SHAMELESS “Killer Carl” Advance Review

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SHAMELESS “Killer Carl” Season 1 Episode 6 – Frank’s idiocy and Sheila and Carl’s psychological issues are the catalyst for a fair amount of the action in tonight’s “Facts Cannot Be Racist” episode of SHAMELESS. I’ve seen the episode and I love how layered the show is becoming.

Carl’s “behavioral problems” have not gone unnoticed at school and Fiona has to scramble as she tries to keep him from being expelled. This is a terrific story for pulling other character and plot threads into it and there’s a montage and a school project that are must-see, but darned if I don’t side with the principal more than a little bit about what he thinks Carl’s options are.

Sheila needs a breakthrough to be able to go to parent’s night with Karen, so we get a taste of her in-home therapy. We’ve already seen how much she suffers, but this shines a spotlight on it in an interesting way and it’s Joan Cusack’s best episode to date, which is saying something. It’s also a good episode for Kash’s wife Linda (yay! We finally see her for more than thirty seconds), who tries to take control of a situation.

I’ve sung the praises of most of the cast already, but somehow I haven’t mentioned Laura Slade Wiggins who is fabulous as the always more than meets the eye Karen. She can go from creeping me out to breaking my heart in the blink of an eye and she’s just a fun, fabulous character. Her relationship with “Daddy Frank” (you have to hear it) is developing a bit differently than I expected and I like it.

Lip’s thriving SAT business has left him flush with cash and more than a little cocky, but he attracts some unwelcome attention, leading to a fascinating new development. There’s also some great interplay between Lip, Ian, and Karen. This cast’s chemistry really is terrific across the board.

Frank is Frank, and his main plot is nothing we haven’t seen before, but it does lead to some tense moments. Even more interesting to me; though, is a side plot in which he does something that even Debbie may find unforgivable.

A taste of the episode:

“Didn’t Fiona tell you not to electrocute your dolls anymore?”/”They need to pay for their sins.”

“These look like solutions, not problems.”

“Fi, I don’t have time to call you every time Frank has a bad idea”

“Why do we help people we hate?” / “I believe we’re just taking our cue from American foreign policy.”

“I’ve never embraced tokenism with more gusto.”

“Well, how else do I make them cry?”

“You can’t beat karate when it comes to sanctioned violence with kids.”

This is another solid episode of Shameless, and while I miss the absent Veronica and the almost absent Kev, with such a big cast, you know when focus is pointed one way, it needs to be taken off someone. I’m thrilled to see more Linda, Karen, and Sheila, and I like how storylines are opening up: some in step with the original Shameless and some diverging a bit.

After you’ve watched Shameless on Showtime tonight at 10pm eastern/9pm central, I hope you’ll post what you thought about the episode.

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