TV Show Review

TV Review: SHAMELESS: Season 5, Episode 11: Drugs Actually [Showtime]

Cameron Monaghan Noel Fisher Shameless Drugs Actually

Showtime‘s Shameless Drugs Actually TV Show Review. Shameless: Season 5, Episode 11: Drugs Actually could have easily been called The Sicknesses. The Gallagher family testifying about Ian Gallagher (Cameron Monaghan)’s bipolarism and its influence on his personality and his actions was sad. Ian looked like a wiped, beaten dog as he listened (it was as though they were speaking about someone else). He was pummeled with the true reality of his condition, making him all the more susceptible when a secret correspondent paid him a visit. It was surprising to see this person staring through the glass at Ian. Ian was surprised.

If Ian had been raised in a normal household, with two ever-present, stable parental units, what this person said to him would have been recognized as nonsense and dismissed. Ian was not raised in that idealistic household. He was raised in a dystopian one. That was how this person was able to ‘get through’ to Ian. It was a melancholy, depressing moment.

The classic water rebirth motif was dramatically utilized in Drug Actually. What was more interesting was what happened after this sequence ended. Two worlds collided: the old neighborhood and new, gentrified one. It was an awkward moment for all those involved, especially Lip Gallagher (Jeremy Allen White), who had been transitioning from one branch of society to the next all season long. This moment showed that Lip has no intention of being the bridge between the two disparate, economic areas. Once he gets out of the ghetto, he has no plans to return to it (or its influences).

Frank Gallagher (William H. Macy) becoming unnerved by Bianca (Bojana Novakovic)’s increasing daredevil-like personality showed how on the edge she was becoming. Frank has blacked out an entire year (presumably from drinking) and ended up in different countries with no recollection on how he got there. When this person has a problem with your behavior and drug use, you should heed it as though it is coming from an expert, because it is. If there is one person with a PH.D in self-destruction, its Frank Gallagher.

One of the things Frank had been hoping for, dreaming of with Bianca (even Mickey Milkovich (Noel Fisher) commented [paraphrasing]: “How did Frank get a girl like that?”) happened in Drugs Actually and it nearly killed the both of them. Their ‘time’ together on train tracks gave a new meaning to the phrase: “Coming and going.” One question: Was she that…aggressive, deriving exactly what she needed from her partner, before her diagnosis? If so, how and why was she single? Long, irregular hours at the hospital?

The intervention / “Morning wood” moment was hilarious and salacious. Even when caught unawares, Frank had no shame, unlike everyone else in the room. Once again, Frank proved that his narcissistic soul still possessed a living, breathing heart (even though his actions were ultimately based on his own self-interest).

Frank actually tried to do the right thing by Bianca, something he is incapable of doing for his own children, because she’s: comely, a free spirit, does drugs with no abandon, and is spending her accrued doctor’s wealth on the both of them. If Frank’s children made his life that much fun instead of depending on him for silly things like food, guidance, bill payments, etc., he might take an interest and like being around them as well.

The last moments of this storyline in Drugs Actually showed one of Frank’s latent, underdeveloped traits: the ability to sell himself. If this skill had been developed, exercised, and trained in school, Frank would have been one hell of a: salesman, stock broker, or real estate agent. The viewer has seen Frank’s ability to sell himself in previous episodes of Shameless, so when Frank  deployed it successfully with Bianca when she was about to abscond beyond her families’ reach, it was no surprise.

Even more surprising is that many viewers are (or will be) rooting for this ‘ship because of how well it is written (think Ayra Stark and The Hound). I am. Are you?

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About the author

Rollo Tomasi

A Political Science and MBA grad who started FilmBook during an eCommerce B-School course in 2008. Cinema and TV addict. Former writer at Empire Movies, Blogcritics, and Alternative Film Guide. In addition to writing for FilmBook, he also edits the copy published on the website, manages its writing staff, manages the back-end operations, site finances, its social network accounts, and works with publicists, actors, and companies on press coverage and promotions. He has also created and Trending

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