Shameless Season 8 Episode 8 Review: Frank’s Northern Shuttle Express

This week’s Shameless was available online two days early – a smart move, Showtime, considering the approaching holiday. I personally loved “Frank’s Northern Shuttle Express.” It was a filler, but I think it was needed after such a chaotic season so far. Emmy Rossum also directed this week, and I think she did a nice job.

This episode touched on everyone’s storyline, which is my favorite type of Shameless episode.

Lip searches for a new sponsor to replace Brad, but ends up with the first one, Lea DeLaria from Orange is the New Black as Barb. She’s a straight shooter and identifies that Lip doesn’t know how to talk about himself. I really loved how she forced him to confront that his problems are other people’s and he surrounds himself with them. I’m interested in how their relationship will develop, and I hope it will last because I love DeLaria!

Meanwhile, Carl experiences exactly what Kassadi’s father described. Poor Carl has no idea what he’s gotten himself into. It looks like next week might involve a proposal, and I’m not looking forward to it. I guess every Gallagher has to learn the hard way, but this isn’t a storyline I’m enjoying right now.

Fiona experiences two new things this week: living solo and rejection. Bittersweet, right? I did like the shots for the scenes where Ford took Fiona on a mini tour of famous houses in Chicago. I didn’t know about them, and it was a nice way to highlight Chicago in the context of Shameless. I liked Ford’s rejection of Fiona, because as an audience we’ve come to expect how men act around Fiona. I loved the Gallagher clan’s reaction to her being “complicated,” too. They really went after her!

When Nel and Nessa revealed that Ford was baby daddy for both I was surprised. I think it was a weird way to tie things together, but we’re clearly going to see more of Ford so I’ll hold my full opinions for a later date.

I love this new dominating Kevin! Who knew that raising his voice and brandishing a bat could be so effective? I’m excited to see how far this goes and if it works out in Kev and V’s favor. Of course, I love Svetlana but conflict between the thrupple is my favorite subplot on Shameless, so bring it on!

Ian and Trevor cause some trouble at a church dedicated to converting gay kids back to “normal.” I was pleasantly surprised with how the writers approached this topic. Ian has been aggressive lately, so I thought he would do the same here. Instead he bookmarks the bible and has a quote-off with the preacher. Fabulous, every second.

Finally, as always, Frank Gallagher is up to some good. Wait, what? Frank spends this episode in a car with immigrants from the banned Muslim country list, and he’s taking them to Canada. We never see them get to the border, so who can say if it was successful, but I thought there were some sweet scenes. I liked when they were all learning about one another, it reminded me that Frank can be a good guy sometimes.

I didn’t like when Frank cut the niqab off Fatima. I’m not surprised he did it, but I am surprised that the writers would present this as a situation that would go well for him. It was a small moment, but it felt highly unrealistic. I felt a small tinge of happiness when she said, “I owe you a seven-mile piggy back ride.” That was pretty cute, I’ll admit.

Overall, I think “Frank’s Northern Shuttle Express” was a successful episode. It has elements that will move the season forward and I’m excited to see what happens next.

[Photo courtesy of IMDB]

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