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Shameless S04E07: "A Jailbird, Invalid, Martyr, Cutter, Retard, Parasitic Twin"


Based solely on the episode title alone, we knew this was gonna be a busy one. With a growing cast of characters, each with their own issues to attend to, we were treated a a very small preview of what it's like to spend a sultry winter in the shoes of a Gallagher. Also what it means to be there for family and friends even if they are considered "fuck ups."

We were also treated to some light humor, which tends to liven things up a bit just enough to see some light at the end of the tunnel, even if that tunnel is 50 miles long.

What we found out is that family roles are shifting, personal change is inevitable, and whether your physical or metal capacity is limited, you can always rely on family.

Fiona the Jailbird
The threat of real time in prison lingered over Fiona the entire episode. She had gotten a taste of what it would be like to be incarcerated as a felon when she was first booked for cocaine possession and child endangerment. The thought of spending any more time away from her dysfunctional family and more time behind an iron cell, made her skittish. How would she be able to make it up to Liam? Would Lip ever forgive her? Thank goodness the writers decided to answer that question sooner than later.
  • Three years probation
  • House arrest until further notice (with shiny new ankle monitor)
  • Random drug testing
  • One hundred hours of parenting classes and AA meetings
  • Inability to ever vote or hold public office
  • An arrest record classifying her a convicted felon
Her public defender (!) got her a pretty sweet plea deal considering she was looking at 5 years in prison. Now we at least know where she'll be at all times thanks to her new ankle hardware. Do those things ever come in other cool colors, periwinkle anyone?


Samantha the Martyr
It's gotta be tough for Samantha to be considered an enemy instead of an ally in the eyes of her younger step siblings. From the very beginning all she has ever wanted to do was help. Help give Frank part of her liver, help Frank get the proper care, help Frank deal with the pain via illicit drugs, and help Frank connect with her by giving him a chance at getting to know her better. I'm conflicted as to whether I should root for her or not. While it's apparent she has had her own pair of struggles, we know that its nowhere near all the crazy stuff the other members of the clan have had to deal with. Now she wants to be the white knight? On the other hand I don't want Frank to die, so whatever little she can do to prevent that, I am 100% behind her! Giving Frank heroine was stupid though, as she got Frank, Chuckie and herself kicked out of the house. You think Sheila will mind that they are now shacking up at her place?



Huey the Parasitic Twin
The medical term for parasitic twin is 'Fetal Reabsorption,' and thanks to Veronica's latest ultrasound, we now know she'll be expecting twins instead of triplets. Veronica took the news rather well. Months ago we probably would have gotten a joyful reaction out of her since she expressed doubts about whether her and Kev would be able to provide for them adequately. The reaction we got out of her now is confusion with a hint of disgust. Kev's reaction was more appropriate. He resents not being able to care for them inside the womb. Well now with a snub-nosed revolver he got from Mickey, he has a forcefield. He is the protector and no one will be able to hurt his twins from here on out. He is now better prepared to protect his future kegs full of the 'rub n' tug' money.


Liam/Carl the Retard(s)
In the previous episodes we'd seen Carl try to find Frank a new liver donor, help Frank steal drugs for his pain, and also help Frank build a pretty awesome sweat lodge. Now with Samantha around to take on those sorts of responsibilities, Carl has moved onto protector of his little brother Liam. Starting by punishing those school kids who have been calling Liam all sorts of awful names: 'crack baby' and 'retard' to just name a few. With a headbutt to their nose and a right hook to other's jaw, Carl did what little he could to protect his baby brother's good name. After all it wasn't Liam's fault he got sick and nearly died from ingesting cocaine, so why should other's get to pick on him? Carl is rather functional for being 82% mentally handicapped.


Debbie the Cutter
We've seen Debbie struggle with teenager problems now for the past 1.5 seasons. This year its been especially accelerated now that she's hanging out with questionable company as her only reference to navigating the treacherous waters of the dating world. While she's never had quiet the normal role model at home, she's always been able to count on Fiona/Lip for advice. Now that Lip's in school (sorta) and Fiona with a full time job/jail, she's been left with the seedy advice of her promiscuous, and pregnant best friend: cut yourself when you are stressed or dealing with strenuous situations. When Matty broke up with her for the second time, she decided to try it. To her horror, it really hurts! Hang on to your innocence Deb.


Lip/Ian are Invalid
"Where is Ian and does he know whats going on?" It's the question that mostly asked by everyone (including us viewers) for the better part of the season. Ever since hightailing out of the Army, Ian has been on his own lonely fortress, trying to make the best of his situation. With the powers that be looking for him to throw him in jail for impersonating Lip, he's turned to bartending/hookin'/drugs as a blanket of warmth in the cold Chicago nights. The last person I'd thought to go looking for him was Mickey. He did find him, and what he found was the shell of a person he'd grown to love. What little bits and pieces Mickey did manage to relay to Ian didn't compute. Seems Ian is rejecting any sort of remembrance of his former life and taken on a persona where everything throws an error.

Lip on the other hand has taken on Fiona's responsibility while trying to maintain passing grades. He's making school lunches, babysitting Liam, bringing (errr stealing) food for dinner. He is quickly becoming the only source of hope the Gallagher clan have. With Fiona avoiding jail time, we at least know he wont have to do it alone. For the short term, it does look like they'll both be working apart. Fiona turned her back for 2 seconds and her world is falling apart. Nonetheless, Fiona will have some major ground to cover if she wants to get in Lip's good graces. All other cheap attempts are considered invalid.


