At the end of season 4, Frank (William H. Macy) was hospitalized for a liver transplant and got married to Sheila (Joan Cusack) while he was unconscious. He’s now recovered and living with his new wife. Frank’s first daughter Sammi (Emily Bergl) has parked her trailer next to Sheila’s house. Sammi, her one-night stands and her son Chuckie (Kellen Michael) get on Sheila’s nerves.
Sheila has become very concerned about Frank’s health to the point that it annoys him. He still reluctantly complies with her demands to take his “meds and vitals” daily, which consist of a pill cocktail and recording his weight (which he has been faking) and blood pressure.
He obsesses over a “secret project” the majority of the episode and constantly refers to it as “work.” It certainly keeps him busy, and he keeps asking Debbie (Emma Kenney) for favors. When Debbie drops off the gasoline tank he wanted, he also asks if she can help him out again that night. Debbie mentions she can’t because she’ll be at Patsy’s Pies (the restaurant Fiona currently works at) for a family dinner celebrating Lip (Jeremy Allen White) finishing his first year of college, and also informs Frank he isn’t invited. Frank is currently on tense terms with Fiona (Emmy Rossum) after the cocaine incident.
Hearing he isn’t invited doesn’t faze Frank in the least and he insists on going, and Debbie leaves Sheila’s house dismayed while Frank continues to obsessively work on his project.
Later at the family dinner, Frank claims he has made a promise to have only one drink a day but he is not happy about it (“I’m buzzed already. Like an anemic 10-year-old girl”). Lip finally meets Sean (Dermot Mulroney) and thanks him for giving Fiona a job, to which Frank interjects “so good of you to hire a felon,” which upsets everyone. At the end of the dinner, Frank demands Salisbury Steak from Fiona, stating that it will make him and Fiona even for her trying to poison Liam (even though it was an accident). Everyone stands up for Fiona, especially Lip, who demands why Frank even came to dinner.
She is happily married to Frank now, and is adamant about caring for him after his surgery. Sammi continuously irritates her ever since she moved next door to be close to her father. Her son and Sheila’s step-grandson, Chuckie, is constantly caught in the middle of his mother’s promiscuity. Sheila somewhat tolerates him, feeling some kind of sympathy towards him. That begins to wane, however, when Sammi gets on Sheila’s last nerves. She comes home to find that Sammi has raided Sheila’s sex toy collection and also had sex with the man she brought home last night on Sheila’s couch.
She loses her mind and changes the lock to her door in an attempt to keep Sammi out and explains to Chuckie that he can only visit her from now on if he calls first, and advises him to cover his head with a pillow when his mother brings men home.
Sammi still breaks into Sheila’s house and Sheila’s problems with her remain un-solved. She tries to get Frank in on the argument, but he is completely nonchalant about it and instead goes into the basement to reveal his project, a 100-something proof beer called the “Milk of the Gods.” If he can only drink once a day, he might as well make it strong, right?
Fiona was arrested for child neglect last season because her little brother Liam accidentally ingested cocaine. She is now on house arrest and has been allowed to work at a restaurant called Patsy’s Pies and has developed a crush on her much older manager, Sean.
At the beginning of this episode, Sean helps Fiona and Liam set up a swimming pool in the Gallaghers’ backyard. Sean and Fiona appear very close, and it’s clear that Fiona has feelings for Sean when she gives him a suggestive smile as they’re lying down in the empty swimming pool.
Later that day, Fiona works a busy (and quite eventful) shift at Patsy’s Pies and appears as perky and energetic as ever. She waits on a lady named Angela (Dichen Lachman) who is particularly nice to her and leaves her $100 tip, and it’s apparently not the first time she’s done that. Her co-workers joke that Angela wants some “Fiona pie,” but no one is sure what Angela’s motive is. The lead singer of a band (Davis, a hunky dude with a hot accent) hits on Fiona and gives her his number while Sean jealously watches.
Fiona is confronted at the end of her shift while she is changing out of her uniform by Sean. He found out that she didn’t ring up a pie from her family’s check. She jokes about paying him back in trade, but he doesn’t find it funny and tells her that she shouldn’t take advantage of him because they’re friends, putting strain on their closeness in the beginning of this episode.
He has ended college and is going home for the summer. He’s applying to be a resident assistant to get free room and board for when he goes back to school. As his girlfriend Amanda (Nichole Bloom) is helping him pack, she offers to let him stay at her off-campus apartment for free, as her dad will be paying for it, and Lip expresses shock at the thought of living with her. Amanda even offers to let Lip borrow her BMW for the summer, but Lip refuses because he doesn’t want to park it in his run-down neighborhood. Amanda also gives Lip a present, an expensive Fossil watch. As they part ways, Lip is dumbfounded at Amanda’s generosity.
