Carl tries to go straight, and Frank gets into the drug-running game

By Amanda Michelle Steiner
March 07, 2016 at 03:00 AM EST
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Warren Feldman/Showtime

Shameless

S6 E8
type
  • TV Show
network
  • Showtime

The episode title for this week’s Shameless is the most horrifying thing I’ve ever read. Meanwhile, the most horrifying thing I’ve ever seen and heard is Queenie actually saying that to Lip, which changed me. I will never be the same. But more on that nightmare later. “Be a Good Boy. Come For Grandma” (urgh) mainly follows Carl as he makes steps to go straight, naïvely relying on Frank to help him through the transition. I’ll focus mainly on his story line, but I’ll give brief updates on what the rest of the Gallaghers are up to, including Debbie, who was approached by a maiesiophilic neckbeard (double urgh).

Carl (and Frank, and Fiona)

Despite having thrown a huge party in “Pimp’s Paradise” in an attempt to get back to normal, there’s no getting back to baseline for Carl — he can’t get the image of the kid Nick murdered out of his mind. When a man named G-Dog shows up at the Gallagher home to tell Carl that he needs him to run a new shipment, Carl says that he “need[s] to sit this one out.” Shockingly, that’s not received well — G-Dog pistol-whips Carl in the forehead and tells him, “You think you can just tag in and out like a little girl playing Chinese jump rope? You in this for life, motherf—–.” (I Googled Chinese jump rope because I had no idea what that was. Now I am enlightened. Please enjoy the fruits of my labor in case you were as ignorant as I was.)

Carl goes to Frank for help, because, like Debs, Carl is just a teen and has yet to fully develop the part of the brain that starts blaring alarm bells whenever Frank gets involved in anything at all. True to form, Frank berates Carl for wanting to get out, but offers to take on his runs for the day — that is, going to local businesses and offering “protection” for cash.

Frank heads to a black barber shop to get his hair in cornrows, but for some reason (read: every reason), nobody wants to hand him any money. As one shopkeeper pointed out, the only reason they forked over the cash was because Nick — giant, intimidating Nick — was standing at Carl’s side during these transactions. Frank goes back to the barber shop and asks aloud for “a scary-looking black man.” (Ugh.) One man, named Gareth, played by Ridiculously Handsome Man Rick Fox, answers the call: “The f— you just say, cracker?”

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Gareth is willing to overlook racism for a percentage of Frank’s handouts, and so they tour the neighborhood and collect Carl’s — and G-Dog’s — protection money. But Carl is still needed for a drug run, and he’s insistent on going straight. So, the next day, Frank goes to find G-Dog in Carl’s stead, and offers to run a big ol’ bag of cocaine to Indiana. G-Dog, of course, doesn’t trust Frank, and promises to cut off Frank’s “left nut and feed it to my dogs” should he not follow through. Oh, and Carl’s still not off the hook.

NEXT:Bad stuff happens. Obviously.

And guess what!! Handing a bag of drugs over to a drug addict was a terrible idea!!! Frank attempts to enlist Gareth into driving him to Indiana, but Gareth is not interested. That is, until Frank pulls out the drugs, and says they can sample it. This goes badly!!! One employee wanders into Gareth’s office, sees them doing lines, and partakes as well. Next, the room is filled with partying hairstylists. Gareth covers up the loss of coke with physically identical powdered laxative, which seems like a very strange thing to just have. Is this not the first time Gareth has had to replace coke with laxatives? Or is he so backed up that he needs that in his desk?

Anyway, in the midst of all this nonsense, Carl asks V to stitch up his forehead. He confesses his gangbanger troubles, but makes her promise not to tell Fiona. So, V tells Kevin, who, as we’ve learned, cannot keep a secret, and he tells Fiona. Job done.

Fiona is devastated. She’s got Sean’s son, Will, in tow, and together they head to the Gallagher house. After she promises not to freak out, Carl tells her what happened with Nick, confessing that he can’t get the dead kid’s body out of his head. “Figure I’ll see more people get dropped if I stay in the game,” he tells her. “I don’t want to see that.” It’s sad. He looks at her with his eyes all big and innocent, and Fiona folds completely, going in for a hug.

Sean drives Carl to G-Dog’s meeting spot and tries to negotiate him out of his deal. G-Dog is not enthused, and is concerned about the kind of message that might send. “That you’re a reasonable man,” says Sean, hilariously. Pretty sure G-Dog is not too concerned with appearing reasonable. He is, however, interested in Sean’s coat. Sean hands it over, as well as his shoes, and then G-Dog discovers Sean’s car keys in the coat pocket. So that’s his now, too. Next, we see Carl and Sean walking in the cold in just their boxers. With their dual humiliation and Sean’s car in hand, it looks like G-Dog might have let Carl go free. Hopefully that sticks.

