Shameless Season 3 Review “Cascading Failures”

The Gallaghers are in deep doo-doo in this week’s Shameless, ‘Cascading Failures’, as last week’s visit for social services means that the siblings are now living in separate homes, with separate concerns. We get a wide view of the kind of foster care kids like the Gallaghers would receive in this situation, good and bad, but so loyal are they to Fiona and each other that they’re not having any of it.

Carl and Liam are placed with a gay couple who are very interested in adopting a mixed race child like Liam to complete their family. They’re willing to take Carl in too if it means keeping the siblings together, which sounds pretty reasonable, but they really don’t know what they’re letting themselves in for. Here’s a note to all prospective parents: make sure you like kids before you take one in. Making sure that there would be no way the guys would want Liam in their pristine home anyway, Carl unleashes hell.

Debbie isn’t so lucky, since her temporary mother is a bit of tyrant, who clearly fosters the maximum amount of kids in pursuit of a big expenses cheque. Since Deb’s so independent and hard-working anyway, she doesn’t seem to mind this new arrangement, and seems only to care that she’s separated from Fiona and the rest of her family. Fiona visits all of the kids in turn whilst trying to get them back, and it was nice to see the individual relationships she shares with them all.

Lip and Ian get the short end of the stick, as they’re apparently old enough and poor enough to place in a high security group home. It’s a rough crowd filled with kids who have stabbed their parents or burnt a building down, but we know the pair can hold their own. Ian gets into more trouble when going to see Mickey. Their brief moment of happiness stemming from last week’s impromptu kiss is now over, since Mickey’s father’s predictably hideous reaction to discovering his son’s sexuality has crushed whatever chance they had, probably for good. This was a heartbreaking scene, which is saying something in an episode about a family being unwittingly torn apart by one of their own.

And Fiona is left to patch the pieces back together the best way she can. After failing to contact Veronica, she asks Frank and Sheila to pose as the concerned parental unit, and they actually manage to do an adequate job. Their open dysfunction at the parenting class was a brief moment of comedy in a pretty dark episode, and everything here made me really wish for the Frank/Sheila pairing to come back. Speaking of dysfunctional couples, Jimmy has returned with his tail between his legs. With Fiona already on the warpath against Frank, I can’t wait for her to find out about his infidelity and lies.

While all of this is going on, the episode still finds plenty of time to deal with the increasingly nauseating baby-making storyline at V and Kev’s house. With the turkey baster idea not having taken, V is now forcing her hubbie and her mother to do it the old fashioned way. As you could probably guess, this turn of events doesn’t go so well, and the whole thing is an unmitigated disaster that’ll probably leave all three of them scarred for life. Whether the ordeal made a baby, we’ll have to wait and see, but I certainly hope it was worth the trouble.

What did you think of the episode? What will Fiona do now that she knows Frank calls social services? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.