Sunday, February 1, 2015

REVIEW: 'Shameless' - Fiona Makes a Crazy & Rash Decision on Her Relationship with Gus in 'A Night to Remem-Wait, What?'

Showtime's Shameless - Episode 5.04 "A Night to Remem-Wait, What?"

Frank arrives at Lou's to pick up his insurance settlement and is shocked to learn that he's already collected it. Fiona and Gus continue to hit it off. Lip visits Amanda and her family in Miami. Carl starts a new job as a drug dealer but quickly realizes he's in over his head. Ian goes overboard when he starts stealing suitcases from the airport baggage claim.

How in the world did it take Shameless five seasons to stage a "Frank has a Hangover-style adventure" plot? That feels like something that character should have done ages ago. And now, he's recovering from a liver transplant and throwing his life away yet again. Perhaps because of his recent brush with death, it makes this story a more potent idea because we get a much better understanding of just how reckless he is being. He hasn't changed his lifestyle one bit. At first, he proclaimed this season that he would be cutting back to one alcoholic beverage per day in order to live for another 8 to 10 years. And yet, that was a plan he didn't take seriously because he wanted that one drink to have the highest alcohol content possible. Never for one second did anyone think he would change - with the exceptions of Sheila and Sammi, but after their big fight last week they aren't around to care about or for him anymore.

Frank hasn't blacked out like this since his trip down to Mexico at the start of Season 3. And now, it's so much more dangerous because he's at risk of rejecting his new liver. And yet, he doesn't have a care in the world except for collecting his massive insurance payout. Knowing Frank, it's not surprising at all that he wastes all the money on his many vices - including drinking, drugs, gambling and wild parties with prostitutes. It's humorous watching Frank slowly lose all of this money - even though I knew at the start of the hour that he wouldn't end up with any of it. This big payout could drastically alter the socio-economic dynamics of the show. Honestly, would Frank with lots of money be that interesting to watch? Possibly. After five seasons though, we're not expecting Frank to suddenly be reasonable and wisely know what to do and what not to do with a big amount of money just like this. We just know that he would foolishly spend all of it and end up back on the streets just like he did at the top of the hour. He did help some impoverished children pay for prosthetics though. But Frank didn't willfully donate that money. He doesn't care about those kids. He only cares about himself. He doesn't deserve that money. So it feels justified that he doesn't get any of it. Frank's wild night is largely resolution to a plot thread introduced last season. It's treated as such without any indication of informing his story for the next part of the fifth season - other than that he's abusing his new liver like he did the old one.

What is a big character moment is Fiona's decision to rush into a marriage with Gus, the musician. It's a crazy and wild idea that comes out of nowhere. They've only been seeing each other for less than two weeks. And yet, there's just something about Gus that feels different than any of the other dozen guys Fiona has dated. He feels genuine. Usually that means she gets bored quickly. And yet, he also feels alluring, mysterious and exciting. He is a nice guy but he still offers enough to keep Fiona entertained and interested at all times. Sure, they spend a lot of that time together having sex. But Fiona does feel a genuine spark between them even when they are just sitting and eating. That doesn't mean they should get married. Marriage is much more complicated than your average relationship. But it also feels like something Fiona would do. It also helps distinguish Gus from the many other suitors she has had - both in the past and in the present. Sean is still lurking in the background. The connection with Davis is basically over after the reveal of him already having a girlfriend. Plus, there's still the looming threat of SteveJimmyJack's return.

Fiona is making this big commitment to a guy she barely knows but wants to spend time with. She doesn't consult her family or friends before making this decision. Gus asks her and they rush off to city hall to make it official. It's crazy. They are given multiple opportunities to leave. And yet, they choose to stay and get married. They do make a cute couple. But marriage is so much more than being attracted to someone and having sex. Fiona has never been great at sustaining a relationship longterm. Marriage is promising to be with someone for the rest of your life. This is the only way I would expect Fiona to get married. And yet, I can't help but think that this rash decision will come back to hurt her later on this season. However, it is nice to see her be this happy in life again. Last season was brutal on her. She's trying to build her life up again. Gus doesn't present the same toxic threat to her life as Robbie did. Gus does feel good for her. But will that happiness last? That is the big question in this relationship - plus how the rest of the family will react to the big news.

Fiona's only real vantage point into a good and healthy marriage is Kev and Vee. They aren't technically married but they are the stable couple in this world. Right now though, they are fighting. Having babies has really transformed their family unit. Vee isn't willing to sacrifice a part of herself because of her daughters. She doesn't want her life to change just because Amy and Gemma have joined their family. Kev is focused so much on their well-being that he at times is ignoring Vee. He needs to know that his little girls are safe and healthy. The first night away from the kids is a big deal. Vee wants to get the excitement back in their relationship - and more importantly, have sex again - while Kev wants to make sure that the girls will be okay while they're gone. Vee just wants to have a good time and thus leaves Kev in order to hit the town with Fiona. The night of fun takes a sharp twist when she gets an orgasm through simply grinding against some guy on the dance floor. That's such a Shameless thing to do. It's the craziest thing that has happened to Vee since she and Kev had a threesome with her mother. However, it's bound to have big complications for her relationship which is in a rough patch. This could push things over. If Kev and Vee can't make marriage work, how in the world can anyone else?

Some more thoughts:
  • "A Night to Remem-Wait, What?" was written by Davey Holmes and directed by Richie Keen.
  • Lip takes a trip down to Miami to visit Amanda at her family's wealthy estate. It's drastically different than anywhere he has ever been. This is the destination he is heading towards if he keeps it up in school. It parallels nicely against the lifestyle of his family back home in Chicago. And yet, some things are the same in that Amanda's father likes to get high too.
  • There wasn't a whole lot to the Mickey-Ian steal baggage story. And yet, it was worth it just to see Mickey's face after seeing how overboard Ian has taken the whole scheme. He knows that something is wrong. And yet, he's afraid and unsure of what to do about it.
  • A week after she date raped a guy to lose her virginity, Debbie is given a new romantic interest in a guy who works at a boxing gym. And now, she's interested in that in order to see more of him. It was nice to see her be scrappy and pick a couple of fights though - even if she couldn't handle four girls at the same time.
  • Carl has started a job - as a drug dealer! His inability to figure out the math involved is suppose to be funny. And yet, I'm worried about how horrible all of this could go very quickly for both him and the entire family. He seems pretty relaxed around drugs not long after his little brother almost died from them!
  • I love that after Fiona learns that Gus' last name has a silent P in front of it and makes fun of him for it, then the clerk at city hall pronounces it with the P.