TV Review: Shameless (6×05) “Refugees”


Welcome back to my weekly review and recap of Shameless. Catch up on previous coverage here.

I’m struck by how at odds I’m feeling with this newest episode of Shameless which in portions I adored and others I felt nothing but detachment from the characters. Debbie and Carl are growing to be non entities to me on the show as their plot lines begin to grow further and further away from Fiona and Carl’s attitude is so poor and unsympathetic that I earn no enjoyment while watching his scenes. In an episode that is so clearly about the Gallagher’s all venturing into their own lives, shown in physical distance as well as being said aloud by more than a few characters, I can’t help but feel that the Shameless I knew and celebrated for four seasons is finally hitting it’s last few puffs of steam.

The question is how to go forth enjoying the Shameless the show is now?

By keeping in the emotional and small moments such as Fiona walking around her empty house for her last goodbye for one, a moment that was immensely powerful due not only to Emmy Rossum’s performance (pitch-perfect as always) but also trusting in the viewers involvement with these characters lives. We too coincide the Gallagher’s with that house and seeing them separated from it is as jarring and as stirring as it should be. Fiona and Lip being the last ones at the house, as well as Lip telling his sister that maybe now she’ll get to take of herself, is the rightful send off to a location that has become synonymous with the Gallagher family as well as Fiona herself. For so long Fiona has been trying to keep not only a roof over her families heads and food on the table, but she’s been trying to keep up the appearance of a happy and healthy family who sometimes have to bend the rules to make ends meet. Now it’s just her and Liam and an pullout couch at Sean’s awaiting her at the end of the night, and she’ll have to make due with that, just as she has with every other hand she’s been dealt all of her life.

If there’s a character that seems to have the potential to thrive under this new development it’s Ian who not only is potentially going to try and become a fireman but also is going to go on an actual date with someone who expects him to behave as an adult. Ian’s complete bewilderment at the later development was both hilarious and a little sad as we realize the types of relationships he’s been in in the past leading up to this point, where the idea of by the books, stereotypical romance is beyond his understanding.

That being said, bring back Mickey and the hurricane of emotions he and Ian share together and I’ll be fine with that too.

Speaking of romance, if this is the beginning of the end of Lip and Helene’s storyline I would only be too happy. Not even to scratch on the idea that a 40 year old professor sleeping with her 20 year old student is in fact wrong there’s also the fact that it’s a storyline that has more than run it’s course. Beyond both of those problems is the fact that it’s a criminal misuse of Jeremy Allen White’s considerable talents, something you’d think I’d be used to on the show by now but it never grows less aggravating. I’m much more interested in seeing Lip deal with the fallout of the relationship than I was of him in the relationship, especially as we begin to realize how much more hung up on her he was than vice versa. Amanda taking a wrecking ball to his life wasn’t fun to watch, especially since it had always seemed like theirs was an open relationship, but it certainly allows for Lip to return to being a much more engaging character.

Hopefully I’m not speaking too soon.

Elsewhere there’s V’s storyline as she deals with the fallout of Kev accepting to house a number of young refugees as he tries to absolve his guilt and while most of it was rather tiresome, the scene where V realizes one of the refugees is a little girl and instantly perks up and warmly offers her some clothes is a genuinely touching moment for the character.

There is a part of me that wonders if these storylines, Debbie and Carl’s especially, aren’t leading them somewhat back into Fiona’s main orbit but that could be wishful thinking on my end. What with Debbie’s situation taking an odd twist at the end and her only reliant figure being Frank of all people, I don’t see her scheme actually working in the long run. Carl it would seem is about to get in over his head. Will this cause Fiona to step in and fully taking charge of her siblings once again? We’ll have to wait and see but it would be a smart choice for the show to take after too many plot shakeups and individual plot lines.

The episode has a lot of little moments that touch on the subtleties of the show that have made it such a consistent must watch of mine for years, such as V’s instant offer to let the Gallagher’s stay at their house despite it already being overcrowded, of all of the Gallagher’s returning home as their belongings pile up on the street to work once again as a team to clean the mess up, to Lip and Ian’s scene where the former offers up his room as a place to crash and all the words that aren’t said and don’t need to be, including apologies and comfort. This is a family who’s had their fair share of loss, pain and disagreements and they understand the clean up that’s required as well. It’s a day in the life.

These are the moments that I still love about the show and the ones I hope to see each week. Maybe they’ll grow less and less as the season progresses and as the characters are forced into out of character developments or tedious storylines, but the moments between the Gallagher’s, no matter the range of emotions, are always worth the time spent.



She is a 23 year old in Boston MA. She is hugely passionate about film, television and writing. Along with theyoungfolks, she also is a contributor over at . You can contact her on Twitter (@AllysonAJ) or via email: