‘Shameless’ Season 6 Premiere Recap: The Gallaghers Awaken

The gang's all here! (Showtime)

The gang’s all here! (Showtime)

The Gallagher family is back! The season six premiere finds our Gallaghers more stable than ever, but that only means it’s the fall from grace will be harder and more devastating, right? Let’s dive in.

The premiere opened on the grave of Bianca, the doctor with cancer who may or may not have drowned herself in Costa Rica last season. Frank has apparently been sleeping on the grave while being deep into mourning the girl he calls his “soulmate”. Frank was in rare form this episode: telling each Gallagher child he loved them, spending time in church, and only indulging in two beers. His new-found Catholic spirituality was cut short when the Priest didn’t give him the answers he was looking for in confession. What followed was a comical and genuinely sweet montage of Frank “sampling” a variety of religions. He harassed an Orthodox Jewish man on the street, talked a Buddhist Monk’s ear off, prayed with a group of Islamic men, and danced with the Hare Krishnas. However, it wouldn’t be Shameless if Frank didn’t do something that guarantees I will never watch this show with my grandmother. You’ve heard of grave-robbing, now get ready for grave-sexing. Holding a pair of Bianca’s underwear and a red, lacy bra Frank began pleasuring himself on top of her grave, imagining that she was there with him. I’m actually really enjoying seeing a sweeter, more sober Frank, but I don’t know how long that will last. And let’s be honest: what is Shameless without Frank Gallagher being an absolute mess of a human being?

Now, onto the younger Gallagher clan. A still-married Fiona is sleeping with Sean (Dermot Mulroney), the owner of the restaurant where she and Ian work. Whenever Fiona brings home a new guy, I’m always curious about how he will react to the typical Gallagher morning routine of swearing, yelling, and nudity. I feel like it’s a good barometer of how their relationship will go. Sean handled it just fine which gives me hope for the two of them. I actually really like their relationship. He seems like just what Fiona needs: older, stable, but familiar with the Gallagher lifestyle seeing how he used to be a drug addict. Above all, it seems like he wants to take care of Fiona, which she desperately needs but constantly rejects.

The Gallagher morning gives us a quick recap of what’s going on with the family: Fiona is separated from Gus, Carl is still in juvy, Ian is taking his meds, Debbie is possibly pregnant, and Liam is huge. At the risk of sounding like my mother, it’s crazy how old and big Liam is getting! He brings a switchblade that he found in Carl’s room to breakfast and I think about what a miracle it is that this kid is still alive.

Lip is still sleeping with his professor. He snaps a picture of her laying in his bed and there’s no way that can come back to haunt him this season, right? Stuff like that never happens on this show! Professor relations aside, it seems as if Lip is doing really well in school. He’s a TA for the ever intoxicated Professor Ewins but it seems like he’s more “teacher” than “assistant”. When Ewins is late to class, Lip takes over and seems to teach the class very well and even cuts a kid some slack when he turns in a plagiarized paper. Ewins watches all of this and suggests Lip consider becoming a teacher himself. Lip considers it. Later in the episode, he ends up sleeping with one of his students in a misguided act of revenge against Professor Robinson. He thought she was sleeping with another student when in reality, her son was just in town visiting her. Lip and he come to blows and it seems like it may be over between Lip and Mrs. Robinson. But this is Shameless, and let’s be honest, nothing is ever “done”.

Carl gets out of juvy early, exiting majestically to chants of “White boy Carl! White boy Carl!” He sees Chuckie and his gang of white supremacists as he exits. I was never crazy about Sammi and Chuckie but damn, if I don’t want a showdown between White Boy Carl and Neo-nazi Chuckie. Fiona is happy to have Carl home, but that happiness is extinguished after a lame welcome home party with the family. Carl invites his friend, Nick, to stay with them and the family is unsure of how to handle this. Nick is a very large, black, 18 year old former juvy resident who burned his father to death but can’t shower alone.

Sean is in need of a new assistant manager for the restaurant after his previous one gets busted for, what else? Drugs. He offers the position to Fiona, much to the chagrin of another waitress who works there. While it’s true that Sean may have not been so keen to offer it to her if they weren’t sleeping together, we have seen that Fiona is actually a pretty great waitress, so the offer isn’t completely unfounded. Fiona is extremely reluctant to take it at first. In maybe not the most tactful move, Sean reminds her that she is a felon and her job offers are extremely limited, so she might want to re-consider. She does and she takes the job. Yay character growth!

Ian spends majority of the episode in a catatonic state of apathy. Mickey is in prison after his little shootout with Sammi last season and Svetlana has to pay Ian to even visit him. The Svetlana/Mickey/Ian relationship is one of my favorite parts of the show. Svetlana could have easily been a one-off character, but instead, she’s become a smart, cunning, sometimes even kind, presence in the boy’s lives. She brings Yevgeny to see Mickey in prison and then asks Mickey to stab a guy in the eye for $2,000. Ah, a typical family afternoon. Ian begrudgingly speaks to Mickey and Mickey shows him his new “Ian Galager” tattoo across his heart. Ah, young love. We find out Mickey is in prison for 15 years, but will more likely be in for 8 because of over-crowding. He asks Ian to wait for him. It still amazes me how open and loving Mickey has become with Ian, so I really hope that the writers aren’t serious about this 8 years thing.

And finally, we come to Debbie. Poor, sweet, lost Debbie. After having unprotected sex with her teen angel boyfriend, Derek, last season, turns out she is officially pregnant. She keeps this news from Fiona however, knowing that Fiona would STRONGLY encourage Debs to get an abortion. Instead, she turns to Derek, thinking that he will step up and come to doctors appointments with her and help create their own little family. But the rug gets pulled out from under her when she finds out that Derek has been shipped off to Florida to live with his grandparents. So now, she is faced with owning up to Fiona about lying and raising this baby alone or owning up to Fiona and getting an abortion. Either option forces her to own up to Fiona which, let’s be honest, is the last thing any teenager would want to do. In the end, she doesn’t have to after Derek’s mom shows up at the Gallagher house to talk about the baby. There ya go, Debs! The Band-Aid was ripped off for you!

And finally, V and Kevin begin confronting the dark cloud that has been on the Gallagher periphery for a little while now: gentrification. The lesbians who moved in down the block are unhappy with the noise a fellow neighbor, Yannis, is making and want everyone to sign a petition against him. In an effort to appease the women and leave the neighborhood feathers unruffled, Kevin agrees to talk to Yannis. Yannis is the worst. Played by Will Sasso, he is brash, homophobic, and disgusting and not in the fun way that Frank Gallagher is. On the one hand, I don’t want gentrification to drive the Gallaghers from the home they know and love, but I want Yannis GONE.

So, there we have it. Lip doing well in school, Ian taking his meds, Carl out of juvy, and Fiona with a new job. I am always hesitant to be hopeful whenever the Gallaghers seem like they’re on the right path because those hopes are always taken into a Southside alley and beat to death. I’m not sure I want to live in a world where Frank Gallagher only drinks two beers a day. But then again, if the Gallaghers change too much and become to stable, will they even be the Gallaghers anymore?

‘Shameless’ Season 6 Premiere Recap: The Gallaghers Awaken