Shameless features quite possibly the best ensemble cast on television, and “Crazy Love” displays that cast at the height of its power. This is one of those episodes in which everyone shines, in which everyone breaks your heart in one way or another, and it’s the kind of episode that solidifies this show’s deserved placement in the upper echelon of television. It’s an hour about love, but it also delves into the constant struggles surrounding that love, and it’s a tense, moving, and heartbreaking piece of television that moves us right along into what should be an excellent second half of season five.
With Fiona Gallagher, it’s definitely getting very tiring to watch her constantly fall back into the same patterns, but it’s also understandable given her personality; as happy as she might’ve seemed at the beginning of the season, we knew that wouldn’t last (especially with Jimmy around the corner). Now that Jimmy’s back in her life, this episode becomes an exploration of how she deals with the situation: will she give into whatever love she still feels for Jimmy, or will she decide to push him out of her life for good and stay with Gus? It takes a little too fast for her to decide to kiss the guy again, but it provides a showcase of how love can linger and complicate things and possibly lead to the disintegration of other relationships. The storyline also provides a showcase for the fabulous Emmy Rossum, whose character breaks down at the end as she’s having sex with Gus; it provides a nice comparison to her earlier scene with Jimmy, and we can see just how large of an emotional toll her love life is taking her. After all, it’s not just the product of a few casual flings and petty emotions like jealousy; rather, it ties in with her impulsive, chaos-gravitating personality, and it’s interesting to watch unfold.
Speaking of personality, let’s talk about Ian. For a while, he’s been attempting to avoid confronting his family history and the possibility of him having bipolar disorder, and now, it’s really beginning to put other people in danger. At first, it may have just affected him, but the effects are reverberating throughout the rest of the Shameless universe, and the show zeroes in on Mickey in order to convey love and heartbreak and fear. He tells a policeman at one point that he’s Ian’s “Lover…partner…family”, a description that speaks to the strength of their relationship and even comments a bit on society’s view of them, and it also highlights how devastating it is that he has to watch as his boyfriend–his family–endangers Yevgeny before his very eyes.
In contrast to the Kevin-Veronica story, Mickey seems to feel very strongly connected to a child that is biologically his (with K/V, they’re drifting away from each other a bit because of biological children). He’s first and foremost afraid for Ian, and it’s an incredibly poignant moment when he leaves a voicemail on Ian’s phone; his voice trembles a little, and as he says “I love you”, the raw emotion is evident on Noel Fisher’s face. The most powerful moment, however, arrives at the end of the episode when he and Ian say goodbye at the psych ward. It’s an emotionally draining scene, but it’s a beautiful one, and it’s Shameless at its absolute best. As Ian walks through the hallway in a scene reminiscent of Fiona’s walk through the prison last year, we linger on his face for several seconds, and we can see that he finally has to confront who he is. It’s the perfect ending to a tour de force performance from Cameron Monaghan, and it’s a haunting finish to a brilliant episode.
-In a season that seems to be moving away from the wacky adventures of “A Night to Remember…Wait, What?”, it makes sense that Frank and Sammi would be doing the same. Sammi’s now the center of the household–I know, I’m surprised as well–and Frank is told straight to his face about the condition of his liver. Yes, that hasn’t stopped him before, but I see a sense of realization creeping up on Frank.
-Jimmy and Fiona had sex in the kitchen in a similar manner all the way back in the pilot.
-Dermot Mulroney hasn’t done much this season. When this is all over, I expect him to still be standing in that diner with a confused look on his face.
-Sadly, come awards season, Noel Fisher, Cameron Monaghan, and Emmy Rossum will likely get very little recognition. If it were up to me, this show would be racking up nominations left and right…in the drama category, where it rightfully belongs.
-Last year’s episode six–“Iron City”–was my favorite episode of the season, and it also packed quite the gut punch. It’s very possible “Crazy Love” could end up being my favorite of this season.
-Seems like Lip really is maturing. He’s distancing himself from the South Side, but at the same time, his reaction to Amanda going on about the credit card speaks to the differences between lifestyles.
-I get that we’re focusing on other things right now, but I do feel like there needs to be more to the Kevin-Veronica storyline. A rift is certainly plausible, but this situation stands so much in contrast to what we’ve seen before of them that the rift needs some more fleshing out. Right now, I’m probably leaning toward Kevin.
-So many lovely little scenes throughout this one. Exhibit A: Carl and Mickey sharing beers and bonding. I haven’t been the biggest Carl storyline fan this year, but there’s no denying that this is a great scene. These kid actors…man. Kid actors get a bad reputation in general–and there are some terrible ones, don’t get me wrong–but it looks like the Shameless ensemble is intent on proving people wrong.
-Oscars next week, so no new episode. Excited for March 1st, though.
Photo credit: Shameless, Showtime