While "A Jailbird, Invalid, Martyr, Cutter, Retard, Parasitic Twin" did provide some very solid character moments from everyone involved, it's Lip whose knocked it out of the park. He's added extra layers of depth that makes it easy for any person to grasp onto. He should be holding some new hardware come awards season.

What do you think?

Shameless Quotes
- "Enjoy your coffee fuckin hole stand-ers"
- "Bible says I have the right to bare arms, so I bare arms" "Its the constitution"
- "Steven Seagal here let someone steal all our cash" "That's because your pube loving husband wasn't doing his job"
- "Have you ever made friends with an inanimate object?"

Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 4/3/2016

Season 6 : Episode 12

31 Comments
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I feel like Fiona is one of those people who can't be happy. If their life is going great they just have to ruin it! I couldn't believe that she started sniffing that coke. She is a life ruiner. I feel no sympathy for her.
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Why is Ethan Cutkosky's performance so ridiculously overlooked? That little dude has been killing it on this show. His delivery of those facial expression shots that Shameless loves to use was simply amazing this week.

Also the exchange between Mickey and his Russian wife. No words, but there was so much said. This season has taken this show to a new level. Jeremy Allen White and Emmy Rossum deserve much more recognition than they are currently getting.
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Great episode and very nice review, thanks for taking the time to review this, less popular, show (atleast on this website).

How are the (viewer) ratings for this show anyhow? I sure hope the popularity on this website isn't representative because I'd hate to see it being cancelled somewhere down the road.
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The show hit an all time ratings high this season and it's already been renewed! Hopefully nothing but good things ahead.
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Alright awesome, thanks for the reply
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Good recap ! This show needs all the discussion it can get on TV.com.

The most funny was Carl doing an internet survey on whether Liam is a retard and found himself having lower score than his brother.

I could really feel for Kev as he use to be a happy go lucky guy and now has to worry about every penny saved for his soon to be born children.

Saddest is Debbie and Ian. They used to mature teenagers helping out Fiona and Lip with the family now both are lost. Hope they find their way back home soon.
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Pretty surprised you guys are still reviewing this show. I still like it, but the fact that I'm the 3rd commenter on a show that aired on Sunday isn't a good sign. As usual the show has its humor and its seriousness, I thought last week's scene with Fiona getting booked and searched to be most gripping. They do do a good job mixing in serious with the crazy antics that the show is based on. I do hope however they wind the run up here soon, either this season or next. I doubt they'll do it, seeing as its Showtime (and we all know what they did with Dexter) but before it gets too stale, wrap it up.
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I really do not want it to end too soon as it is one of my favorite shows.

The UK version went on for 11 seasons. I will be happy if this US version gets eight.
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Staff
It was done as a labor of love for the show. While I am TV.com staff, I am not part of the editorial team. So I wrote it up on my free time. Appreciate you reading though.

Agreed that Fiona getting booked+searched added an extra emotional layer to an already tense situation. We've seen her try so hard to do the right thing. It almost seems unfair that what happened to Liam happened on her watch.
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I did not know you were a TV.com staff. Now I appreciate it even more than you are doing it as a labor of love !
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Great review! Love the structure and I'm convinced you nailed the correct Gallagher association for each item in the episode's title.

This episode really pushed each character towards a painful realization without ever feeling too forced as a result of so much happening in one hour. Juggling each of the storylines was again, supremely impressive writing.

I'm still not sure, however, what the final stakes will be this season? Fiona will have to find a new direction. Lip will have to forgive her. Frank will have to find a way to survive. Debbie, Carl, and Ian to cope with their reality... but, there doesn't seem to be an overarching family goal yet, which previous seasons have embraced. Hopefully it doesn't involve Kev getting caught in a firefight, because I'm not 100% sure he knows how to use that gun...

Here's a challenge I've been pondering for a while: Rank the Gallaghers you have the most sympathy for. Fiona has always topped the list, but this season has seen her fall dramatically. For me it's currently:

1) Liam
2) Debbie
3) Lip
3) Carl
4) Ian
5) Fiona
6) Sammi
More+
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I completely agree with you about Kev... I seriously expected him to accidentally shoot himself the entire episode. My List is:

1. Lip (watching history seem to repeat itself with Fi has got to be hard on him)
2. Carl (he's the most emotional of them, but paid the least attention)
3. Debbie (no real role model or understanding)
4. Liam (yeah he almost died, but we don't really kno how that'll effect him in the future and he's young enough that he probably won't even remember it later in life)
5. Ian (don't really kno what his deal is and kinda think it's stupid that he's self destructing like this over Mickey)
6. Fiona (lower on the list because it's self imposed crap she's going through)
7. Sammi (she has some major daddy issues, but is kinda annoying)
8. Frank (karma is a big b**ch)
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Heh, I didn't even include Frank on my list, but agreed he's an easy choice for last place.
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It will be a long troubled road for Fi and Lip. Lip is 100% in the right frame of mind. "It was and accident." Is a Frank thing to say. Which just drives Lip nuts! Let's hope Fi can get it together.
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