After turning herself in to the authorities, Fiona gets put on a bus headed for Decatur Correctional Facility three hours away. The woman sitting next to her? In prison for stabbing her boyfriend’s pregnant wife in the stomach. Meanwhile, Frank has had his liver transplant and is resting comfortably in the hospital, though he’s yet to wake up following the heavy dose of anesthesia he was administered. Sam convinces Chuckie that they need to talk to Frank to tickle his brain into waking him up, but soon, Sheila brings in Roger Running Tree’s five nieces and nephews, who she was able to get custody of following her wedding. They all meet Emily, a little girl afflicted with cardiomyopathy waiting for a new heart.
Carl wakes up that morning and asks Ian if Mickey’s his boyfriend, since Mickey is asleep in Ian’s bed. Ian admits that they hang out, that Mickey’s family is a nightmare, and that he likes the way Mickey smells, just as Mickey comes walking through, bitching about how loud they’re being. Ian follows him into the bathroom and learns Mickey’s going to Yevgeni’s christening, though he won’t let Ian come. The two push each other against the walls and Ian gets Mickey to admit they’re a couple; however, Ian’s sick of hiding it from everyone in his life. Elsewhere, Lip returns from his work study to find Amanda looking up his quarterly grades, as he has to maintain a B average in order to keep his scholarship. He’s too stressed out by other things in his life to worry about his grades right now and while she goes down on him, Lip mentions that he won’t be able to have dinner with her parents. He’s got to figure out how they’re going to pay the bills for the next 90 days with Fiona gone and since Amanda’s parents are going back to Miami in the morning, he won’t be able to meet with them. Amanda tells him he’s obviously not a man of his word and leaves.
Debbie, Ellie, and Holly go to their biology class and notice 11th grader Henry McNally in there. While Holly goes on about how bangtastic he is and how he makes her loins roar with hunger, he pays attention to Debbie, asking her if she needs help with the lap they’re doing that day. Back at the hospital, Chuckie reads to Frank and Sheila climbs on top of her husband, manually opening his eyes and loudly speaking to him in order to wake him up. However, Sam makes her get down since she could inadvertently knock out one of Frank’s IVs and the kids suggest they do a tribal dance to raise Frank’s spirit and wake him. Meanwhile, Mickey makes it to Yevgeni’s christening late, though Svetlana is waiting for Terry, who she became close with recently. But the priest won’t let them stall any longer and right after Ian comes in to the church and takes a seat, the ceremony begins.
Carl and Bonnie rob the school’s vending machine so that she can feed her siblings and he asks her if she wants to come with him to visit Frank. She can’t, since one of her siblings has Bronchitis and she has to check on them, so Carl suggests that her family come to live with his. Bonnie immediately says yes and kisses him for the generosity. While Fiona arrives at Decatur Correctional and Henry denies Holly’s advances toward him, giving the heart of the frog they dissected to Debbie, Lip goes to one of Amanda’s classes to give her his address and tell her that she can bring her parents to dinner that night. At the hospital, the kids (and Sheila) do their tribal dance, but it’s Carl who wakes Frank up by hitting his father in the balls. Frank, however, doesn’t know who anyone is, calling Sam Debbie and Sheila Mama. The family finds out from the doctor that Frank is suffering from post-operative delirium as a result of his anesthesia; it’s common and will wear off, but it’ll take some time for him to be able to place time and relationships again.
In the school library, Henry draws and heavily flirts with Debbie, who he says he wants to kiss. As Ellie and Holly watch from a distance, Henry invites her to meet him in the stairwell of the gym basement after basketball practice. Elsewhere, at Yevgeni’s reception, Kev does his best to make amends with Mickey, while Mickey gets told by Svetlana to make Ian go home. However, Ian isn’t happy about this recent development, telling Mickey not to come over if he does leave and that he’s sick of having to live a lie. Before the two can continue talking, Terry makes his grand reentry into the Alibi and Mickey takes Yevgeni over to meet his grandfather for the first time. While Lip brings Liam home and takes a picture of the two for Fiona, checking his grades immediately after and seeing that he got a C in English, Deb meets Henry in the stairwell. The two start to kiss and he tries to unbutton her shirt; she stops him, telling him that it’s too fast, and he invites her to the dance. She then lets him take off her shirt, only for the whole thing to be proven a prank, something cooked up by Henry’s stepsister Seema as a way to get back at Debbie. Soon, a crowd gathers around the stairwell taking pictures of Debbie in her bra and she storms off.
