Shameless “Abortion Rules” Review (Season 6 Episode 2)

About 10-15 minutes of each episode of Shameless, I have to remind myself that Shameless is gonna Shameless. That can be a good thing when the writers capture great family moments and a little bit of crazy on screen. It can be a bad thing when every member of the Gallagher family is in some sort of whirlwind or, in some instances, a downward spiral and there is not enough levity in the episode to laugh through the parade of questionable decisions. Unfortunately, “Abortion Rules,” albeit entertaining, was more of the latter.

Where to begin . . .

A Tale Of Two Pregnancies
As much as I hated the idea of Debbie “trapping” Derek into an unwanted pregnancy in her effort to find a stable, loving home, the reveal in last night’s episode of Fiona’s pregnancy did set up an interesting juxtaposition as a viewer.

Despite her misguided intentions and misleading actions towards Derek, Debbie actually planned her pregnancy. Whether it was a good idea, whether it was morally/ethically done, and similar questions are all pertinent, but they do not change the fact that Debbie’s pregnancy is the culmination of a plan.

As reflected in the failed “flour baby” experiment, Debbie is not ready for the responsibilities of motherhood. I am still struggling with some of the extremes the writers have Debbie go through in her pursuit of love in all the wrong places. I was so relieved that she finally learned the truth about Derek, but I was not exactly expecting her to pack up her suitcase and try to find Derek in Florida with literally no information as to his whereabouts in the state. Debbie is smarter and more grounded than this, right?

Fiona, on the other hand, did not plan her pregnancy. In fact, she had no idea she was pregnant until she took a mandatory drug test for her job. Fiona’s unplanned pregnancy was an interesting complication in her effort to persuade her younger sister into having an abortion. Ironically, Fiona must now take a step back and assess whether she wants to be a mother. It was apparent from the argument between Debbie and Fiona in the closing moments of the episode that Fiona saw a bit of relief on the horizon with Lip out of the house and Debbie getting closer to 18 as well. It was not clear, however, where exactly Fiona stood on the issue as Sean joined her in the bed after her big blow up with Debbie.

Fiona’s situation is further complicated by the fact that, depending on the timeline, she may not know with whom she conceived the baby. Not judging Fiona, but I’m pretty sure there was at least one episode in Season 5 where she slept with her estranged husband and Sean within a 24-hour period. As a viewer, it is a little frustrating to have the writers use this unplanned pregnancy trope with Fiona, as it seems a little inconsistent with a character who is weary from years of raising her brothers and sisters. Fiona has the Gallagher trait for reckless behavior, but it just seems a bit out of place for her not to be the kind of person to be absolutely vigilant in ensuring that she does not get pregnant, considering what we have seen her experience and what we have heard her say.

The complications Fiona don’t end there. If Fiona is sure about the baby’s paternity, there is also the issue of Sean relapsing. More on Sean later.

The Young And The Reckless
Fiona is not the only character who feels a bit off from everything we’ve learned over 5 seasons. What in the world is this nonsense with Lip?!?!

I begrudgingly accepted the strange sexual arrangement with the married professor. I do not like it, but I like Lip so I’ll take what I can get. In a very weird and unexpected turn, Helene suggests that Lip should kill her husband and make it look like an accident. Lip is clearly head over heels for Helene, despite the totally bonkers set up in that house, and I’m not comfortable with Helene making these ridiculous suggestions.

Thankfully, the writers did not completely relegate Lip to Helene, her husband and her son who jokes about sleeping with his dad. We got classic Lip, as he tried to intervene with Debbie, traded a few barbs with his drunken mentor and broke up the fight between his sisters. I want Lip to be freed from the land of the crazy professors, but not at the expense of him no longer being in college. The writers really need to find more balance here.

And then there’s Carl. I have so many problems with Carl’s arc this season, most of which veer into the “think piece” territory. I’ll save the think piece opinions for now, but the scene in which his classmates are whispering that Carl “used to be White” would be the start of my think piece. As far as his role in the episode, we saw him extorting local business owners and selling guns in school. I watch Carl’s scenes and find a hard time imagining any of it ending well. I’ll give it one more week, but I may start fast forwarding through Carl’s material until we reach the inevitable horrible ending towards which he’s barreling.

Frank Continues To Frank In All The Worst Ways
Frank has always been a despicable person and nothing about that has changed. Like Carl, I’m reaching the point where I’m going to start fast forwarding through his scenes, as this character appears to have no rock bottom.

I appreciate Frank as a bit of levity in an episode, but cruising a hospital for terminally ill cancer patients is not funny and I did not find that it added much to the episode beyond a typical Frank Gallagher WTF moment. A few of those goes a long way. Watching his attempt to have sex with Bianca last week by doing something questionable in front of her grave was more than enough to last me for several episodes.

Other Thoughts And Observations
– Despite my gripes with last night’s episode of Shameless, there were glimmers of what I came to love about the show. For example, I quite like the ongoing gentrification storyline. It’s a very timely and relevant issue that could use a bit more exploration beyond Kevin accidentally cutting a break line on a motorcycle. The plot could have a little more substance if the characters involved did not always feel like a bit of a parody/stereotype.

– I’m ready for the writers to take Ian off the backburner. I want him to do more than bitch about Fiona and commiserate with Debbie.

– The storyline with Sean’s sobriety/addiction was well written in this week’s episode and well acted. Unfortunately, I just don’t feel invested enough in this character or his relationship with Fiona to really want more of it.

Gallagher Of The Week: Liam
Why not? Liam is adorable and sweet. Other than Ian, the remaining members of the Gallagher family all felt relegated to bizarro land (Fiona, Debbie, Lip) or were in storylines in which they doubled down on all of the things that make them frustrating to watch (Carl, Frank). Ian did not get enough to do and while I think he is absolutely adorable, I’m giving the nod to Liam this week.

Until Next Week!
What did you think of this week’s episode of Shameless? Sound off below! Congratulations to the cast and crew on the Season 7 renewal!