Shameless right now is something of an uncanny experience.

“Fuck Paying It Forward” is, as Frank notes, a test of the family’s growth, but it ends with the family passing the test without any clear signs that things are about to go off the rails.

It is difficult to become comfortable in an environment where the Gallagher family both has it together and remains together, without the fissures that defined the past few seasons.

The primary test here is Sean’s return, which gives Emmy Rossum her most dramatic work of the season to date. His return is pure soap opera: he was written out quickly (Dermot Mulroney had his short-lived CBS show to keep him busy), and with significant unfinished business for Fiona, meaning that it was inevitable that he would return.

Fiona has to deal  with the feelings she suppressed when their wedding fell apart, and she eventually unloads her frustrations on the wrong woman, sure, but what’s the takeaway?

The episode ends with Fiona retelling the story of her accidentally convincing another woman her husband was using drugs again, and the family sits together and laughs. Did this help Fiona make a decision as to her own romantic future?

Did this definitively close the door on Sean? There’s something cathartic about Fiona’s emotional roller coaster, but the way the episode just subsumes this reaction into the current bliss of the Gallagher clan is, again, a bit unsettling.

Sean’s Big News

Heartbreaking. Why did he feel the need to come back then? Fiona’s reaction however is priceless.

But it did inspire this cool ass moment with Nessa.

Lip & Sober Sex?

Taking the sexual angle on his sobriety—rather than focusing on the lack of relationships—fits Lip’s past activity.

But after some heavy stuff with Youens, Lip’s story deserved a bit of levity, and the dramatic side was still well represented by his journey in and out of a bar for a Tinder date, a journey into the all-too-known.

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SEASON 8

 

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