SHAMELESS “But at Last Came a Knock” Advance Review

SHAMELESS “But at Last Came a Knock” Season 1 Episode 9 – Deb’s curiosity gets the best of her and Frank wants to collect on a settlement, so they both open big old cans of worms in tonight’s “But at Last Came a Knock” episode of SHAMELESS. I’ve previewed it and it is not to be missed.

Debbie shows she’s a Gallagher to her core as she latches onto the mystery of Steve’s suspicious actions and gets creative in finding some answers. She comes into her own as different sides of her personality come out as she interacts with various characters. A poignant chat with Sheila is rife with foreshadowing and she and Steve make an entertaining pair as they circle each other. Steve’s story continues to unfold slowly as we get another teasing glimpse of his family–this time courtesy of fabulous guest star Julia Duffy (Newhart, Designing Women). This is going to be fun-for us at least; less so for Fiona.

Eddie tries a pitiful new tack with Karen and I can’t wait to see where that goes. Her relationship with Lip continues to be more complicated than either will admit and there is such an easy, sweet chemistry between them that I smile whenever they’re on screen. I’m also enjoying the push-pull between Ian and Mickey. There is so much simmering in them both: Mickey’s rage is closest to the surface, but I can’t wait to see more layers pulled away because I think we’ll find he has as much need as Ian wears on his sleeve. Things get messy in this episode and it should make things even more interesting going forward. On the Kev/Veronica front, we mostly see them helping the Gallaghers, but Ethel continues to worm her way into my heart.

Leaving the best (and most far-reaching) for last: Frank is more drunk, selfish, and short-sighted than ever after his brief flirtation with sobriety, and his desire to get his hands on a settlement check has serious repercussions for all the Gallaghers. The last five-ten minutes of the episode are the most emotional we’ve seen and give us the best look yet at family battle lines and competing needs. My heart aches for all the kids, but Fiona flat out breaks me. It’s a well-written and terrifically acted gorgeous scene and the aftershocks will linger.

A taste of the episode:

“Fiona takes care of everyone, but no one takes care of Fiona”

“Oh, good, because that would have sucked trying to fish those out.”

“I wasn’t quick. I was just busy that day.”

“Oh, Baby Jonah, you’re hung like a baby bear, aren’t you?”

“If you’re selling cookies, that’s a hell of a first line.”

“Oh, shit, I liked her.”

“You Gallaghers. You’re all so funny.”

“At Last Came a Knock” builds steadily until the powerful conclusion. Shameless is becoming adept at effectively weaving in storylines from the UK version while letting the characters grow in their own right. The developments in “But at Last Came a Knock” aren’t unexpected, but they’re still an emotional punch in the gut and Emmy Rossum’s performance this episode should silence any remaining critics of her casting. The entire cast is excellent, but Fiona is the heart of both the Gallagher family and the series, and Rossum knocks it out of the park.

After you’ve had a chance to watch Shameless tonight on Showtime at 10pm eastern/9 central, I hope you’ll come back and post what you thought.

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