Episode 6 - Can I Have a Mother
7 March 2012
Synopsis: Peg Gallagher returns home after getting out of prison. She wants the money she was promised from her old meth dealing partner and takes Frank as her driver. Sheila struggles to make it past her banisters during Karen's wedding reception. Lip and Ian continue their feud. Steve brings his Brazilian wife on a double date with Fiona and Adam. Ethel's family tell her they are fighting to get her returned to them.
The Good: Nothing exactly though that doesn't mean this was all horrible.
The Bad: I thought this was poorly constructed. The episode dragged quite a bit and the emotional beats were all missed.
I wasn't clear how Peg was supposed to make me feel. The most obvious intent seemed to be to provide sympathy for Frank. We see that she is a horrible woman who was far more ruthless than Frank at making money through illegal means. She constantly berates him and treats Sheila and others like crap. However despite that picture she ended the episode as a sad old woman trying to spend her last few years getting to know her grandchildren. She gave them presents and some money for the house and that's more than Frank has done in a while.
It also doesn't help that Frank is well, Frank. He tried to rip Peg off to get his hands on her money and considered killing her. He also spent the whole episode scheming to get his hands on Eddie's pension money which doesn't make him and Peg that different. My lack of empathy for him means that his impotent rage directed at her felt empty. Frank needed to be painted in a far more sympathetic light for this story to work emotionally.
Instead Frank finally ran out of patience and ranted at Jody and exposed his lack of love for Sheila. Again I wasn't clear on whether the scales were falling fully from her eyes or if this was just a fight? If this was the moment when she understood the truth then it was deeply underwhelming and a real waste. Considering the effort the writers have put into their relationship I am staggered if that is the case. If we are now going to watch Frank get whipped by Peg then the rest of this season could be a real drag.
Ian and Lip's feud feels like the proverbial mountain built out of a molehill. A simple misunderstanding over the West Point application and some unkind words shouldn't be enough to cause a rift this emotional. If there had been a sense that there were other tensions before that incident then I could buy this but there weren't. On the contrary they were Fiona's rocks just two episodes ago.
Then we have the return of Steve\Jimmy. Like Frank I find it impossible to sympathise with him. Apparently he fled the country and decided that the drug game was the next logical step after stealing cars. How can I wish for him and Fiona to be together again which still feels like the intention of this?
The Unknown: Ethel's desire to both return to her religious family and honour her adoptive one was sweet. It's a bit disappointing if that is the end of her story. I can understand if the producers felt that they had too many characters to service but it still feels like an odd arc to have her pop in and out like this.
Without more explanation I don't know what to think of Lip's suggestion that Karen get an abortion. We also learn that MIA Tony now has a girlfriend he lives with. Where did that come from? Six episodes ago he said he was waiting for Fiona.
Best Moment: Frank bragging on his family was another moment which didn't come across clearly. Was the point that he actually cared about his children more than his mother cared for him? Her disinterest in them was then contradicted by her actual affection for them at episodes end. However in the midst of Frank's bragging he claims that Ian is a lady killer just like he was. It was a fun demonstration of his disconnection.
The Bottom Line: I thought this was a big mess. Pretty much every story was put together in such a way to contradict any emotional traction.
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