Showtime‘s Shameless Refugees TV Show Review. Shameless: Season 6, Episode 5: Refugees was a transitional episode for the people and relationships on the series. Frank Gallagher (William H. Macy) and Erica Wexler (Ever Carradine) trading stories, shopping, and bonding was one of the highlights of Refugees. When first introduced, Ms. Wexler seemed like an empty, straight-as-an-arrow character. The viewer had no idea that she had formerly been as sexual and drug-wild as Frank. It was a good reveal and because of it, a fascinating back and forth ensued between the two characters during their scenes, especially the bar scene where most of the revelations occurred.
Watching Frank worm his way into Ms. Wexler’s life showed that Frank had a latent, untapped ability at public relations and in speaking-off-the-cuff. He showed this numerous times when he was assumed gay (then pretended to be so) a few seasons ago but what he showed with Ms. Wexler during Refugees was an ability politicians envy i.e. connecting with a person you have just met and creating comradery between the two of you. Making that person comfortable with you. Frank showed that ability at gay speaking events seasons ago, with Bianca last season, and he did it again with Ms. Wexler.
If Frank had actually had a stable upbringing, he might have been able to do something with that ability besides conning people and manipulating situations to his own ends.
Watching Debbie Gallagher (Emma Kenney) get sucked into Frank’s Mommy / Cancer plan was previously entertaining but it seemed like a momentary lark. Not so in Refugees. Debbie had become fully invested in the plan, going so far as to take Frank’s seduction advice.
The Mommy / Cancer plan led to two moments of note in Refugees. The first involved Debbie confronting Tyler Wexler (Michael McMillian) in his home. She was in complete command of the situation from the moment the bathroom door popped open. She used the truth as a blunt force object and it worked. The writers of Shameless are increasing giving Emma Kenney a heavier verbal and emotional workload and she is stepping up without falter.
The second fruit that the Mommy / Cancer plan bore in Refugees was when Debbie called Frank “Dad.” I almost missed it because calling your father by that moniker is common, except in the Gallagher household because Frank is not a father (figuratively). He is only one biologically. When Debbie told Frank that his plan had been successfully, that she now had a free roof over her head, she was so happy that he had actually been there for her and helped her solve a major problem in her life (like a real father), that word that Frank had so rarely heard from his children slipped from Debbie’s lips as if she had always been calling him it.
Seeing Frank surprised and touched by that single word made the moment all the more sweeter.
Will that moment change Frank? No. Does he now see that being there for his children and helping them solve their problems will garner their affection? He might but he would rather be himself, a narcissist.
What Frank will most-likely do is be there for Debbie because a crack has now opened in the stone wall one of his children has for him, and like anyone starved for affection, Frank will want more.
Svetlana (Isidora Goreshter) telling Fiona Gallagher (Emmy Rossum) where Fiona was in society was almost as jarring to Fiona as the call Fiona received from Debbie about their belongings being moved onto the sidewalk. Svetlana had built herself up and was a U.S. immigrant. She had a plan. She even finagled the ownership (or co-ownership) of property i.e. the ability to rent out the apartment above The Alibi Room at will. Fiona was born in this country, had no plan, and owned no property. She was also a confessed felon with a G.E.D. Fiona probably did not realize what few options she actually had until Svetlana pointed out Fiona current position in life.
When the psychotic a.k.a. Amanda (Nichole Bloom) showed up in Refugees, the viewer knew it spelled trouble. Amanda’s judgement was so clouded by emotion that she hurt someone that didn’t break her heart to hurt the person that did in a peripheral way. The Merovingian from The Matrix Revolution believed that love and insanity had commonalities and he could not have been more correct. Hurting Helene Runyon (Sasha Alexander) and her teaching career didn’t replicate the pain Amanda felt within Lip Gallagher (Jeremy Allen White). On the contrary, it only proved to him that he was right in breaking up with Amanda.
I hope the Myanmar refugees stay on Shameless and become a part of it like Svetlana. Their screen time in Refugees was very entertaining: their tragic group PTSD, the Myanmar boy knowing how to clear and lock a pistol, and the Myanmar girl with a bullet wound that had killed almost ten people, much to White Chocolate (Ethan Cutkosky)’s surprise. I wonder if entrepreneurial W.C., who is now carrying a handgun that Fiona feels zero need to take away from him, will see an opportunity and give the ex-child soldiers employment within his burgeoning ‘operation?’
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