Shameless “A Yurt Of One’s Own” Review (Season 6 Episode 8)

Previously on Shameless. . .
– Queenie helped Lip relieve some stress in a very uncomfortable, yet classic Shameless way.
– Not to be outdone, Debbie also had a very uncomfortable interaction with a maiesiophile.
– Ian and Caleb grew closer, as both characters shared very personal information about their life with the other.
– We finally saw a very long overdue break through between Fiona and Carl.

Fiona is Getting Married . . . Again.
After witnessing Fiona’s roller coaster love life over six seasons of Shameless, it’s hard to buy into the idea of any of her suitors being around for the long haul. Even after Fiona and Gus got married, I knew that the relationship would last. With Sean, the writers have presented a love interest for Fiona with an equally complicated background, an even keeled temper that has proven clutch on several occasions and someone who, for the most part, is not put off by the rest of the Gallagher family.

After the issue with Will and the gun in last week’s episode, I wondered if this would perhaps be Sean’s breaking point. He was understandably upset about the situation, but by the episode’s end, he had bailed Fiona out of the ring situation with Gus and asked her to marry him.

Although I’m still not completely convinced that Sean will be Fiona’s happily ever after, I enjoyed the plot in this week’s episode. In particular, it was great to finally have matters settled with Gus and it gave Oscar Nunez an opportunity to have some fun in his guest appearance as Fiona’s attorney.

Coming of Age
This week’s episode of Shameless featured two very interesting character beats for Carl and Debbie. Although we have seen both characters explore or discuss sexuality before, the subplots for each character – both of which explored sexuality and coming of age – felt much different this week.

Never one to be shy about sex, Queenie gives Debbie a vibrator with the very clear goal of helping Debbie experience an orgasm. It was a reminder of Debbie’s youth, as she has very obviously had sex, but does not fully understand the full ahem, “benefits” of the act because she was young and inexperienced, as was her partner. Although the entire commune premise was ridiculous and over the top, the writers did manage to weave in a pretty significant coming of age moment for Debbie in the midst of the madness. Overall, I am still generally frustrated with Debbie’s direction this season, but it will be interesting to see how her pregnancy, the breakup of her relationship and her newfound insight into self exploration will mean for Debbie after she’s given birth and looks to open herself up to a new relationship.

Like Debbie, we were reminded in this week’s episode that despite his very grown facade and a few life choices with very grown up consequences, Carl is also very much a child in many ways. Carl took more steps in moving away from his criminal life and getting back to more age appropriate decisions. It was nice to see Carl free of the cornrows and working hard for little pay at Sean’s diner. It was also refreshing, but not surprising, that Dominique liked Carl once he was being himself. Dominique tells Carl that she’s the last virgin in her group of friends and that she wants him to help her change that. Although in my (possibly prudish) opinion, the two are still really young for a sexual relationship, I was glad that they used condoms.

What’s most interesting about the developments with Carl and Debbie this week is that it cemented the fact that, for now, Carl has emerged as the more responsible sibling. Two or three seasons ago, I would have been convinced that Debbie was the one who would practice safe sex and stay school. I like the juxtaposition of their experiences, although I wish Debbie’s was generally more entertaining to watch. Although I have had a few issues in Carl’s arc this season, it has been one of my favorite to watch.

Brotherly Bonds
A familiar face from the past returned this week, as Mandy Gallavitch sought Ian’s help with a dead john. We learned that Mandy is now a well-paid escort with benefits and was back in Chicago for a job. After several very bad ideas for dealing with the body, Ian convinces Mandy that it would be much simpler to just call the police and explain that she went back to the room with the man after meeting him and he had a stroke.

The following morning, Mandy tells Ian that she’s okay – despite working as an escort, doing drugs and being okay with the proposition of chopping up a dead body to dispose of it. Her escorting position comes with health insurance, regular checks and enough financial security to purchase a nice car and fancy clothes.

Bringing back Mandy allowed the writers to give insight into Ian’s head space as it pertains to Mickey. We learned that Ian missed Mickey, but was trying to move on. We also learned that although Ian is quite smitten with Caleb, he still views it as something to enjoy “while it lasts.” I think this is a sensible position to take, particularly because Caleb has not yet experienced what it truly means to date a Gallagher and all of the family-related baggage that usually comes with it.

As Mandy is leaving, she runs in with Lip who is not doing well at all. In past episode’s I wondered if the professor for whom Lip works was a preview of what was to come for the eldest Gallagher son. Lip is still reeling from his breakup with Helene and is using copious amounts of alcohol to deal with his loss. Is Lip resorting to the bottle a surprise for the character? Not exactly. He comes by it easy as the son of Frank Gallagher. However, I’m still not fully on board with the writers decision to have Lip be so broken by his relationship with Helene. Lip has always been pragmatic and although it was clear that he formed a bond with Helene, I don’t know if we saw enough for his current downward spiral to really make sense. That aside, I liked the juxtaposition the writers set up between Mandy and Lip. Many would judge Mandy’s life choices, but there is no doubt that she feels comfortable and secure. Most would assume that one in Lip’s position – a college student with a great job, a summer internship and solid career prospects – would be much better off. Such was not the case as we saw the exes come face to face.

More Wedding Bells
In a somewhat random b-story this week, it was revealed that Svetlana was dealing with immigration issues that were complicated by Mickey being in jail. Long story short, Svetlana is divorcing Mickey and marrying V.

This story, which felt like it came out of nowhere, in some ways feels like an attempt by the Shameless writers to further distance the core group from Mickey. With Noel Fisher recently signing on as a series regular in a new NBC show, Miranda’s Rights, it looks less and less likely that we will see Mickey in any substantive capacity on Shameless. Although this is sad news, I suspect that the V and Svetlana nuptials will provide great entertainment – so at least there’s that.

Gallagher of the Week
Giving the nod to Carl again this week for the reasons described above. His story arc has certainly had a few missteps, but it has been one of the most rewarding to watch this season. Let’s hope he stays the course – at least for the rest of this season.

Until Next Week!
What did you think of this week’s episode of Shameless? I kinda hope the mountain lion bested Chuckie so we can just be done with the character altogether. Sound off below!