Shameless, Season 3, Episode 5: The Sins of My Caretaker, Review

iPad wielding nun . . .

Frank’s vision fails him when he opens his eyes. Instead of seeing the disapproving city worker standing above him, all he sees is a blurry mess of a man with an orange glow. The bright aura could be due to it being 7AM and therefore far too early for sobriety for the slob savant. However, it’s more likely from the worker’s paint can. He’s been ordered to come by the Gallagher house and inform its denizens that because of a pipe leak, they’ll be back in a few days to tear up the yard and clean the crap bubbling within. Realizing they’ll soon be clearing all the yard’s shit, he decides to leave the biggest piece in it right where he is when he paints the orange x over Frank’s face.

“The Sins of My Caretaker” is the ominous title of the episode and sins of the past, present and future is the name of its game. For these primarily Irish-Catholic Chicagoans, only mistakes lay ahead.

First is the immediate reaction of last week’s revelations. A few, like the whole Gallagher family finding out Jimmy’s dad is Gay when he tried to slip into Ian’s bed and accidentally put it in Lip, I was able to properly cover. But as this show’s plotting is as dense as a slice of pizza on Wacker Drive, I had to gloss over a few things like, oh, Mandy’s orphaned half-sister, Molly, actually being a boy who thinks (s)he has “a girl penis.” As Fiona says, it’s just a small reaction from a “meth ravaged junkie who hates men.” Anyway, Jimmy’s world is so rocked that he can’t even focus on Fiona’s spectacularly (and gratuitously) nude body while he wonders who else from his childhood onwards his closeted father was taking to the wardrobe. Fi doesn’t have time to worry about Jimmy’s daddy issues, because she still has to find Molly a home so that she and Mandy don’t become permanent members of the Gallagher house. It doesn’t help when Molly thinks she’s a girl and young Carl is getting all confused by these boy/girl gender labels, especially since he’s like the last one to pick up on Ian being Gay. Lip is also perplexed as to why Mandy is hanging around his every breath like he’s some prince charming who drove across state lines to rescue her abandoned transgender half-sibling…oh right.

Meanwhile, we learn of the titular sins in this week’s title at Sheila’s home and board. Turns out making a recovered sexaholic like Jody become her new plaything has awakened the beast within and he now wants to install a sex swing in the bedroom. It all comes to a head when the Church comes by to deliver another patient for Sheila’s hospice care (because it worked SO WELL the last time). This time, it’s a dying nun who has taken a vow of silence. Sheila intends to use the chaste sister’s quiet as an excuse to vent her sexual misgivings about the new Jody. Unfortunately, Sheila forgot silence does not mean the iPad-savvy Bride of Christ can’t use her Apple to blog about the sins perpetrated in this house. Sheila forgives the nun too for this betrayal when she drops her off by the Church’s front door and the iPad into the heavily trafficked street.

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Fiona’s problems just keep mounting the rest of the episode. At work, she has become the supermarket punching bag because she’s the only one who won’t tend to Bobby’s beef. Instead of reporting him last week, they’re just taking their anger out on Fi. But stabbing thumbtacks in the cash register is nothing compared to the stabbing notice from the city. Digging up the backyard means they may find Aunt Ginger’s body (as mentioned in Season 1, Frank buried Ginger there 15 years ago and has been cashing her social securities checks ever since). So before heading to work, Fi helpfully gives Frank the task of finding the bag of bones and an 8AM bottle of beer. You see, Frank is like Popeye and PBR is his spinach. He of course ends up drinking more beer than he does digging holes until he is lectured that hiding a body and stealing for over a decade from the federal government would send him up the river for life. He then rolls up his sleeves, stands up on his two feet and GOES TO KEV’S BAR TO ASK FOR HELP (he tells them they’re looking for jewelry instead of evidence of a felony).

 Lip just will not let a girl being nice to him go. Kev teases him at their weed-selling ice cream truck that he’s “ghetto married” (she stays over four nights a week and cooks and cleans for him), but because Lip never wants to be happy, he curses her out and tells her to go home. He’ll spend two seasons pining for psycho Karen but can’t accept a girl like Mandy actually caring about him? I’d hit Lip, but he’d probably be grateful. 

