Sunday, February 8, 2015

REVIEW: 'Shameless' - Fiona Tries to Tell the Family Her Big News & Mickey Hits a Breaking Point with Ian in 'Rite of Passage'

Showtime's Shameless - Episode 5.05 "Rite of Passage"

Fiona and Gus navigate the awkwardness of their quickie wedding. Fiona's plans to tell her family the big news unravel. Frank avoids Sammi by staying with the grieving family of his donor liver. Debbie continues training at the gym. Mickey grows more concerned about Ian's erratic behavior. Lip makes the tough decision to head back to school early.

It's easy for the audience to see Fiona's quickie wedding to Gus as one big mistake. She has never made the smart or rational decision when it comes to men. Thusly, why should we see this as anything different than that. As Sean told her earlier this season, she is chaos. Chaos is never the ideal thing to have for a relationship. It leads to excitement in the moment but pain quickly afterwards. Fiona is happy with Gus. She gets excited whenever she's with him and whenever he plays music. He does feel like a good guy. But there's a lifelong commitment attached to marriage. Those are big and daunting stakes - especially for Fiona who hasn't even told her own family the big news. The people at her work know about it but not her brothers and sister. How can she possible see this as something that is real if she won't let her family be aware of it?

Fiona makes plans to tell the family. She builds it up as this big announcement that will need a family dinner. Everyone else has plans and this just isn't something that this family does. When they get news, they just share it right away. Debbie and Carl are suspicious about it immediately. But Fiona wants this news to be special. She's building it up as this big thing. And yet, when she finally does tell someone, it's this small, intimate thing. Lip pulls the news out of her following his announcement that he's heading back to college early. Things are changing in both of their lives and both things scare them to their very core. Fiona has no idea if things will work out with Gus. She's starting to feel that now. That seed of doubt has been planted and now that's all she can think about. Chaos is everywhere in her life. Her family have their own individual problems and just when she wants to share the big news to everyone her co-worker, Jackie, ODs. Thusly, Gus does seem like stability in this moment. He's a sturdy thing in her life that is constantly evolving and changing. There's no telling if this marriage will work out but they'll have to work together in order to figure all of that out. Sure, they keep on delaying talking about the big things like where they'll live. But they still remain happy with each other. That quality may not last that very much longer considering JimmySteveJack pops back up at the diner at episode's end. But it is a quality shining brightly in the moment.

By focusing so much on her relationship with Gus and the big announcement, Fiona doesn't really see the upheaval happening in Lip and Ian's lives. Lip got a taste of what his future could be during his trip to Miami last week. Now, he's back in reality on the South Side of Chicago. He's working a construction job that could easily get him hurt or killed. He represents the best chance of someone getting out of this neighborhood and making something of himself. And yet, he still sees this place as his home. The face of the neighborhood may be changing. But these are his roots and where his family lives. But he has also changed a lot since the hooligan of the first few seasons. He's no longer the person to stand up for the identity of the neighborhood. A drunken Mickey can push him to join him in destroying the organic coffee shop but he's not going to pull the trigger on the gun anymore. He has too much to lose now. He's thinking about the consequences and just how big they are. His safety net is college now. That's the environment that he belongs in. It's the place that will help guide him to his future. He still loves his family dearly but he can't stay on the South Side anymore.

At least, Lip is willing to see this in himself and consciously makes the best decision for what he needs to do. Ian is still delusional about not being sick just like his mother. Mickey is seeing firsthand just how crazy this disease is making his boyfriend and how ill-prepared he actually is to take care of him. Ian is being reckless and that is devastating to Mickey. Sure, Mickey destroys a storefront without much concern for the repercussions. But he also has this great love for Ian. He just doesn't know how to help him. He wasn't willing to listen to what Fiona and Lip had to say about treating the disease. Going to the hospital is the only solution that he knows about. And that ignorance could be very dangerous for their future. As Mickey pushes Ian to get help, he turns his back and Ian runs off with Mickey's son. It's horrifying as there's nothing that Mickey could do to stop him. This story is going to get very dangerous very quickly.

Chaos is disrupting the lives of Kev and Vee as well. They are the stable couple. And now, they are even worried about their future. Vee did this horrible thing by having an orgasm with another man on the dance floor. But telling Kev to go do a similar thing isn't going to solve the problems they are having. Their problems are at home and how their relationship has changed since Amy and Gemma were born. Seeing Kev try to get a handjob is very amusing. But the true insight into the state of their marriage comes afterwards during their argument at home. Kev wants to go protect his children once they start crying while Vee wants them to continue fighting. She threatens to leave if he goes upstairs. The show has never presented a reason why we should be concerned for these two before. But this season is really pushing their dynamic apart. Even though it is devastating for the characters, it is wonderful narratively for the audience. I'm really hoping for them to figure things out and work on these issues. But I just have no clue how things will shake up. That can be said for all of Shameless' stories. It's one of the most admirable qualities about the show. Now though, we just have to wait and see.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Rite of Passage" was written by Etan Frankel and directed by Alex Graves.
  • Homeless again, Frank tries crashing with the family of his donor liver, who simply aren't dealing well following his death. That makes it easy for Frank to manipulate them. The dad only sees his son in Frank while the mom uses Frank for sex. It could be a nice arrangement for Frank. And then, Sammi barges in and complete ruins it for him. At least the other two got to get their issues out because of this experience.
  • Why did we need to see Sammi hitting on Mickey at The Alibi? To further prove that she doesn't completely understand the mechanics of this world? At least she eventually gets a lesson in learning that Frank isn't getting her a new trailer.
  • Debbie gets a nice bonding moment with Carl when she helps him collect money by beating up her former friends. Fiona says it best in that "she doesn't endorse violence, but those bitches deserved it."
  • Carl is still failing at this job as a drug dealer. Yeah, this isn't going to end well, is it?
  • That was You're The Worst's Becca - aka Janet Varney - as the woman who pepper sprays Kev at the playground. His screams were hilarious.