‘Shameless’: Carl’s Dilemma, Ian’s Reality Check, Debbie’s Battle & More From ‘Sparky’ (RECAP)

Spoiler Alert
Beth Dubber/SHOWTIME

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 10, Episode 5 of Shameless, “Sparky”]

The trials and tribulations of the Gallagher family continue in the latest episode of Shameless.

Titled “Sparky,” the installment saw some big arrivals and twists shaking up the South Side family’s schedule. Below, we’re breaking down all of the major moments, but beware of spoilers.

Lackluster Welcome

(Credit: Showtime)

Ian (Cameron Monaghan) is released from prison where he meets big brother Lip (Jeremy Allen White). On their way home, Lip tells Ian about his friendship with mom Sarah (Idara Victor), but when they finally make it to the house, no one is around to greet the freed convict.

Next, he heads for his first meeting with the parole officer who is going to assign him a position and check in on him. That’s when SNL vet Rachel Dratch steps in as Paula. The woman takes Ian to the restroom for a urine sample and fakes the test by using her own. She’s rightfully crazy and begins calling him “Sparky” instead of by his legal name.

Ian follows her around in a daze, and she assigns him to a job with an ambulance company where he can use his EMT skills. Partway through the ambulance ride on duty though, Ian realizes that this is a scam as the crew picks up “victims” and “administers” drugs and other treatments to seem legitimate. But when Ian voices his lack of comfort over this system, he’s advised to keep his head down and just do the assignment to avoid further issue with Paula.

When he arrives home for the second time, his grand surprise party welcome is given out to the wrong person when he sneaks up on everyone from the back door. It’s joyous nonetheless seeing the siblings — if not all — back together again.

Carl’s Dilemma

(Credit: Beth Dubber/SHOWTIME)

Meanwhile, Carl (Ethan Cutkosky) gets caught up in a sticky situation when Kelly (Jess Gabor) shows up at the Gallagher house to find him dancing with Anne (Chelsea Rendon). She becomes clingy, trying to mark her territory, and Anne can easily see the message being conveyed.

But when Kelly sings the praises of one of her fellow cadets at military school, Anne suspects that Carl’s girlfriend has a boyfriend. Suspicions are confirmed when Kelly learns she must go on an antibiotic — which she says is for something else and not an STI. When Anne speaks to Kelly, she tells the girl to be honest with Carl, and so the couple have a serious chat.

Kelly notes that Carl likes Anne, and he counters that she’s been sleeping around — the conversation goes rather amicably though as they agree to keep going as they are with other people but remain a “couple.”

Debbie’s Battle

(Credit: Paul Sarkis/SHOWTIME)

Despite learning that Derek was dead in the prior episode, Debbie (Emma Kennney) isn’t deterred from going after the insurance money Franny’s entitled to just because Derek’s widow Pepa (Danube Hermosillo) is evading her. Throughout the episode, viewers are treated to Debbie’s attempts of serving Pepa the legal paperwork staking a claim on Derek’s benefits.

Pepper spray, tampered cakes, foot races and more take place before Debbie finally manages to get the papers to Pepa. Debbie receives the help of her friend Megan (Dylan Gelula), who viewers met in the prior episode, as well as a woman Megan knows with some legal experience.

Debbie’s actions backfire though — in the end Pepa agrees to award Franny her portion of the benefits if Debbie relinquishes parental rights to her daughter so that the girl can live with her half-siblings. The situation is made worse when the woman providing legal advice asks to be paid, and Debbie learns she’s not a certified lawyer….

Lip and Tami’s Parental Dynamic

(Credit: Paul Sarkis/SHOWTIME)

Tami (Kate Miner) struggles with motherhood as she takes over baby duty for the first time, and Lip hears her frustration over the phone. When he visits Brad (Scott Michael Campbell) and Cami (Melissa Paladino) at the garage, he worries that Tami isn’t the maternal type when she calls in to Cami while he’s there.  Despite being told not to, he calls Sarah to see if she can give Tami any tips or support.

Of course, this spectacularly backfires and Tami gets pissed at Lip for assuming or suggesting she needs help taking care of her son. But when Sarah is turned away, Tami changes her mind enough for some questions and advice before the woman leaves. When Lip and Tami talk it through, she reveals that she’s worried the baby doesn’t like her, but Lip reassures her that it’s not the case for Fred. After smoothing things over, they head down to Ian’s party where they introduce the uncle to his nephew.

Frank’s Predicament

(Credit: Beth Dubber/SHOWTIME)

As for Frank (William H. Macy), he’s faced with quite the predicament when Randy (Andy Buckley) shows up with the twins Ingrid (Katey Sagal) had with Frank last season. Randy reveals that Ingrid left him, and he can’t take care of Frank’s kids. The real truth comes out though, as Frank notes Carl’s sperm was used when the babies were conceived through IVF.

And while he didn’t want to take the kids at first, Frank sees opportunity and agrees to take them from Randy with the intention of selling them to a family in want of children. Carl says he wants fifty percent of whatever Frank makes, and so the Gallagher patriarch sets out to sell the babies to hopeful parents.

Honorable Mentions

(Credit: Paul Sarkis/SHOWTIME)

V (Shanola Hampton) began her sales rep position that came about from her new friendship with Mimi (Lynn Chen). She does well, offering sob stories and cons to sell the products Mimi has her peddling. Eventually she finds her match in one doctor who sees through her, but they respect V for her spunk. Can you say promotion?

Liam (Christian Isaiah) conducted his own hustle in this episode, touting his classmate in front of recruiters as a means of acquiring free loot for Ian’s welcome home party.

And finally, Kevin (Steve Howey) goes through a bit of a crisis as he gets together with former basketball teammates from school. One of their former teammates committed suicide after suffering years of trauma stemming from a sexually abusive coach. As the men share their own tales of struggle at the hands of the abuser, Kevin realizes he never was assaulted or abused, making him question why he wasn’t “good enough” to be abused. Sometimes, we wonder what’s going through the Alibi owner’s head….

Don’t miss the Gallaghers next time when Shameless airs Sundays.

Shameless, Sundays, 9/8c, Showtime