A whiz-bang follow-up to last week’s jaw-dropper, this week’s episode may be the most aggressively miserable in the show’s history. And considering the number of accidental deaths, suicides, murders, breakups, overdoses, and counts of child endangerment the show has racked up in the last four years, that’s saying something. Gone was almost all of the show’s wicked humor, which is usually liberally applied to undercut the legitimately ghastly things happen to these characters (or because of these characters) day-in and day-out. The show pulled literally everything out from under Fiona (even her socks!), leaving her in the worst place we’ve seen her since… well, since Mike broke up with her over cake last week. But still: GAHHHHH.
We pick up right where things left off, with Fiona (Emmy Rossum) getting booked for feeding cocaine to babies and wee Liam being strapped to a bed and treated for his overdose-induced seizures. Not to make light of the situation in the least, but I’d bet the squirrel fund that poor Liam is never going to go NEAR Pixy Stix for the rest of his life. Lip (Jeremy Allen White) – who is now the de facto parental figure since Fiona is in cuffs and Franks is… well, Frank – has to step up. The sight of Liam strapped to the bed is agonizing, and makes me realize: God, we ALL take that little smoosh for granted, don’t we?!
Kev (Steve Howey) wants to get Fiona a decent lawyer, but Lip resists, and seems more concerned with the physics quiz he’s about to miss than the fact that his f*cking sister has just been arrested. College kids, amiright?!
Frank (William H. Macy), meanwhile, is also in the hospital after his sweat lodge non-starter, and Sammi (Emily Bergl) is watching over him, regaling him with stories about her mother’s double mastectomy (she had her nipples tattooed back on, which is an image I will never be able to leave behind, thanks very much). The ginger doctor from a few seasons back (played by Scott Grimes, who was apparently on ER but whom I will ALWAYS remember as the star of Critters) arrives and recognizes Frank. They have some witty banter that ends with the doc telling Sammi that she should seriously look into hospices that take the indigent, because Frank is basically a dead man walking. Yikes.
At the police station (or jail, or a leftover set from one of the Saw movies), Fiona has her things taken away and is strip-searched. In real time. It’s nauseating. She begs repeatedly for a phone call so she can check on Liam, but no one helps. Eventually, she gets her call and Lip – who is still being a total prig – almost doesn’t answer. He finally speaks with her and she completely loses it on the phone – just in time for him to hang up on her. It. Is. Terrible. He speaks with Ann Matlock from Social Services, who tells him that he’d better find Frank pronto or Liam’s going into foster care. Oh my God, can this get any worse?! Lip even volunteers to quit college to take care of Liam (which we all saw coming) but she won’t budge.
On the way home, Sammi asks Frank why he and her mom broke up and he tells her that it’s because she wouldn’t get an abortion. Which is… awkward. (How is it that Shoebox Greetings hasn’t come up with a card for this situation yet? I bet Maxine would know the perfect thing to say to break the tension!) She’s understandably upset by this news (though not as upset as I am by how filthy her tote bag is), and she urges Frank to look into hospice care. Later, they check one out that’s run by the church, and Frank is turned on by the promise of massages but ultimately bolts from the stress, insisting that they’ll murder him for his parts, or something. Not that he has any left that work. And wait, did anyone find that drive-by by the faceless priest a bit odd? What was up with that?!