Shameless (US): Nana Gallagher Had an Affair   Rewatch 
August 6, 2014 3:08 PM - Season 1, Episode 10 - Subscribe

In this unusually intense episode of Shameless, three of Frank’s kids get their DNA tested. Monica and Bob are fecklessly trying to raise the kids. Fiona is living with Steve next door, but still parenting the kids via audio.

Everyone’s shocked to learn that Frank is the biological father of Liam, whose complexion is darker than his parents’. Ian turns out to have a father who’s not Frank, but a close relative. Monica suggests she might have been high on PCP while cheating on Frank, and he’s appalled: “You did PCP? Without me?! You promised we would do that together!” Frank admits he had an ulterior motive in luring her to him in the previous episode: “I wanted to see you again.” Monica is upset that he did this with a false promise of a teddy bear: “You know how much I love teddy bears!”

Ian visits Mickey in jail; he’s been convicted and is awaiting sentencing. Though they had been having sex, Mickey won’t let Ian say he misses him.

Karen tries to get through the Purity Ball with minimal embarrassment by telling the group: “My actions have been unladylike in their nature, and for that I’m truly sorry.” She’s told she has to tell the whole truth, and her dad, Eddie, braces himself to hear her admit to what he’s seen her do — oral sex. When Karen launches into a full account of her sexual history, including orgies, Eddie angrily cuts her off, calls her a “whore” in front of everyone, and reneges on their deal — “Whores don’t get cars!”

Back at home after the Purity Ball, Karen starts smashing stuff in the basement (beginning a rebellion she’ll continue through the end of the season, before suddenly going back to normal next season). Sheila tells Eddie never to come back — while following him out of the house to his car. “I got so mad, I came out of the house! I’m out of the house!”

This episode is an acting tour de force for Emmy Rossum (Fiona) and Chloe Webb (Monica). The scene near the end where Monica gives back Liam to Fiona and leaves — propelled by the soundtrack, “Absolute Balance” by Johnny Foreigner — is devastating. If Shameless is a “dramedy,” this scene is pure “drama.” In particular, Webb (who played Nancy Spungen in the movie Sid and Nancy) is outstanding as the emotional wreck of a mother, in this among other episodes.
posted by John Cohen
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