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Tragedy makes kids tough

Season Three of Shameless might have just ended, but that doesn’t mean that life’s getting any easier for the Gallaghers and friends. Actually, I take that back, Kev (Scott Howey) and V (Shanola Hampton) seem to be ambling along toward their happy ending. After months of icky effort, V’s mom (Vanessa Bell Calloway) is finally pregnant and preparing to bring her grandchild into the world. Of course, the expectant parents’ euphoria over seeing their first sonogram is momentarily cut short when it’s revealed that Grandma was actually fertilized 12-weeks ago and failed to mention this to her daughter so that she could keep screwing her son-in-law.

Oh alright, so maybe her intentions weren’t exactly that malicious. Yes, she sent a few inappropriate late night texts to Kev, but at the end of the day, V’s mom is lonely. All she wants is to feel needed and to be a part of her daughter’s family; at least that’s what she tells V when confronted. Perhaps it’s because the goal was achieved, or the fact that Kev’s just so damn happy to be a prize stud, or more likely that they simply need to all be united in preparation for the baby, but Angelic V does in fact give her mom the benefit of the doubt. I don’t know that I’d be as forgiving, but then again, I wouldn’t be in this situation in the first place.

And from one wacky family to the next- The Jackson’s have certainly seen plenty of ups and downs over the past three years. Between Mr. Jackson’s (Joel Murray) frozen lake plunge, Sheila’s (Joan Cusack) agoraphobia and sexual proclivities, and of course, little Karen’s (Laura Wiggins) slutty self-involvement, bastard child, and brain damaging car accident, it’s hard to think what else could possibly happen to them. Fortunately, it appears that things might have finally turned a corner.

That’s because Jody’s (Zach McGowan) rounded up his wounded wife along with her special-needs son, Hyrum/Jaime, and packed the van for their cross-country adventure. The motley crew is headed towards the “healing vortexes” of Arizona’s gorgeous Sedona Desert, in the hopes of achieving a few “miracles” among the red rocks (don’t laugh or I’ll tell Shirley MacLaine). Like Dorothy and her companions from Oz, all three are in need of something, hoping that perhaps the majestic wilderness will bestow said gifts upon them. For Karen and Jaime, some added brain-power would be much appreciated, while their guardian could benefit from a little sexual prudence. Who knows if the move will work, but the young family better stay away from those wheat grass douches; they don’t sound like they can help anything.

Poor Sheila has to sacrifice her ‘three babies’ to this noble quest, however the ever-optimistic mom is happy to see them go if it means fixing Karen. She’s also happy to help them pack, sharing a sweetly moving scene with her confused albeit happy daughter. Hopefully Sedona will offer Karen a new brain, but also encourage her to keep the new heart that amnesia’s fitted her with. Until then, Mrs. Jackson will just have to keep herself busy hanging with sweet Debbie (Emma Kenney), or so she thinks.

Yes folks, little Debbie is finally growing up. She’s officially a middle-schooler, will now drown a bitch stupid enough to mess with her, oh yeah, and she’ll readily accuse a grown-up of molestation if they screw with her family. Luckily though, when it comes to Sheila, this burgeoning tough-girl is all rainbows and teddy bears. Deb encourages the lonely empty-nester to find some friends of her own age, ones who share her same interests and activities. It’s some pretty solid advice and unlike everyone else on this show, Sheila Jackson listens.

By episodes’ end, it appears that the widow has finally found her true calling. No, she’s not exactly having Tupperware parties at her home, but she is following her passion, offering some quite informative living-room demonstrations to middle-aged women, bored with the same old. Sheila clearly knows her way around a sex toy, and in fact, she seems to have taken to her new job almost as well as she has to punishing ass play.

And she’s not the only one testing out uncharted waters. Lip (Jeremy Allen White) has now become the first Gallagher to graduate high school, and naturally, a party’s in order. No matter that he’s just seen his first love maimed and departed, or that he hates his jaded teachers and has no idea where his life is going, the Gallaghers excel at revelry almost as much resilience, and this celebration is going down. Of course, with Fiona (Emmy Rossum) preoccupied, and the guest of honor uninterested, Debbie and Sheila are forced to do most of the decorating. Why is it that Debbie is always saddled with all of the responsibilities of adulthood without any of its privileges? This young girl’s life is at times so unfair that it seems like having Fiona for a big sister is the only blessing fate’s ever given her.

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Oh, but what a gift that is! Equal parts sister, mother, and father of the year, this young woman has ferociously protected her siblings while simultaneously bouncing around between so many gigs over the past three years, you would think she was Jennifer Garner in Alias. Only Sydney Bristow was probably paid more than minimum wage, and she at least got to wear cool wigs and kick ass in ethnically provocative “disguises”. Instead Fee’s been forced to shovel shit, wade through rat carcasses, and fend off the advances/erections of one sleazeball boss after another. Yet it seemed Fiona had at last found herself a good job as a sales associate for a family-run Cup Manufacturer. Sadly, they don’t call ‘em temp gigs for nothing.

Despite the obvious affections of cup scion and office boss, Mike Pratt (Jake McDorman), it appears that Fiona just isn’t experienced enough to be hired on full-time. Maybe she shouldn’t have fooled around with him up at the lake last week, or worse, cut all said activity short because of guilt over Jimmy (Justin Chatwin), but Pratt assures her that this decision is beyond his control, not based on emotional bias; apparently, Fiona can fluff with the best of them, she just doesn’t seal the deal when it comes to selling those cups. Oh, I don’t know, it could have something to do with the fact that she’s a bit distracted by the 5 mouths she constantly has to feed, or the disappearance of her shady, car-thief boyfriend, who’s officially gone missing and his own father (Harry Hamlin) once again is too preoccupied with hot dogs to give a shit.