The Gallagher house is soon invaded by a house full of children – Bonnie’s siblings, who Carl never cleared to stay with his family. Though Lip tells Carl to get rid of them, he ultimately lets them stay when he hears a knock on the door and thinks it’s Amanda’s parents. After grabbing a beer and telling the kids to go crazy, he finds that it’s Wesley, the social worker with DCSF making their surprise visit. Wesley leads Lip around the home pointing out improvements that should be made (fire alarm, fixing a broken floor board, covering exposed wires) and inquires about Frank and Fiona, who Lip assures her are at work. While Fiona gets her bunk assignment and watches as a fight nearly breaks out near her, Sheila comforts Frank, who still thinks she’s his mother. When the hospital’s visiting hours conclude, she kisses him, not realizing he can’t distinguish who she is. That night, Frank talks to Emily, thinking she’s Fiona, and apologizes to her for leaving her and Lip out in the cold while he and Monica scored drugs. He promises to be a better dad and offers to take her to get her ears pierced before telling her he’s glad she’s here and grabbing her hand.
At the Alibi, Terry tells a story about beating up guys in prison for trying to rape him and Mickey blasts Svetlana for threatening to tell her new friend about Ian, saying that she’ll be a used up old whore in five years and that she shouldn’t mess up the good situation she has for herself now. Ian then goes to leave, telling Mickey that he’s done being a mistress and that he’s done being with someone who’s such a coward. He claims Mickey’s terrified of Terry, Svetlana, and himself and though Mickey initially postures like he doesn’t care, he makes an announcement to the bar that he’s gay. Terry attacks him, Ian intervenes, and soon enough, it’s something of a brawl. Matty finds Debbie and comforts her about the latest public embarrassment she suffered; he believes there are enough people on Team Debbie and that this will all blow over soon. Having broken up with Seema for what she did, he then volunteers to take Debbie to the dance, claiming that he wouldn’t be embarrassed to be seen with her.
A bloodied Terry, Ian, and Mickey get hauled out of the bar, with Terry and Mickey trash talking each other. Terry calls Mickey names, while Mickey tells him that he’s been staying at Ian and that he gets banged out pretty regularly. With Terry breaking probation four hours after getting out, he’s immediately taken into custody. Mickey? Let off with a warning by a gay cop who was not about to do a night’s worth of paperwork for something like this. At the Gallagher’s, Amanda’s parents arrive and dinner conversation involves Bonnie’s aunt being on death row and Fiona nearly killing her brother with cocaine. Lip takes a plate in for Wesley as she does her paperwork and she takes note that he tried to help Bonnie’s van-residing family rather than shunning them. As such, she clues him in on when her next “surprise” visit will be before leaving; Lip gets additional good news when Amanda tells him that he maintained his B average by getting 2 A’s and a B in his other classes, in addition to the C in English.
Upstairs, Carl and Bonnie take a selfie on Fiona’s bed and send it to her. He then turns the light out and takes his shirt off, but when she reveals that she doesn’t like sex, he puts it back on and the two cuddle. In the kitchen, Amanda’s father tries to bribe Lip to break up with his daughter, telling him that she’s only with him to drive them crazy. Lip ends up taking the $10,000 offer and tells Amanda, causing her to storm out with her parents. While Frank goes to the cafeteria to get food for himself and Fiona, Ian and Mickey compare their battle scars and share a drink; Ian then puts his arm around his boyfriend and kisses the top of his head. Frank wakes up to find Emily pronounced dead, while Fiona waits in line for the bathroom at prison.
