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Shameless – El Gran Canon Review: The Triumph of Lip

It’s official: Shameless can do no wrong. The Season 3 premiere was everything I wanted it to be: violence, comedy, and the redemption for Lip.

Lip’s storyline for the entirety of Season 2 was, to be honest, a downer. It was hard to watch a genius kid become a product of his environment, and I probably wasn’t the only one who just wanted to slap him and tell him to snap out of it. And the beginning of “El Gran Canon” seemed to be going down that same path; Lip and Ian steal a laser from the University of Chicago robotics lab and Lip gets caught, landing him in court with community service hours. Not a very promising start to the season.

However, things take a dramatically positive turn when we find out he stole the robot to compete in a BATTLEBOTS COMPETITION. My god, remember Battlebots? Seeing Lip’s bot blow up the competition with a homemade laser was way more exciting than it should have been. And the fact that Lip defeats a smug college snob with nothing but a rover prototype and bit of genius makes it all the more satisfying. I’ve always been a Lip fan, and finally getting to see him succeed is what I’ve been waiting for through two seasons.

Lip's battlebot

Of course, Lip isn’t the only character given room to shine. It seems that the writers also felt they had been too hard on Frank, since his storyline is also uncharacteristically positive. Of course, he’s the brunt of the majority of the episode’s jokes; no change there. In yet another baffling moment, Frank awakens in Mexico without a passport or identification. He spends the duration of the episode trying (and failing) to illegally cross the border with the help of several Mexican outlaws.

But, just like Lip, Frank is able to use his…er…talents to succeed. He has the fortune to meet a man willing to create a fake passport for him in exchange for Frank smuggling cocaine to the States…in his bum. In a completely hilarious moment, we realize that Frank is the perfect man for the job; his time with Sheila has prepped him for this exact moment. Frank turns out to be a hero of sorts, smuggling more drug baggies across the border than any man has ever done (19, to be exact). He even silently thanks Sheila at the end of the episode. Frank has his time to shine, which, as we all know, is a rare occurrence. It was satisfying, really, to see something finally work out for him. Until this point it’s always been a toss-up as to whether Frank is a protagonist or a villain (sometimes he’s both at once).

And now we come to Fiona and Steve…I mean Jimmy. It seems like these two can never catch a break. We ended Season 2 with hope; Fiona and Jimmy are back together, Estefania is with her lover, and everything seems hunky-dory. But now in “El Gran Canon” Fiona spend most of the episode complaining about how much Jimmy is helping out around the house. It seems like all she does is complain, really. In my opinion her character needs to be revamped a little. Personally I haven’t liked her since Season 1. It’s fine when a character is unlikable, but the problem is that Jimmy is a fan favorite. Putting Fiona and Jimmy back together is like watching our best friend date a loser. She just doesn’t deserve him. And my god, what is with that fake accent? I don't know what it is, but it's certainly not Midwestern.

Fiona and Jimmy

Luckily, we get to follow Jimmy in this episode more than Fiona, and he gets plenty of laughs. The poor guy is paid a visit by Estefania’s father, who shoots her lover Marco and makes Jimmy help with the cleanup. He then threatens Jimmy, telling him that he will stay married to Estefania and take care of her. Ah, love. Looks like Jimmy and Fiona have problems in paradise yet again. It’s just that this time I can’t bring myself to care about Fiona, since she spends the whole episode bashing Jimmy. Seriously, Jimmy. Even Estefania is a better choice than Fiona.

All in all, the “El Gran Canon” was everything I wanted it to be: a bigger role for Jimmy, a more likable Frank, a comeback for Lip, and most importantly, Battlebots. Shameless has always been solid, and from the looks of it, Season 3 will be no different.



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