Shameless “Strangers On A Train” Review (4×04)

2 Feb

408_4_3386683_01_444x250This is going to be a quick review, but I wanted to talk about this great episode.

Shameless has always been a feel good show, one that portrays the Gallaghers as a fantastic team of weirdos who all love each other. Yet, as fun as that is, this season has taken a turn for darker storylines; it seems as if each person is having to deal with increasingly difficult situations.

That’s a good thing, though. It’s the mark of a more mature show, one that realizes the simple truth about life. For example, Lip and Fiona are in similar situations here; they’re both understandably gravitating toward easier times, toward situations they’re familiar with. Lip would rather give the middle finger to his college and return home, and Fiona seems to be self-sabotaging in a similar way with Robbie. Thank God for Debbie and Kevin, though. Their own plights help them connect with Fiona and Lip, respectively, and the scene in which Kevin calls Lip out on his shit is fantastic. I’m really enjoying seeing him try to navigate the difficulties of college; he’s always been held up to a low standard, so as hard as it is to watch, it’s a necessary step for his character.

Speaking of hard to watch…Debbie’s storyline. Understandably, it’s very uncomfortable and totally wrong, but I have to say, Emma Kenney is handling it perfectly: the awkwardness, the fear, the disappointment, everything. The scene in which Fiona goes to comfort her after she comes home is pretty damn heartbreaking. Also, the show is doing wonders with the storyline; it’s obvious that Matt shouldn’t be with Debbie, but we can sympathize with him because he recognizes the wrongness of the situation.

As for the rest of the episode, I’m impressed by the Carl-Frank dynamic. It’s really well done by both actors, and I connect with this father-son relationship; it also ties in nicely with Frank’s relationship with his daughter, which, thankfully, doesn’t end on too much of a down note. The episode itself ends with a nice Frank-Sammi scene and one in which Lip is given another chance, and it’s a brilliant coda to the hour. If there’s one fundamental truth about the Gallaghers, it’s the fact that they keep fighting.



-That leg-breaking scene. Ouch.

-How exactly does Lip get away with that car-smashing?

-Lip and Mandy’s reunion is really well handled.

-Fiona, you ever heard of blocking someone’s number? Still, that first scene is pretty steamy, if I may say so myself.

-Six minutes? Eh.

-This was way more interesting than the Super Bowl.

Photo credit: Shameless, Showtime

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