Sunday, February 15, 2015

REVIEW: 'Shameless' - Ian Hits Rock Bottom During a Road Trip While Fiona is Confronted by Her Past in 'Crazy Love'

Showtime's Shameless - Episode 5.06 "Crazy Love"

Fiona is thrown into chaos by the sudden return of JimmySteveJack. Ian, in a full psychotic break, steals Mickey's baby. A vengeful Sammi takes over the Gallagher house. Debbie starts high school. Vee grapples with her decision to separate from Kev.

"Crazy Love" is a devastating and heartbreaking episode of Shameless, Yes, Ian's story arc over the past year has been leading to this downward trajectory. But that doesn't hinder the emotional realities of it at all. It's not as emotional harrowing an experience as Fiona's arrest for letting Liam ingest cocaine. After Ian kidnaps Yevgeny, there's very little Mickey and the rest of the Gallaghers can actually do. They just have to sit by and wait for some news to come - whether it's Ian coming to his senses or something happening that then alerts them to where he is. That's devastating because everyone feels helpless in this situation. There's so little anyone can do. And then, once they finally find Ian again, the only thing they have to do is make sure he checks into a mental health facility. It's not what anyone wants. They just want Ian to be happy and healthy. And yet, this is the only place that presents a reality in which that can actually happen. It's uncertain if Ian is fully aware of the situation when he signs into the place. But it's where he needs to be right now - for better or worse. Mickey and the Gallaghers just have to deal with that. They have to put their trust in Ian getting better. This experience means they can no longer just sit idly by and do nothing. Action needed to be taken because he was becoming a danger to himself and the people around him. It's a traumatic experience but one with the hope that Ian will finally get the help that he so desperately needs.

Ian has been on this downward slope ever since he faked his way into the army at the end of Season 3. Then he was missing and finally turned up acting differently than he usually is. The show finally put a name on it in the fourth season finale. He was bipolar just like his mother. But just because Mickey, the family and the audience understand what's going on with him, it doesn't mean that he has accepted his new reality. He has been in denial all season long. He was slowly growing more and more reckless and crazy. Sometimes it presented as quirky OCD like his obsession with the suitcase scam. While other times, it was unhealthy to himself and his relationships. He was being very sexually free and adventurous. If a guy looked at him the right one, he was going to have sex with him as quickly as possible.

Things were able to get this bad for Ian because he was living with Mickey and away from the Gallagher household. Mickey's not to blame for all the bad things that Ian ultimately does in this episode. But he was ignorant to how bad this disease can get. He's willing to support and be there for Ian. He loves Ian and wants to protect him from any cruel thing that life throws at him. However, he simply didn't know how crazy and reckless Ian would become. He was finally able to accept that Ian needed to get help and that pushed Ian over the edge into this psychotic break.

To Ian, kidnapping Yevgeny and leaving Mickey is a very liberating experience. He is finally being free and away from the people who want to get him committed. He believes he's still healthy and nothing like his mother. He has these big plans for his future with Yevgeny. And yet, it's apparent right away how ill-prepared he is for this whole trip. He has no diapers, no food and very little money. All the cuts to the action happening with Ian and Yevgeny are so unnerving. We are carefully waiting for the shoe to drop. We are afraid that something is going to happen to Yevgeny because Ian isn't being a great parent - even though he sees Yevgeny as his own baby. Something bad is going to happen. But when and how bad? First, he tosses Yevgeny in the air like it's nothing. Then he has no food or diapers to give him and needs the generosity of others in order to buy them.

It's ultimately leading up to a big confrontation with the police after he leaves Yevgeny in a locked car in order to prostitute himself out to earn money. He believes he's doing what he has to do in order to provide for his child. Except he shows no concern to the consequences of his actions. You simply can't leave a baby in a locked car on a warm day. Ian does it like it's nothing. It's no big deal to him. And yet, it is a huge deal. The police have to be concerned about the well-being of the child. Ian doesn't want them to take Yevgeny away from him. And yet, he needs to end up at the police station in order to get that reality check. Sure, drugs knock him out of it long enough for Mickey, Lip, Debbie and Carl to drive down and get him. But this has to be a new rock bottom for Ian. He can no longer walk through life acting like this isn't a problem he needs to deal with. He's now in the place where he can get help. But will he be willing to accept it? No one can be ignorant to the situation any longer but will Ian be able to make that change for himself? I'm not sure and that is perhaps the most devastating thing out of all of this.

