Shameless 4.02 “My Oldest Daughter” Recapon January 19, 2014
Now that her health insurance has kicked in, Fiona takes Deb, Carl, and Liam in for checkups, where Liam gets a prescription cream for his eczema and Fiona learns that the little boy has an undescended testicle that might require surgery. While Deb spends most of the time texting her boyfriend before asking to be put on the pill, despite the fact that she’s yet to get her period, Carl hits on the nurse examining him, complains about headaches, and gets shot down by Fiona, who knows that he’s looking for oxy for Frank. As his kids are at the doctor, Frank pees in his Gatorade bottle and uses an eyedropper to squirt alcohol into his eyes, hoping that he can get drunk without spitting up blood. However, the alcohol causes his eyes to sting and he doesn’t get the intoxication that he was looking for.
Meanwhile, Lip finishes playing poker with the rest of the cafeteria kitchen staff and heads off to spend the next 15 minutes studying for an economics quiz. Unfortunately, he needed to put a little more effort into the cram session, since he ends up with a 60% that won’t be curved up like it would in high school. He gets to feeling even worse when he sees that his neighbor got 100% and most of his class already read ahead in the text, though his professor offers extra credit for those who come to a tutoring session and fill out practice questions. Veronica and Kevin meet with Stan’s gay son Allen, who they didn’t know existed since Stan would only mention having a daughter, at the will reading. Allen receives Stan’s gun collection with the hope that he would kill himself, while Kevin is awarded the bar; although Allen is at first upset, he simply asks Kev to give him $500 a month for the next two years so that they’ll be even. Kev agrees and before Allen leaves, he takes Stan’s urn and smashes it on the ground, sending the ashes spreading everywhere.
Fiona makes it into work where Mike calls her into his office and tells her that he wants to try her as a sales rep. Wally’s retiring and someone has to replace him, so she’ll be able to take the company car and go to the three clients he wants to introduce her to. While Lip tosses a cigarette out of his window due to the prying eyes of his roommate’s girlfriend, Kev and Veronica clean up Stan’s ashes before the former says a little something for Stan and pours a beer into the garbage can. However, when he brags about getting the bar from Stan to Kate, she simply tells him to look at the books, implying that getting ownership of the bar isn’t exactly something to be celebrating.
Carl comes into Frank’s room to empty his pee bottle and tell his father about jerking off in math class, only to learn that Frank’s liver is dying, hence the bloodshot eyes, the spider veins, and the swollen ankles. As such, Frank sends him to get prescription painkillers and a replacement liver, just as Debbie, Ellie, and Holly hang out down the hall. Ellie looks over baby clothes, the three gossip about Donna Dotty getting her period at 9 years old, and Debbie tells them both that Matty invited her over to his apartment. She’s a little nervous about him not knowing her age, which her friends tell her to hide by licking her lips a lot and making him buy her stuff; they also tell her to make sure to have a condom, lest she end up in the same situation Ellie’s in right now.
Enjoying the perks of a heated vehicle and meal per diem, Fiona gets a call from Mike about her not calling him last night when she said she would. He simply claims to have been worried about her and she quickly gets off the phone, uneager to get into the dramatics of being in a relationship on such a good day. Lip arrives outside his class for a tutoring session and strikes up a conversation with Shelly, wherein he complains about economics not being something he’ll use in the real world and mentions that he’s only there to talk the tutor into giving him extra credit without doing the practice session. Unfortunately, Shelly ends up being the tutor and Lip has to do the extra questions for even a chance at extra credit. Carl heads over to Veronica’s and wakes her up from a nap looking for Percocet for Frank, but before she can call Fiona to make sure that giving him medication is okay, he notices that she’s spotting and the two rush to the hospital, as there’s a chance she could be losing the baby.
Kev learns of what happened while doing the books for the bar with Kate, which tell him that Stan hasn’t paid his payroll tax since 2007 and that his business license expired in 2010. He makes it to the hospital and finds that V is waiting for both her lab results and a free ultrasound machine, since the clinic they go to is short on medical supplies. Once Kev arrives, Carl goes up to the organ transplant center and inquires about getting a liver for his father, though he gets disheartened when he finds out about the length of the waiting list and how few people get livers every year. He picks up a few home blood testing kits, since he learns that someone in his family over-18 could donate a portion of their liver, assuming they have the same type of blood as Frank. Kev ends up taking a nap with Veronica in the hospital bed and the two get woken up by both the ultrasound and the lab results. They find out that the spotting is a normal part of pregnancy and that it was just elevated hormone levels, especially for pregnancies with multiple fetuses. Rather than the one baby they thought they were having, they’re instead having three and while Kev celebrates his magic dick, Veronica’s beside herself.
