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Too bad we can’t all be pleasantly hopped up on the Perky C’s like Frank Gallagher  (William H. Macy) because after tonight’s roller coaster of an episode, I for one feel like my heart is racing faster than Ian’s  (Cameron Monaghan) during a happy hour shift at The White Swallow.

Yes Shameless fans, prodigal Ian has at last returned to us after being MIA for pretty much the first half of the season! Actually, The long lost Gallagher hasn’t so much returned…  it’s more like he’s been located by his siblings after an attempt to enlist in the army under a false alias didn’t go over too well with Uncle Sam.

Apparently the US Government frowns upon minors using falsely of age documentation to secure a spot on the front lines, and then attempting to steal a bunch of stuff –nothing big, just some underwear, and a chopper – before going AWOL. At least that’s how it appears when Major Pain and his cohorts decide to kick down the door of the bathroom stall where young Lip (Jeremy Allen White) has just settled down for a mid-study BM.

As if finding a private moment to drop a deuce in peace wasn’t hard enough when you share a communal bathroom with everyone on your floor, now the poor college freshman must contend with the fact that his brother has assumed his identity and is clearly running amuck with it. Fortunately, a loyal big bro – and tried and true Gallagher – Lip subscribes to the snitches get stiches school of thought, so rather than rat Ian out to the troops, he offers them no info, and instead decides to carry out his own stealth ginger-hunt.

That means it’s another trip home to the neighborhood for the co-ed, this time to question some of Ian’s former paramours for potential clues to his whereabouts. First up is characteristically pleasant Mickey Milkovich (Noel Fisher) who’s still playing the dicks are for chicks game despite the obvious concern etched on that sour puss of his. Needless to say, he’s no help, although, one can hardly blame the guy for not wanting to chat about his down-low ex when he’s got other, more pressing concerns.

Like the gaggle of Russian hand job whores that he managed to emancipate from their greedy pimp last week, before taking into account the fact that these girls are illegal, highly unemployable immigrants for whom giving cheap hand jobs is the only means of putting food on the table. Now, his home has been overrun by the angry and idle sex workers, his poor sister Mandy’s (Emma Greenwell) had to share her man’s penis with one of them, and this guy, who clearly would order the meat on the menu every time, if given the choice – has more fish on his plate than a diner at Red Lobster’s all you can eat Shrimp fest.

SHAMELESS (Season 4)

Thank God for Kev and The Alibi, because now these hard working girls have a place where they can once again utilize their talents to help out their fellow man (or barfly with spare change). Sure, the wages are about the same as they were under their last employer, and yes, their massage beds have been downgraded to Hep C-alicious Salvation army cots, but hey, at least they have a limitless amount of lube and Clorox at their disposal – what more could a girl ask for?

Plus, in a true case of all’s well that ends well, the arrival of the ladies is just what expectant parents, Kev (Steve Howey) and V (Shanola Hampton) need to turn their struggling business around. Besieged by debt from Stan’s bad choices – not to mention the verbal agreement they made to his son, Alan (Jonathan Schmock), to pay him 500 bucks a month in exchange for ownership of the bar – and now plagued by a current city construction project that has virtually sealed off the entrance to The Alibi, they’ve needed a miracle of Biblical proportions for weeks now.  Well, ask and ye shall receive!

So what if they still owe Alan a large bulk of the two month’s ‘rent’ that they missed, or that Kev was almost jumped by an angry – but still gay friendly – Intramural Tennis team because of it, these two are going to make it through the rain, and if Stan’s old place above the bar just happens to need a hose down every evening because of this, then so be it.

But back to our boy Ian, and his loving brother’s quest to find him… After a fruitless attempt to glean info off of Mickey, Lip teams up with a still heartbroken but equally ardent Debbie (Emma Kenney) to sniff out some more illuminating information. Last week’s dustup with Mandy has left him rather unwilling to pick her brain, so it’s a good thing that Deb’s is happy to, because thanks to her convo with Ian’s former bff, they are able to follow his trail, next to the pied a terre of Dr. Feelgood himself, Mr. Lloyd Lishman (Harry Hamlen).

Jimmy’s dad has been absent from the show now for just as long as he has, but apparently the Doc is still up to his old antics: playing with the young boys, ignoring his cuckolded wife, and not worrying at all about his probably dead son.

That being said, Lishman did offer Ian a place to stay at one point, but apparently the burgeoning party boy had an orgy at the place and didn’t include the doc, so that invitation was quickly rescinded. Don’t cry for him though, he’s already found another supple red head to keep him warm at night, and even though he might not be father of the year, at least he has some info for Deb and Lip.

