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Shameless “Iron City” Review (4×06)

17 Feb

b4d65014aed5407bc0e7e976101cb3adShameless, you’re wrecking me.

This is one of the best, if not the best, episodes this show has ever produced, and it brings with it a whirlwind of emotions. If you’re looking for an example of a showcase for the cast, it doesn’t get any better than this; absolute perfection.

The episode does an especially great job of making each character sympathetic and conveying the tensions bubbling up throughout this family. Fiona’s obviously the one accountable for the drugs, but the complexity here arises because she’s the reason why the family still exists, why it’s still up and running, and why more of these accidents don’t occur. Then again, Lip is completely justified with his quiet hostility and his ambivalence toward her situation; she deserves to face the consequences for her actions, and this changes things in his eyes. She’s supposed to be the one with everything together, the one who won’t follow in her parents’ paths, but just as Lip’s about to taste his own future, he’s pulled back in.

Allen White and Rossum both give tour de force performances here, and their best work is done in the small, subtle moments: the agonizing silence after Fiona says hi on the phone, the look on her face when her lawyer says “Happy birthday”, the look of defeat and disappointment lingering on Lip’s face throughout. Each of them perfectly conveys how alone they feel, and that last scene in particular is devastating.

This was supposed to be a season in which all the Gallaghers–except maybe Frank–would gravitate toward new careers and new opportunities. This was supposed to be a season in which all of our characters would assert their independence while still having each others’ backs. Well, that’s all changed now, and although it’s very tough to watch, it’s the cold, hard, truth. Shameless is on the top of its game right now.

GRADE: A

OTHER THOUGHTS:

-I only talked about Fiona-Lip in the main review, so here goes: Sheila slinking through the house and looking in on the kids is absolutely heartbreaking. It seems as if, at this point, she’s going to be trapped again by her own pattern, but she gets out. I’m happy for her.

-Frank feels alone as well–he has Sammi, though–and Macy is really brilliant here. A few seasons ago, Frank was probably the least liked character in the cast, but he’s slowly grown into a sympathetic one.

-Carl burns down the sweat lodge!

-That scene between Kevin and Veronica is one of my favorites of the series. It’s nice to see them just sit down and have an honest conversation.

-Debbie, with the smart introduction of Matt. I’m happy he’s such a great guy.

-Lip’s roommate is awesome.

-Mike bailing Fiona out–anyone else think it would be Jimmy/Steve?–is another gut punch for her, another twist of the knife that only compounds on her regret. I have a feeling more shit is going to go down between her and Robbie.

-Very nice cameo by Scott Grimes as Frank’s doctor.

-Lip and Mandy’s short scene is nice.

-The last scene is beautifully edited and acted; Fiona’s out of jail, but is she truly part of the family at this moment?

Photo credit: Showtime, Shameless

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