Additional thoughts and observations:
-“I like how he smells.”
-“You get a girlfriend yet?”
-“Mom, stop. We’re in public.”
-“These are my parents Jason and Cheryl. They’re white.”
-For much of this series, I’ve not been a huge fan of Ian/Mickey, mostly because Mickey seemed too emotionally damaged and too far in the closet to be able to give Ian the type of love and support that he needed and deserved. While they had chemistry and their storylines tended to be exciting, they were hard to root for due to the chasm that existed between them. And still, despite all this, literally every scene they shared tonight made me cry. I expected the writers to slowly unravel Mickey’s self-acceptance and make that more of a series arc, but I should have realize that Shameless is ballsy enough to have a coming out be exactly like this – no frills, no tears, no huge build up. Just a guy desperate to keep someone he loved in his life and showing that he’s unafraid of any consequences of his decision. It was the type of passion that romance movies can only dream of channeling and to see Mickey not only come to grips with his relationship, but use it as a weapon against his father was something to behold.
-Bonus points for him allowing Ian to be tender with him on the street. The two may be emotionally scarred, but they’re still standing and more importantly, they’re standing together.
-I was impressed with the show being bold enough to sideline Fiona and turn her into a background character. Fiona has always been the main character of this show in my eyes, especially this season with the exploration of her addiction issues, and the show being able to produce this caliber of an episode without really delving into where she’s at is a sign of just how strong this season of Shameless is.
-Speaking of crying, let’s talk about that Frank and Emily scene that was gripping for several reasons. William H. Macy is a hell of an actor who has tools that the show doesn’t always utilize; this season of the show has made a point to humanize Frank and you couldn’t help but empathize with him due to his altered mental state; Emily acted as a symbol of Fiona’s innocence and when he made the effort to patch things up (going and getting food), it was too late, as Emily passed away. Beautiful editing choice to go from that to Fiona dealing with the horrors of prison, as what was left of her innocence withered away when she realized the severity of her situation and how self-inflicted all of her recent wounds are.
-Also, I’m not a fan of shows that lean on sick children or the death of children for emotional impact, just because it’s really emotionally manipulative and can become treacly quite easily, but I thought the show did Emily’s handled extremely well.
-You’d that that instead of shelling out five-figure checks every few years, Amanda’s dad would try another approach to keep the bad boys out of her life. I’m sure he’s rich enough to be able to deal with it, and doesn’t care enough about her to get to the root of the reason she goes for guys like that, but that has to add up.
-Good for Lip for keeping his scholarship. Maybe Amanda is the best influence he could have asked for?
-I also really liked that Carl and Bonnie didn’t get sexual. They’ve been on a train to hell since they got together and I figured that it was bound to end in her getting pregnant, since this show is all about the self-sabotage of the Gallagher family, but her dislike of sex softened the character and, thereby, the dynamic with Carl. He’s not a bad guy and even without the excitement of their recent crime spree, he really does like her.
-Very cute that both Lip and Carl sent selfies to Fiona’s phone.
-Would Debbie’s school allow someone in their 20’s to come to a dance? She seems to go to a school that’s 7th-12th grades and when I was in high school, those out of school were able to come to functions, only they had to have special permission.
-A showdown between Sam and Sheila is coming, I believe. And as much as I like Sheila, she was very much in the wrong for how she acted this episode, bringing all those children in the waiting room, doing the tribal dance, and hopping on the bed with Frank. I understand that she wants to make sure she’s married long enough to keep the kids and that she might still have feelings for Frank, but she needs to dial it down a notch to avoid things getting out of hand or getting banished from Frank’s life entirely. After all, the marriage is only a thing due to the adoption, so he doesn’t really have to see her or be around her unless they have something to do that relates to the children.
-Next week on Shameless: It’s the season finale and while Sheila fights for custody of the Native American children, Fiona gets released from jail and lands a job at a diner.