Shameless Season 5 Review “Milk of the Gods”

Milk of the Gods 9

Seasons of Shameless tend to follow a certain pattern – we start off with hope for almost every member of the family, hilarity ensues, followed by trauma and pain, before the Gallaghers accept their lot in life, band together and get through the tough times by the end of the thirteen episode season.

Judging by where everyone is in this fifth season premiere of the show, ‘Milk of the Gods’, that’s going to be the case.

There’s such a sense of contentment in the Gallagher household that it almost feels like a ticking time bomb. Some things are obvious – Ian’s denial about his mental illness; Frank’s slide back into alcoholism – but characters like Fiona and Lip are actually being allowed to enjoy the new chances offered to them, and we know that can’t last forever.

It’s interesting that, after an entire season exploring how Lip might cope away from home when the family’s support system was imploding on herself, now he’s home and struggling to unite the two disparate sides of himself. Is he the guy who picked up the pieces last year, got a steady(ish) girlfriend and made it through college, or is he the screw-up?

It’ll be easy to devolve back into the latter now that he’s home, but the exasperation he showed when he saw old friends demonstrated that he at least recognises that there are two distinct options.

The same goes for Fiona, with the nice guy and the bad boy presented to her in this first episode. Really, she didn’t choose either of them, being friends with her boss rather than repeat the series of choices that in some part landed her in jail last season, but the show made sure we saw his potential as a boyfriend. Doting dad and responsible business owner, yes, but he’s not a pushover.

Fiona’s in a good place all around, which means it must be time for Jimmy to pop back into the Gallagher’s lives.

The other big storyline left over from last season was Ian and Mickey. You have to hand it to the show – the wait for them to get together makes their adorable domesticity in this episode even more glorious to watch. We better enjoy it while it lasts, though, as sooner or later Ian’s going to crash again and Mickey will have to deal with the near-catatonic boyfriend he met in the finale.

I’m also not sure how exclusive they’re supposed to be at this moment in time, but I’m sure Mickey wouldn’t be too happy to know what Ian’s been getting up to. I don’t think my heart can take any more drama for these two.

As usual, the Frank stuff is the weakest part of the episode, making us all wish that the writers had just cut their losses with the character last year and killed him off. There was even a glimmer of hope with his relative soberness and fun scenes with Sheila, but it was all undone immediately.

But Frank and Cami aside, this episode followed expectations and presented us with the family at their most stable. Their biggest obstacle this year? The neighbourhood, which has apparently been voted one of the top five up and coming areas in Chicago. Will they get shoved out, or have to adapt to their new surroundings? Probably both, which could well tear them apart.

What did you think of the episode? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.