Shameless (US): Just Like the Pilgrims Intended   Rewatch 
February 22, 2015 5:55 PM - Season 2, Episode 11 - Subscribe

The Thanksgiving episode. Monica is depressed and has stopped taking her medication — “I don’t wanna be me anymore.” Debbie is worried she might have inherited depression from her mom.

But Debbie starts feeling better after talking to a homeless man who uses the Gallaghers’ pool as a bathtub. Debbie decides that the one who’s more likely to become depressed is Lip. As Debbie bluntly tells Fiona, “He’s halfway there as it is. You probably shouldn’t have kicked him out.” Fiona invites Lip to Thanksgiving dinner.

Frank & Monica go to Frank’s brother Clayton’s house to try to get some of the money he inherited from Peggy, who left her money to all her sons except Frank. As Frank & Monica planned, Monica tries to seduce Clayton (the one who Lip and Ian realized is Ian’s biological father). Clayton’s reaction makes it clear they have a history together, but he rejects her because he’s married, and Monica collapses in despair.

Marco breaks free from the cargo. At first, he and Estefania are ecstatic at being reunited. (Foreshadowing: Steve tells Lip he can’t tell if they’re “fucking or fighting.”) But Marco soon becomes enraged at Steve for having sex with Estefania. Marco asks Estefania to get his gun, but Steve placates Marco by letting him take Steve’s identity — “You’re me now!” Steve flees to Fiona’s house, and tells everyone to start calling him “Jimmy.”

Sheila shamefully admits to Karen that she had sex with her son-in-law, Jody, but “I didn’t mean to — it was an accident!” Karen: “An accident! Where his penis slipped into your vagina!” But Karen actually seems fine with it, and tells Jody to come back into the house so he can help Sheila make stuffing or whatever it is they do together.

Jimmy/Steve kicks out Lip, who stays at Mandy’s. They had recently had an awkward conversation about whether the sex they were having was going somewhere. But Lip leaves when Mandy takes her brothers to pick up something at the store — at gunpoint.

Ian hooks up with a middle-aged man, Lloyd.

Carl shoots a bald eagle and brings it home for Thanksgiving.

In the middle of Thanksgiving dinner (the only time we’ve seen them dining in the living room), Monica gets up, goes to the kitchen, slits her wrists, and starts bleeding profusely. The family saves her by taking her to the hospital.

At the same hospital, the Gallaghers show up to see Karen give birth. Sheila is there too — “out of the house!” They all see the baby has Down’s syndrome. Sheila tells Karen the baby is “beautiful,” but Karen just wants “it” taken away. Lip is mad when he sees that the baby looks “Asian.” Karen explains: “I screwed Timmy Wong as much as I screwed you. I never said it was your baby.”

Before the baby was born, Lip ran into the adoptive couple in the hallway and gave them a video of him talking to his future son. But after the baby is born, Lip tells the couple about him, and they refuse to take him. Lip storms down the street, throwing the video in the trash since he doesn’t have a son to give it to. Meanwhile, Sheila steals her daughter’s baby from the hospital, then rides away with Jody on a motorcycle. The moving soundtrack: “Get on the Road” by Tired Pony.
posted by John Cohen (6 comments total)
Although I don't think it was made explicit (at least so far, I'm only through part of season 3), did anyone think that the Down Syndrome was a result of Karen drinking or smoking during pregnancy?
posted by fizzix at 5:30 PM on February 24, 2015

Yes, and drinking too much caffeine. I've included some of the foreshadowing in my posts on earlier episodes. Season 2, Episode 7:
Jody tells Karen not to drink multiple cups of coffee — “it’s not good for the fetus.” Karen blithely responds: “Well, it’s good for me.”
Season 2, Episode 8:
Karen and Lip decide to shop around for adoption agencies, which they first discuss while the visibly pregnant Karen is smoking pot in the boys’ room. Karen cares only about the money...
Even a relatively uncensored network like Showtime won't let us see a visibly pregnant woman smoking without also showing us the consequences to the baby.
posted by John Cohen at 7:48 PM on February 24, 2015

Pool as bathtub... it's the continuing water theme on "Shameless." And again we see a fat old guy's body in a bathtub context. (Previously, the Jack Carter character in his overflowing bathtub.)

The ducks in the pool was, I think, a deliberate allusion to the first episode of "The Sopranos" (where the ducks in the swimming pool brought on Tony's first anxiety attack).

The meat theme also continues. (Previously, there was all that meat stolen from the truck.) Here, we see the implausible construction of a faux-turkey out of Spam. Who would do that? And wouldn't it be more expensive than a regular store-bought turkey? But it gave us a chance to look at knives and carving and ready ourselves for Monica's wrist-slashing.

The baby busted loose from Karen's tiny womb and we got a close-up of that, but we never got to see how Marco busted out of the shipping container. Parallelism opportunity missed.

If Marco gets Jimmy's "Steve" identity, maybe Marco can take the rap for all Steve's car-stealing crimes, and Jimmy and Fiona can live happily ever after, but I've never cared about the rom-com life of Fiona (in love, out of love, reunited and it feels so good, chapter 4 says you break up, but you give him just-a one more chance, etc.).

So... does the baby have Down Syndrome or is the baby half-Asian? By the way, Down Syndrome isn't caused by drinking and smoking. It's a chromosomal abnormality.

I love the Sheila and Jodi couple. The image of them riding off with the baby worked like mad.

Great episode. Nice example of the penultimate episode being the peak of a season.
posted by Alizaria at 10:27 AM on February 25, 2015

So... does the baby have Down Syndrome or is the baby half-Asian?

Both. He's the son of Karen Jackson, who's white, and Timmy Wong, who's Asian. And he has Down's Syndrome.
posted by John Cohen at 6:14 PM on February 25, 2015

Down Syndrome isn't caused by drinking and smoking.

posted by John Cohen at 6:38 PM on February 25, 2015

The baby busted loose from Karen's tiny womb and we got a close-up of that, but we never got to see how Marco busted out of the shipping container. Parallelism opportunity missed.

That's an interesting point, although I don't know if they would have wanted to establish a parallel between Marco and the baby, or between Marco's arrival and birth.
posted by John Cohen at 6:46 PM on February 25, 2015

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