Shameless recap: Refugees
No one could call the Gallaghers lucky by any means, but they’ve managed to survive — and a few have even managed to thrive — despite one financial or legal disaster after another threatening their way of life. But they ran out of chances last week, when they lost their home to foreclosure, unable to win it back at auction. And it’s real. There’s no hand-waving, TV magic on Shameless, and especially not recently: The Gallaghers are homeless.
“Refugees” opens with Frank stripping the house of anything useful, including copper pipe. They’re interrupted when the family who bought the house walks right in, looking to take measurements — they didn’t know the house was still occupied. However, when Fiona tells them that she’s been living there since she was a child and that there’s a lot to pack up, the family is sympathetic, allowing them to stay until the following week. Fiona’s grateful for the breathing room, but of course, it’s not that easy. Later, the sheriff’s department barges right in, clearing the house of its contents. It wasn’t up to the new family to give the Gallaghers permission to stay a bit longer, because the house belongs to the bank. And so, the Gallaghers are properly, officially homeless. Now that they’re scattered to the wind, let’s catch up with them separately.
Ian’s the only Gallagher whose story line for this episode isn’t a complete interpersonal tire fire, so I’ll start with him. His living situation is sorted thanks to Lip, who lets Ian stay in his dorm at school, their earlier argument forgotten.
Still keenly interested in Caleb the firefighter, Ian secures an invite to the firehouse barbeque, leading to my favorite exchange of late:
Caleb: You ever pitch?
Ian: Usually, but I’m open depending on what you’re into. Where are we doing this?
Caleb: Follow me.
Ian: We’re actually playing softball?
Bless him. Having never been in a relationship that doesn’t largely take place behind closed doors — and within closets — Ian is not exactly the dating type. But he’s open to it! After a day of softball and a scuffle with their opponents, the gay cops — one of whom being Tony (remember him?), who claims Fiona turned him gay — Ian makes a move on Caleb but is rebuffed, told that he doesn’t “stick his d— in just any guy.” Ian, incredulous, and unable to imagine a scenario where that wouldn’t be the case, asks Caleb what he does want, which turns out to be a date. I still miss Mickey because I’d grown quite attached to their miserable love story, but this is no doubt a healthier route for Ian. Oh, and he’s probably going to take that firefighter exam.
Amanda’s back. She’s a life-destroying grenade of a woman, but I couldn’t help but be pleased — and apprehensive — about her arrival outside Lip’s dorm room. She tells Lip that she needs to take a photo of the naked-lady mural she painted above his bed and promises to be out of there by the time he returns from his shower. As soon as he’s out of sight, her attention is drawn to his cell phone. Thumbing through its contents, she smiles. Not a good sign.
Soon after, Lip finds out what she’s done when scores of students are looking at Chekhov’s naked photo — the one Lip snapped of Helene in the season premiere.
Running first to Helene’s office — she’s not in there, but there is that photo taped to her door — Lip makes his way to Amanda’s dorm. “How the f— could you send that picture?” he demands. “I just saw your phone there and the thought popped into my head like divine intervention,” she says without remorse, adding that her therapist says that “revenge doesn’t give you any satisfaction, but clearly she’s an idiot.” Lip is furious, telling Amanda he never made any promises, but he did, Amanda retorts, with “your eyes and your smile and your c—.” He tears out of her room, her parting words some helpful advice: “You should change your security code more often.”
Lip heads to Helene’s house in an attempt to explain and apologize, but he’s met by her husband, who was supposed to be out of town and who came back early once he found out what had happened. We find out Helene has been summoned by the disciplinary board, which means Lip may have “buried [his] career,” according to Mr. Runyon. He shuts the door in Lip’s face as Lip continues to call out Helene’s name.
Now, I have a question: Given the presence of the mural in the photo, it was clear to anyone who might know Lip that the photo was taken by him. Furthermore, because he’s an RA, there’s probably a lot of foot traffic in and out of his room. But does everybody, including this ominous disciplinary board, know that the photo was snapped by Lip? That was not made clear in the episode, or perhaps I missed it. Maybe “you might have buried your career” indicates that everyone knows, or maybe it means that the Runyons would see to it that Lip’s life is over. So, my question is, was a photo taken ultimately without Helene’s consent going to get her in trouble? Or is it her sexual relationship with a student, assuming that everyone knows where the photo came from? If the former, that’s f—ed and I hate it. Moving on.
NEXT: Frank’s business as both pimp and cancer concierge is booming
Debs (and Frank)
Frank is still pimping out his daughter. Debs is doing a great job at the Wexler house, but Mr. Wexler, Tyler, is not convinced she’s needed. He’s in denial about his wife’s condition and only wants Debs around in the mornings to herd the kids to school. In order to secure that sweet guest bedroom, Frank tells her that she needs to prove that she can cater to all of Tyler’s needs, and promises to keep the Mrs. out of the house.
