Shameless S4 Ep6 – Iron City

The Gallagher family goes to the jail for Fiona's bail hearing

When we last left Fiona Gallagher, she was being arrested for possession of cocaine and child endangerment. This shocking twist definitely puts her relationship issues from the past few episodes into perspective. The rest of the family is waiting at the hospital to see how Liam’s health is doing, and we come to see that Lip is now the closest thing to a responsible adult in the family. Lip definitely sees himself that way now, still holding resentment towards Fiona for the accident. The way he seems unconcerned with getting Fiona a lawyer and more concerned with missing a quiz is strange to watch. This is definitely one of the most divisive plots on the show, seeing as the family is normally focused on having each other’s backs—aside from Frank, of course.

Frank is also in the hospital after having lost consciousness in the sweat lodge. The doctor gives him the news that everyone but Frank has seemed to accept. He’s dying and far past the point that sobriety and rest could cure. As a viewer, it’s difficult to imagine where his plotline will end. William H. Macy was the main draw to the show when it launched, and it’s hard to see Shameless going on without Frank. My guess was that Fiona, being a blood type match, would donate some of her liver to him, but it appears that he’s too far gone for that now. Even if she agreed, Frank won’t be receiving the insurance money quick enough to pay for the operation.

At the jail, Fiona is being booked and has to submit to a cavity search. Emmy Rossum does a fantastic job, shaking and crying out of fear and humiliation. Even though Liam’s situation could have been prevented, it’s impossible not to feel bad for her. At home, Vee and Kev discuss the accident involving Liam, with Vee feeling guilty for not having seen Liam find the drugs and Kevin feeling like it wasn’t their responsibility. Kev’s guiltless stance may seem a bit cold, but he’s trying hard to support Fiona and help out any way he can. I think he realizes that blaming anyone, even himself, doesn’t do any good at this point. All anyone can try to do is patch up the situation the best they can.

Lip at the jailLip, still waiting at the hospital, clearly doesn’t share this view when he nearly doesn’t answer Fiona’s collect call from jail. While on the phone with Fiona, he only gives her the bad news regarding Liam’s condition and leaves out the fact that the doctor believes he’ll make a full recovery. I found this to be incredibly cruel since he knows that Fiona is already beating herself up about it already, but it’s hard to stay mad when you see how much he cares for Liam.

Frank’s oldest daughter Sammi is still tending to Frank’s medical issues, and now she’s taking him around to various hospices. Of course, Frank isn’t willing to accept the idea that he’s dying (which makes two of us) and storms out of the first one they look at. Later, Lip stops by Mandy’s house and asks her to find Ian and let him know what happened. We still don’t know very much about what’s happening with Ian other than the fact that he’s living in an abandoned building and working at a gay bar. He seems a little bit unstable, and I’m guessing we’ll be getting an explanation to that soon.

Sheila makes a morning breakfast for Roger Running Tree and his familyThroughout the episode, Sheila has been dealing with the emotional attachment she’s developed to Roger Running Tree’s nieces and nephews. She’s had empty nest syndrome before and clearly enjoys being a mother. Last season, when she was having issues with her own daughter Karen, she took care of Hymie as if he was her son–not just grandson. While she’s certainly not the typical housewife/homemaker, with her mental neuroses and sexual fetishes, Sheila’s maternal instincts have always been core to her character. Even after barely knowing Roger’s nieces and nephews, Sheila enjoys making them lunch and playing with them. At the end of the episode, she takes a trip to meet them at the reservation. I’m speculating that wanting to be near those kids will have a pretty big impact on her plotline throughout the rest of the season.

Back at the hospital, Liam is released to the entire family, Frank included. With the social worker in the room, it’s clear that Frank’s health conditions are a concern with whether or not the kids will be able to stay out of the foster system. We can likely expect a home visit from social services in the next couple episodes. At the same time, Fiona returns home from jail after Mike bailed her out. The last few shots cut back and forth between Fiona looking around her empty house wondering where everyone is and the family fawning over Liam back at the hospital. I think these shots show that, especially to Lip, caring for Liam is far more important now than caring about Fiona. It will be interesting to see how the new family dynamic plays out in the next few episodes.