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'Shameless' recap: Frank wakes up as Lip takes control

Season 4 | Ep. 11 | “Emily” | Aired Mar 30, 2014

When Shameless first debuted on Showtime in 2011, we saw Fiona (Emmy Rossum) raising five kids and running a household, all while cleaning up after the mistakes of her alcoholic father. There were plenty of bumps in the road, but overall she had it together. Now, three seasons later, as Fiona makes her way down a self-destructive spiral that shows how similar to Frank (William H. Macy) she really is, it’s Lip (Jeremy Allen White) who has become the Gallagher family leader. There is even a weird sense of déjà vu during the most recent episode, “Emily,” as Lip juggles his personal life and family duties, just as Fiona would have a few years ago.

Lip is able to convince a social worker visiting the house that, although appearances may suggest otherwise, the Gallagher family really is a better environment than any foster home would be. It’s a very different performance from the one he gives to girlfriend Amanda’s (Nichole Bloom) father, who is horrified enough to pay Lip $10,000 to break up the young couple. Lip takes the money (as we knew he would), and later Amanda mocks him for not earning more from their scam. “I told you he gave my BMX boyfriend in high school $15,000,” she scoffs.

Elsewhere in the Gallagher home, Carl (Ethan Cutkosky) is cuddled up with his new girlfriend, Bonnie (Morgan Lily), who reveals to him that she’s not a fan of sex. He is perfectly OK with that (they’re only 12, after all), so they stick to kissing. This new relationship, born in detention and accelerated by armed robbery, is surprisingly adorable. After learning that Bonnie is homeless — living in a car, in the winter, in Chicago — he invites her and her siblings to stay at his house.

Just as Carl is settling into his new relationship, we see Debbie’s (Emma Kenney) love life continuing to flail. She meets a new boy, her friends are jealous, and he seems to have eyes only for her. For a few minutes you think the youngest Gallagher female has finally found a nice, age-appropriate boy (he’s in 11th grade to her eighth, but it’s still better than a guy in his 20s). But alas, it’s over as soon as he gets her top open during an under-the-bleachers make-out session. Dozens of students wielding camera phones appear out of nowhere, and Debbie is humiliated by the prank. She knew that her ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend Seema (Susie Abraham) would eventually retaliate after Debbie harassed her for a few days, but it’s still sad to see a 13-year-old girl scrolling through topless photos of herself posted all over Facebook. As she sits in the cold, looking at what her classmates wrote on the social network, Matty (James Allen McCune) shows up and tells her that he broke up with Seema. He also continues to be sweet but creepy, telling her the Facebook photos were pretty and asking her to the dance. Do schools even let 20-somethings go to middle school dances? Only time will tell.

The March 30 episode of Shameless is all about relationships, and the most significant romantic development comes from Ian (Cameron Monaghan) and Mickey (Noel Fisher), who finally come out to the world. When Ian gives Mickey an ultimatum — come out or break up — the closeted Milkovich son rises to the occasion, shouting “I just want everybody here to know I’m fucking gay,” at his son’s christening party. A moment of calm is quickly broken as Mickey’s homophobic father, Terry (Dennis Cockrum), dives across the Alibi Room, screaming that he is going to kill his son and starting to beat Mickey bloody. The cops are called, Terry is taken back to jail for violating his probation, and a Chicago police officer lets Mickey go so that he can avoid some paperwork and get home to his husband. Meanwhile, Ian and Mickey shippers around the world cheer as the couple finally becomes official and Ian goes back to his pre-Army personality.

The divide between the Gallagher children and their father continues in the “Emily” episode of Shameless, which places Sammi (Emily Bergl), Sheila (Joan Cusack) and Frank still in the hospital, where he is slowly recovering from his too-lucky-to-be-believable liver transplant. Carl stops by just long enough to hit Frank in the groin, waking him up after all of Sheila’s Native American healing dances fail. Frank regains consciousness with post-operative delirium, and is unable to identify anyone around him. He thinks Sheila is his mother, and later connects with Emily, a sweet young girl with cardiomyopathy in the next hospital bed. He calls her Fiona, and she plays along, likely filling a void her own father left when he abandoned her and her mother. The moment is sweet and innocent, and the usually selfish patriarch looks truly looks terrified when Emily suffers cardiac arrest and is wheeled away. It’s a heartbreaking moment to see a young girl unable to get a heart transplant in time, while Frank managed to cheat death after destroying his own liver. Judging by the season 4 finale preview, it’s unlikely that Frank will have learned any sort of lesson as he regains his memory and his addiction to alcohol. As the “Emily” episode ends, he’s still unaware that the real Fiona is three hours away, taking communal showers in a correctional facility after heading down a drug-laden path to becoming just like him.

Although her presence is felt across multiple storylines, we barely see Fiona during the penultimate episode of season 4. As the eldest Gallagher sibling returns to prison for 90 days, we’re shown how clearly her crime (breaking probation) compares to those of people like her bus-mate, who stabbed a pregnant woman (her boyfriend’s wife) in the stomach. Fiona’s clearly too polite for prison, but it’s likely she’ll stay there for the rest of the season, only to be released during the time jump before season 5.

The final episode of this season, “Lazarus,” airs on Showtime on Sunday, April 6. What sort of closure are you hoping to see before the season ends? Tell me in the comments below!

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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