyway, he’s not budging. The house is to go up for auction.

Fiona discovers, thanks to Sean and the man who does the diner’s banking, that she is eligible for a loan of up to $100,000 because while she doesn’t have any credit — has never had a credit card, held a lease, anything — she also doesn’t have bad credit. But first, she needs to raise $3,500 for a down payment.

She refuses Carl’s money because she doesn’t want the state seizing the house should he ever get arrested for “whatever [he’s] into” — though she does eyeball the money for a good, long moment — and ends up pawning Gus’ grandmother’s ring for $1,900, despite it having been appraised at $7,000. After the rest of the Gallaghers pitch in as much as they can, Sean loans her the remainder. Even if she doesn’t win the house at auction, she says, “Worst-case scenario I’ll just move in with you,” striking terror into Sean’s heart. Fiona insists she was just joking (she wasn’t), and we find out later that Sean’s hesitation stems from what his NA sponsor told him about being open and honest with Fiona should they get really serious. As he reveals, he spent many years in jail for accidentally killing someone during a drug-related scuffle.

“Anything else?” Fiona asks. “Heroin, killed a guy. That’s all that comes to mind.” “Okay,” she says, solemn. It’s something she’ll either deal with later or not at all because they’ve got to head to the auction.

The inevitable happens: They lost the house. Craphole though the Gallagher home is, the neighborhood is now up-and-coming, and a young couple bought it for a cool $130,000. And lo, the negative side effect of gentrification rears its ugly head as yet another family is pushed out of a home they can no longer afford. Fiona is devastated, and it’s unclear what their next steps will be. Fiona (and Liam) could move in with Sean, and Carl could surely make his way, while Ian will probably find refuge in the firehouse, and Lip is still at school. But what of Debs? Or even Frank? And a legitimate, long-term solution for any of them? This time, the Gallaghers might be well and truly f—ed.

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