Lip and Debbie's luck gets worse; Kev is at a crossroads with his wives
Tonight’s Shameless feels like it may have taken place in an alternate universe. Frank actually doing something good for his family? Fiona coming out on top after what seemed like the world’s worst investment move? With the exception of more poor decision-making from Debbie and Lip, this hour almost made you feel like things could finally be looking up for the ‘ol Gallagher clan. Let’s get into episode 8: “You Sold Me the Laundromat, Remember?”
As usual, let’s start with Fiona. She’s out of money to put into the Laundromat, so she’s taking a DIY approach to fixing up her new business. Much of this episode is spent watching her pull up moldy tiles with a spatula. Etta’s dementia seems to be getting worse, and she initially thinks Fiona is a homeless person squatting in her Laundromat. Once Fiona reminds her she bought it and Etta has $80,000 in her bank account, Etta goes on a pretty epic shopping spree, buying things like giant TVs and hot tubs for which she ultimately has no room. Lip also stops in, asking Fiona about a shift change but still kicking her when she’s down about her current disaster of a situation.
Fiona becomes increasingly more hysterical, having to turn away deliveries of Etta’s insane purchases while the ceilings around her are literally collapsing. She eventually steals and hides Etta’s credit card, later using it to buy the new tiles she needs.
Fiona’s reunion with Kevin was one of the best parts of the episode. Kevin is distraught in his own right, trying to deal with the fallout of Svetlana’s recent shadiness and his inability to keep trusting her. In this episode alone, Svetlana stole Kevin’s “t-tty van” to get insurance money, started a new home business making fake passports, and let her “aunt” rent out the apartment above the bar — none of which Kevin was told about. Kevin also feels like V might be “p-ssy-whipped,” as she keeps making excuses for Svetlana despite her obviously questionable behavior. So Kev goes to Fiona for advice.
He explains the whole situation and says that despite everything, “you know us better than anyone,” and promises to help Fiona with the Laundromat in the process. When he’s done filling her in on recent events, Fiona is hesitant to give her honest opinion but does anyway at Kevin’s behest. “I never ever trusted Svetlana,” Fiona says. “I was raised by a con artist, and I know one when I see one.” She admits she regrets not speaking up when Svetlana and V got married, and blames Svetlana for turning V against her (which, let’s be honest, isn’t totally true — Fiona was a pretty selfish a-hole to V without Svetlana in the picture), but she wishes she had said something sooner because she misses V every day. It was nice to see Fiona let down her stubborn armor and admit the truth for once this season!
Kev appreciates the honesty. Things manage to get worse in the Laundromat and Fiona has a serious breakdown, so Kevin recruits the patrons at the Alibi to help them, promising free drinks for a week in exchange. V has the nerve to stand up to him about this, saying he never talked to her about it, so Kevin brings up the many recent things no one talked to HIM about, either. It’s so great to see Kevin standing up for himself!
The patrons from the Alibi, Frank included, get to the Laundromat and take over, bringing their own tools and expertise in laying tiles. Frank even congratulates Fiona on buying the Laundromat, calling it a good investment. Trevor shows up with Ian and also extends his congratulations. Now Fiona’s feeling proud of herself, like it wasn’t such a bad idea to put her up family’s home for a loan to buy a dilapidated Laundromat. Hint: It still was.
Fiona hugs Kev and profusely thanks him for all of his help, and Kev says he just needs one thing — to crash on her couch.
NEXT: The case for Lip Gallagher
It’s becoming clear Lip has some real feelings for Sierra and those feelings might be mutual, despite how they keep joking about being casual. He tries to insert himself into an argument between Sierra and her ex, Charlie, but Sierra tells Lip to stay out of it, which he does (for now).
While he’s at work, Professor Youens calls him to make sure he’ll be at his appeal hearing. He brings Ian as his character witness, and both Youens and Ian make great, heartwarming cases for why Lip deserves another chance. Lip speaks for himself, too, saying he knows he’s made mistakes and he regrets them, but the thing he misses about being at a university is the opportunity to be around brilliant minds like Professor Youens. He mentions his upbringing and his father, and how he wants to make sure he can live out his life and have a career (thus being better than his father). Honestly, Lip has done a lot of messed-up stuff… But Youens, Ian, and Lip himself made the best possible case for him here. He has proved he can and wants to be better.
