Shameless “Refugees” Review (Season 6 Episode 5)

Previously on Shameless . . .
– The Gallaghers lost their family home.
– We finally got rid of Yannis, in a ridiculous, unbelievable, classic Shameless way.
– We got to hear actual dialogue from both Dominique and Nick.
– Chuckie returned.

On to this week’s episode, “Refugees.”

Farewell, Old Friend
As we saw in last week’s episode, the Gallagher’s lost their family home and this week, it was all about saying goodbye and figuring out where the family would land. I thought the Gallaghers would get a little more time in the house and although the couple that purchased them was willing to give them a week to gather their belongings, it was not up to them. The bank, which owns the house, sent the sheriff to ensure a speedy departure. As the family gathered their belongings, it felt as though we were saying goodbye to a member of the Gallagher family. The house has always been a staple of each season and it was hard not reminisce upon some of the memorable moments we’ve witnesses over six seasons, including the washer that Jimmy/Steve bought, the space at the bottom of the stairs where Monica once hid and V’s epic fight with Sheryl (Kev’s ex) in the kitchen.

The Refugees
With the house now locked and bolted, the Gallaghers scrambled to find a place to stay and that led to some interesting adventures for the the family.

Debbie, who is unfortunately fully under the influence of Frank’s BS, found her a place to stay with the Wexler family. After a few failed attempts at seducing Tyler, she channeled her inner Fiona and hit him with the cold hard truth about his wife’s prognosis and the state of his family. That secured Debbie’s spot as a live-in nanny and some unexpected attention from Mrs. Wexler. Unfortunately, Debbie and Frank continue to be my least favorite parts of each episode, week after week.

In desperate need of a place to stay, Fiona turned to Sean for help. Sean was fine with Fiona and Liam, but curiously drew the line at Carl. I get it, Carl is not exactly the kind of kid you want around when your son is visiting. Not to mention, Carl and Nick are a package deal, so that’s one more person in the house. However, I was surprised by Sean’s harsh judgment of Carl. I get his concerns about Will, but this is also the same character who recently admitted to doing jail time for killing someone. I don’t doubt that Sean is a different person now, but someone in his position that has managed to stay out of jail and run a business could not have gotten there without people taking a chance on him. For what’s it worth, Carl is definitely not in the right frame of mind to make the most of any chances someone may take on him. Granted, I was also shocked that Fiona would actually be surprised that Sean would not want Carl in his home as well.

Fiona and Liam ended up at Sean’s place and I liked the cute pillow fight scene. Fiona has a lead on a temporary place, but I suspect that she might get comfortable at Sean’s home and decide not to leave. I’m curious if living with him will lead her to reconsider her pregnancy as well. I remain skeptical about the longevity of this relationship. I’m never quite sure of what the writers want me to think/feel about Sean. I vary between indifference and dislike.

I was too hasty in my praise for the new direction in which Carl’s storyline appeared to be going. Much to my delight, V finally said everything I had been thinking about Carl’s storyline to Carl. I was hopeful that between V’s words and what we’ve seen so far with Dominique, Carl would slowly tone down the minstrel act. Nope. Not so much. Carl actually used V’s words against someone else in furtherance of his own personal gain. Ugh.

In an effort to make amends for Yannis’s death, Kev agrees to house child refugees from Myanmar. I liked watching V care for the kids and warm up to the idea of being a mother. The scene with her and the little girl was so incredibly sweet. However, it feels as though the writers have run out of ideas of what to do with Kev/V. The plot with Yannis and now with the refugees just feels random and slightly out of place. Nothing good will come from Carl exploiting the kids’ troubled background and frankly, I’m not sure it’s a storyline I even want to see.

A Woman Scorned
I figured we would eventually see Amanda again, with her being one of Lip’s college classmates and whatnot. She returned this week and decided to issue a little payback to Lip. I think that a little comeuppance was deserved. She was pretty good to Lip and although Lip “never made any promises” about their relationship, it never stopped him from freely accepting her support, her money and the convenience of her car. My issue with Amanda, however, is that she chose to get back at Lip by posting a nude picture of Helene on social media. Amanda should have reserved her payback for Lip only.

The nude photo of Helene spread like wildfire, from the over the top scene in which every single student in the computer lab was looking at it to the students who found the time to tape it to her office door. Should Helene be carrying on with a college student? No. However, I think the price she’s paying for her questionable choices is a bit too steep. I’m not a huge fan of Lip and Helene and it was clear that this relationship would soon go down in flames. Interestingly, this was not how I saw it happening. I’m ready for the plot to move past the Helene/Lip relationship; however, I am curious to see what becomes of her after the humiliating presentation last week and now the naked picture scandal. The situation is further complicated by what appear to be her genuine feelings of affection for Lip and his for her.

The exchange between Lip and the Drunken Professor was interesting. As the drunken one went on about his affair with an older woman, I couldn’t help but wonder what he represents in Lip’s overall story. Is he simply the man who gives Lip an opportunity to make a good life for himself or is the Drunken Professor a preview of what Lip may become later in life? I hope it’s the former.

Other Thoughts And Observations
– Ian’s storyline continues to be the one with great potential, as he finds his way. I am still crestfallen by the break up with Mickey and initially, I was not a huge fan of Ian moving on with another love interest so soon. Although I am still getting used to Caleb, I like what the character could mean for Ian’s character development. As much as I loved Gallavich, it was not exactly the traditional relationship with dates and anniversaries. In fact, much of the relationship was mired in turmoil, no thanks to Mickey’s homophobic father and the fiery nature of both Mickey and Ian. That aside, I loved their perfectly imperfect dynamic. Ian has always been in unconventional intimate relationships, so it will be nice to see him dating and having a little fun. It also looks like Ian may take the firefighter’s exam and I’m admittedly a little less optimistic about that.

– We got a fun blast from the past this week with Tony’s reappearance. According to Tony, Fiona “turned him gay.” I’m pretty sure that’s now how it works, but it was fun to see Tony again.

– Is it possible that Lip will also get in trouble at some point for taking the nude photo of Helene without her consent? That mural on his wall is pretty unique and with his role as a RA, it’s only a matter of time before people figure out the source of the photo.

– My heart sank for Nick when he discovered that his bike was stolen. As much as I dislike Carl’s storyline, there is something sweet and endearing about his dynamic with Nick – provided you look past the illegal activity.

– I’d be totally fine if we never saw Chuckie again.

Gallagher Of The Week
Okay, Svetlana is not a Gallagher, but I do count her in the Gallagher extended family circle. Svetlana is (honorary) Gallagher of the week because of her hustle and determination. In a show where I spend most of the hour full of anxiety and dread for the characters, Svetlana is the one character I know will always have her act together. Get that Quiznos, girl! Kudos to her.

Until Next Episode
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