Sunday, March 22, 2015

REVIEW: 'Shameless' - Fiona Avoids Her Own Problems While Ian Just Tries to Feel Something Again in 'South Side Rules'

Showtime's Shameless - Episode 5.10 "South Side Rules"

Frank is enjoying his time with Bianca until she thinks he has developed feelings for her, then she leaves him.

As the Gallaghers have matured, they've had to face the new struggles life has thrown at them differently than the way in which they were raised. They all grew up in an environment where they were struggling just to get by. In fact, they are still struggling with the fact that the water could be turned off at any possible moment. They had to be scrappy and have each other's backs in order survive. But now that they are older, life has thrown each of them a new curveball in which they have to handle it in a different way. The water was turned off in the Gallagher home because of the chaos that Sammi created. They fell into a routine of having her be the new head of the household while Fiona was away enjoying and making mistakes with her marriage. It's a big deal once Sammi stops putting work and love into the house. It's no problem for Fiona to pay the bill. And yet, the family is disjointed and that's the reason why it was turned off in the first place.

Fiona wants to mend things with her husband. He has left for a tour and she is uncertain of what that means for their relationship. She made a huge mistake and hurt him bad. She desperately wants to make things right. And yet, she doesn't know how. She can go to his place and water his plants for him. But she can't hope that one sexy Skype date can be enough to fix what is broken. They have each been given space to think about their relationship and whether or not they are capable of saving it. They both want to but a relationship is so much more complex than having the desire to be in one. But both of them are in a better head space now then they were before he left. They are both genuinely making that effort. The Skype date is the first step. And then for whatever reason, Gus misses the opportunity when Fiona is ready and she goes out to help Sean with his latest problem.

Fiona really does see herself as a supportive friend. She wants to be there for Sean in his time of need. His wife doesn't want to uproot Will's life and take him away from his father. She knows how much progress Sean has made over the last few years. And yet, this job is really important to her and gives her the benefits that could really help both her and Will. It was a tough choice for her to make. Sean doesn't have any choices. He has to stay in Chicago and that destroys him. Fiona has been by his side to make sure that he doesn't use drugs again. That definitely changes the dynamics of their friendship. All season long he has been positioned as a good person to be in her life. She may be a trigger for him but she has been trying to be more than just that to him. She wants to be the one there for him in his time of need. She is focusing on his problems so that it's easier to avoid her own. Sean says that to her and it really is true. Her getting closer with Sean is only going to make fixing her marriage that much harder to do. And yet, she can't force herself away from Sean without knowing that he's okay. She knows that it's not healthy for her to get in a bar fight just to feel something in this moment. It gives him clarity but also pain. She doesn't want him to fall off the wagon. He appreciates how much she is doing for him even though he didn't ask it of her. Their kiss is another mistake for Fiona. This relationship is complicated and new. When she did the same thing with JimmySteveJack, it was to receive closure. With this, she is actively exploring something new while still married to Gus. After the kiss, it is so much easier for Fiona to walk away from Sean. Spending more time with him will only make things more complicated for her and she doesn't want to keep making the same mistake over and over again.

The conclusion of "South Side Rules" likely won't allow Fiona much time to focus and think about her marriage either. Despite Sammi being angry at the rest of the Gallaghers for getting Chuckie arrested and sentenced, she is still living in the Gallagher house. She claims to be looking for apartments but she doesn't make any real progress at all throughout this episode. Instead she is lurking in the background making comments about her siblings not being able to take care of themselves while also collecting information. When Ian came home from a work with a burned hand, she does have that maternal instinct to take care of him. That's a part of who she is. It's a nice moment between the two of them - until he lets slip that the army is looking for him after all the chaos he created when he enlisted a while ago. To retaliate for all that has happened, she calls the army and tells them where to find Ian. It's a move she makes not out of spite towards Ian but out of retribution for the Gallaghers causing her pain through Chuckie. She believes they haven't suffered similarly because they all believed that this punishment was coming for Carl sooner or later. With Ian being hauled out of the house, it is personal and upsetting. Ian did nothing wrong. He was given this disease which he has no control over. But now, he's facing punishment for the crimes he committed during the beginning stages of the disease.

So the past is coming back to haunt Ian just as he's beginning to accept that this disease is a part of who he is. The last year has been very eventful for him. He and Mickey made huge strides in their commitment towards each other. And yet, he has caused a lot of pain for the people around him as well. He has been numb to a lot of feeling and emotions since he tried stealing Yevgeny. The medications have changed him. He has accepted that he needs to take them in order to better himself and the people around him. He doesn't want to be paranoid all the time or hurt the people that he loves. But he also just wants to feel something again. Putting his hand on the stovetop at work isn't the smartest idea. Much like Sean though, he wants to feel the pain in order to know that the feeling is still there. Ian wants things with Mickey to be like they used to be. It's difficult to be both a caretaker and a boyfriend. Lately, Mickey has been so focused on caring for Ian. It's good that Mickey is willing to put in all that effort. But Ian's diagnosis has upset the balance and normalcy in his relationship. The medication will hopefully help stabilize his mood. But he wants to know that he can still be happy and a little reckless with Mickey. He just wants to have fun with his boyfriend and not worry about what might happen. That's why Ian fell for Mickey in the first place. Ian will go so far as to beat this out of Mickey. That is a very passionate fight. Ian is angry and wants things to go back to normal. Fortunately, things do and Ian is allowed this moment of happiness before everything is ripped out from underneath him back at home. It's devastating. When will Ian ever be truly happy again?

Some more thoughts:
  • "South Side Rules" was written by Sheila Callaghan and directed by Michael Uppendahl.
  • Lip has some paranoia as well over the fact that things may be going too well for him. He's just waiting for something bad to happen. So when his friend gets some bad weed from Kev and jumps out the dorm window, he fears that this "perfect" life will be over. He thinks he has to be the one to cleverly find the solution to his problem. He doesn't. The world has bigger problems than whatever he is up to. But after a lifetime of worrying about this kind of stuff, it's weird for him to be living a good life.
  • Part of that good life though comes with a price as Lip has to tell Kev to move out of the dorms and go back home to Vee. It's about time those two talked about their problems. That look they shared in the end was a good sign that things will come to a head soon.
  • Amanda is a part of Lip's college experience but her rebellious spirit also identifies with the lifestyle that he is used to. As he is experiencing this change of outlooks on life, it makes sense that he's drifting away from her for his studies - and his relationship with Helene.
  • Debbie is a straight A student and could be looking forward to a future similar to Lip's. And yet right now, she's going in the opposite direction by trying to get pregnant with a baby of a good guy because he comes from a good family. It's a struggle everyone in this world deals with. Sometimes the only thing in their futures is having a baby. That's as far as some of these people will go. Debbie has the potential to go so much farther. And yet, she is madly in love with Derek and thinks that this is the next step to take their relationship.
  • Frank is seemingly falling in love with his dying doctor, Bianca. I just have no clue how to react to this story because it seems so tangential to everything else happening this season and there's no reason why Frank should be having this connection with her. She connects him with the prospect of death. And yet, he's the same old Frank. Just this time without a con.