Guys will do anything to get a girl’s attention, including making a fool of themselves. In Carl Gallagher (Ethan Cutkosky)’s case, he was being his ‘new’ self. Through all of his machinations, including using his little brother as a prop, the target of his affection was actually interested in him, just not his new persona. What I don’t think Dominique (Jaylen Barron) realized was that the act had become reality for Carl before he set foot out of juvenile detention.
The school teachers arming themselves through Carl was the comic book aspect of The F Word, above and beyond any bounds of reality. Even Carl was stunned that teachers were coming to him to buy sidearms (in the real world, he would have been expelled from school and arrested). In a world of school shootings, teachers wanting to protect themselves could be understood but the source of those weapons in this episode of Shameless was absurd. Why not just legally buy one? There were a million ways that buying a gun from a student could go sideways for a teacher. Ask all the teachers that decided to have sex with one of their students. How did that turn out for them and their teaching careers? These teachers were buying death-dealers and ordnance from one, turning them from educators into enablers in the blink of an eye. It was bizarre. It defied even Shameless‘ already stretched and exaggerated realism.
The “Inter-bortion,” spearheaded by Frank Gallagher (William H. Macy), was the strangest, most self-servicing aspect of The F Word. Frank’s narcissism was in full swing. Debbie Gallagher (Emma Kenney) was so desperate for support she sought out Frank, whom she had previously realized could only serve as a source of let-down and neglect. Her powerful plea to Fiona Gallagher (Emmy Rossum) in the third act of the episode fell on weathered, veteran, child-raising ears. Debbie had no idea the 24/7 job she was signing up for. Fiona knew. She had already lived it and wanted no part of it at the current point in her life. It was a strong, emotional moment in the episode but an unlitigious one. Debbie was a minor and Fiona was her legal guardian. Fiona legally couldn’t kick Debbie out until she was eighteen-years-old. Debbie is the second or third smartest person in the Galleger household. I was surprised Debbie did not realize this, though her reason was most-likely clouded by ragging emotions. Technically, if Debbie has the baby, Fiona would be stuck in her household with it (though she could move out and get her own apartment, while still coming over to manage the household.)
The eviction notice put on the Gallager’s door was a surprise, in the context of the family dramas that had transpired in The F Word, but not in the context of the last two seasons of the series. Gentrification was happening throughout the lower income neighborhoods in Chicago, with outsiders buying homes for double or triple their present value. Such an offer must have been made to the owner of the Gallagher home and he took it. The Gallaghers have (or had) a fifty-year lease at a set price ($500 a month I believe) but their deal with the owner didn’t include the sale of the home (I could be wrong though). The owner can also break the lease if the leaser breaks their lease agreement. Renting out the backyard of the house they were leasing for a fee probably counts as breaking their lease agreement. The Gallaghers were making a profit off property that they did not own. Once the home owner got a whiff of that, instead of chiding them and telling them they couldn’t do that, he smartly (this is supposition) took one of many sales offers presented to him previously that he could not act upon. It was brilliant (if true). Frank and Fiona (she let the backyard renting continue once she found out about it) gave the home owner the legal leverage he needed to get rid of the Gallaghers once and for all.
The F Word song performed by Gus Pfender (Steve Kazee) was a coffin nail to the temple, Judith cutting Holofernes’ head off, to the relationship of Gus and Fiona. Gus placed all of his feelings and Fiona’s sexual behavior in one song and it was devastating. The viewer didn’t realize how much Fiona’s infidelity had hurt Gus until he began to sing.
To Fiona’s credit, she let him have his say. She didn’t walk out during the performance. She sat there and took “her medicine” with a stiff upper lip. Being the materfamilias of a family since was a teen created that type of fortitude within her. That does not mean that she did not feel Gus’ words or show how much the truth hurt her later in the episode. She did. She felt the day’s events deeply.
With tears running down her cheeks, Fiona proved that when she told Sean Pierce (Dermot Mulroney) that she was having an abortion and that he didn’t have a right to comment on it (like she didn’t about him recently doing heroin). It was a brave stance and Sean had given her the legs to stand on because of his past actions.
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