Shameless: I'm on a Boat!

Shameless S02E07: "A Bottle of Jean Nate"

With the summer winding down, desperate measures came to pass this week on Shameless. The Gallaghers made only $9,000 combined to get through the winter months, and back-to-school expenses have already come calling. None of this caught Fiona off guard as she shifted on a dime from her summer routine of late nights and wild flings to her fall routine of parenting. Emmy Rossum has done an impressive job this season as her character has let loose, but it was very fun to see her snap convincingly back into the protective head-of-household who reigned over the first season.

The motherly instinct was so strong, it took the combined coercive powers of both Jasmine and Veronica to get Fiona to come out for Jasmine's boat party (on her Sugar Daddy's yacht): "Before you know it you'll be back to mittens and multiplication tables again." But unlike earlier summer outings, Fiona didn't have much fun. Primarily because of Steve, who has grown increasingly bold in his attempt to win her back. He showed up to Jasmine's boat party with his Brazilian wife in tow and made most everyone uncomfortable. It's clear he's a different person these days, and not just in his sudden appreciation for Brazilian bathing suit styles. It's going to take a lot of work to undo the damage he's wrought on his relationship with Fiona—an "I love you" at her doorstep just won't get the job done anymore.

Just as Steve brought Fiona to tears on the yacht, we were treated to the long-expected unraveling of Amy Smart's Jasmine. She was introduced late in Season 1 and appeared to be a bit of a threat to Veronica's best friend crown. But soon after that she became more of a cautionary tale, a vision of what Fiona could easily have been if she had left her family behind and latched on to men with money. The boat party, it turned out, was not really a sanctioned one. Jasmine had been caught cheating by her husband and kicked to the curb by her older fling David, so she'd been sleeping on his yacht. After drunkenly kissing Fiona at the party, she showed up at the Gallagher home assuming she had a place to stay—and Fiona flatly turned her down. With school around the corner and Grammy already having taken up residence, the last thing the Gallaghers needed was another house guest. And so an entitled Jasmine lost it and stormed out. It might have been the end of Amy Smart's manic run on Shameless, but it was one that really fit the madness of the Gallagher lifestyle.

One of the reasons Shameless is skilled at making sharp left-hand turns is that it's constantly setting up multiple outcomes in advance. At one point it seemed certain that Lip had lost his chance to be with Karen, but this week we finally got a look inside her marriage to Jody... and it was really weird. The writers have dropped plenty of odd breadcrumbs on this path, but this week they committed to it. Jody is very much a sex addict, he prefers to sleep with Karen while listening to the smooth tones of "Kiss from a Rose," and he cries when it's over. He's got awful friends from his tattoo shop and he loves reality TV. And Karen has been suffocating—so she booted him from the house to live in a tent under the 'L' train overpass. Lip was quick to help the cause by supplying a connection for post-dated prenuptial agreements. This resulted in a return to Karen and Lip's casual encounters, even as Jody played the bongos while singing toward Karen's window.

While it would seem that Lip is finally back on track romantically, this led quickly to other conflicts. First, Lip's feud with Ian, simmering for weeks now, finally came to blows at the recommendation of Grammy: "One of the lions need to leave the den... no knives, no guns, no bricks. Just fists." It was a short and violent altercation with head-butts and no winners, but they agreed to go for a beer afterward—fitting for a couple of Gallaghers. Second, conflict was brewing with Fiona as a result of Lip's determination to skip his senior year to get a job to take care of his child. He made sure to share his plan, but Fiona was having none of it. In Fiona's eyes, she's the only one allowed to drop out, a quitter by necessity to prevent her siblings from doing the same. If there's anyone strong enough to challenge her rule, though, it's an increasingly hard-headed Lip. His family has always expected him to be the Gallagher who makes it to college and goes on to live a happy, wealthy life, but he doesn't seem willing or able to live up to that deal.

What do you think—will Fiona convince Lip to stay in school?

The Gallagher Family Crib Sheet:

– With Ethel out of the picture, Kev returned immediately to immaturity by diving headfirst into the cocaine at Jasmine's party. This caused a fight with Veronica, who was used to having a more responsible, parental Kev around when Ethel was living with them. So they decided to have a baby together, a natural next step with Ethel unlikely to return.

– To answer a question from last week's comments, Karen's beginning to show, so there's definitely a baby on the way. But the open questions remain as to whether she'll keep the baby and whether it will be healthy given her caffeine, marijuana, and alcohol intake.

– Grammy worked much better as a minor character this week, hilariously dragging Carl around for supplies to cook meth in the Gallagher basement and helping solve Ian and Lip's feud. But it was revealed that she really is very sick with cancer, so it may not be long before Frank gets his old life back.

– Though Carl's antics are easy to overlook with everything else that happens in the Gallagher household, I had to laugh at this week's basement meth lab explosion. Hopefully he's not destined to grow up to become Jesse Pinkman from Breaking Bad.