Shameless “Sleep No More” Review (Season 6 Episode 11)

Previously on Shameless. . .
Debbie gave birth to the wee baby Frances. Ian passed all of his tests with flying colors and did a bit of testing of his own with Caleb, who also did well. Lip returned home to House Gallagher after his drunken bender cost him his job at the sorority house. V married Svetlana and Fiona tried to convince everyone that a wedding dress and proper ceremony will be the key to a lasting relationship with Sean. Sure, Fi. Carl began to return to form, spent quality time with Dominique’s dad and discovered a passion for police work.

On to this week’s episode, “Sleep No More.”

It Takes a Village
Last night’s episode was all about boundaries, or lack thereof. We opened the episode with the wee baby Frances infringing upon everyone’s sleep with her long nights of crying. Unfortunately for everyone in House Gallagher, including Frances, Debbie had set up some unnecessary boundaries about accepting help from her family. I appreciate the part of this decision motivated by Debbie’s desire to take ownership of her choice to get pregnant and have a baby. However, the decision seemed largely influenced by spite, as Debbie was still angry about Fiona’s very stern promise not to help. Interestingly, Debbie’s spite and pride was not enough to get her to find somewhere else to live, which was also part of Fiona’s warning. Debbie’s impulsive, immature actions are understandable for a teenager, but still not my favorite thing to watch. As Lip aptly noticed, Debbie was heading for a crash, which also resulted in Frances crashing to the floor. Although the relationship between Fiona and Debbie is still not fully healed, the two took positive steps in that direction last night.

As an aside, I have no idea why Debbie – who I thought had previously dropped out of school – thought she would be able to attend classes with a baby. I know that some of Debbie’s erratic behavior was driven by sleep deprivation, but that really made no sense whatsoever.

Professional Boundaries
For a very brief moment, it appeared as though Lip was finally getting his act together. He broke through to Debbie and he was spending his down time busting his butt to make amends with Professor Youens after his very personal outburst against his boss/mentor last week.

Youens remained unmoved, despite Lip’s best efforts. Youens wanted to insert a boundary between himself and Lip. For Lip, Youens represented another drunken ingrate who used people up and showed little to no appreciation to how those around them keep them afloat. The tipping point was when Fiona called Lip and mentioned Frank’s deposit on the wedding venue.

It was gut wrenching to watch Lip completely spiral out of control. Jeremy Allen White is so freaking good at being both enraged and vulnerable in his portrayal of Lip. I can understand why, given White’s brilliant performance, the writers continue to put Lip through the wringer. It allows White to shine, but as a viewer who is really invested in Lip as a character I wish they’d cut him a well-deserved break. I want so badly for Lip to break the cycle and not become the next Frank or the next Youens. That will be even more of a struggle now with Lip presumably being suspended, or likely expelled, from college.

The Not So Harmless Lie
Like Jeremy Allen White, Cameron Monaghan also brings a wonderful passion and vulnerability to Ian. In last night’s episode, Ian continued to create boundaries in his relationship with Caleb, as he shut down the firefighter’s attempt to get an invite to House Gallagher. Although I would like to see Ian open up more to Caleb, I think that was absolutely the right call. With Fiona’s wedding coming up, I suspect that Caleb will get an up close and personal introduction to the Gallagher clan very soon. As this season comes to a close, I will be interested in seeing if Ian’s relationship with Caleb will evolve into more, or it is just a means by which the writers allow Ian to explore dating that involves a little less Milkovich-driven drama.

When Ian chose to lie by omission regarding his medical history, I was hoping that he would get to enjoy some time on the job before that came back to haunt him. My heart sank as Ian had such a great first day as an EMT trainee, only to have it abruptly ended when his dishonesty was discovered. I hope that we get some sense of how Ian is handling this setback in the season finale.

Hands Off My Pork Chop
The central conflict of the episode centered on Fiona, Frank and Sean. To his credit, Sean has handled the Gallaghers’ drama with stride. He does, however, have a limit and that limit has a name – Frank. Throughout the episode, Frank violated boundaries, which included wearing Sean’s underwear, using his toothbrush and inserting himself in Fiona’s wedding plans. A brick through the window, which could have harmed Frances, and Frank setting his sights on Sean’s pork chop turned out to be the tipping point, as the two came to blows. Oh, there was also the whole matter of Frank hustling Derek’s father for cash that he then used to pay for Fiona’s wedding. That was actually the bridge too far for all of the family, as no one stepped up for him when Fiona told Frank to leave.

In that low moment, we saw Frank take what could be the darkest turn we’ve seen in the entire series – he set up a hit on Sean. This is a new low, even for Frank. I was initially intrigued by Frank’s sudden desire not to miss anything else in his family, which appears to be driven by him not being present for the birth of his first grandchild on the family’s kitchen table. It was the first trace of a Frank-related storyline in which I’ve been interested this entire season. Whatever interest I had, however, dissipated the moment Frank decided that Sean should pay with his life for daring to (rightfully) suggest that Frank have some boundaries when it comes to his family.

This could be a real turning point for Frank. Sure, the Gallaghers are no strangers to screwing over a family member on occasion, particularly Frank. We’ve seen Frank lie, cheat and steal. He used Liam to beg for money and once convinced Carl that he had cancer in order to run a scheme on the Make-A-Wish foundation. In short, Frank is a vile person. Despite the very long list of bad deeds committed by Frank, setting up a hit on Sean feels like a bridge too far. I am curious to see what will become of this subplot in the next episode. Will Frank actually move forward with this plan and try to have Sean killed or will the writers have him change his mind and dismiss in some comedic fashion? The latter feels much more like the Shameless I’ve come to know and love over 6 seasons of viewing. Any scenario in which Frank follows through on the hit – regardless of whether he is successful – will be a huge turn off for me as a viewer.

Marital Bliss
The bond between V and Lana continued to strengthen, as the pair put on a very convincing display for the immigration agent. The “act” became so real that the two began having sex with each other and V doesn’t want to stop. I can’t say I’m surprised by this twist, as Lana has performed “marital duties” for both Kev and V in the past. It may not be apparent to V yet, but I think the bond is more than physical and I am curious to see where this trio lands in the season finale. I’m still frustrated that Kev and V have been woefully underused this season, but I appreciate their use as a much needed source of levity.

Gallagher of the Week
Carl gets the honor again this week. With everything going to crap around him, I hope Carl stays the course gives it a go with Junior Police Training. I really hope Dominique’s dad does not find out that Carl is sleeping with his daughter. I think his dad wold absolutely make good on his promise to take Carl out. Further, I actually think Dom’s dad is a good influence on Carl. Could not help but notice that Carl came home with several bags of groceries after hearing Dom’s dad talk about the importance of doing such deeds for your family. I was also happy to see the writers have Carl practice restraint in that moment, as he could have easily boasted about using his gun running money to save his family’s home. Despite his good intentions, it would not have been compelling proof of being worth of the Junior Police Training program.

Until Next Week!
Shameless never fails to entertain, but it certainly becomes exhausting to watch the cycle of suffering for some characters and the cycle of creating chaos for others. I am at my wit’s end with Frank and as much as I love William H. Macy’s portrayal of the character, there are times when I wish he had not survived past the medical scare a few season’s ago.

I was relieved that the writers simply moved past the shootout at the commune and did not bother to let us know who took the bullet(s) and how Queenie and Chuckie are doing. Of course, it’s totally possible that we may see them again, but I certainly would not complain if we did not.

What did you think of this week’s episode of Shameless? Sound off below!