This episode marks the return of Frank’s mother, Peggy Gallagher, and she seems to be a worse parent even than Frank. Oh, don’t worry. This episode doesn’t excuse Frank’s behavior or make you feel sorry for the man. He’s still hilariously despicable and worth laughing at. But we do get to see why Frank is the way he is. So…Peggy. Well, she used to run a meth lab until it blew up and killed people. She spent twelve years in prison and was released early because the government decided she was going to die soon anyway. She has the mouth of a sailor, the racism of lots of grandparents these days, and makes it no secret that she dislikes Frank. When Frank tries to tell Peggy how his kids are doing, Peggy says the topic does not interest her.
Frank spends the episode trying to convince Sheila to put him in charge of Eddy’s trust. Sheila refuses, because Frank is an alcoholic who wets her bed. Frank’s mother pays Sheila a visit with Frank. While Sheila is her usually sweet-but-batty self, Peggy yells that Frank made a bad choice in choosing to bone Sheila. “I’d rather nail a hooker down on Wacker.” Frank does not defend Sheila, who yells for Peggy to get out. Peggy pays a visit to a plastic surgeon who used to cook meth with Sheila. He has some of the meth money.
Sheila threatens the plastic surgeon with the possibility of revealing his past to his family. When the doctor refuses to give her the meth money, Peggy tracks down the doctor’s little girls in order to kidnap them. Frank goes to the doctor to warn him, and the doctor gives Frank money, but it’s a lot less than Peggy wanted. Frank goes to Peggy with the money and she is angry that it is so little. Peggy deduces that Frank kept some of the cash, so she sticks a screwdriver in Frank’s leg and makes him cough it up.
Meanwhile, Fiona finds out that Steve married the little South American tart he hauled home with him. Fiona and Steve go on a double date with said tart and Adam. Steve explains to Fiona that his marriage is just for immigration purposes and to appease a South American druglord he offended: the girl’s father. Steve and Fiona fool around in the restaurant bathroom. Adam is no dummy and realizes what they have done when they come back to the table. He dumps Fiona and leaves, telling her that he had never explained that while on a date with him, he did not like other girls to have sex with other men in the bathroom. With a Gallagher, he really should have made that clearer. Poor guy.
Sheila throws Karen and Jody a wedding reception. Lip shows up, drunk and uninvited. He and Ian are still on the outs, by the way. It looks like Karen momentarily reconsiders her decision to be with Jody, half-jokingly suggesting to Lip that they run away together or something. Lip tells Karen that he wants her to get an abortion and she slaps him. Sheila gets drunk and gives a horrible toast where she mentions Karen sleeping with Frank. Peggy and Sheila get into a fight which ends with Peggy whipping out a handgun. Steve (yes, everyone is at this party) grabs the gun in time to stop anyone from getting hurt. Frank calls the cops on his mother, but Officer Tony waves them away when they arrive. Peggy is in the clear.
That night, while his mother sleeps, Frank points a gun at her head, and we actually wonder if he will pull the trigger. He does not. The next morning, Debbie tells Fiona that Steve’s real name is Jimmy and that his parents live on Lake Shore and think he’s in school. Fiona leaves him a message telling him what to go do to himself (it starts with the letter “f”) and refers to him as Jimmy in the voicemail. Peggy decides to be nice to her grandkids and gives them presents. Fiona gets $500 and a near apology from her grandmother for sucking as a relative. Is this the silver lining to a cloudy character or does Peggy have an ulterior motive?
Ethel hears the news of Clyde’s murder from her sister-wives. These women come, all dressed in black like Amish ringwraiths, and tell Ethel that they have hired attorneys to help get Ethel back to their creepy compound. Kev does not like these women, even though Ethel sees them as her family. Ethel hears Kev badmouthing the women to V, calling them “evil,” and is upset. Ethel tells Malik that if she goes back to the compound, she could marry Clyde’s brother, who is much younger than Clyde was. Around 60! Oh man. Malik tells Ethel that she has to think of her child and focus on being independent.
Ethel packs her bags and Kev goes to check on her. Ethel hides her bag and Kev tells Ethel that he is here if she needs to talk. Ethel thanks Kev “for everything” with tears in her eyes. That was super-sweet, but COME ON Kev, clue in! Kev does not intuit that Ethel is leaving. Ethel is gone the next morning and leaves a goodbye note. V and Kev see that Ethel left with his pot stash that he buried in his backyard. Ethel gives the pot stash to Malik, who sells it. Ethel and Malik are running away together with the money! This is so sweet and one of the least messed-up things to ever happen on this show. For Ethel, this is such a healthy decision.
Back at Shelia’s, a letter arrives saying that Eddy left all his money to Karen. Sheila is happy that Eddy was able to express love to his daughter before he died. Frank has a meltdown and yells at Jody for being so lucky as to stumble into the reward, when Frank has been doing overtime sleeping with and coddling Sheila. Sheila finally gets it. She asks Frank to leave. Wow, Frank. A plane falls from the sky and does all your work for you with this woman, and you ruin it with your big mouth? Wow. He goes home and yells at Peggy, trying to oust her from his house. She is unfazed. Fiona and Frank share a beer on the porch. Fiona says, comfortingly, “My parents suck too.” Franks shares a bed with Carl in the van. He wets the bed. Carl complains and Frank says, “Find a dry spot.” Oh, this show.
Steve, why are you so complicated? Ian, why are you still mad at Lip for trying to help you? Lip, why were you mean to Karen? Frank, why did you ruin your own life? Peggy, why won't you leave? Kev, when are you going to have your own kid? Clyde, are you enjoying hell (we hope not, you slimy bastard)? Fiona, NO MORE MARRIED GUYS. Funny and twisted episode, as usual. For once, it wasn't too overstuffed with plots either.
Episode grade: A-