Shameless, ‘Uncle Carl’ review: Run the dog over

“Because prison is no place for a man with naturally tight glutes.” 

Every dog has its day. You’re a wily veteran and know as much, but you also know that every good thing comes in due time.

You can’t try every trick on just anyone, the same way that you can’t precipitate things. It’s better to let the situation dictate your moves on any one caper, especially against a psychopath. 

In ‘Uncle Carl,’ showrunner John Wells reminds viewers that there really is no good reason to be dealing drugs on a Saturday morning. You very likely might get caught, especially if the police come with their dogs.

But of course, this didn’t seem likely at first. It only (almost) came to fruition because of the evil doings and workings of Frank Gallagher (played by William H. Macy), who on the surface was countering Sammi’s “Jump!” by screaming “How high?” but who all along was really plotting a plan so evil it can’t be understated.

Not to be outdone, Sammi Gallagher (played by Emily Bergl) counters with an evil plan of her own, which somehow leaves the Gallaghers scrambling and compromises Carl Gallagher (played by Ethan Cutkosky)—though if we may stop being team #AntiSammi for a minute, we must recognize that Frank and co. should have seen it coming. Sammi is a Gallagher after all, and she didn’t even squeeze their arm. But yes, maybe this is all we need so again:

After last week’s ‘Tell Me You Fucking Need Me,’ one might have thought that Carl, who became a dominant bully just as soon as he seemingly stayed away from drugs and the drug corner, would have taken those lessons to heart.

Call it what you will, but there he was, Uncle Carl and on his way to Lake Michigan—perhaps not coincidentally considering Lazarus, Carl and Frank managed to rekindle a bit of their previous magic. And Chuckie fell for it hook, line and sinker.

Ian (played by Cameron Monaghan) and Debbie Gallagher (played by Emma Kenney) show us viewers that the beauty of drugs is in the eye of the beholder and that one younger sister’s moment of inattention and #love is an older brother’s gain.

Ian’s reaction to be institutionalized, while noble in ‘Crazy Love,’ is revealed as little more than a strategy to appease his family. He knows he’s not perfect, but Ian doesn’t think it means he’s actually mentally ill—and who could blame him? As the lone Gallagher who’s not Frank’s, Ian probably finds it ironically fitting that he’s the lone sibling in the family to receive their mother Monica’s diagnosis.

He would rather not take his medication not because he doesn’t want to feel well, but because he doesn’t want to be sick. And taking the medication would concede as much. That’s the difficulty—life isn’t worth living because of the pills you take,  and you feel so much better knowing they’re gone… but that’s also how you went to the psych ward in the first place. The past two episodes have been quite effective in detailing what comes with being institutionalized. It’s not prison, no, but it’s not far off and Ian says as much to Fiona.

The drug of Fiona Gallagher/Pfender (played by Emmy Rossum), and her special strain of chaos, might be one of which Gus Pfender (played by Steve Kazee) has decided to swear off of.

The scene was great, the script and the dialogue were wonderful, and Mr. husband’s reaction was appropriate. Here’s a man who, it turns out, does have quite the backbone to go with the music, the voice, the beard and the seductive eyes. The scene was difficult, but Fiona and Gus reached a place of understand… even if Fiona doesn’t really understand why it didn’t come with a “fight ‘n fuck” too.

Meanwhile, it is us viewers who anticipate that maybe in next week’s episode, we will have to cross off the ‘Pfender’ from Fiona’s last name.

Lip Gallagher (played by Jeremy Allen White) also needs drugs and, considering how little discipline he has had a tendency to show so far, it’s surprising it took him this long. Of course, it’s not quite right to say that Lip needs drugs. He needs the money from the drugs, but it’s as they say—you can’t make drug money without drugs.

Lip’s plea and monologue to the finance officer at the registrar’s office recalled his “You can only try” moment but in this case, he’s the one in distress. The young man wants to help his siblings and, in fact, he is helping them the way everyone keeps telling them is the right way to. By studying and becoming something to show them that their universe can and should expand.

Lip can only help by not helping and by staying far away and removing himself from his house, think about that. Because, as he tells the man who could well decide his future, he will not leave if he goes back.

And next week?