He rides the bus back home and observes all the different people from all walks of life that live outside of his neighborhood. He arrives home to find that Debbie has ditched school and is angrily stabbing a doll in the face. Carl (Ethan Cutkosky) has also stolen a wheelchair because he was tired from his crutches (he has a broken ankle from a skateboarding accident).
Lip runs into his old friends, and they ask him about his watch. He tells them he stole it from a “rich prick’s” dorm room. As he is catching up with his friends, he finds out one of them has gotten a girl pregnant. They eventually begin doing drugs and offer him some, but Lip bows out, saying he hasn’t been home yet. He appears to be culture-shocked by the differences between life at college and reality back home. Lip later goes to the Alibi Room and sees Veronica (Shanola Hampton) again, who welcomes him home. He also picks up a demolition job for the summer from one of his friends sitting next to him at the bar.
Lip has definitely changed, he even ignores his friends when they throw rocks at his window to call him down to hang out in the middle of the night. He chooses to text Amanda instead.
Ian (Cameron Monaghan) and Mickey (Noel Fisher) have been busy helping Svetlana (Isidora Goreshter) care for the new baby. Svetlana is currently pregnant as a surrogate, and has been lying about being a kindergarten teacher instead of a prostitute. Mickey has begun a new “clean” job (meaning no guns or violence) as a “furniture mover.” He manages the move of a wealthy family’s pricey furniture, and later auctions off the items from the truck in a deserted backlot.
Ian takes Liam and Yevgeny out for a run with Fiona and she tries to convince him to go to a doctor to see if he has any mental issues. She suspects that he may have bipolar disorder, and jokes about it being a “genetics Russian roulette,” as their mother also suffered from the disease. Ian instead blames his problems on his cocaine usage and bets that the sibling most likely to have it would be their younger brother Carl. Ian’s symptoms of hypersexuality are exhibited, and he has a couple of sexual encounters: first with a man from the grocery store, second with a busboy at the family dinner.
Kevin and Veronica
Meanwhile, V and Kev (Steve Howey) have their hands full with their twin baby girls, Amy and Gemma. V is up to her eyeballs with being a mother, and has had it with breastfeeding altogether. She demands that they begin feeding the girls formula, but Kev is opposed to this (his argument, verbatim: “They will grow up with asthma and be short, and have no friends”). Kev is preoccupied with Gemma’s bowel movements, and is concerned why she hasn’t pooped in five days and fears formula will make her constipation worse.
V nearly loses her mind during their argument and she hands the girls off to a confused Kevin for some fresh air. She confides in Fiona, who tells her to “Go home, take a shower, put on something slinky, and seduce your man.” Veronica takes her advice and attempts to seduce Kev, but no matter how hard she tries, she can’t get him to reciprocate. He is engrossed in a mommy-and-me chat room to get answers for his daughters’ problems and even re-opens the laptop to go back on the chat room in the middle of foreplay. They begin to argue and eventually V gives up and leaves Kev at home with the girls as she goes to work at the Alibi, the bar that Kevin owns. She hopes that her absence will give Kev a glimpse of the difficulties of being a parent, but comes home from work to find Kev and the girls happy and asleep on their bed and is frustrated that he didn’t become exasperated by taking care of them.
V goes over to Fiona’s and admits that she’s upset Kev is “a better mom” than she is. As they are talking, Fiona gets a text from Davis, who is asking if he should come over. She chooses to ignore him and instead invites Sean and his son Will to an impromptu pool party with the Gallaghers, sans Frank.
Frank in the meantime has kept his promise of having only one drink a day, and has been waiting in an empty park until midnight to try his “Milk of the Gods.” It turns out to be unpalatable, but Frank drinks almost the entirety of the mason jar and blacks out. He is found the next morning by a group of art students who use him as a nude subject. They tell him not to move because he is perfect, and this cracks him up.
All in all, even thought not much happened, it was a good series premiere to ease everything back into place. It established many of the main characters’ storylines and tied them all together in the end. It was uplifting to see all the Gallagher kids together again in the pool. But Frank’s blackout was also cause for concern and has me wondering if he’ll relapse this season. I was also left wondering if Mickey would ever come around and take Ian’s mental health seriously, and if Ian will ever get help. If not, will he get worse?
Where’s Sean and Fiona’s relationship going? And I’m wondering if Davis is free game (if Fiona doesn’t want him, I’ll take him off her hands!).
Also, what’s with the real estate agents that had approached Debbie and Kev? Is the new yoga studio that Ian and Fiona thought would be “just a front for a drug laundering operation” foreshadowing anything? I definitely can’t wait to see it unfold this season!