Shameless – Season 3 Episode 6 – Recap and Review – Cascading Failures

It’s taken nearly two and a half seasons of Shameless, but the time has finally (possibly? probably?) come for Frank Gallagher (William H. Macy) to get what he deserves. That is, of course, a one way ticket to Hell. For Frank, I’m thinking a permanent stint in rehab. He had lit the fuse weeks ago, and “Cascading Failures” saw the devastating explosion of one drunken phone call rock the Gallagher household, scattering the whole lot of them across the South Side.


Carl and Debbie: Debbie’s (Emma Kenney) situation appeared, on the surface, to be a lot like what she’d been used to, having run the illegal Gallagher daycare mostly on her own for a while now. Just replace Fiona (Emmy Rossum) with a slave driver, and things looked just like home for Debbie! Her new living situation seemed just as I’d imagine many wrongful foster scenarios end up; with one inadequate caretaker milking the system and taking advantage of the tribe of kids they’re supposed to be protecting. Still, Debbie didn’t seem to mind when push came to shove. Having gotten used to having Carl by her side during their stints in foster care, the thought of having to go it alone initially made Debbie a bit uneasy. She sucked it up and made the best of it.

Meanwhile, Carl (Ethan Cutkosky) was placed in a very different new household. A well-to-do gay couple had been looking to adopt a biracial baby, and they had their eyes locked on Liam. They’d have to take Carl on, too. Luckily, Carl’s fascination with all things gay had begun to peak just last episode, as a result of discovering Ian’s (Cameron Monaghan) secret. Carl’s shenanigans, as always, were a treat this episode. We knew things would be getting heavy surrounding Fiona’s plight and vow to rescue her family, so it was great to see Carl doing what he does best; peeing on the couch, stealing expensive looking trinkets and smuggling them over to Veronica (Shanola Hampton), and sneaking a peek at some hardcore gay porn.

Carl: “Why do they all have mustaches?”


Showtime "Shameless"

Showtime “Shameless”

Lip and Ian: The dynamic duo of Shameless had apparently racked up enough street cred to be locked away in a “home,” meaning they were shoved into a center with the other delinquents and deviants. As Ian put it, Lip (Jeremy Allen White) is like a roach, able to survive under any circumstances. He even managed to smuggle Mandy (Emma Greenfield) in for some fun.

Ian, who’d been given permission to work, managed to cross paths with Mickey (Noel Fisher) at the store. With his dad out of town, Mickey invited Ian to stay the night. Excited for their first sleepover, Ian took him up on his offer, and the couple (?) stayed up late smokin’ cigs and watching old Van Damme movies. The next morning, things took an absolutely brutal turn, as Mickey’s scumbag of a father showed up early, just as the two started to get hot and heavy. Exposed, Mickey found himself facing the wrath of a parent with a gun and absolutely no tolerance for homosexuality. Ian shared the brunt of the beat-down. Things went from straight-up scary to devastatingly sad, as Mickey’s father called over “the Russian,” who I’d assumed was some sort of well-known torture expert or just an especially nasty thug. Instead, a prostitute arrived to screw the gay out of a barely conscious Mickey. Ian, covered in blood, was forced to watch.


Showtime "Shameless"

Showtime “Shameless”

Veronica and Kev: V and Kev (Steve Howey) continued their last-ditch attempt at having a baby this week. Assuming their turkey baster trick hadn’t worked, V came to the conclusion that the only way for Kevin to seriously take a swing at impregnating her mother, would be to have full-on sex with her. This storyline still makes me very uneasy, as I’m assuming it’s supposed to. The first sex scene between Kev and Veronica’s mom was comedic enough. I did get a few laughs out of the fact that her mother was kept hidden under a sheet, while Kev attempted to do his best at performing.

In the end, Kev just couldn’t bring himself to adequately deliver, though, leaving Veronica’s mother feeling unattractive and old. Veronica, taking another one for the team, decided to join in on the action. The next morning, the strangeness of what had gone down, and what had been going down, seemed to finally sink in. I admire that Veronica is so set on becoming a mom, if only to give Kev a child and her mother a grandbaby, but there has to be another way other than having Kev father a half-sister that would act as her own daughter, right?


Showtime "Shameless"

Showtime “Shameless”

Frank and Sheila: Fiona had, in an act of utter desperation, enlisted Frank’s help in winning back custody of her kids. With Monica long gone, Sheila (Joan Cusack) was convinced to step in, blond wig in place, to play the role. She did it for Fiona. Frank would have to show up and sober up for urine tests and parenting classes. Of course, he wanted free reign of the house in exchange for his expertise. Unbeknownst to the fact that Frank had been the one to call Child Protective Services to being with, Fiona made the deal. Sheila was looking at the educational part of the process as an opportunity to discover where she’d gone wrong with Karen. There was no way that Frank would go through a parenting class absolutely lucid, though. After setting some urine aside for the test, he slipped a Valium. How would he sneak old pee past the doctor? By using his mouth, of course!


Showtime "Shameless"

Showtime “Shameless”

Fiona: Having kept up a good, even friendly, relationship with their last assigned worker from Child Protective Services, Fiona was caught off guard when having to deal with someone who was seemingly hell-bent on sticking to the rulebook. After proving herself to be a much-loved older sister, Fiona managed to convince the girl to start dropping hints as to where the kids were located, if only to check-in or bring them their belongings. Still assuming this situation to be very temporary, Fiona became increasingly frustrated with having been continuously set back in her fight to bring the family home. Veronica and Kev looked like a fantastic temporary solution, but Esther’s escape had left them on bad terms with the foster system. V tried, though!

Veronica: “I’m gonna be the lone black dot on a map of Ireland.”

I always especially love the scenes between Fiona and Debbie. After quickly stopping by the “home” to make sure Lip and Ian were handling things okay, Fiona dropped by Debbie’s foster home to drop off some clothes and Hershey kisses. I loved that Debbie still shared the kisses with Fiona, even after learning that in foster care, chocolate is gold. The couple attempting to wrangle Carl seemed nice enough at first, but their threat to adopt Liam and Carl was almost aggressively delivered to Fiona. Carl had things under control with his previously stated antics, and he’d done a good job of training Liam to color on anything off-white. As Veronica advised, he’d have to make them regret even thinking about adoption. A wink from Carl was enough to put Fiona’s mind at ease. Only Carl!

The episode ended with Fiona, having fully gained the trust of the Child Services employee, getting a quick listen to the anonymous phone call that destroyed her family. After recognizing the voice to be Frank’s, it became clear that she’d reached her breaking point. The war for full custody of the Gallagher brood starts next week, and here’s hoping that Frank finally gets left out in the cold forever. This is Shameless, however, and I’m thinking things won’t go so easily for Fiona.


What did you think of Shameless Season 3 Episode 6, “Cascading Failures”? Do you think Fiona will take down Frank? Will Sheila ever have to deal with Karen again? Where does this leave Ian and Mickey? How will Mandy take the news that Ian was keeping his relationship with her brother a secret? How will V and Kev’s pregnancy storyline tie up?

Thanks for reading my Recap and Review of Shameless Season 3 Episode 6, “Cascading Failures”!


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