Episode Title: "Father Frank, Full of Grace"
Writer: John Wells
Director: Mark Mylod
Previously on "Shameless":
After attending a school program for Debbie, Fiona made a new friend in Jasmine, a strangely affectionate young mother.
Frank learned that his disability was discontinued and sought out a dangerous new job to get back on the injured list. Meanwhile, Lip and Ian looked for Ian’s biological father but it was really Lip who wanted a new family.
And in the quest to payback her father for humiliating her at the Purity Ball, Karen seduced Frank… and captured it on video.
Frank (William H. Macy) awakens in Karen’s (Laura Slade Wiggins) basement. He finds her upstairs and breaks it to her easy in the bathroom: they must not have sex again, no matter how great it was.
At the precinct, Ian (Cameron Monaghan) and Lip (Jeremy Allen White) are looking at hard jail time if they don’t give up whose stolen Porsche they were driving. The boys won’t talk but Lip tries to take the fall. However, Tony (Tyler Jacob Moore) bribes the detective working the case with football tickets and gets the charges dropped.
Meanwhile, Steve (Justin Chatwin) is nowhere to be found. Debbie (Ema Kenney) stops by his parent’s house and tells them what he’s been up to. Out on patrol, Tony pulls Steve over on a motor scooter. Steve makes a deal with Tony to get the boys out of jail. Tony doesn’t tell him they’re already free and agrees to let them go in exchange for Steve’s house next to the Gallaghers and him leaving town.
Karen sends the "sex tape" to her dad (Joel Murray) who flies into a rage after watching it. Meanwhile, Lip and Karen have sex but afterwards, she breaks up with him. Heading home from the train, a neighborhood guy teases Lip about the video, who then rushes home to watch it for himself and heads out looking for Frank.
Lip chases Frank down in a stolen car and gives him a beating. Later, Karen apologizes to Lip as they comfort each other.
Debbie attempts to tell Fiona (Emmy Rossum) about Steve but she says she already knows. Later, Steve stops by and begs her to leave with him for Costa Rica. He gives her a first class ticket and tells her to meet him at the terminal, the next day.
After witnessing his co-workers watching Karen’s "sex tape," Eddie heads out to his ice fishing shack, where he commits suicide by jumping in the freezing water with a cinder block tied to his leg.
Frank shows up outside the Gallagher home and pleads with Lip for forgiveness. Lip opens the window and pees on Frank from above.
At the airport, Steve waits anxiously for Fiona. But after heading to the train, she turns around and stops by Jasmine’s (Amy Smart) office to start the new job she offered Fiona instead of running away.
After last week’s debauchery, I couldn’t imagine this first season of "Shameless’" ending on a high note for these characters. We had Lip and Ian in jail after hunting down Ian’s biological father in a stolen car, Frank sure to be on his way after having sex with son’s underage girlfriend on video, Tony in hot pursuit of Steve/Jimmy and Fiona getting close to a suspiciously over-friendly young mom at Debbie’s school. No, things were not looking up for the Gallaghers and friends, but are they ever?
Heading into the season finale, there were a lot of loose ends to tie up and the writers put a bow on almost everything. The boys’ stolen car chargers were dropped after Tony bribed a detective with Bears tickets and thanks to some crossed signals, when Debbie finally worked up the nerve to tell Fiona about Steve/Jimmy, her big sister said she already knew.
Both conclusions were a bit of a letdown. The boys’ arrest was a means to getting Steve out of town and putting Fiona’s life at a crossroad, with the suspense now resting on the ole’ "meet me at the airport" gambit. It was no surprise that Fiona didn’t take the bait, but have we seen the last of Steve? Unlikely.
And finally, Debbie attempted to spill Steve’s secret identity to Fiona when another cliched device ("let me interrupt you before you tell me the secret") squashed the reveal. But hey, that’s what second seasons are for, right?
As for the Frank/Karen/Lip/Eddie/Sheila mess, the whole thing wreaks of various bodily fluids and bad taste. Eddie pursues Frank and then, when confronted with his co-workers enjoying Karen’s "sex tape," decides to commit suicide. His method may seem comical but I don’t see much of a point to it, other than writing off the character. Yes, it’s a black comedy but it almost feels too tragic to be funny.
For Frank’s part, we already know he’s a selfish bastard but his lack of caring for others, shows how much he does loves his family, by comparison. His bathroom lecture to Karen was arrogant, mostly unapologetic and self-serving, which also made it very funny. But when he sees the hurt he’s caused Lip, Frank makes what little effort he can, to do right by his son. And when he gets pissed on by Lip, from on high, he takes it, knowing he’s been doing the same to them for years.
Where will "Shameless" go next season? What fresh, new, tasteless shenanigans will the Gallaghers get into a year from now? I’m almost afraid to ask but like a drunken brawl outside a bar, I’ll definitely slow down to look.
Crave Online Rating: 7 out of 10.