Over its eight seasons, Shameless — aside from William H. Macy and Joan Cusack — has been largely ignored by awards voters. Most of the outrage in the early years was in regards to the annual outrageous tradition of snubbing Emmy Rossum. And while she’s still the anchor and helps carry the series, Jeremy Allen White has slowly become an absolute force and is more than deserving of being the next great Shameless actor the Emmys and Golden Globes completely ignore.
“Church of Gay Jesus” begins like many recent Shameless outings have: with a busy morning at the Gallagher house. Ian’s mapping out “gay-hating” churches in the area; Kassidi is making breakfast; and Frank is planning his retirement. “Time to reflect on my accomplishments and bask in the spoils of a life well lived,” he says as he uses a retirement calculator. He’s confused about the results, so Lip explains to him that he needs $23,000 annually to retire and Frank is $22,000 short.
The newly engaged Carl comes downstairs, ecstatic to see what Kassidi is cooking up. “I’m going to cook every day, and dinner too, and then bl– jobs for dessert,” she tells him. “I’m going to be the best f—ing wife.” And the best sister/daughter-in-law, considering she bought everyone engagement gifts. Everyone is given cool, actual, paid-for gifts, while Carl gets a vial of Kassidi’s blood. Hopefully she got a gift receipt.
Absent from the eventful breakfast is Fiona, who’s painting her new apartment. Nessa stops by to reveal that she had a miscarriage, but she seems to be handling it well, even if she hasn’t told Mel yet. The conversation then shifts to Ford when he texts Fiona an invite to go furniture shopping. “I’ve never waited this long for someone to bang me,” she quips to Nessa. This doesn’t stop her from meeting up with him, and it ends up being worthwhile. No banging, but he does get her a big discount on a very expensive chair.
While Fiona pays for her own furniture, Svetlana is trying to find someone to buy her a chair and much, much more. Kev and V have stepped up their attempts to help their former throuple member land a sugar daddy (the richer, older, and sicker, the better). The plan doesn’t get off to the best start when an old (check) rich (check) guy named Gerald arrives for a date. Slight problem: He’s not offering her a chance to be his wife. Instead, he counters with an offer of $40 for a 30-minute hook-up in his car (no shoes allowed). She responds by punching him right in the face, like Frank with the little girl.
Clearly, Svetlana needs some guidance, so Kev gives her an earpiece to allow him to talk her through future encounters. “This is spy s—,” he argues, as James Bond-type music plays. “It’s in your DNA.” All of their practice goes out the window when Svetlana ignores the lessons and sheds the mic to try her own strategy, which really is just to grab the next old man’s junk.
When Fiona and Ford arrive back at her building, they discover the family of Rodney (the man who was injured working on her roof) camping out there. She realizes they’re homeless and offers to speak to Trevor about finding them some housing. Trevor comes through, but it’s going to take two days, so of course, our bleeding heart, Fiona, says they can stay in her place until then.
Quick recap of Lip’s recent troubles: His ex got back with her ex; his mentor went to jail; his sponsor fell off the wagon. Well, the universe continues to kick Lip when he’s down, as he goes to visit Youens in prison, only to be told that his professor died. Lip’s left speechless and in shock. He heads for Youens’ house, where he’s surprised to find the man’s previously absent daughter, Tabitha. She reveals that he had a seizure due to alcohol withdrawal and hit his head. There’s going to be a memorial service tomorrow. “Well, I’m so glad you were well parented by my dad,” she says as Lip explains his connection to her father.
Elsewhere, Ian has officially become a superstar. The video of him saving that hateful priest has gone viral, and as a result, followers are lining up to greet him when he arrives for work. “I guess they just want to be seen by someone who sees them back,” he tells his coworker. He does just that when he preaches in front of a large group at the Gallagher house. “He’s like a prophet, and he’s super hot too, like Hot Gay Jesus,” opines Kassidi. This gives Frank an idea on how to make money off of his son’s new popularity. A freshly arrived Fiona is curious about what’s going on. “Just a queer religious rebellion led by your brother,” explains Frank. “No biggie.” She’s just proud of Ian for being “the first Gallagher to become famous for something other than larceny or assault.” (Recap continues on page 2)
Meanwhile, some religion could be used upstairs, as Kassidi very loudly freaks out over Carl’s insistence that he still return to school. Like, have some respect for the people in the house who are currently trying to write a eulogy for their dead professor/mentor/friend! The next day, Carl returns home to find his military clothes cut up and scattered on the lawn. Kassidi insists that she’ll die if they’re separated. To calm her down, Carl reluctantly agrees to get married. They immediately go to do so, but the courthouse tells them their marriage certificate isn’t effective until tomorrow.
What’s Debbie up to? Well, she’s left her gig as a dog sitter/drug thief to take on some shady welding gigs. She starts doing scab work, which proves to be very dangerous, since it seems you either get beaten up by union workers or possibly severely injured — and the latter happens to Debbie.
While his sister is dealing with physical pain, Lip is facing the emotional kind. He attends the memorial service for Youens and watches as former student after former student gets up to share similar stories of the lengths the late professor went to for them. Realizing he wasn’t the only one, Lip crumples up his eulogy and leaves. He proceeds to make a late-night stop at work, suddenly going from being calm to losing it, trashing the shop and his bike.
When Lip eventually returns home, Youens’ daughter is waiting for him and wants to know why he didn’t speak. “Everything I was going to say was already said,” he replies. Tabitha gives him a draft of a recommendation letter her dad was writing about Lip. We don’t hear the contents, but she says she’s never heard her dad talk about a student like that (so he was Youens’ favorite after all!). He reads it and then gives it back, adding, “I think I’m too angry to keep it.” She begins crying and he consoles her.
All right, it’s time for Fiona and Ford to stop dealing with homeless people and get back to dealing with their post-first kiss relationship. As they have a drink at the Alibi, Fiona complains that Ford never asks anything about her, to which he replies that it’s because he already knows everything. “You are so very much yourself — and you don’t even have to try,” he shares. “And frankly, you scare the f—ing s— out of me.” They make out at the bar and then have a lot of sex back at his place. There’s even some pillow talk, with Fiona admitting that she might not want to have kids of her own. The intimate moment is interrupted by a call from Nessa. It turns out Rodney’s family has the audacity to rent out Fiona’s apartment to other homeless people. And as if that weren’t ballsy enough, they’re suing her for $6 million. “Motherf—er” is right, Fiona.
After the slight in delay in being able to get married, Carl has a heart-to-heart with Kassidi, expressing his love and wish that they’d wait to tie the knot. She seems okay with it. However, her actions soon tell a different story. Carl later arrives home with flowers, and when Kassidi hears him coming up the stairs, she stages an attempt at suicide by hanging. He arrives just in time to “save” her. She uses this moment to once again pressure him into an impromptu wedding.
Fiona and Ian don’t get an invite to the ceremony, but they do learn of the union via a picture message. Ian asks his sister for a ride to his big speaking engagement. He admits that he’s “scared s—less” and feels like he has to do it. “Everyone thinks I have something to say,” he shares. “What if I don’t?” They arrive at the church, where Frank and Lip are raking in the cash with their “Church of Gay Jesus” merchandise (that retirement plan is looking a little better). Initially nervous, Ian quickly gets comfortable in front of the packed house. “We have the God-given right to be who we are, not who others want us to be,” he declares, leading to a standing ovation.
The most shameless character of the week: Kassidi. You’re like 15; why can’t you wait a few years and let our beloved Carl make something out of himself?!
What did you think? How do you feel about Ian’s recent story arc? What do you expect in the season’s final two episodes?