There’s some other drama this week, like V-Kev accepting that if they want a child they’ll need a surrogate and Ian robbing Jimmy’s dad’s house/divorcing wife for him, but it really all boils down to two big, final scenes. In the first, Fiona and the rest of the Gallagher crew decide to start digging in the backyard too because Frank is useless, but her dismissal of Jimmy’s woes reaches a breaking point. To be fair, he made the biggest mistake of walking to her house drunk in the afternoon (after wallowing some more about Gay Dad) and then whining about his problems. Fi’s spent too many years dealing with a drunken father coming home and doing exactly that. Yet, even though they’re looking for the body of a dead relative so no one goes to prison, Jimmy has a point that he’s been her shoulder for most of the first two seasons and she won’t throw out a lifeline to him. And, in typical Gallagher fashion, Fi craps all over emotion as if it’s the last clean speck of grass in this crap heap they call a lawn. “Real pussy move,” she echoes as he walks off. “Go cry to your Gay Dad about it!” It may not be a sin, but it’s about the stupidest mistake you could make….except, Lip one-ups her when he calls KAREN. Yeah, he calls her a weed and says they’re all better off that she ran away. But he ends the call on a compliment and, like weeds and certain masked Bat-villains, when you speak of them, they do come back. Especially if you dare utter their names. 

The next morning begins with the fallout from that evening’s mistakes. Jimmy sins by sleeping with his…wife? Well, that’s just an odd, Brazilian twist. Speaking of Brazilian, Debs finally holds her breath underwater when she beats back at mean girls from the local pool on Fiona’s advice. Oh, also, Mickey gets shot in the ass when he and Ian are cleaning out Jimmy’s mom’s house. That means Jimmy’s dad, who paid them to rob the place blind, has to come over to the Gallagher house and pull the bullet out of the Milkovich’s rear end. All this mayhem and more is occurring when CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES appears.

Remember at the end of this season’s second episode when Frank self-pityingly ratted his children out for living alone because they kicked him out for being a worthless shell of a human being? The social work is coming home to push paper now and everything could be ruined. I will give credit to the young public servant for stepping into that house. Before she got out of the car, she saw a man with a bullet wound rushed inside mere seconds before a Mercedes pulled up with a sketchy doctor running in. When she gets through the front door, she sees a boy dressed like a girl dancing on the table around Debbie’s summer daycare toddlers, while Debs is sing-bragging about beating up a mean girl and Jimmy’s dad gives Mickey a congratulatory slap on the ass when the bullet comes out. After that sight, I’m sure all the Gallagher kids will too next week.

This episode was so overstuffed with plotting it could have been a Nabisco cookie. That is actually true for almost all episodes of Shameless, but it feels like the screw-ups are really going to be long lasting this time. Hatred of Karen or the eyes of nuns aside, it feels like Frank has done major damage this time. As viewers, we know that these kids are more than self-reliant and that Fiona is an amazing mother (albeit girlfriend is a different story). Seeing them lost in the system, which it appears is the direction of next week’s show, is something that really makes Frank all the more irredeemable. Even so, Shameless finds a way to make a potentially game-changing moment hilarious by creating a scene of stunning anarchy. Even by Shameless’ standards, what young Miss Social Worker sees is a new low. 

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I hope next week that the Gallaghers can get out of it, even if it will likely mean being indebted again to the vile patriarch. I also hope Fi and Lip get their crap together when it comes to how they treat their significant others. But at this rate, the only happy storyline we can count on is the always reliable V and Kev. For the Gallaghers, it isn’t about how good or how bad things get. It’s how hilariously crude and absurd these life moments come with only sprinklings of that gift card sentimentality around its raunchy cynicism. This time, they reached a new level of chaotic insanity when the poop, quite literally, went flying. For that, it deserves another congratulatory slap on the ass. 

Most Shameless Quotes of the Week:
“It hides my girl penis. Mom said it’s impolite to show off my bulge.” Molly.
“You bet, just as soon as we dig up this old crack-whore.” Frank patronizing Carl who wants a party for “beating cancer.”
“I’m not even thinking of your dick in my dad’s mouth.” Jimmy after Ian accuses him of checking out his body.
“Of course they do.” V responding to Jimmy wondering why Gay men hit on him. “You wear designer jeans and coconut hair product. You’re like Gay Flypaper.”
“I’ve never had so many things inserted into so many parts of my body at once.” The incomparable Joan Cusack (Sheila) confessing all to the silent nun before her.