By our guest blogger, Nick Hanover
"Killer Carl" may have had some funny moments, but it was ultimately a pretty bland, middle-of-the-road effort from "Shameless." The big story in the episode was that Carl's teacher and principal are demanding a parent-teacher conference concerning Carl's psychotic behavior and, of course, Frank is uninterested in making an effort.
That doesn't stop Frank from deciding to make an effort for Karen, who does her best Lolita impression and drags him along to her own parent-teacher conference. The whole sidestory with Karen and Frank is just beyond creepy and nonsensical, even though I know it happened in the UK version as well. There's absolutely nothing to suggest that Karen would normally be interested in Frank in any way outside of amusement and wherever their relationship is going, I'm concerned and not just for moral reason. My real fear is that it'll just be a needlessly controversial development that will continue to defy logic--moral quandaries with this show are totally useless anyway.
Slightly more interesting was Lip's SAT scam getting exposed by a College Board investigator, who is at first in disbelief that Lip is telling the truth about actually taking the tests and eventually sees Lip as a criminally neglected genius who could have a home at the University of Chicago. If the show continues to explore this path for Lip (and it seems it will), then we might soon be seeing a plot development that finds Lip as the only Gallagher with a chance to escape.
Fiona and Steve's romance is gelling nicely now as well and the scene with Steve and the principal was likely the episode's best, if for no other reason than the casual, laid back vibe the two brought to it, which felt extremely real and organic. When the Gallaghers and Steve run into Frank in the hallway and see that he came through for Karen but not them, that scene was equally effective because of the chemistry between all the actors and the show would be very wise to expand on that. All in all, by no mean the worst episode of the season, but far from the best, either.