Episode Title: "May I Trim Your Hedges"
Writer: Krista Vernoff
Director: Steve Shill
Previously on "Shameless:"
For those wronged by sexually inappropriate bosses, scheming ex-wives and female pedophiles, the Gallaghers had your back in "May I Trim Your Hedges."
Out for justice after a supermarket manager offered her one kind of job in exchange for another, Fiona (Emmy Rossum) enlisted Vee’s (Shanola Hampton) help to score the job without having to handle the boss’ "deli meat." Meanwhile, Lip (Jeremy Allen White) seduced a female sex offender who just moved into the hood but he was the one who got stung by a jar of Nair and the wrath of his girlfriend, Mandy (Emma Greenwell). And in case you forgot, Kev (Steve Howey) is still married to Cheryl, the blonde hellcat who blew into town last week with her teenage son, Kyle in tow.
As a black comedy, "Shameless" can make even the most jaded, cynical bastard squirm with discomfort when Frank (William H. Macy) does things like tell his son he has cancer in hopes of getting a children’s charity to arrange a meeting with the Chicago bulls so he can pawn a signed basketball on Ebay. "Shameless" can also make that same heartless jerk melt a little inside when Kev pours his heart out to Vee, promising to never leave her and only wanting to get know the boy who might be his son.
Indeed, this hour of "Shameless" was bursting with both heart and soul(lessness). If anything, we learned the world, or at least the Chicago area, is full of despicable, low-life perverts, like the self-pleasuring freak who traumatized Debbie (Emma Kenney) on the city bus. "Why are men so disgusting?" asked Fiona. Well, woman can get down and dirty too, as Lip found out when he got in over his head with the South Side’s own Mary Kay Letourneau.
What makes "Shameless" watchable, and even endearing, despite the fact that the people on it do things like stick mentally disabled babies with thumbtacks soaked in Jim Beam, is its heart. In this episode, we were reminded that everyone’s got one. Well, except maybe Frank.
Fiona wants the same type of relationship with Jimmy (Justin Chatwin) that Vee has with Kev, while Ian (Cameron Monaghan) pines away for Mickey and Deb swoons over Kev’s potential illegitimate son, Kyle. The feelings are mutual in all three cases, but this wouldn’t be "Shameless" if everything weren’t completely screwed up.
Jimmy’s weighed down with guilt over his faux-relationship with Estefania, making Fiona’s pleas about trust that much harder to hear. And the only way Mickey can express his feelings for Ian is by beating the crap out of Lloyd (Harry Hamlin). As for Deb, at least Kyle, who turned out not to be Kev or even Cheryl’s son, got to stay for dinner.
For all the royally f&*$ed up stuff that happened in this episode, it was also pretty sweet. The Gallaghers are still mostly spinning their wheels, trying to make ends meat through various means, some more unsavory than others. The problem with "Shameless" in the past, the lack of direction with its characters, may finally be solved this season. All they want is love, in one form or another. All, except Frank, who exists to explain the root of his family’s psychotic behavior and make everyone else look decent by comparison.
To that end, "May I Trim Your Hedges," did what it needed to do by giving us a deeper understanding of the Gallaghers while putting everyone in various mildly disturbing situations. And if you don't know by now, that’s what makes for a great a episode of "Shameless."