She should be worried too, because after Jimmy’s harrowing journey onto the boat with Nando (Pepe Rapazote), last Sunday, it appears as if the misguided young man might actually be sleeping with the fishes for real this time. Tonight’s episode offered little information as to his fate, but all I can say is good thing Fiona doesn’t yet know everything. It’s also a good thing that Beto (Bernardo de Paula) has admired her selflessness all season and decides to give her an envelope of cash supposedly “from her missing lover”. He also tells Fee that she was too good for Jimmy, which makes me believe that a. Those are actually his word’s not those of the ill-fated cutie, and b. Jimmy is really dead. Though believe it or not, my most pressing question concerning this whole situation is, how did the entire family go all season without ever noticing the nefarious looking Brazilian in the huge black SUV that was parked in front of their house almost every day?

Alas, I may never know, but no matter, because Beto’s cash gift is just what Fiona needs to invest in her struggling career. Ever resourceful, she convinces Kev to use the money to buy a bunch of cups for The Alibi, thus ridding the super-sister of her sales virginity and making her eligible for full time work at Pratt’s Plant. Yes folks, Miss Fiona Gallagher finally gets to be part of the work force without having to wear a tube top or a haz-mat suit. Alas, now if only her love-life could be so successful. Though after pouring out every emotion associated with the grief process in a series of increasingly perturbed voice mails on Jimmy’s unanswered cell phone, she does at least come to somewhat accept the situation, valuing the relationship for the love that was once there, and realizing it has run its course.

And speaking of running its course, Frank’s organs have finally thrown in the towel after years of neglect and abuse. Beginning the episode in jail (for last week’s petty theft with Carl (Ethan Cutkoski)), he initially believes that it’ll be withdrawal symptoms, or his cellmate Julius’s noxiously toxic dumps that’ll do him in. Soon however, the Gallagher patriarch finds out that those minor annoyances are the least of his problems; this guy’s got a veritable cornucopia of drinking-related diseases from liver failure to esophageal varices (not sure what that is, but the accompanying Google image is not pretty). Shockingly, this case isn’t terminal yet, just as long as Frank chooses to never hit the Jesus-juice again, but we all know how easy that is for him. On the bright side, the prison hospital doesn’t want to waste resources treating him, and Frank’s released early to begin the healing.  Of course, by healing, I mean shots of scotch and Jager at The Alibi.

No Frank doesn’t necessarily have a death wish, he just hates doctors and their “online degrees’, enjoys living for the moment, and prefers drinking to breathing. In fact, he plans to deal with this issue exactly like he has everything else, but in an act of Shameless serendipity, the terminal leech pulls a seat up at the bar right next to his son, Lip. It appears that the high school graduate has decided to celebrate receiving his diploma by tossing a few back as well, and even though he has a contentious history with Frank, who better to get messed-up with? And we’re not just talking day drinking; there’s a push-up contest, a scotch and lobster dinner dine-and–dash, and even some pre-Christmas ice-skating that takes place. Frank wants his son to be just like him, rolling with the punches, chasing the fun-life, and flouting authority at any chance he gets. But what he doesn’t want, is Lip acting like an amateur and puking on the ice.

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Ironically, it’s not just his son who loses his lunch, as it seems like Frank’s ailing body can no longer handle all the revelry. After a gruesomely bloody upchuck, it becomes pretty clear that things are quite serious for him. Serious enough to warrant a hospital visit from Fiona (as if she didn’t already have enough going on) in which the girl actually seems conflicted: she’s prayed for this moment as a child, even written to Santa asking him to bring it about, but now that is might actually happen, she somehow feels guilt ridden. That’s probably because despite his failings, Frank has two tween children who worship the ground he walks on. Debbie fully credits her father for teaching her how to be an urban white kid, while Carl still thinks his dad not only cured his cancer, but is also the best criminal partner in all of the South Side. It might help if anyone would tell these two what’s really going on, but instead, they’ve been sheltered from the “adult problems”.

A little adult authority’s never stopped Carl before though, and he gladly sneaks off to the hospital to visit his dad, offering to his ailing father, the same treatment that Frank used to cure him (minus the TUMS). No matter that the half-shaven patient looks like a demented Hare Krisha, Carl’s touching gesture provides perhaps the most unexpectedly poignant moment of the entire season- Whoda thunk that either of these two could engage in such a sweetly demonstrative act of love?

Now, if only Ian (Cameron Monaghan) and Mickey Milkovich (Noel Fisher) could. After an entire season, our boy’s tired of being lovelorn and he’s making more changes. Using Lip’s valid, of-age ID, Ian’s enlisted for active duty, while leading his family to believe that he’s simply departing for a ROTC training weekend. He won’t return (if lucky enough to even do so) for 4 years, and Mickey, it’s all your fault! Mandy’s (Emma Greenwell) right, you are a coward!

Your sister, on the other hand, while slightly unbalanced, and certainly possessive,  is good peeps. She’s devoted herself to ungrateful Lip and it actually might have paid off. Lip’s been accepted on a full ride to MIT. Question is, will he go? Also, will he take Mandy, or forgive her for her attempted murder?

Will Mickey see the error of his ways, divorce his whore and chase after Ian?

Will Karen be healed?

Will Jimmy be back, or how bout Monica (Chloe Webb) for that matter?

Will Frank continue this late season sweet streak and actually stop drinking for his kids?

Another season of Shameless comes to an end, leaving us with more questions than ever! What do you think?