They could not have waited a few more days, gotten the money and then set Frank straight? Yes, they wanted to show how they do not need him, but this did not make a whole lot of sense in my book.
No real explanation for what Steve did or was doing there, other then we assume he has a secret life. Still, all that aside, this was a strong episode of Shameless that had me laughing, had me feeling for Lip and Fiona at their lowest point, and had me entertained throughout.
There's probably a lot of different opinions on what the best episode of the show has been to date. A lot of people probably enjoy the ridiculous events of the Gallagher's life, where they hold fake funerals and fake weddings in order to trick people or try and get money. However, I'm a fan of the episodes that focus on the family and what makes them tick. The Pilot was the closest the show came to approaching this style of television, and this episode is probably my favorite after the pilot in terms of helping us, the audience, connect with the characters easier.
Frank passes out from alcohol poisoning and wakes up two days later to a doctor who's impressed at his advanced level of alcoholism. She offers him 3000 dollars to stop drinking for two weeks; she'll monitor his alcohol intake, and immediately, he takes on the challenge. The episode surprised me on two different levels. For one, it shows how motivated Frank can be as a father when he wants to be. It also shows how the family itself responds to his newfound sobriety. I was surprised at first to see Lip so frustrated, but after his excellent explanation to Carl and Debbie about the turtle they used to have (seriously, this show can have excellent writing when it wants to), it makes a lot more sense. However, my second big surprise is at what Lip and Debbie would do to avoid being hurt again. They taser Frank in the middle of him playing with Carl and pour vodka down his throat. Now, I understand that Lip and Debbie would be worried about Frank disappointing them again, but what they do to Frank is just as bad as what he does to them. Come on, what if this was the time Frank stayed sober? It doesn't make sense to me.
I think that it's a good thing that we're starting to learn a little bit about Steve now.. or is it Jimmy? Next week looks like an episode where things start unfolding for him, and I'm intrigued to see how this will affect his relationship with the Gallaghers.. also, despite it being a less important plot in the grand scheme of the episode, the Kev and Veronica plot was one of the better plots for me, mostly because it's interesting to see how Kev reacts to "fatherhood." It should be cool to see if this weird religious cult girl straight out of "Big Love" ends up staying with them in future episodes.
Well, with the episode done, it makes one wonder.. does the show work better when Frank is sober or not? For me, I think it would be interesting to see Frank seriously experiment with sobriety. Frank is a drunk, but where did his drunkenness come from? Was it a bad childhood? A bad marriage? The children make it seem like it's been like this forever. Honestly, how long can he be a d-bag to his children and to everyone around him? It's clear he's calm when he needs to be (his relationship with Sheila is weird, but it's as normal as someone like him can be). I'd like to see some more delving into his past and into the motivations behind his actions.