One of Shameless's best traits is its ability to balance extremely dark plot lines with lighter ones by juggling so many at once. This week's storyline may have been the series' most depressing one to date: Frank's romance of Dottie Coronas was an extension of his usual goal of earning for himself at the expense others, but preventing Dottie from getting her heart transplant was, without a doubt, the worst thing Frank has done. His selfish behavior usually affects only his family, causing them to scrape, sacrifice, and end up coming together for the better. The scars heal and the children grow wiser. But this time, Frank's actions directly cost a person her life. The humor that usually accompanies Frank's storylines was painfully absent, and it appears as though there will be no consequences. He walked away $2,000 and a flat screen richer, but only time will tell whether he learned anything in the process.
Thankfully, there were plenty of other things going on to distract from Frank's plot, and the writers made a wise choice to focus on Fiona's romantic life as their counter-balance. After last week's reference to her high school crush Craig Heisner, she met with him for coffee and the chemistry was immediate. Amusingly, Fiona's behavior was almost Frank-like; you knew she'd eventually make the wrong decision and sleep with Craig—it was just a question of time. Veronica, who has often been the moral compass for the Gallagher family, spent most of the episode warning Fiona away from a married man, but to no avail. Seeing Fiona suffer through bad sex in Craig's family mini-van was a very fitting punishment.
A greater heartbreak could be at stake for Lip as a result of Karen and Jody's engagement. Frank almost prevented it by stealing Jody's ring so he could give it to Dottie, but in the end Lip will still have to face the reality that Karen is engaged. Naturally, she delivered the news that the betrothal might be happening soon while having sex with Lip. As a couple, they have a knack for having their important conversations in bed. Though Lip has yet to fight for Karen, unwilling to admit he's in love, it would be great to see him go to bat for her. Or to prove that Jody is unworthy.
A similarly important conversation happened at the very end of the episode, when a lonely, depressed Fiona finally called Steve. She didn't know it, but he was a bit preoccupied at the time of the phone call, enjoying the company of another woman on a balcony above a tropical beach (or a green screen). Surely Steve will be back in Chicago by the end of the season, but that final image has thrown his relationship with Fiona into serious doubt.
So what do you think, is there any hope for romance in the Gallagher family?
The Gallagher Family Crib Sheet
– I really enjoyed Fiona's North Side equivalent, Kim, and her reaction to Fiona's attempt at charity. Perhaps Frank was right when he said: "Finders keepers, losers weepers. It's the Gallagher family credo."
– Kev's interest in buying the bar may have looked stupid this week, but it wouldn't be surprising to see the bar's ownership come into play in the future. Also, has everyone else noticed how much weight Steve Howey has put on this season? It's pretty startling. And there's been no indication that it's plot-related, as was the case with Mac on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
– The emotional trauma Debbie has suffered of late is coming through in her obsession with death. Here's hoping Fiona will find some free time to help her deal with it in the coming episodes.
– Lip asked Carl to contribute $1,000 to the family's squirrel fund by the end of the summer. It should be fun to see how Carl pulls together the cash.
– The full text of Frank's moving speech to Dottie, however fake: "Tomorrow we'll go down to City Hall and get hitched. And when you pass, I'll light a candle for you every day. I'll make sure the priest at St. Thomas Moore gives a mass in your honor once a month. And I'll put flowers on your grave at Easter and Mother's Day and your birthday. I'll even make sure Kevin names a drink after you down at The Alibi. Every night at last call, we'll have a toast. And drink the Dottie Coronas. I won't let you be forgotten, Dot."
Of course, at the end of the episode Frank did go to the church to light a candle... and to steal the collection box.