Shameless “NSFW” Review (Season 6 Episode 6)

Previously on Shameless . . .

– The Gallaghers scrambled to put a roof over their heads after losing the family home.

– Following ill-advised advice from Frank, Debbie found a home with the Wexlers, but also found herself in unexpected situation with Mrs. Wexler creeping into her bed and serenading her.

– Lip’s ex, Amanda, destroyed his relationship with Helene and Helene’s reputation along with it.

On to this week’s episode, “NSFW.”

Build A Bridge, Gus
Alright, it’s time for Gus to build a bridge and get over it. No reasonably person would object to Gus’s anger towards Fiona, as it is well-deserved.

From a writing perspective, however, I’m ready for the character to figure out what it will take for him to move on – even if he does so begrudgingly. Gus’s public shaming of Fiona with his scathing song, “The F-Word,” was such a great moment of revenge and comeuppance, that anything else just feels petty and gratuitous.

In this week’s episode, the family that purchased the Gallagher home at the auction discovered what the Gallaghers knew all along – the house is a piece of crap in desperate need of work and renovation. The family backed out of the sale, which allowed Fiona an opportunity to try to purchase it and bring the family back together. Unfortunately, all did not go so smoothly because completing the bank paperwork required Gus’s signature.

Fiona put on her big girl panties, swallowed her pride and asked Gus for his help. A simple signature – that’s all that was needed. Rather than just telling Fiona to jump off a cliff, Gus strung her along, stood her up and then finally told her she was on her own with the paperwork.

I appreciate that the writers are allowing Gus to remind Fiona that actions have consequences, but it’s time to move this storyline along. Here’s hoping that Fiona takes some of the funds from Carl’s buried treasure and gets her a divorce attorney who can help her sever ties with her bitter, estranged husband for good.

Goodbye, Mrs. Robinson
This week’s episode continued to deal with the aftermath of Amanda posting a nude photo of Helene on social media. In an effort to save her job, Helene completely cut ties with Lip and threw herself at the mercy of the review board. Realistically, I do not think that a student in Lip’s position would be allowed to attend Helen’s hearing. That aside, it was important for him to hear her resolve and to have an opportunity to finally speak with her so that he could fully accept that Helene is done with him. For good.

I have never been a huge fan of this storyline, so I hope that the end of Lip’s relationship with Helene will open the door to Lip continuing to help his family and navigating the politics of college life. I’d be just fine if the writers put a love interest for Lip on the backburner for the rest of this season.

Back To Basics
While Lip’s relationship came to an end, Ian to the first steps in pursuing a traditional courtship with Caleb. This resulted in a very awkward first date between the couple.

Admittedly, I am more excited for the possibility of Ian becoming a first responder than I am the prospect of Caleb being the next great love of Ian’s life. My frustration with where the writers have taken Ian and Caleb so far, is the retconning that is necessary in order to buy that Ian does not know how to carry a conversation or that traditional romantic gestures are unknown to him. Indeed, as Ian reflected, a lot of his relationship with Mickey involved the clashing of their fiery tempers. However, there were light moments, romantic gestures and a sweetness to their relationship as well. I would like the writers to focus more on who Ian is because of his life experiences, rather than paint him as someone who has a lot to learn because his relationship with Mickey deprived him of so much. I think there is a balance between these two places that I think would make watching Caleb and Ian’s courtship more compelling to watch.

Other Thoughts And Observations
– Debbie’s having a little girl. With Mrs. Wexler learning of her vast improvement in her health condition, I can’t help but wonder if Debbie will decide to give her daughter up for adoption to the Wexler family.

– It looks like Carl’s buried treasure will help the Gallaghers get back into their home.

– The writers continue to waste Kev and V by relegating them to ridiculous subplots. This week, Kev banned hipsters from his bar, which suddenly made The Alibi a hotspot again. Enough of this nonsense.

Gallagher Of The Week
The award this week goes to Carl. As I’ve mentioned in previous review, I have had mixed feelings about the direction in which the writers have taken Carl this season. That aside, it does not take anything away from the brilliant manner in which Ethan Cutkosky portrays the character. Cutkosky was excellent in this week’s episode.

Once you move past Carl’s minstrel act, which was a very unfortunate choice by the writers, it is clear that the most significant change being in juvenile detention had upon him was that he saw himself as an adult. Although Carl returned to the Gallagher family home after his release, he’s spent most of his time carving out his new identity and acquiring what he saw as the markers of adulthood – cash, self-employment and conspicuous consumption. When we first met Nick, it was hard not to be struck by his towering presence, particularly when paired next to Carl, whose portrayer is about 5’4″ at best. Nick was part of Carl’s new adult look. However, when Nick finally got a chance to speak, we learned that he was not in a rush to let go of his childhood and, in fact, someone taking away something so important to his childhood was a major trigger point for him.

In this week’s episode, Nick was still determined to enact his own sense of justice upon the individual responsible for stealing his bike. He attacked, and likely killed, a young boy he observed riding a bike that looked just like the one stolen from him. My heart broke for Nick the moment he rushed away from Debbie’s gender reveal party because I knew that his story was about to come to a tragic conclusion. Victor Onuigbo (Nick) and Cutkosky (Carl) were both brilliant in what I would suspect will be one of their final scenes together. As Carl gazed upon the bloody crime scene and his remorseful friend, Cutkosky did such a great job at portraying the desperation of wanting to help, the horror at what had happened and the epiphany that he was, as the reality tv stars like to say, “not ’bout that life.”

Cutkosky was also very effective in the scene in which Carl arrived at Sean’s and asked to say. He appeared a bit broken and hopefully tired of trying to live his pseudo-adult experience and get back to the basics of being a teenager. I suspect Dominique will prove helpful in that effort as well.

Until Next Week!
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