Shameless “Carl’s First Sentencing” Review (5×09)

15 Mar


“Livin’ life to the fullest. I wouldn’t trade a day.”

“Carl’s First Sentencing” is yet another masterclass in balance, in giving us the Gallagher hijinks that we know and love while also delivering poignantly beautiful moments throughout. It features some questionable writing choices, but as we near the end of another season–which is going by so fast–it’s hard not to get swept up in the constantly unfolding tapestry of the Gallagher universe. I simply can’t tear my eyes away from this hilarious, messed up, and wonderful show.

Let’s start with some of the more questionable writing choices. First of all, although Dermut Mulroney finally gets a meatier scene near the end of this episode, I’d really like to see a Fiona who is not defined by the men in her life. I’d like to see her pursue something that is not a relationship, and I know for a fact that whatever it may be, Emmy Rossum will be fantastic. Second of all, as much as I love Lip, this week’s storyline isn’t exactly the best follow-up to last week’s masterful monologue about his reasons for being at school. It’s fairly entertaining, but the resolution to his financial woes–an alumnus named Nick bailing him out with an interest free loan–seems like a way too convenient way to resolve quite a few episodes of buildup; to add on to that, it seems like a way to move on to the next storyline: Lip and Helene, whose relationship doesn’t look to be all that compelling.

What is a great Lip scene, however, is the one he shares with Ian, in which Ian admits to him that something is wrong. It’s a very big step for Ian, but it also illustrates the difficulty of getting better, of living your life feeling encumbered by a disorder, of living a life of treatment that can take thirty to forty years. I think the writers would do well by giving more screen time to Ian and Mickey over, say, Carl’s adventures in juvie, but what we’re getting so far is still excellent. It’s nice to see Ian trying, as hard as it may be.

Elsewhere, however, we get to see two people who don’t really want to try, who use their physical struggles as an excuse to do whatever the hell they want. It’s one of the best Frank storylines I’ve seen in this show, and that’s largely due to Bojana Novakovic’s endearing performance as Bianca, a doctor who’s dying of pancreatic cancer. Her character goes through a wide range of emotions, from the glee in her eyes as she’s socking Daisy Kelso in the face to her frustration and anger while yelling at God to her grief upon learning of her diagnosis. It’s a fleshed out, funny–“Hands up, I’m a cop!…Just kidding”–and quietly devastating storyline, and Novakovic and Macy interact with each other well throughout the episode. Even more impressive is the fact that it actually makes Frank kind of likable for once: yes, he’s interested in her because of her money, but he also definitely sees a kindred spirit in her. The look Frank has on the train while holding her money is well played by Macy, and it’s a nice summation of his conflicting emotions here. I hope Bianca stays around for a while, as she truly is an awesome character who seemingly brings out the best in Frank.

Of course, living life to the fullest does not mean that life has no end. Reality will eventually set in, and what’s important is that you don’t look back on your life with regret. It’s simply not the Frank Gallagher way, and he’ll keep telling you that as he’s downing his drinks and smoking his weed. Now just give him a second to pass out.



– “When did your heart get as black as your skin?”

-So, I know I said I want Fiona to be out of a relationship, but hey, I might be able to make a Veronica-Fiona one work.

– “Do you know how to jerk a guard off? I’ll teach you.” The lawyer’s reactions during that scene are priceless. Even though some of these characters–e.g. Sammi–can be incredibly annoying at times, the show is able to wring comedy out of them wherever they go.

– “The state pays me.” “And who do you think is part of the state? ME!”

– “Her leaving did not make this feel less gay.” I’m ambivalent about this Kevin-Veronica conflict, but there’s no denying that Steve Howey does a great job in this episode, especially during his moment of realization about Veronica and his subsequent sad picture-staring. It’s entertaining at one moment and sad at the next, and it’s exactly what this show does so well.

– “If Your Honor would lose 20 pounds, I would consider tapping that.” Even though Carl’s storyline is not my favorite in this episode, it’s still very funny. Like I said above, though, we really need more Fiona and Ian/Mickey time.

Photo credit: Shameless, Showtime

3 Responses to “Shameless “Carl’s First Sentencing” Review (5×09)”

  1. bobby927 March 16, 2015 at 12:55 am #

    What is the name of the actress that played Frank’s doctor, Bianca? I recognize her but can’t think of her name and she’s not listed in the credits.

    • bobby927 March 16, 2015 at 1:02 am #

      Never mind, I got it.

  2. bobby927 March 16, 2015 at 8:00 am #

    I have a strong feeling that Lip’s bailout money came from Helene’s (swinger) husband.

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