At its core, Shameless is all about heart. The heart of a family, the heart of love stories, and getting to the heart of important matters. The writing focuses on the viewers’ life giving organ, wanting to first fill it and then drain it; patch it and then shatter it. The viewer seeks the manipulation because even in its pain, it’s powerful to feel for something outside of your world and scope. Shameless is at its best when it allows viewers to bleed with the characters, while carefully helping them dress their wounds. In Shameless’ latest episode, “Ride or Die,” writer Dominique Morisseau delicately mended certain heartbreaks while simultaneously facilitating others.
We learned last week that Monica was dying, but in “Ride or Die,” she was intent on living. She and Frank fell back into the erratic behavior and passionate love affair that they’ve spent their life cycling in and out of. They waxed nostalgic about their past, and attempted several robberies to support Monica’s goal of leaving her children with money after she dies. She wants to help them “get a good start in life.” Frank continued to enable Monica, even going so far as to tell her that she was a good mother.
Frank, whose story-line has been floundering so immensely over the past two seasons that the writers have risked making him a caricature of himself, was achingly endearing. He will always be an asshole and a narcissist, but damn if he doesn’t love Monica. There is something so stunningly beautiful about that type of love. It’s that twisted, sick love that doesn’t waver or wane during time apart, instead charges the lovers’ souls when they reunite.
Is their love raw and destructive? Yes. Has it completely ruined their lives? Yes. Has it negatively impacted their children’s lives? Yes. Do I still root for them? Hell yes. Only the people we love the most can cause us the most intense of pain. As Frank said of Monica, “She is the love of my life. Pain of my existence.” I’m worried about Frank if Monica dies. I feel like her death could be the single most traumatic experience of his life. Why am I worried about Frank? Thank you writers for making me worry about Frank. I didn’t think it was possible, but here we are.
Speaking of love, Mickey broke out of prison and enacted an elaborate plan to see Ian. Throughout “Ride or Die,” we saw Ian ruminating over decisions regarding Mickey: Should he meet up with Mickey? Yes. Should he screw Mickey? Yes (this one took Ian literally three seconds to make). Should he run away to Mexico with Mickey? Yes. Does he love Mickey? I mean, he didn’t say it, but the answer is yes. Even if the writers throw roadblocks in front of the Gallavich road trip, there are a few things we now know:
- Mickey Milkovich is still willing to do whatever it takes to be with Ian Gallagher. He loves him intensely and the history they share makes this type of love irreproachable. From little league to stolen moments, horrific shared trauma, fear, marriage, babies, sickness, the highest highs and the lowest lows, they’ve been through it all and they still run to each other. Both Mickey and Ian are covered in wounds that only the other man can truly heal.
- The circumstances they find themselves in are nearly impossible to make work, but given the opportunity to be with Mickey, Ian made the choice to at least try, against all odds, because Mickey is worth it to him.
- Ian really does love the way Mickey smells.
Morisseau gave our hearts some tender care, so in true Shameless fashion she had to make sure to smash them up as well. Lip has been on a downward spiral since the University board denied his reinstatement. In “Ride or Die” Lip hit rock bottom (or at least I hope he did, because I’m not sure how much farther he could fall).
It’s been difficult to write about Lip this season because I feel compelled to repeat the following two statements and then mic drop: Lip is breaking my heart and Jeremy Allen White’s portrayal of Lip deserves an Emmy. Morisseau’s writing further solidified both sentiments. Lip breaking into Helene’s house without realizing and reaching his shaky hand for hers while she told him he needed help, was the single most poignant and gut wrenching moment in his character’s history. Among the humiliation and confusion, Lip found the coherence to get himself to an AA meeting. Here’s hoping he will be back on the path of recovery soon.
- All things Gallavich. Noel Fisher and Cameron Monaghan are beasts who crush every scene they share. Read more about Gallavich’s reunion: Ride or Die: Gallavich Style
- Fiona and V FINALLY reconciled and in that moment, all was right in the world.
- Steve Howey. He is consistently wonderful and should be recognized as such.
- Fiona and Etta dancing together in the Laundromat.
- Kev being so darn pleased when the Shark said he was smart.
- The moment when Lip woke up on the El and asked the businessman if they were on the North Side. The man ignored him. PSA: I know Lip isn’t homeless, but that man thought he was. People who are homeless are PEOPLE and should be treated as such. Getting off my soapbox now.
- Svetlana tricking Kev and V into signing those papers. Why did you do them so dirty, Lana?
- Fiona’s decision to sell the Laundromat to Margo displacing Etta.
- Lip Gallagher
- The pink elephant meeting its demise. Is nothing sacred?
- My anxiety regarding Gallavich’s future.
- Lip Gallagher