Shameless season 8, episode 7 recap: Why it’s time to start worrying about Lip


Photo Credit: Shameless/Showtime, Erica Parise Image Acquired from Showtime Press Express

As Ian’s feud with Fiona reaches its apex, Shameless forces Lip to face the grim reality of losing control. Should we worry about Lip?

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When you’ve been watching Shameless for eight seasons, you start to pick up on its warning signs. For instance, you learn to know when to sniff out Frank’s grade-A crap, when to pick up on Ian’s erratic behavior (we’ll get to that later), and when to show concern for the captain of suffering in silence, Lip. Although it might appear as though Lip has a firm grasp on his sobriety by helping his friends, he’s barely hanging on, and it’s time to worry.

Given the up and down nature of his storyline for the past few seasons ever since his addiction rolled into a severe problem, it’s unlikely that Shameless will guide Lip down another rocky road of relapse. The hints are explicitly present (screaming “I want a drink!” sure did the trick), but Lip does away with temptation via distraction, a tactic that’s probably not suggested for recovery. Still, he throws himself into keeping Brad in check after his recent bender and cleaning up Professor Youens for his court date. Somewhere in the midst of all this madness lies Lip’s health, and it’s an overgrown garden he hasn’t been tending to with care.

Without being asked to, Lip sacrifices his time (and, more or less, sanity) to take custody of his friends who both once yanked him out of rock bottom. Youens footed the bill for Lip’s rehab, and Brad guided him through AA. Now Lip selflessly loses himself in picking up the pieces of their sobriety and pasting them back together with zero commitment from either party. While Brad throws himself hourly pity parties over his girlfriend, Youens lies in a puddle of his own vomit on the morning of his court date. They each later testify, but Youens stumbling to the stand drunk seals his fate.

Lip takes Youens’ failure especially hard, but it’s a lesson he needed to learn. Contending with Brad losing his family and Youens losing his career isn’t about Lip ending up surrendering to a bottle. He won’t throw away his progress simply because he fears the dismal fortune of his friends means the same for him. No, this story is about Lip proving to himself that career and family are things worth fighting for, that those are things he deserves for himself. I mean, I hope that’s what it’s about. Because we all want to see Lip happy, healthy, and hitting back at the crumby expectations thrust upon him.

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

While we brace for impact with the remainder of Lip’s story, he might be glad he hasn’t had the time to check in with the family. As much as we’d love to see the Gallagher’s interact and intertwine like the old days, the current civil war occurring between Fiona and Ian marks the worst blood feud of the series and one that signals there’s more involved than an abandoned church. Ian mobilizes the youth center’s kids to “Occupy Fiona” with a homeless campsite in the empty lot next door to Fiona’s building. She tries to resist the name calling and window egging, but Ian keeps pushing and pushing.

Finally, Fiona lures the kids out of the lot with 12 pizzas in a distant park and $20 each (it’s less sketchy than it sounds), which angers Ian to the point of screaming in her face. The offer of another building a few blocks down does little to stifle his rage. What began as an endearing spat between siblings quickly sharpens with stakes equivalent to those of Season 5’s “Crazy Love.”

Approaching the subject as gently as possible, Fiona asks if Ian has been taking his medication for his bipolar disorder. Rightfully, he resents that any time his passion usurps reason, his mental illness must be the culprit. The final scene between Fiona and Ian, in which he declares a cease fire, insinuates Ian hides something about his health and/or intentions. We were worried about Lip, but should we be worried about Ian, too?

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

Odds & Ends:

  • Remember how we were feeling bad for Frank last week? Yeah, well that was a short-lived phenomenon. Fresh off his first firing, Frank hits the pavement looking for another job. Good, right? Not so much. Somehow his wires got crossed, and he’s overcome with a false sense of entitlement. However…
  • It doesn’t take Frank long to revert to his old ways: Ranting at the Alibi and swirling up some crazy scheme. He meets a man who’s being deported after attempting to flee to Canada. Because he’s Frank, he’s certain he can sneak his new friend across the border and score his Alibi buddies cheap medical supplies, too. This’ll end well.
  • Even though Debbie’s story has been a bit inconsistent in Season 8, Shameless focuses less on her mess of a life and more on her fun side in the latest episode. At the expense of her job taking tickets in a parking structure, Debs welds a dumpster to an awful doctor’s car. Hey, he had it coming. Never change, Debs.
  • Carl’s underground rehab takes an interesting turn as Cassidy, a new teenage “patient,” tells Carl to film a ransom video to extort his tuition from her rich father. It works, but Cassidy doesn’t want to leave the Gallagher basement. To each their own.
  • Shameless has taken Kev and V on a wild journey in the first half of Season 8. From a cancer scare to Kentucky to a reunion with Svetlana, our South Side OTP has done it all… except it. That is, until Kev learns the secret to “dominating” V: Scolding her.

What did you think of the latest episode? Let us know in the comments!

Shameless returns Sunday, Dec. 31 at 9/8c on Showtime.