Throughout all the stuff happening with Ian, Fiona is missing because she's dealing with the return of JimmySteveJack. His return shouldn't throw her focus away from the chaos happening with Ian right now. And yet, it does because there's so little she can actually do to find her younger brother. She's furious at JimmySteveJack. Her first reaction to seeing him again is to beat the smug look off of his face. It doesn't work because he still tries to weasel himself back into her life. But she needed to let that frustration out. He abandoned her and she never knew why. His explanation seems so absurd and imaginary. The audience knows that it is likely true because of all the other stuff happening in his life that he was keeping from Fiona. He had a wife and her criminal father that he hid from Fiona. That story never fit all that well into the tone of Shameless. And yet, it's exactly what forced him off the show in the first place.

And now, JimmySteveJack is back believing that he can win over Fiona yet again by just being his smugly charming self. He figures he can just walk into the diner and the Gallagher house like nothing has happened since he left. A ton has happened in the last year and a half. Fiona was in pain because of the uncertainty his departure had. And yet, she moved on with her life. She's married now and desperately wants to make that relationship work. Yes, it's ridiculous like so many of her decisions concerning men. And yet, Gus presents a stability to her chaotic world. But she simply can't deny the history she has with JimmySteveJack. He returns saying all the things that she wanted to hear when he first disappeared. She was going to start a life with him. So, it's easy to see why she gets seduced by him again. Yes, it's a destructive move to make. The rest of the family sees that. She doesn't want to be this person and yet she does so anyway.

Fiona is furious at the chaos in her life right now. JimmySteveJack is simply there and willing to be by her side. Gus still hasn't figured out the Gallagher lifestyle and who is who in the family. She had these big plans to announce her marriage to the family and the news gets blurted out instead. The family is happy for her but also sees her making the mistake of being with JimmySteveJack again. They don't interfere because this is her mistake to make. She does it twice. Each time coming to her better senses eventually. The second time around she desperately needs to have rough sex with him. They wind up on the kitchen floor exactly like the first time they did the deed way back in the series premiere. This is a cycle of bad mistakes on Fiona's part. She recognizes that eventually. Telling him to stop before running away to the safe place of her husband's apartment. Once there, the two of them start having sex. It's something she doesn't want in the moment because of all the pain and chaos she has caused in the last day. But she needs to do so in order to keep her marriage alive. It's a quiet moment of devastation. The rest of the family is off retrieving Ian and she's all alone trying to make sense of her personal life. Once she does get the call from Lip, she rushes to be with Ian to know that he's safe. But Fiona has made a mess of her life yet again and will need to deal with the consequences soon.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Crazy Love" was written by John Wells and directed by Anthony Hemingway.
  • Frank's story about rejecting his new liver also hit a major turning point. He landed in the hospital after he forget to take his medication. Miraculously, no alcohol was in his system - but lots of drugs were. He continues to blame the world for his problems and won't take responsibility for not taking his meds. It's what we've come to expect from Frank. Just now, it comes with a warning that he won't be getting a second new liver.
  • Vee and Kev are also separating. They are put on the back burner a bit during this episode. Fiona wants to share all the news happening in her life right now with Vee. But she also respects that big things are happening to Vee right now too. Their friendship is so important but it also needs to go both ways as well.
  • Sammi has officially moved into the Gallagher house and wants to enforce strict new rules. She's good at keeping Frank away but she's also not being a good sibling to the rest of the family.
  • At least Mickey is finally able to acknowledge Yevgeny as his son. He's been so distant to his son because Svetlana and Ian would always care for the kid for him. And yet, this experience forces him to show his love for his son. He's just grateful that both Ian and Yevgeny are fine - even though he knows Ian has to be locked up in order to get better.
  • Debbie also has her first day of high school during all of this mess. It's a harsher learning environment than she's used to. But she still has her new guy friend around looking after her.
  • Svetlana also gives birth to her new baby and uses her friend to try and get more money out of the couple who are adopting it. Her point-of-view over Ian kidnapping Yevgeny is lost a little bit. But her threat to call the cops is a big deal - until she has to leave to give birth.
  • Is Shameless trying to say that the only way a female can be a business partner with JimmySteveJack and not also want to sleep with him is if she's a lesbian? That's just not good.
  • I love how different the depictions of sex are back-to-back with Fiona. With JimmySteveJack, it's animalistic. With Gus, it's intimate. And yet, both are equally devastating to Fiona.
  • Seriously, Emmy Rossum, Noel Fisher and Cameron Monaghan for all the awards - or at least one. This show really doesn't get the attention and recognition it so justly deserves.