Shameless recap: 'Frank's Northern Southern Express'
Lip auditions new sponsors
Emmy Rossum, Fiona herself, directed “Frank’s Northern Southern Express,” which serves as her second time behind the camera on the series and one of the season’s best installments. The entertaining episode begins with Fiona waking up to mayhem (not exactly abnormal in the Gallagher house). The doorbell is ringing nonstop; Franny is crying; and Lip’s banging on the bathroom door because Debbie won’t open up. When he does finally get in, he finds his baby sister taking approximately her millionth pregnancy test of the morning. The thing is, they all say negative, which she refuses to believe, as she doesn’t trust “the slut candy,” a.k.a. the morning after pill. To calm Debbie down, Lip offers to take her to Planned Parenthood.
Once they clear out, Fiona gets naked to shower, only to scream when she discovers Brad sleeping in the tub. Lip and Debbie rush in, with Lip telling his off-the-wagon sponsor he can’t stay at the house anymore, while Debbie asks him, “Did you watch me pee, pervert?” People watching other people pee continues downstairs when Fiona finds Carl and his new girlfriend Cassidy in the bathroom. How do I know they’re officially dating? Well, her “All Carl’s” underwear was one indication.
The doorbell was for Frank, whose new business is booming. In the backyard, he has a large group of foreigners seeking refuge in Canada. “I want you to know, just because you look like terrorists doesn’t mean you should be treated like them,” he declares. “Until America can distinguish between good brown people and bad brown people, it’s my goal to get you all safely across the border into Canada.” Since school is out for the summer, Liam has been tapped as his father’s assistant; his tasks include finding “one illegal from each banned Muslim country.” Meanwhile, in the front yard, American citizens are lining up to submit their orders for medicines they want smuggled back.
Meanwhile, the clean-up of the Youth Center’s new housing has begun, even if Ian’s still plenty bitter about Fiona essentially stealing the church from them. He’s soon got bigger problems, though, when he learns that one of the kids tried to kill himself after his parents brought him to a gay conversion church. Trevor and Ian pay a visit to Jamie, who looks to be in rough shape. He gives his friends the rundown on the church, prompting Ian to tell him, “You don’t need to be saved.” I’d say the people who need to be saved are those behind the church, since Ian’s surely coming for them.
In lighter news, Kevin’s mission to have a more dominant personality is going really well. He’s getting sex and breakfast on command from V, while also finally being able to stand up to Svetlana, which even turns him on. “I’m making myself so hot,” he admits. This new development clearly has Svetlana worried about her place in the bar and at home.
Debbie’s freak-out over her presumed pregnancy continues at Planned Parenthood. She’s come a long way from when she’d scold Fiona for suggesting an abortion during the first time around with Franny, considering the unemployed teenager has already decided that’s the route she’ll go here if need be. While waiting for his sister, Lip encounters a familiar face in Charlie — you know, Sierra’s ex and former addict, whom Lip sent a cocaine pizza to. Charlie’s there because he knocked up another girl when he and Sierra were supposedly separated. He hasn’t told her yet, something Lip insists Charlie has to rectify (not sure I’d take advice or demands from my romantic rival).
Strolling right into Nessa and Mel’s apartment, Fiona vents about her home situation: “Every day I wake up to screaming or crying or f—ing or someone doing crazy s—.” To be fair, she’s often doing many of those things there. The burgeoning entrepreneur insists she can’t afford to move out, prompting Nessa to suggest she move into the vacant apartment downstairs. After Nessa and Mel rush off to the fertility doctor, Fiona makes herself at home, putting up her feet and pondering life on her own.
Frank, some immigrants, and a goat are on their way to Canada, and the Gallagher patriarch isn’t just a mode of transportation, as he also tries to play a game that will help these people get to know each other. Unfortunately, Frank doesn’t get them over the border easily. They must make a long journey through the woods, during which Frank speaks very highly of their soon-to-be new land. “Healthcare for all,” he shares. “Marriage equality for gays. Legal hookers for the asking.”
The immigrants perk up even more at the mention of Justin Bieber, so much so that they all sing “Baby” during their hike. The sing-along is slightly delayed by one of the customers passing out, but she’s okay; Frank just needed to cut open her burka. It’s quickly back to “Baby,” and then some Celine Dion. The trek ends when they arrive at “Freedom Falls.” Frank passes off the travelers to his Canadian partner, and after getting the medicines on his list, he returns to his car.
Still in need of that shower, Fiona goes to use Mrs. Cardinal’s former unit, which hopefully doesn’t have any drunks sleeping in the tub. Fiona’s enjoyment of the peace, quiet, and solitude leads to a solo underwear dance party that gets interrupted by Ford letting himself in to pick up some tools he left behind. After she gets dressed, he mentions how he’s restoring an old home and offers to show her a few historical buildings on the South Side (the man knows that ladies love architecture).