Fiona’s meeting with the owner of the Illinois Glider hockey team goes rather well; the original reason she met with him was just to say hello, but she seizes an opportunity by selling him on cups with the team logo printed on it. However, her great mood takes a shot when Mike calls her again to talk about her not calling him the other night. Since he had an ex who lied to him constantly, he wants to build trust with Fiona, but she hurries off the phone again when Carl beeps in. She shuts him down when he asks about her blood type for the possible liver transplant, calling Frank a black hole of endless need, and flips off a guy who passes her after riding her bumper and nearly running into her. The two exchange words and when a red light comes, he jumps out of his vehicle with a baseball bat and cracks her windshield, forcing her to back up as a means of shaking him free.
Lip winds up getting some bonus points from Shelly and invites her to a sorority party that he’s going to – a party thrown by her sorority. But once he gets there, she makes it very clear that he, as a freshman, has no chance with her, especially with her being his tutor. Instead, she’s got her eyes on a PhD student and gets Lip to give her advice on how to bag him; after telling her that he may be a freshman but he fucks like a sophomore, he advises her to give the guy shit over his flannel shirt, that guys like it when girls give them shit. She does and it seems to work, leaving Lip to wander around the party alone. He finds someone from back home, the older sister of a kid he used to know, and inadvertently insulates when he asks if a frat guy needed a date and brought her. She’s actually one of five people from their neighborhood that goes to school there and though she tries to make conversation with him, she’s turned off by him asking her to go get high with him and have sex. Since Lip is the kind of guy she left home to get away from, Lip ends up alone at the end of the night.
Until, that is, he notices a girl in the corner making it very obvious that she wants to go home with him. He takes her to his dorm room and has sex with her, only for her to get dressed as soon as she finished and leave. While Carl calls Lip to find out his blood type (AB+) and swipes Fiona’s tampon with the intention of testing her blood type that way, Deb makes it over to Matty’s place, where he made dinner for the two of them. However, she learns that he lives by himself and when he’s fixing the plates, she checks his wallet to find a condom and his driver’s license, the latter showing that he’s older than what she expected. She quickly spits out that she’s 13 and he doesn’t seem especially fazed, as he simply asks if she wants to watch Storage Wars and holds her hand while they eat.
Fiona arrives back at Worldwide Cup and informs Mike about the cracked windshield, only she lies about the cause, stating that it was like that when she got out of the hockey arena. After questioning why she didn’t tell him in the first place, he offers her a ride home, just as Carl brings Fiona’s used tampon to the organ transplant center and learns that he could have simply tested it himself. Elsewhere, Veronica tells Carol that she has to have an abortion, since they’re going to have a hard enough time taking care of three babies as is and a fourth would simply be too much. But Carol doesn’t want to give up the baby, citing that God himself touched her with the fertilization, and surprisingly, Kev doesn’t want to get rid of it, either; that’s mostly, though, because Veronica didn’t talk to him about the possibility of abortion before she approached her mother. Lip catches his dishwasher friend before he leaves, but he can’t stay and get high since he needs to go home, so Lip ends up lighting up on his own while sitting out in the snow.
Mike gets Fiona home and asks Fiona if she was telling the truth about what happened to the windshield. He tells her that the police called before she got back to Worldwide Cup and that there was a Youtube video of the incident, to boot. Fiona’s angry that she was tricked into lying and Mike states that he can’t be in a relationship with lying, to which Fiona replies that she can’t be in a relationship with ultimatums. He just wants her to admit when she messes up, arguing that lying would sink a relationship that he would like to keep going, and she promises to try and be more honest with him. While talking with Mike, Fiona sees Debbie hurry from the car she was in and go upstairs and she goes inside to find Carl and Frank on the couch. Carl informs her that she’s got the same blood type that Frank has (O+), but Fiona has no intention of giving him part of her liver.
Frank doesn’t care, though. He’ll just get the liver from his oldest daughter Samantha.
Additional thoughts and observations:
-”I don’t know whether to freak out or thrust my almighty dick in everybody’s face.”
