Shameless, ‘A Night To Remem—Wait, What?’ review: Nine days and 12 hours

“I think I overdid it last night. Celebrated my last day below the poverty line.” 

The setting was different, but the moment was essentially the same. Father and son had traded the dad’s wheelchair for the son’s walking aid. The Sterling Old Regal for the cheap wine. The bitterly cold of Lake Michigan for the warmth of a house’s porch.

But the moment was the same. The son, though older, was still mostly clueless about love and the ways of the heart—whereas he first received advice on how to optimally rid himself of a hardened itch, he now listened to his old man teach him the subtlety of the drug trade.

The father, meanwhile, was reflecting on how alive he felt—but it was less boisterous as it was in ‘Lazarus‘ and rather had an air of nostalgia.  

In ‘A Night To Remem—Wait, What?’, showrunner John Wells reminds us viewers that life comes at you fast.

Take Kevin Ball (played by Steve Howey). One minute, you’re talking to your fake-wife-but-long-term-girlfriend about your daughter Amy and how she’s halfway to saying “Dada” and just needs the other “-da”. The next, said girlfriend tells you she had an orgasm with a stranger on the dance floor the night prior. And suddenly, while you still love your girls, you understand that you need to start loving your woman again.

Because, sure, let’s talk about Veronica Fisher (played by Shanola Hampton). One minute, you’re a new mother who loves life. The next, you’re jealous of your own two twin daughters because your Kev’ won’t sleep with you or take you on a date or look at you like a sex object… so you go out and have said orgasm.

Then, there’s Frank Gallagher (played by William H. Macy). One minute, you’ve received an insurance settlement and the next, after celebrating your last day as a poor sorry excuse of a man, you do not have said insurance money. And you’re still as sorry as ever.

(Though us viewers delighted in Frank’s quest to remember something, anything, about what he did with all this money, nothing was ever more unsurprising in the history of Shameless. In this universe, Frank gets money and Frank spends money, regardless of how large the sum is. Rinse repeat.)

We can’t overlook Lip Gallagher (played by Jeremy Allen White) either. One minute, you make the mistake of walking right up to the line with Mandy, letting her cross it, and leaving her to die there, rather than doing the same—this makes Mandy leave for god knows how long for Parts Unknown, USA, and no one blames her. (We blame you.) The next, you’re in Florida visiting your not-girlfriend with the “nice tatas.”

(We can’t lie, part of us wishes Lip were devastated. Part of us wishes he were rueing his own stupidity. That he were incapable of moving on. But Lip moves on this time. Where he had problems forgetting Karen, or accepting that he was in college, he moves on this time. Meh.)

Amanda (played by Nichole Bloom) wants to have sex with him on her parents’ bed, and sure let’s discuss her as well. One minute, Lip coaxes your dad into paying him $10,000 and the next, you see the two bonding over whatever engineering and your dad is offering Lip an internship. You’re kinda-not-so-secretly happy about it too, probably because you think that the internship will be in Florida, not Chicago.

Finally, there’s Fiona Gallagher (played by Emmy Rossum). One minute, you’re spurned by a dirtbag rocker, the same one at whose show you threw a haymaker to defend your younger-sister-who’s-now-a-woman-FYI Debbie. The next, you’ve been with the cutie with the beard and who plays guitar, apparently they call him Gus Pfender (played by Steve Kazee), for nine days and 12 hours… and that’s when you both decide to up the ante.

One minute, you’re somehow making your way through an ER marathon and the next, you’ve become Mrs. Fiona Pfender. (Meanwhile, you have no idea that Jimmy/Steve/Jack will likely re-enter your life at just about any minute now.)

At the end of ‘A Night To Remem—Wait, What?’, you sort of maybe realize the huge mistake that you have made. Not all marriages are created equal, you seem to understand.

Meanwhile, us viewers wonder what took you so long.