Sean and Carl arrive at the former’s apartment completely frozen, but otherwise in one piece. Everything’s fine now! Kidding. Sean walks into Will’s room and sees him pointing a gun — one he found in the Gallagher home.

Sean rips Fiona a new one, terrified about losing his visitation rights with Carl. Their fight doesn’t end on a happy note, and Fiona takes Carl back to the Gallagher home and — get ready for it — undoes his cornrows!! I’m the happiest girl in the world. Even before landing himself in juvie, Carl spent years acting tough and skirting the law. Having finally been forced to confront the consequences of the pursuit of a criminal lifestyle that he wore like a disguise, a ready-made and co-opted personality and identity, he didn’t like what he found. And now, he might have the chance to be a normal kid.

Unless, of course, G-Dog doesn’t murder Frank and Carl both. Frank ended up making the delivery, but G-Dog wants to know why “my guy in Indiana is s—-ing his pants.” Good question! That story line ends with Frank running for his life, three guys chasing after him.

NEXT: Lip and Queenie (ahhhh), Ian and Caleb (awwww), and Debs (ewwww)

Lip

Lip can’t get it up because he’s still upset about Helene, and he’s not able to f— his way through the sorority house as certainly seemed to be his destiny when he got the job as Kappa Beta Whatever’s “houseboy.”

He heads to the Gallagher house for a change of scenery — and to avoid nighttime visits from the Kappa Somethings — and is sitting on the couch when Queenie walks in, holding a beer. Immediately, I knew something disgusting was going to happen. Call it pessimism, call it the Shameless instinct, but I knew, at worst, that Lip was about to f— his not-related-by-blood grandmother. Because I’m a good person who means well and always tries her best, the worst did not happen, but there is a vengeful god out there who sought to punish me, personally: Queenie gave Lip a foot rub to completion, telling him, yes, “Be a good boy. Come for Grandma.” I know!!! That’s as much as I’m about to say about that, but I will also add that this horror was compounded by having to see a foot massage. Feet are gross. Do not want.

The only good thing that came out of this was Lip’s feelings about Helene, which I’ve transcribed because they’re important to his development and understanding of what happened and, indeed, indicate that he may finally be ready to move on: “I liked the way she looked at me. She was experienced and married. … she was so f—ing selfish. I was like her little dog. Everything was on her terms and she tossed me aside when s— hit the fan. It wasn’t even my fault. I would never have done anything to hurt her. I put up with so much of her crap and in the end she wouldn’t talk to me, you know? She wouldn’t even look at me.”

Poor Lip. Anyway, he got the heartbreak massaged out by his foot chakras (??? I don’t know. I hate this.) and his story line ends with him in a sorority-girl foursome. Well, good job, Lip. Not so sure he’s learned anything but uh, whatever. If he’s happy, I’m happy. May he never interact with Queenie ever again.

Debs

Not all of the Gallaghers can have character epiphanies in one episode. I’ll keep this short: While registering for baby-related accessories in the hopes that someone might throw her a shower, she encounters a man named Larry, who immediately asks her out on a date. We discover pretty quickly that he has maiesiophilia — i.e. a pregnancy fetish — and is only into Debs because she’s pregnant. He always keeps a couple of girls on the go at once, but it’s all consensual and they all know what they’re getting into, he says. I’m not about to kinkshame Larry for whatever consensual business he gets into during his spare time, but come on, Larry — a pregnant teen? Who. Will. Save. Debbie. Anyway, don’t worry about her too much — she tells Larry to get lost once she discovers the truth.

Ian

Ian and Caleb’s relationship is moving forward. They go on a movie date with Caleb’s friends and everything — all new territory to Ian. He’s also studying for his EMT exam, and he’s happy. “I like having a purpose,” he tells Caleb. “Studying to be an EMT feels like I’m back to my old self.”

Later, they confess their darkest secrets: Ian reveals that he has bipolar disorder, and Caleb discloses his HIV-positive status. Caleb says that he’s on medication, and that his doctors tell him he can’t transfer it to anyone. Still, safe sex is the best sex: Secret-sharing concludes with Caleb throwing a strip of condoms onto the bed.

And finally, in related, real-world news, Noel Fisher (a.k.a. Mickey) has been cast in a drama pilot for NBC. Of course, the pilot could not get picked up to series, and/or Fisher could still pull double-duty and appear as Mickey every now and then. But uh, it doesn’t seem likely, does it, especially since Mickey is in jail and all? But genuinely, best of luck to Fisher, who is great, and RIP Gallavich — and my heart — for the millionth time.

Episode Recaps

Shameless

type
  • TV Show
seasons
  • 9
episodes
  • 103
rating
  • TV-MA
network
  • Showtime
stream service

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