Shameless, ‘Milk of Gods’ review: Genetics Russian roulette

"I have no control over time anymore. But this, this will live on.” 

Summer is always like that. The desolation of winter has given way to the hope of spring, which has now actualized into… something. It’s not entirely, or necessarily good or bad, but it’s something. There’s a sort of finality to the season.

When you look ahead to summer, you dream of waking up every morning with the one you love, spooning. But then summer arrives and, though you’re spooning, it’s with Sheila. The one you love-ish. And there’s someone holding on to you!

But at least you’re spooning. 

In ‘Milk of the Gods,’ showrunner John Wells has the difficult task of figuring out how to follow up the landmark season 4, and especially the ‘Lazarus‘ finale. That’s his mission and, to his credit, he resists the temptation to answer all the questions at once. And anyway, us viewers will settle on the season 4 recap to start this new season the right way.

The temptations are everywhere in this season opener. That starts with Frank Gallagher (played by William H. Macy), who seems to be doing about as well as you would expect as a newlywed.

There aren’t many boundaries this “cheap date” will not cross, but being a father, or grandfather, certainly is one. Frank is down to one beer a day, in order to keep the doctor away and the liver happy, but that’s likely just about to change. By the end of the episode, he’s kept true to his beer diet only in name and, thanks to his “special project,” he’s naked, gawked at and told how beautiful he is.

Because, yep, there aren’t many things prettier than blatantly ignoring a daughter who works out her daddy issues in front of you and with a steady stream of Alibi scum. But alas, if you’re Frank, the liver wants what the liver wants.

Fiona’s heart also knows what it wants, and once again that’s the battle the eldest of the Gallagher siblings will have to fight this season.

Fiona Gallagher (played by Emmy Rossum) is still working at the diner and is the object of desire of rich bourgeois women and trashy musicians alike, but for now she’s keeping it together. And if she is, it’s likely because never has she seen a man be so adept with his hose as this Sean (played by Dermot Mulroney)—… alright, she just needs to get laid. She’s a felon, but she still has needs. The good thing for you, Fiona, is that the first step toward fixing something is recognizing that you need it. She just needs to get laid, but understands she shouldn’t sleep with just anyone. But what happens when a certain Jimmy/Steve/Jack is the one making the pretty faces with the pretty eyes? Who knows, but we’ll cross those subway tracks when we need to.

No sooner has Lip Gallagher (played by Jeremy Allen White) arrived in Chicago and at the Gallagher’s humble abode is temptation staring him right in the face. A little like The Wire‘s D’Angelo and Wallace, Lip is having one of those “This is me yo, right here” moments with college and his South Side, but the temptation is so hard to resist. Why be ridiculed for your new fancy watch if you could just say that you took it from some sucker’s dorm and that it’s his fault for not closing his door.

Thankfully, there are steps he is not prepared to take again. Lip’s intentions, right now at least, seems to be in the right place—he’ll stick his nose back in with his old friends, but isn’t ready to sniff anything up that nose! He has a plan for the summer, and it includes working his tail off to pay for his classes when he goes back to college.

Though it might be a lot of pressure to identify as boyfriend and girlfriend, or to bring her Beamer back to your neighborhood, or to live at her off-campus apartment next semester, Lip has warmed up to the college life compared to last year. Though he’ll never admit it to himself, much less to her, Lip does miss Amanda (played by Nichole Bloom).

There are temptations for the other three Gallagher siblings, though these seem to be filed mostly under “growing up” and “relatively harmless.”

Far from us the intention of condoning the stealing of an electronic chair of some poor woman, but we will mention that it least shows that Carl Gallagher (played by Ethan Cutkosky) shows initiative. It’s the wrong kind of initiative, sure, the kind that is straight from the Frank Gallagher school of thought, but it’s still initiative. And it’s harmless. (Except for that poor old woman.)

Debbie Gallagher (played by Emma Kenney) starts the episode by going to town on some poor doll’s face because so and so have stopped speaking to her. The temptation is high for Debbie to feel some kind of way, but she’ll learn not to bother. Life will eventually teach her that the names of her friends don’t matter at this point in her life, because the friendships rarely last. And they rarely last, because they are rarely meaningful in any kind of way. They’re the ones you used to scrapbook with? Well so what, scrapbooking wasn’t good for you anyway.

Only Ian Gallagher (played by Cameron Monaghan) worries us, but we like to think that it’s only because he’s yet to find an alternate way to tire himself out. Our wish is that eventually Mickey Milkovich (played by Noel Fisher) gets him to see that doctor sooner rather than later.

The Gallaghers couldn’t all be doing well at once. This is Shameless.