In doing his cancer concierge BS, we learn that Mrs. Wexler was a groupie in her youth and that she caught feelings during a fling with Melissa Etheridge, that she was once “used as a rotisserie by two members of Guns N’ Roses,” and that she has snorted, smoked, and injected every drug under the sun. Though she still wishes Melissa would come to her window, she says that family was her greatest adventure, and that she wishes her husband would accept the fact that she’s on her way out.
At the Wexler house, Debs makes her awkward moves on Tyler, but he’s creeped out and annoyed, and demands to know why she’s even there when she’s only supposed to work mornings. Eventually, berating him works: “She’s dying. Just because you don’t want to admit it doesn’t mean it’s not happening. … You need groceries and laundry and meals. You need me. Your kids need me. And not just in the mornings. So just man up and admit it.”
Debs now has a place to stay, and so does Frank, who plans to sneak in while everyone’s asleep. She calls him “Dad” instead of Frank for the first time I can remember — and perhaps ever — and he smiles to himself, pleased. SAVE DEBBIE.
As Debs lies in bed, a body climbs in behind her. “I was hoping you’d come,” says Debs. “I was hoping you’d say that,” says Mrs. — not Mr. — Wexler. “Come to My Window,” indeed.
Fiona (and Sean, and Liam)
Sean’s son, Will, is visiting, and Sean has a million activities planned for the two of them. Go-karts, laser tag, the arcade … all the greatest hits for guilty, absentee fathers looking to overcompensate.
He offers to let Fiona stay in his apartment while she figures out what to do long-term, and she thinks that offer extends to the rest of the family. It doesn’t. She’s furious, but Sean is like, Carl is a delinquent who carries a piece. Not happening. He’s worried about his ex finding out and doesn’t want visitation with Will revoked completely. Perfectly reasonable, really, and Fiona eventually sees sense — and a lack of options — and relents, arriving at Sean’s with Liam in tow.
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Fiona’s yet to have her abortion, having rescheduled it due to the constant, unending nightmare that is her life. She tells Sean that she rescheduled it, however, and he smiles tightly in response. “You didn’t think I was having second thoughts, did you?” she says for the second time in the episode (the first time to Lip). Perhaps she is having second thoughts. And it looks like Sean might be developing an opinion — one which Fiona previously told him he wasn’t allowed to have. It’s obvious he loves his son, and maybe he wants a child around all the time. They don’t discuss it, though, and their arc for the episode ends in a pillow fight with Liam and Will, so no difficult conversations or hard feelings were had. Yet.
NEXT: V wrecks Carl, and oh, right, Chuckie is a person
Carl (and Nick)
Carl tried to rent an apartment in an upscale neighborhood, but needed a parent to co-sign. Not really clear why he turned down that option since Fiona knows he’s up to no good, but whatever.
Also, Nick’s treasured bike gets stolen, and he’s about to murder someone about it.
In the end, they stay at Kevin and V’s, but V warns Carl first with a dressing-down that’s been a long time coming: “I’m getting tired of this minstrel act. You think cornrows make you black? Four hundred years of oppression make you black. And if you keep up this wigger act I’m gonna George Zimmerman your ass, feel me?”
Last week, I neglected to mention that Chuckie has come back into the Gallagher fold. His story is just so inconsequential, but he appeared in this episode too, so. Anyway, he was sprung from juvie and there was no one else to take him in. He’s as simple-minded as ever, and parroting skinhead hate speech. Though the rest of the Gallaghers found somewhere to crash, they forgot to tell Chuckie, who arrives at the house after it’s been locked up by the sheriff’s department, wondering where everybody is. Poor kid. It’s not his fault his mother was a monster.
Kevin and V
Kevin, obviously, feels at fault for Yanis’ death. Because he is. He’s trying to make it right through God, and when V’s mother tells the couple that the church needs someone to foster a child, he volunteers readily, much to V’s annoyance. Not just one, but several children arrive. They’re refugees from Myanmar, forced to fight in a civil war and handed guns fresh out of diapers. When a car backfires, one of them dive-rolls over the couch. V is not thrilled about hosting “4-foot mercenaries with PTSD,” but Kevin thinks he can “get all my karma points out at once.”
By the end of the episode, V seems to have softened to the idea of having them around, and perhaps to being a mother in general. One of the kids, all of whom appeared to be boys, is actually a girl. V was delighted by this and offered the girl some of Debs’ old clothes and a headband to wear. The girl was thrilled.
The episode closes with Carl asking her whether she’d ever killed anybody. She starts counting on her fingers, getting up to six before the credits roll.