Their tour ends at the house he’s staying at and currently working on. He invites her to lie down on his bed and look at the painting on the roof. This is romantic as hell, so she starts kissing him, only to realize he’s not returning the lip action. Why? He insists that he’s both single and straight, and it’s because he thinks she’s “complicated.” That rightfully doesn’t sit well with Fiona and she storms out (the man doesn’t know that ladies don’t love to be called complicated). (Recap continues on next page)
With Brad out of commission, Lip’s finally meeting prospective new sponsors, and he starts with Barb (Orange Is the New Black star Lea DeLaria, a.k.a. Big Boo). He’s surprised by the fact that he’s allowed to have a woman sponsor. She points out that it’s fine if there’s no risk of them falling in love, to which he jokes, “Well, you never know, right?” (Honestly, knowing how much Lip and Big Boo get around, you never really know.) Lip immediately runs down everything he’s dealing with, ranging from Brad falling off the wagon, Youens going to jail, and Sierra and Charlie’s relationship. “I’m sorry, did I just walk into an episode of Gossip Girl?” interrupts Barb. “What exactly does that Blake Lively whiny crap got to do with you?” This hilarious (to me, not so much to him) response has Lip thinking this is a bad match, so he leaves.
His interactions don’t get any more pleasant when he spots Sierra looking stressed outside of Patsy’s. When she starts venting, he believes it’s because of Charlie, but it’s actually about her dad, who murdered her mom and is now up for parole. Charlie shows up late to take her to the hearing and Lip takes him aside to strongly suggest he come clean about the girl he got pregnant. Thankfully, I’ve never been in this exact situation, but I wonder if telling your girlfriend that you knocked someone else up on the way to her father’s parole hearing — for killing her mother — isn’t the best timing.
It’s Debbie’s turn to make dinner, and she’s made nasty food and not-ideal table talk (she still hasn’t gotten her period). Luckily, new “sis” Cassidy decides to Postmate KFC for everybody. Soon, Ian and Fiona both come home heated. For Ian, he’s in search of a Bible after briefly stopping by the gay conversion church. Then, Fiona comes in looking for her family to vehemently disagree with Ford’s assessment of her. “Can you believe this guy today told me that I’m complicated?” she asks, to which in full unison they all reply, “Yes!” They proceed to give some great examples of why it’s true. “Okay, I get it, I’m complicated,” she concedes.
Now armed with the Bible, Ian goes back to the church, where he interrupts a sermon by quoting scripture. As someone records the dispute on their phone, Ian repeatedly counters the pastor’s anti-gay Bible passages. He even gets in a little extra jab with the introduction of Trevor, his transgender boyfriend. Ian’s passionate display has many of the kids ready to leave with him, which greatly angers at least one of the dads. Getting in his face, Ian declares, “You want to fight? I’ll fight you, but you’re going to get your ass kicked by a homosexual.” When they all return to the Youth Center housing, Ian’s greeted with a round of applause as the video from the church has already gone viral.
Since things didn’t work out with Barb, Lip’s still on the search for a new sponsor, but he’s not finding much success, whether it’s because they’re anti-woman or super old. His frustration isn’t helped by Charlie and Sierra’s return. There was no decision on her dad and Charlie didn’t share his secret, which causes an argument between the two men. Unaware of what they’re talking about, Sierra chimes in, “Stay out of my life and focus on your own s—, Lip.” Wait, that sounds familiar. He decides to do just that and goes crawling back to Barb.
Carl’s basement rehab business seems to have ended, so he’s strictly driving for his Uber rip-off UBBER. Cassidy tags along with him, but she doesn’t handle the GPS or aux cord; instead, she’s either giving him a hand job or trying to hold his hand. The former doesn’t get noticed by a passenger, but the latter does and leads to Carl losing a customer. This causes a brief argument between the inseparable couple, as Cassidy even threatens to go home. It all gets resolved, though, and she gives his ass a good grab and they head inside.
Thanks to some sexy welding pics that Liam took of her, Debbie has landed a much-needed job. But in even better news, while working, she finally gets her period, albeit in a porta potty.
Fiona arrives at her building expecting to stop by Nessa and Mel’s small get-together, only to discover a huge party celebrating the news that they’re pregnant. And by they, I mean both of them are pregnant. Mel did fertility treatments and Nessa had sex with a man to increase their odds. And the lucky daddy is none other than Ford, who it turns out has fathered a few other kids for their lesbian friends. Speaking of the man of the hour, he shows up and is greeted by Fiona, who cracks, “Now who’s complicated?” Boom, roasted!
Back at the Gallagher household, Frank’s thrilled with how his new business is going. “We finally found a family business that uses our god-given talents,” he tells Liam, whom he only gives a cut of $20. “It’s true what they say: ‘With a lot of hard work and a little bit of luck, you can make something of yourself in America.’ And we owe all of our success to one person — the Twitterer in Chief.” They then cheers to “false fear.” Frank already has his eye on expansion, considering he’s traded in his recently purchased car for a van that’s sporting a Canadian flag and reads “Gallagher + Son Import Export.”
The most shameless character of the week: Carl. Just bringing your girlfriend along while you drive for Uber earns you a 1, so let’s not even get started on what score getting a hand job should result in.
What did you think? Is Lip’s new sponsor an upgrade over Brad? How quickly into the next episode will Fiona and Ford hook up?