Of course, after all that, the board ultimately rejects “his” request for appeal. The board members agree he has a bright future, but they have to uphold the rules and can’t reverse his expulsion or expunge his record (a.k.a. we think you have a bright future, but we’re going to effectively prevent that from happening… Good luck!). This was a pretty harsh result of something Lip didn’t want to put himself through anyway, and predictably, he takes it very hard. He gets drunk somewhere and goes back to work — and when Charlie shows up to try to talk to Sierra again, Lip beat the sh-t out of him in the street. Ian tries to intervene, but Lip yells at Ian, too.
Later, Lip tries to beg Sierra for forgiveness, but she tells him “I don’t need another out-of-control addict in my life” and shuts the door in his face.
Poor, Poor Debbie
I know Debbie’s been a bit a big pain for the last two seasons: She’s stubborn; she’s kind of a b-tch most of the time; she’s argumentative; and above all else, she got herself into a situation she couldn’t handle after Fiona begged her not to. But this episode is where my attitude for Debbie is changing… She REALLY does not deserve this.
Debbie feels like she needs to prove to Tanya she’s a good mother to Franny and very capable of keeping her. She thinks Tanya is the one who called DCFS on her after seeing her fight with the homeless lady and wants to get Tanya on her side. After making it clear Sierra and her son are now unwelcome in Neil’s house, Debbie heads out to Tanya’s.
Once there, Tanya is condescendingly nice to Debbie but invites her in so Franny can meet her abuela — Derek’s mom, Celia. This is when things get really, really weird. Tanya and Celia are all over Franny, playing with her, coo-ing at her, etc. Debbie feels like this is a good thing and is glad they like her (despite the fact they treated her like she didn’t exist and kept her from the baby’s father, mind you). They dodge or ignore every question Debbie asks about Derek and then ask to take a photo of Franny — which Tanya CUTS DEBBIE OUT OF. Could this GET any weirder? Yes, it does.
NEXT: A mother’s worst nightmare
Debbie is completely blind to this weirdness and invites Tanya and Celia to her house — again, to let them know she’s doing fine and can take good care of Franny. Once there, they meet Neil, who immediately mentions Derek is a deadbeat. Debbie explains his brain damage but says he’s great with Franny. As they leave, Debbie thanks them for hearing her out and asks them to speak well of her to DCFS. It’s pretty clear these two can’t be trusted, though.
Debbie leaves for a bit to fight with Fiona about giving her a job for the time being. When she returns, Franny is gone and Neil says Celia came to take her for a walk. Still naive as ever, Debbie goes back to Tanya’s to say it’s almost Franny’s bedtime, and (predictably, at least for the rest of us) they WON’T GIVE FRANNY BACK TO HER. That’s right, Celia says Debbie “trapped” Derek and is an unfit mother, so they’re going to keep Franny, claiming Debbie she can “fool DCFS but she can’t fool them.” Then Debbie yells in a window threatening to kill them, and Tanya catches it on videotape.
You’d have to be completely ice-cold on the inside to not feel heartbroken for Debbie right now. First of all, where is Tanya’s kid with whom she “trapped” Derek’s brother? Shouldn’t she be concerned about her own child and not someone else’s?
Why is Tanya’s mother-in-law living with her? Do these two just hang out all day together, plotting against poor young mothers they deem “unfit”? And above all else, they were the reason Debbie was on the street in the first place! (Well, them and Fiona.) Where were they when Debbie was pregnant and asking for their support? Where were they reprimanding Derek when he got Debbie pregnant in the first place? I guess it’s clear — this whole plotline is a little insane and incomprehensible to me.
What Everyone Else Was Up To
After finding out about Fiona’s Laundromat purchase, Frank decides he needs to prove he’s useful to have around. He breaks into the Gallagher house and goes to work, trying to fix the toilet, clean things up, do the laundry. He’s successful with about half of his endeavors, and then manages to bring the brand-new washer and dryer from the homeless shelter over to the Gallagher house. Ian still chases him out of the house with a bat, though. Frank also dances with Etta (who thinks he’s her late husband) at the end of the episode because he needs somewhere to sleep. It’s sort of sweet.
Trevor and Ian are having fun post-sex, making breakfast together. Ian is a standup guy and sibling this episode — he helps Fiona, he helps Lip, he looks out for Liam, and he’s presumably saving lives as an EMT in between everything. Let’s all recommend Ian for “Gallagher of the Year”.
“… As advertised.” —Trevor