“It’s a shame when someone you love gets taken away.”
Dammit, Sammi, do you not see those smiling faces above? Are you purposefully trying to anger the entire Shameless fan base? I’m attempting to open this review in a semi-coherent manner, but all I can come up with at the moment is: UGHHHHHHHHHH. It’s really devastating that this comes right when we begin to see Ian come to terms with his illness, and it’s definitely a gut punch coming after the wonderful moment Ian and Mickey share in the dugout together. Last week’s Sammi storyline was mostly played for laughs, but at the end of “South Side Rules”, we see the ramifications front and center; we see everything come apart at once, and it’s looking like the season is not going down a happy path.
Of course, as pissed off as we all are at Sammi right now, this is definitely in line with her character; in fact, earlier on in the episode, she has a line that sums up where her mindset is at right now: “Don’t claim responsibility for anything. That’s the Gallagher way!” This is a battlefield for her right now, and she’s trying to emphasize that actions have consequences, that if you cross her, then by God, she will shoot the shit out of you and/or have you arrested. She’s a wild card who’s adding gas to the fire with every passing week, and it’s clear that the Gallaghers are going to have to do something about the situation (e.g. call Tony Soprano for a whacking).
As for the individual Gallagher storylines themselves, there are still some weak ones floating about right now. As I wrote last week, Fiona’s currently being defined by 1) men and 2) her penchant for “chaos”, and while it certainly reflects big parts of her life, it also fails to fully grasp what makes her such a complex and interesting character. When Sean says that “when you focus on other people’s problems, it’s a lot easier to ignore your own”, we know that 100% applies to Fiona, but it’s not really anything we haven’t seen so many times before. Sean and Gus and Jimmy just don’t do it for me with Fiona, and I hope there’s something better in store for her in these final two episodes.
Elsewhere, it’s nice to see Helene give Lip a good talking-to midway through the episode; it’s something that he really needs to hear, and it also seems to address the show’s audience when she goes on about how lucky Lip has been. “You have a choice right now,” she tells him. “You can recognize that you are a promising young college student and not some ghetto outlaw, and stop behaving like the world is out to get you when it is so clearly dropping gifts at your feet.” Lip has the opportunity to thrive, but he can’t do so if he’s wasting his time getting the entire dorm high. Yes, “South Side Rules” may state that he has to cover others’ backs, but he finally comes to the realization that enough is enough, that this is the point at which he must turn over a new leaf.
And so, Kevin’s also forced to confront the truth of his situation when he’s kicked out of Lip’s room. He has this idealized notion of being everybody’s “big bro”, but it’s really just a reflection of how far he’s fallen. He has a family that he’s detached from right now, and as Lip says, “it’s time” to make up his mind.
With Bianca, there’s a slightly different angle to take on the words “It’s time”. She’s realizing that it’s time to live life now that she’s running out of time, and she’s going to “squeeze every last drop of gratification” out of the rest of her stay on Earth. It’s also clear that Frank has a serious crush on her right now, and although he can still be a douchebag about it at times–okay, most of the time–there’s still something poignant to be found in this storyline. In fact, there’s something to like in all the storylines that are developing at the moment, and I have no doubt that these writers are going to bring this season to a fantastic close. Two more episodes left, folks. It’s going to be good.
– “I found your straggler. I think he’s trying to find a portal.”
-Something I do like about the Sean-Fiona storyline this week: there’s a nice visual callback to the Jimmy-Fiona scene a few episodes back near the end, with Fiona and Sean sitting on the sidewalk at night. Instead of the guy leaving, though, the two kiss this time. “I’m not gonna leave until I know you’re okay.” “It’s never gonna be okay; it’s a sickness. It’s permanent.”
-Seriously, that Ian-Mickey dugout scene is the best. As always, Noel Fisher and Cameron Monaghan are fantastic.
-Okay, Debbie’s probably going to get pregnant.
– “K-Mart doesn’t know about my bologna!”
-I’m excited to see how the season finishes, but I’m also bummed that it’s ending already.
Photo credit: Shameless, Showtime