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Aurora Snow’s Shameless: Season 4: Ep. 04: “Strangers on a Train” Review

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 “Strangers on a Train”

*SPOILERS*

With so little to worry about these days, the Gallagher’s hardly know what to do with themselves.

The Gallaghers are at their best when they are spiraling into chaos. This season has yet to see a crisis that brings the family together, they’ve all gone off in their own directions. The problems they face now aren’t of the same desperate magnitude as in past seasons. No longer barely making ends meet, they have seemingly become a tad more functional. Hard pressed for turmoil, they’re forced to create their own in its absence.

“You might be a redneck” jokes could almost be replaced with “you might be a Gallagher IF…” You might be a Gallagher if normalcy makes you uncomfortable.

At long last Fiona has everything she’s ever wanted, an outstanding boyfriend, a respectable job and plenty of money for bills. And it’s boring. Fortunately for us viewers, she’s an adrenaline junkie and nothing about her life makes her pulse race except cheating on her boyfriend with his ex-addict brother. Her middle class boyfriend isn’t exciting enough to finger bang her on a public bus the way his brother did. While she isn’t proud of her behavior she loves every naughty minute of it. As Veronica pointed out Fiona’s only attracted to losers. Maybe Fiona doesn’t think she’s good enough for anyone and by dating losers she’ll never have to worry about measuring up. It’s often insecurities that drive people into self sabotaging situations. As a viewer I just wanted to scream at Fiona to do the right thing. Fiona’s playing with fire, sooner or later she’ll burn herself.

In a parallel story thread Lip is finally where he should be in life, at a respectable institution of higher learning with a full scholarship. He’s the only one smart enough to get out of the ghetto yet he resists the challenge. It’s so much easier to make excuses and just say f*ck it. Which is what he did when he bashed the faculty teachers’ car windshields. It’s what we all feel like doing sometimes, right? It was exhilarating. For a few glorious minutes he felt like his old self with campus security in hot pursuit. It reminded him of home.

Eager to trade his chance at a higher education for the comforts of the ghetto Lip paid his old flame Mandy a visit. Mistake #1: revisiting the past. Mistake #2: Not wearing a condom. Mandy’s ovulating, which means Lip might have fathered his first child. Maybe that’s what he wants, some excuse to quit college and get a dead end job just like everyone else in his neighborhood. Lip enjoys being intelligent, but doesn’t want any of the responsibility that comes along with it. Kevin flat out told him to “grow a pair.” As Kev pointed out, Lip’s always been a resourceful guy, if he wanted to make college work he’d figure out a way. It was just the blunt reminder Lip needed.

Struggling with her unwanted virginity, Debbie rushes to be as slutty as Holly. Rejected by her twenty-year-old boyfriend (thank you!), he doesn’t think she’s ready (obviously the voice of the audience) and frankly neither do I. Thirteen-year-olds are still kids, they’re barely entering puberty! Unfortunately some teenagers measure their grown up status in bedpost notches. Eager to shed her childhood, Debbie invites a kid her own age into a bathroom stall. Her attempt at a bathroom quickie was botched due to mutual inexperience. It was so awkward and so touching, proving just how awkward the transition from child to woman can be.

Still no sign of Ian. If it weren’t for Mickey it’d be easy to forget Ian was ever a part of the family. Of course everything Mickey does is tinged with the memories of Ian. Last week Mickey was desperately banging a red head, but this week he’s dried his tears and found himself a mission. His wife is a “hooker not a slave” and therefore deserves better pay. He calls for a hooker strike only to be one upped by female pimp Sasha when she trucks in a new load of Russians hot off the boat to replace the hookers Mickey took. Looks like Mickey might be getting into the pimp business;  after all what else is he going to do with his gaggle of hookers?

Frank Gallagher is back! I was thrilled to hear Frank rant, the first two rants of the season are contained in this episode. They are not to be missed if you enjoy that sort of thing (and what Shameless fan doesn’t?) Up to his old tricks again, Frank needed an injury and his deeply troubled son Carl was only too happy to provide one. At least he was kind enough to drug Frank before he broke his leg. Carl was finally able to put some of his sadistic impulses to good use. Overall an excellent episode that brings us some touching character development and lays further groundwork for future Gallagher chaos.

Aurora Snow Says

Episode Rating:

[Rating:4.5/5]

 

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