Shameless (US): Can I Have a Mother   Rewatch 
February 9, 2015 5:43 PM - Season 2, Episode 6 - Subscribe

Frank’s mom, Peggy, is out of prison. Frank’s response to seeing his mom: “Jesus, they let you out?” “Tricked ‘em into thinking I was dying, so they let me out early!” She had been serving a long sentence for the death of her conspirators in an explosion of their meth lab. She goes to the Gallaghers’ house, and the first thing she does is break a hole in the bathroom wall, remove some suspicious items, and bribe Debbie and Carl to keep “our little secret.”

Frank tells Peggy about all the kids. (Ian is “a real lady killer — he’s nailin’ all of them!”) Peggy says: “Shut up! This doesn’t interest me” (referring to her grandchildren). What she is interested in is collecting a $200,000 debt from one of her former conspirators, Dr. Noah Pitts, a plastic surgeon who can’t afford to pay back the whole thing since he’s in debt from medical school. Frank shows up later to warn Noah that Peggy will kidnap his kids, and Noah gives him $75,000, saying that puts an end to everything between them. Peggy sarcastically tells Frank he’s “amazing” for talking the surgeon down to much less than Noah owes her.

Sheila is delighted at first when Peggy unexpectedly stops by, but things between them quickly go sour when Peggy says what she thinks of Sheila. Later, at Karen’s wedding reception in Karen/Sheila's house, Sheila gives a drunken speech, culminating in her telling Peggy, “I don’t know how an angel like that man [pointing at Frank] could have come out of your poisoned womb!” Peggy pulls out a gun.

(After watching this whole season, I was shocked to realize that Peggy is played by Louise Fletcher, who won the Oscar for Best Actress in 1975 for playing Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Hard to believe you’re watching the same human being.)

Lip tells Karen, “That’s my baby” — and he wants her to get an abortion. Karen slaps him. (This seems incongruous with later episodes.)

Steve is back in Chicago, with his wife of a few weeks, Estefania, who doesn’t speak English. They got married because Estefania’s dad was a competitor with Steve in the drug trade, and the dad cut off the ear of Steve's friend — “I wasn’t so sure he was going to stop at the ear” — unless he allowed Estefania to immigrate from Brazil to the US. (Steve apparently moved from Costa Rica to Brazil, and from selling stolen cars to selling drugs.) Steve and Estefania go on a double date with Fiona and Adam, but Adam walks out in a huff when he detects that Fiona and Steve couldn’t keep their hands off each other during a bathroom break.

Frank wants to take care of Eddie’s pension, life insurance, etc., but Sheila won’t let him because, as she cheerfully explains, “You’re an alcoholic!” But it turns out that Eddie amended his will to leave everything to Karen. Sheila is overjoyed at what she interprets as her husband’s final act of love toward their daughter (providing some much-needed closure, since Eddie and Karen weren’t on speaking terms when Eddie died). But when Frank bitterly gets in Jody’s face over the inheritance (“Congratulations, my friend, you hit the jackpot!”), Sheila tells Frank to leave.

Ian isn’t speaking to Lip because of their fight in the previous episode. Lip trashes the Kash & Grab as Ian watches, stone-faced.

Ethel’s “sister wives” stop by to tell her that their husband was murdered in prison (as we saw last episode). They’re trying to bring Ethel home. Kev later tries to convince V to adopt Ethel, but this backfires when he calls the sister wives “scary” — “serious evil.” Ethel overhears and steps in, and we see an assertive side of her we haven’t seen before: “They’re not evil! They’re my family.” Ethel tells Kevin “thank you … for everything” … and leaves. Off camera, Ethel and Malik dig up the marijuana Kevin buried in the first episode of this season. Malik sells it, and he and Ethel ride away on a bus with a huge roll of cash.

After keeping the secret since the middle of last season, Debbie asks Fiona if it was weird seeing “Jimmy … Steve … Jimmy.” (Steve and Fiona were both at Karen and Jody’s wedding reception.) “Who’s Jimmy?” “Jimmy lives in Lake Forest with his doctor father and drunk mother. They think he goes to medical school at the University of Michigan.” “Yeah, so?” “Jimmy is Steve.”
posted by John Cohen (3 comments total)
This episode had some great acting bouts between the older characters, with fabulous work by Louise Fletcher. Her voice was grippingly familiar, and I called out her name in awed admiration when I read it in the closing credits. Wow!

Fletcher kicked everything up to a higher level. I don't know which bout was best: Fletcher and Macy in the car (with the screwdriver), Fletcher and Macy in the car (with the "not interested" in her own grandchildren), Fletcher and Macy arguing in the kitchen (the "hand me my purse" scene), Fletcher and Cusack round 1 (get out of my house), or Fletcher and Cusack round 2 (the wedding toast).

The writers cranked out some great material for these grand old actors to revel and wallow in. Macy and Cusack got to rant, and Fletcher got to roll out the old Nurse-Ratched-infused creepily calm domination. The oldies chewed the scenery to a fine pulp. Delightful!

I'm glad I didn't know it was Louise Fletcher until it ended, because I was able to form an independent opinion of how great she was.

We froze the frame to try to figure out what her neck tattoos were. Some kind of barbed wire "necklace" and some other thing that looked to me like a knight's helmet or a robot lady-bug.

I'm glad Frank didn't shoot her while she was sleeping. I don't know if that's because there actually is a limit to how awful Frank is or because this is a character who needs to stay around for a while.
posted by Alizaria at 4:54 AM on February 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

The older characters ruled this episode.

I wasn't moved by the Lip and Ian standoff with the throwing of tomatoes and watermelon. Why don't I care about these 2 youngsters' relationship?

And I really don't care about Fiona's love life. I feel that the writers don't know what to do with Fiona, but they keep giving the actress her lines and her scenes. But nothing about her is interesting to me. What difference does it make which of various boring men is delivering or failing to deliver bad sex to her?
posted by Alizaria at 4:58 AM on February 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

I believe this is the only Shameless episode written by a cast member  — William H. Macy cowrote it with Steven Schachter (source).
posted by John Cohen at 1:32 PM on February 28, 2015

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