-”No time for fart jokes. This is business now.”
-”I bet chickens don’t like chicken.”
-”I could punch her in the stomach.”
-So, let’s talk about that ending, because it could become an important moment for the show for less-obvious reasons. While adding in another Gallagher will shift the dynamic of the family, especially with Ian and Lip out on their own, it’s right on the edge of being too soapy (it was very All My Children, minus the dramatic close up) and the way the show executes it could make the difference in the creative trajectory for both this season and every season of the show to come. If the show pulls it off, it’s another quirk in a series that has made that type of move work more often than not; if it doesn’t, it could be the first major crack in the show’s foundation.
-As much as Frank can be a problematic character, the Gallagher I’m having the most difficult time with this season is Carl, who has retained the never-once-entertaining signs of being a sociopath he’s exhibited since the beginning of the series while adding in teenage male hormones and an unfounded sense of loyalty to the man who’s made the lives of his siblings miserable for years. Carl being gross is now in the DNA of Shameless and something that you have to deal with, bloody tampon or not, but while I understand the motivation for him defending Frank (too young to know the depth of how bad he is, feels sorry for someone with no one defending them), he’s had one beat to play the entire season and his presence has gotten monotonous as a result.
-On the other hand, Shameless is writing the hell out of Lip’s story. Fiona may be the lead of the show, but Lip has become a very strong second-in-command this season, with the frustrating aspects of his behavior rooted in his own fear of success and general bullheadedness rather than in the outrageousness that makes up other characters. There’s a sadness to his storyline, of the boy with all the potential in the world who makes it out of the slums and falls on his face, that is the type of grounded storytelling that Shameless excels at and keeps the show right at the borderline of becoming truly great television. His story is harder to watch than others currently going on but for much better reasons.
-Granted, part of my love for Lip’s storyline might be how much I relate to certain aspects of it, as I’m from a small town and went to a college where I was one of two people from my hometown, but it’s still the best constructed of the various story arcs this season.
-I also like how Fiona’s being written, except that it felt like the warning signs from Mike came too soon in the season. A show like Shameless needs hope in order to thrive or it could very easily turn into poverty porn, so having things already start to crack between Mike and Fiona just seems like the series showing its cards a little too soon. You and I both know that this thing with Mike is doomed now that there’s a fundamental conflict that exists between he and Fiona and that sometime later this season, she’s going to lie about something, he’s going to go ballistic, the two are going to break up, and things are going to get awkward at Worldwide Cup. I understand that with the type of show Shameless is, there can’t be too many wins in a row for the Gallaghers, lest the identity of the show change; it’s just that we’re in the second episode of the season and you know where all this is going. Compare this to Lip’s story, which we all know is going to end in him coming home and yet, there’s the slight chance that he’ll wake up and realize the opportunity he’s been given and that he’ll pull his act together for both the good of the family and himself.
-Quick, someone tell Kev and V that they can choose to have one or multiple fetuses aborted while still keeping one for themselves. Also, how sweet was the two of them napping in the hospital bed together?
-Still no Ian. When do you think he’ll pop back up?
-The show making the last thing we saw this episode Carl’s O-face in math class was…an interesting choice. Speaking of, he should be at around 7th or 8th grade right now, so why was his class repeating the multiplication tables? Is he behind his peers that much?
-Any thoughts as to why Debbie ran out of Matty’s car that quickly? Was it that she was upset at how old he was and that something between the two of them couldn’t work? Or could he have tried something with her? He didn’t really give sexual predator vibes when he was with her – awkwardness, yes, but nothing predatorial. I didn’t even really take the hand hold as something meant to be romantic; I assumed it was a gesture of comfort, that he wasn’t going to try anything and that she didn’t have anything to worry about. Hopefully that’s the case, anyway.
-The parallels between Fiona and Lip this season are interesting. Both have moved on to the next stage of their lives and that transition hasn’t been kind to them, as Fiona doesn’t know how to have a non-dramatic, open and honest relationship and Lip isn’t used to extending much effort in school or with women. Here’s hoping that, even if they both revert back to old behavior, they learn something from the new environments they’re in that they can use to put themselves in situations that are more conducive to their personalities and desires.
-Next week on Shameless: Frank stalks Samantha and finds out that she has a son, while Fiona gets serious with Mike, Carl kidnaps dogs and holds them for ransom, and Sheila has her first successful online date.