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My dearly departed Grandma used to say, Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive…  But apparently, the same situation occurs when we decide to leave rails of coke out in the kitchen while our 4-year-old brother roams around unsupervised.

At least, that’s what’s happened to usually sensible but incredibly reckless as of late Fiona Gallagher (Emmy Rossum) after what began as a birthday/ screw the world pop-up party at her place quickly devolved into a nightmare of hospital tubes, potential brain damage, and full-body cavity searches.

Still reeling from her affair with nothing-but-trouble Robbie (Nick Gehlfuss) and the subsequent split with his boy scout bro, Mike (Jake McDorman) that it caused, Fee invited V (Shanola Hampton) and Kev (Scott Howey) over last week to enjoy a leftover bag of the banished bad boy’s powder. Soon, however, little Liam was rushed to the ER with Cocaine poisoning, and Fiona – having absentmindedly admitted that the coke was hers to the cops in a flurry of terrified excitement – was cuffed, fingerprinted, and tossed in the slammer.

What ensues this week is a series of increasingly uncomfortable, humiliating, and dehumanizing circumstances familiar to many a Gallagher before her but not to Fiona, as she’s processed and passed through the Cook County Jail system. Seriously, thanks to Emmy Rossum’s spectacular performance (not that she aint aces all the time, dumb ass Emmy Voters) along with indie stalwart, James Ponsoldt”s skilled direction, this awful process felt excruciatingly real, with poor Fee languishing behind bars without bail money or news of Liam’s (Brennan Kane Johnson & Blake Alexander Johnson) status for what seemed like ages. And to think after 13 episodes of Orange Is the New Black, plus a few Nat Geo specials, I thought I was practically ready for my prison neck tat. I was wrong!

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Naturally, Fee’s family wants to do what they can to get her out, but with no money, and 98% of the functional members under 18, there is little that anyone can do for her. Instead, what they do is sit vigil for young Liam, led by a shell-shocked and increasingly angry Lip (Jeremy Allen White). Currently the only 18+ year-old family member present, it’s Lip who’s able to see Liam and who receives the troubling news that the boy might be potentially brain damaged.

Stressed as always from school, and now from this devastating info as well, he focuses his anger on his sister, perhaps forgetting about all the times that he himself has F-ed up, but nonetheless blaming Fiona entirely. As far as Lip is concerned, she doesn’t need the fam’s help right now, she’s safe in jail and will be fine with a crummy public defender. After all, any money acquired needs to first go to Liam’s care.

Fortunately, while not unfounded, his thoughts aren’t shared by the rest of his kin who want nothing more than to get their de facto matriarch out of the slammer. Kev and V – though obviously guilt ridden after having partaken in said skiing adventure – are even willing to sell their truck to post bail, but alas, with no money, a sinking bar, and a litter on the way, there is little they can do besides offer emotional support to the kids and try to remind Lip of Fiona’s good intentions.

It doesn’t help that because of the severity of the case, and Liam’s uncertain status, Fiona needs to come up with 10 grand (10% of the 100,000 she really owes) for bail and there’s nothing her Marisa Tomei meets Sophia Vergara public defender (Lisa Vidal) can do about it.

That means, once again, it’s up to stand-up Mikey Pratt to rescue our girl, offering up his condo as collateral so that Fiona can breathe free air and more importantly, be reunited with her sick little bro. Naturally, he still wants nothing to do with her, but just like last week when he didn’t fire her for screwing his brother, Pratt seems to be able to rise above the drama if it means doing the right thing. That being said, with a felony on her record, it doesn’t seem like she’ll be keeping the job at the cup plant too much longer.

SHAMELESS (Season 4)

But it’s all temporarily good, because Fee’s out of jail, and Liam’s ok. So what if the family has been ordered to consult with an ongoing pediatric neurologist to monitor his brain functioning, no biggie… the kid’s a Gallagher, he’s had practice with processing toxins from drugs and booze since the womb.

As has his dear old dad, which makes it that much more surprising, especially to Frank (William H. Macy) that his liver has decided to throw in the towel. After 4 decades of abuse, according to his doc (Scott Grimes, displaying a bedside manner that wouldn’t please his Party Of Five crew) there is nothing more that modern medicine can do for the guy. That means it’s time to grab the bedpans and wheel this guy down to his local hospice to die in peace.

Actually, since Frank is broke, that means dying with Jesus and the rest of the parochial aid workers at one of the city’s subsistence religious homes where ‘Amazing Grace’ can be heard more often that at an American Idol audition, and foot rubs come cheap if you can stay conscious long enough to enjoy them. Sammi  (Emily Bergl) for one thinks a place like this would be great for him, but she also thinks that he should reunite with her mother, and that a Big Mack is just what her weirder and weirder by the minute son, Chuck (Kellen Michael) needs.

Not surprisingly, Frank aint down for the hospice. After all, he’s still coming to terms with his terminal sentence, especially considering the fact that he’s survived so much worse in his 40 years as a vagabond. Sadly though, unlike border patrol, child protective services, and the US Government, this bout with cirrhosis seems to have him beat, and nothing, not a sweatlodge, nor enough drugs to take down a horse can change that. All that’s left for him to do is to enjoy the moment and take comfort in the memories – like boinking a slut who may or may not be Sammi’s mom in a port-a -potty at the Rod Stewart concert.

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As for his children, hey, at least he knows who their mother is…  that counts for something right? Certainly to Carl (Ethan Cutkosky), who still holds a special place in his heart for Frank, so much so that he’s happy to torch Running Tree’s dangerous sweatlodge to the ground.

Luckily, The Menominee Brave (Eloy Casados) has already packed up the kids and hightailed it back to the reservation at that point, and poor Shelia (Joan Cusack) is so distraught about their leaving that she doesn’t seem to care. But can you blame the lonely mom? After all, what more could a kinky wannabe homemaker ask for than a man who’s down with some rubber penetration and who comes equipped with a crew of kids (his sister’s) just begging to be mothered. And if Shelia has it her way, soon she’ll be new mommy to the likes of One Eyed Snake, Stinking wind, and Runs With Poo. Oh it just warms the heart almost as much as her molasses syrup.

And if Debbie has her way, her and Matty (James Allen McCune) will be consummating their relationship real soon. Who knows if it’ll actually happen, but at least Matty is a shoulder for the conflicted teen to cry on.

Now, if only Fiona had someone… Sans boyfriend and looking at a whole lotta trouble ahead, it’s going to take everything she has to keep herself and her family together. But first things first, it’s time to sell that rich entitled prick Robbie own the river for some clemency.

See you next Sunday!