Shameless Season 2 has drawn a convincing parallel between 21-year-old Fiona and 12-year-old Debbie as Fiona has handed off her parenting duties to her younger sister. In "A Beautiful Mess," that decision came back to haunt Fiona when she finally realized the burden she'd asked Debbie to bear. Debbie developed a nasty rash on her arm from the stress of running the family's summer daycare service and perhaps worse, she's missed out on having friends her own age, resulting in one of the saddest sleepover parties ever.
Fiona, for her part, has used her free time to get herself into trouble, which has resulted in a series of attacks from the enraged wife of her high school crush and most recent fling Craig Heisner. The combined guilt of her actions finally caused Fiona to break down, and in her weakness she called Steve to invite him to come over and see Debbie (even though he's halfway around the world). The biggest question of the season so far is whether Fiona will adjust her priorities to help her family get through the summer. In one of the best moments of the show so far, Fiona found herself under a table with Frank, realizing she's become him, much to Frank's enjoyment.
Just like Fiona, Lip's had an emotional summer, searching for ways to break up Karen and her odd, often naked (but seemingly harmless) boyfriend-turned-fiance Jody. This week finally brought the truth to the surface as Lip nearly came to blows with Ian while discussing what was best for Karen. With his family against him, Lip's decided to find or manufacture some dirt on Jody. But when a background check and his own efforts both failed to produce anything worthwhile, he sent a willing Mandy to attempt to seduce Jody. Predictably, this also failed, and brought on Karen's wrath in the form of some swift kicks to the mid-section and a bombshell revelation: She warned Lip to stay away from her, from Jody... and from Jody's baby.
... Whose twisted love life is more likely to turn out okay—Fiona's or Lip's?
... Will Fiona's call to Steve bring him back to Chicago?
... Unless Jody has a baby from a previous relationship, will Lip end up being a father?
The Gallagher Family Crib Sheet
– Sheila finally made it 500 steps outside in the slowest-moving plot line ever. Frank was back to his old self, desperate to scare Sheila away from her outings. It's funny that he had no friends at The Alibi—they all said they'll betray his behavior (especially sleeping with Karen) to Sheila. Time is running out.
– Looks like single mom Ethel will finally be getting a meaningful storyline, as she's started to fall for another single parent in Malik. I enjoyed Kev and Veronica's conversation on the subject, when Kev accused Veronica of becoming a "Momma Bear" for caring about Ethel.
– Jasmine is getting increasingly out of control as we move steadily toward an inevitable Fiona/Richard outing. This time it was cocaine in the Gallagher kitchen at 8am after having lied to her husband about her whereabouts the night before.
– Carl reminded us this week that he might be the Gallagher who's most in danger of growing up to be a convict. Hanging out with a true juvenile delinquent in Little Hank, he has clearly become the problem child. That said, it was hard not to laugh at his Megan Fox cut-out shrine on the roof of the van.
– Emmy Rossum has had a very strong season playing Fiona thus far, and this episode's breakdown will hopefully be sent in for Emmy consideration.