And not just any info, but the potentially earth shattering news that Ian has sought refuge with none other than Monica… Relax, we weren’t lucky enough to get a glimpse of the wacky Gallagher Matriarch tonight – apparently she’s already blown in and out of town (fingers crossed that scene-stealing Chloe Webb will in fact be back before the season’s over), but we did see a rather buxom naked squatter, and eventually, we saw Ian!

Alas, he’s not the kid we used to know. For starters, he now wears guy-liner and sequined tang-tops, but more importantly, the young man’s become quite the club kid around Boystown, hitting it hard every night and by the looks of his saucer eyes and über-amped up energy, tweaking like there’s no tomorrow.

Accordingly, rather than catch his siblings up on what’s been going on with him, he insists on making them Appletini’s and smiling as if nothing’s happened. It’s quite the stilted reunion, but at least his big bro knows where he is now, and the investigation did allow Lip and Deb some much needed time to bond.

SHAMELESS (Season 4)

Now if someone would only bond with troubled Carl (Ethan Cutkosky). Here he is becoming a man, growing his first arm pubes, experiencing sensations that he’s never felt before, siphoning off gas from a schoolbus with impressive ease, and no one seems to give a damn. Certainly not fair-weathered Frank, who’s quickly replaced his former partner in crime with a new family, even though Carl has gone to great lengths, both legal and illegal to curry favor with him.

No, Frank’s impending death has him looking only towards the future, viewing his recently acquainted oldest daughter Sammi (Emily Bergl) as a chance to finally get this whole parenting thing right.  No matter that she’s already grown with a really weird kid of her own, and probably even more damaged than any of his offspring, she tolerates his bullshit and his smell. Plus, the gal knows how to rally a homeless labor force like nobody’s business.

That last skill comes in handy after Frank is told that his $100,000 leg break (once again facilitated by Carl) won’t reap any liver-saving dividends for at least a year – and he’s forced to go the route of alternative medicine. According to Sheila’s (Joan Cusack), Christian-Mingle confident and new bf, Roger Running Tree (Eloy Casados), a sweatlodge can do the trick just as well as a fancy schmancy liver transplant.

All the men have to do is construct the hut in Sheila’s backyard and before they know it, the healing can begin. That is, if they can find the labor force needed to get this thing going…

Cue Sammi and her quick solutions… because even though Running Tree has an able bodied troop of nieces and nephews, they are about as interested in all of this as Frank’s own kids – Sammi and Carl notwithstanding. But after all that, it appears that even the Godly steam isn’t enough to sweat out all of the toxins Frank has accrued from years of Taliban-style abuse, because after a while in the makeshift smoker, he’s borderline comatose and it looks like death has finally come a calling.

And he isn’t even the Gallagher who’s having the worst day!… That honor goes to his former oldest daughter, Fiona (Emmy Rossum), a woman whose tangled web of lies and deceit has at last come crashing down upon her. And to think, it all starts off so well, with tough as nails Fee finally displaying some of the self love she preaches to Debbie and kicking sleazy by-the-hour Robbie (Nick Gelfuss) to the curb for his 5 star luxury resort of a brother, Mike (Jake McDorman).

Yes, Fee’s been torn between the bros for weeks now, convinced that sweet Mike and his cup company, and the life that they could build together is the way to go, but nonetheless bored by the tater tot and looking for that bad boy flavor that Robbie brings.

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Ironically however, no sooner has she made her choice, when Robbie proceeds to tell Mike everything during another Leave it To Beaver dinner at the Pratts that quickly devolves into fighting and fisticuffs. Ever the gentleman though, MIkey chooses to reassign Fee at work rather than sack her – although V’s right, HR nightmare there – yet he’s not above cutting her loose entirely as a girlfriend, and worse, hitting her with a guilt inducing speech that would make a Jewish grandmother drop to her knees in deference.

But that’s not all… Robbie doesn’t seem to want to let go of our girl, despite the good ass whopping and face spitting she gives him for his betrayal. So much so that the next day he comes back for more, along with a bag of birthday coke assumedly that he and her can do together before screwing like rabbits.

Luckily, Fee is of sane mind when she chases him out of her house with a baseball bat, however it’s her next decision that truly makes one question her competency.  That’s because she proceeds to keep the coke, pulling out the mirror and the razor just in time for V and Kev to come over and ski the slopes. Of course if it’s your birthday and you’re over 18, you can do whatever you please (at least that’s my motto), and who can blame a girl for wanting to escape a bit. But Fee has a four-year-old to consider, and rails of coke left enticingly within reach, is just poor form.

Now, Liam is in the hospital with cocaine poisoning, Fiona’s been arrested mid-high, and the family she has worked tirelessly to keep together might have just been torn apart irrevocably by a few lines of blow.

Talk about the birthday week from Hell!