You know how Carl is sort of psycho? Yeah, that's become an issue. To the degree that when his principal asks for a meeting with Carl's parents -- noting that in all the Gallaghers he's had to deal with, Frank has never once shown up -- it's only because he's following SOP to get Carl kicked out for good.
Fiona, showing the stress more than usual now that Steve's integrated into her routine, does her usual million things to find a fake Frank so they don't call social services, but in the end it's Steve that solves the problem, by hooking the principal up with a weed connection. At home that night, Steve gently explains how her reticence to accept his help isn't actually about pride at all, but about her assumption of being abandoned, and that he will spend the rest of his life proving to her that love exists, and yeah, it's one of those speeches, but still.
All of which would be fine and dandy, except that it's also Karen's parent-teacher night, and since she hates Eddie and Sheila is a basket case*, she's decided that "Daddy Frank" will be her designated parent. So the stress of "will Frank come through for Carl" and all the conversations they have about that, and about Frank's general worthlessness, in the end actually count for double because -- despite being on the run for his life throughout the episode, chased by some thugs from some country that doesn't exist -- he shows up with Karen, breaking Fiona's heart once again.
*(Sheila's attempt this week to get out of the house involves practicing virtual grocery shopping with a Woozyhelmet device. It is, as usual, totally funny and super sad.)
Ian and Linda take turns swatting at Kash's ego, because he's still letting Mickey Milkovich steal things and generally being a wuss. Linda wants to teach them to shoot her pistol, but of course ROTC Ian is already a crack shot, and it's pretty hot. Meanwhile, Lip gets caught taking SATs for people and ends up impressing the SAT man with his magical brain, because he really is the smartest genius in the world and isn't it tragic, etc.
But, having been caught, Lip's last few scores have been invalidated, which means a big scary young black man shows up at the house to beat him up. Psycho Carl breaks his leg, and then they all carry him around the house cheering for him for attacking this man despite having spent the last two days trying to get him to stop hurting people, and it's a real fucking weird -- not to say pointless -- way to end a show.
Still, fairly decent episode, and the dueling-conference story meant the show got to open up enough that everybody had their own stuff going on, but it still worked out thematically. It's great that we're halfway through the season and still discovering these people, and the many ways that Frank can let you down. Here's to seeing what else Karen can do when she puts her mind to it, and the Lip fallout from her stealing his dad.
While the kids are downstairs playing, which for Carl means setting up an absurdly complex electric-chair system for his dolls -- "They have to pay for their sins!" -- Steve and Fiona are upstairs doing it, even though it's throwing off Fiona's schedule. There's some shameless fucking and boobs and positions and the whole time they're joking around about her dirty talk including how she prepares the kids' lunches, and when she finally has to tell him to come already she assures him she's already had a couple. Which is both sweet and efficient of her.
Steve complains that Fiona didn't make any noise during these alleged events, and she says it's a function of living in a house with one million children, which sets him off on a weird tangent about how early humans were probably used to mating in public and it was one sexual pioneer who took things indoors. He's almost there, finally, and then the electricity in the house abruptly cuts out, ending their sex soundtrack and causing Fiona to scream at Carl. But this one time it's not Carl: They've actually turned off the electricity.
Fiona runs out to plead with Hector, the electricity person, and they swear she's got the money -- she just spaced on paying the bills. It seems like a Gallagher lie but it's actually the truth, which is way worse because it means Fiona's off her game. Hector says to call him when she's paid the bill, and everybody runs around in the dark house.
Over at Sheila's, Eddie and Frank are two peas in a crankpot pod where Eddie's complaining about the Arts & Leisure section -- "Pagan-worshipping actors complaining about how America sucks? I'll stick to my steroid-riddled athletes, thank you" -- and Sheila's knocking Eddie's hand away from the usual cornucopia of breakfast treats. Sheila talks about how she wants to have Hungarian Night for dinner -- "hurka and töltött tojás and rakott krumpli," which Eddie says will exit Frank's "colon at the speed of sound," which is just lovely -- and Karen brings up Parent Night at school, which is the main thing of this episode.
Now of course Sheila stumbles over to the calendar on her fridge and talks a big game about how she will totally be there, doing that self-narrative thing she always does when she's trying to convince herself she's going to leave the house, and babbles for awhile, and it's sad. Karen goes, "Dad, will you join us at Parents Night tonight?" And Eddie's like, "Really?" But of course she snarls at that. "Not you, Fuckface. I was talking to Daddy Frank."