Shameless season 8, episode 6 recap: That awkward moment when you feel bad for Frank


Photo Credit: Shameless/Showtime, Chuck Hodes Image Acquired from Showtime Press Express

As Fiona cleans up the remains of a deceased hoarder, Kev questions his sexuality and Frank notches his first true firing on Shameless. Should we actually feel bad for him?

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Empathizing with Frank Gallagher? Now there’s a Shameless first. In Season 8, the veteran dramedy has been hitting some firsts, such as the first family fight over real estate. You know the Gallaghers have grown when the siblings are fighting over buying abandoned buildings and you find yourself heartbroken over Frank losing his job. What kind of alternative South Side universe are we living in?

Some of the credit goes to William H. Macy for bringing a new layers to ol’ Frank, but most of the heavy lifting comes courtesy of the writers, who have seamlessly rejuvenated Shameless with a winning combination of its classic bombast and an earnest, almost heartfelt, throughline. As we arrive at the halfway point in Season 8, the show’s maturation hasn’t been more apparent than in a pair of stories told in Sunday night’s episode, a relatively quiet rumination on realizations and reckonings. While Fiona discovers the deceased body of a former tenant, Lip hits the streets to find his relapsed sponsor. Can the eldest Gallagher offspring befriend who they have become?

Fiona picks up where she left off last week: Pissed off about Ian not supporting her desire to gently gentrify her building’s neighborhood. In her eyes, it’s as simple as family sticking up for each other. But that logic works both ways, Fiona. When she stumbles upon a tenant’s decaying body (being eaten by her dog), Fiona comes face to face with the harsh reality of a woman who pushed her family away. Mrs. Cardinal hoarded worthless belongings, save for a handful of personal photos, and met her end alone — the snack of her only companion.

Armed with this stark realization, Fiona attempts to wave the white flag with Ian. You can’t judge Fiona for her belief in the power of talking a situation out. But she does harbor another belief that she can do something morally questionable, apologize, and all will be swept under the rug. In the face of the slightest push back from Ian, she returns to standing her ground. She believes she’s as entitled to bettering her life as the shelter’s kids. It’s an interestingly gray area that leaves Fiona dumpster diving for Mrs. Cardinal’s photos and framing one in the building.

Photo Credit: Shameless/Showtime, Paul Sarkis Image Acquired from Showtime Press Express

Meanwhile, the “throuple” — Kev, V, and Svetlana — is back in action despite their best efforts to terminate Svetlana’s pull on them. When Kev notices Svetlana pleasures V in a way he can’t, he wonders if he should experiment. Thus kicks off an abnormally cringey exploration of Kev’s blatant heterosexuality. It’d be offensive if it weren’t actually one of the dumbest stories told on Shameless. In the end, V admits it’s not a homosexual connection, it’s domination. Kev thinks he’s up to the task, but V’s face says otherwise. Honestly, same. Even though Kev’s questioning of his sexuality mixes up the story, there must be more zing in the bottom of this bag.

Strangely enough, Lip’s arc takes greater shape as he searches for his relapsed sponsor, Brad. In doing so, he contends with his own sobriety like he’s never been forced to in the past. Lip clings to the grimmest sliver of faith that finding and saving Brad means there’s hope for him. He says it best: If Brad can’t stay sober, how is there any chance he can? The fact that Lip can even vocalize these concerns and not give up on his friend means that he’ll make it through the toughest roads ahead. And hey, maybe he’ll even become a father, as Shameless continues to hit us over the head with hints that Lip’s headed for fatherhood.

Next: Shameless season 8, episode 5 recap: Fiona and Ian commence the first Gallagher war

Odds & Ends:

  • Frank receives his first official credit card, and suddenly a whole new world opens up to the old guy. He’s online shopping, charging drinks, buying a car… Yeah, Mr. Anti-establishment himself. But when the world gives, it takes away. The reigning employee of the month loses his job to cutbacks. Will Frank really land on his feet?
  • Debs awakes to realizes she slept with her… friend?… without protection. The winding road to obtaining the morning after pill includes a parking lot brawl, jail time, and evoking xenophobia in a pharmacy. Girl, get your house in order.
  • Related: Franny slept in a hotel bathtub padded with pillows. Yes, Debs is doing her best, but this one should be the wake up call.
  • We have to give Carl credit for his ingenuity, but we have to strip points away for the misspelled “Ubber” sign. A solid “A” for effort.
  • Is Nessa’s purpose just being Fiona’s sounding board and unpaid assistant? Because it’ll be a shameful misuse of Jessica Szohr. #Finessa4ever

What did you think of the latest episode? Sound off in the comments!

Shameless airs Sundays at 9/8c on Showtime.