'Shameless': Carl's Mission, Ian's Issue & Debbie Meets a Stranger in 'Citizen Carl' (RECAP)

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Spoiler Alert
Chuck Hodes/SHOWTIME

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 10, Episode 7 of Shameless, "Citizen Carl"]

The year may be winding down, but the Gallaghers slow down for no one and the latest episode of Shameless proves that.

In December 22's "Citizen Carl," the siblings experience different woes in Chicago's South Side as father Frank (William H. Macy) does what he does best — drink and scam.

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Also in this episode, Carl has a strategy and Ian explores life outside of prison.

Below, we're breaking down all of the biggest moments from the episode, but beware of major spoilers.

Caring Carl

(Credit: Chuck Hodes/SHOWTIME)

The episode opens with Carl (Ethan Cutkosky) joining an older woman — who introduces herself as 75-year-old Esther — at a dark and dingy bus stop. She expresses relief over his presence, revealing that she feels uneasy at the stop without lights. When he asks her why they aren't turned on, she informs him they've been out for more than 15 years.

This information irks Carl, but when his bus arrives, she tells him to take it. Tragically, soon after Esther falls victim to a shooting, in spite of Carl's best efforts to intervene by asking his bus driver to stop. He then starts having recurring bad dreams, and he ultimately decides to do something about it, revealing his hope to have the city lights fixed to prevent another death like Esther's.

But Carl's plan for a quick fix doesn't go so smoothly as he's left on hold while calling into the city line. Taking matters into his own hands, he approaches a news crew to pique their interest, but since she wasn't a wealthy white woman, Esther's story doesn't seem newsworthy enough for the reporters.

So in a second effort, Carl approaches Kelly (Jess Gabor) about doing him a favor. Despite the coldness between them, she agrees and gets a rich friend to accompany her to the bus stop, setting up a faux robbery to spark change. In the end, the lights are replaced and Kelly commends Carl for doing a good thing.

Ian and Mickey's Probation Problem

(Credit: Showtime)

Meanwhile, Mickey (Noel Fisher) is still avoiding anyone that could link him back to the cartel he flipped on, so his cousin Sandy (Elise Eberle) swings by the Gallaghers to drop off his things. Ian (Cameron Monaghan) heads out to collect his paycheck, only to have it quickly snatched by his parole officer Paula (Rachel Dratch), who tells him he owes her for breaking the rules and stopping to help injured people while on duty with the sham EMT service.

As for Mickey, we see he's working a job at an Old Navy-like store, and he stops a shoplifter all while wearing a lavender polo shirt and khaki shorts. When he meets Ian for lunch in the mall food court, Ian lets out his frustrations. Mickey reassures that not all P.O.s are as bad as Paula, but Ian insists he wants to kill her.

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See what Fiona, Frank and everyone else looked like then and now.

Mickey's tune changes when Paula arrives and tells them she's Mickey's P.O. now, too, and she ropes them into a shady mission to retrieve one of her men who'd been avoiding her. Entering a shady apartment, Mickey talks over the headsets stolen from his store job to communicate with Ian and Paula on the ground. After throwing the target out a window from quite a height, Mickey concedes that he also wants to kill Paula now.

Debbie Meets Someone

(Credit: Showtime)

Pepa (Danube Hermosillo) drops off Debbie's (Emma Kenney) fake Franny, Bella, and reveals she never wants to see the kid again. She then gives Debbie the benefit money she was after, and in celebration, Debbie and Megan (Dylan Gelula) head out to a swanky bar for drinks. While there, Megan urges Debbie to look for her next "sugar daddy," pointing out a group of much older men for them to schmooze.

When Debbie doesn't feel the vibe, she makes eye contact with a stranger (played by Constance Zimmer). As Debbie, Megan and the older men get up to exit the bar, Debbie pretends she knows the woman and separates from the group.

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Catch even more deleted scenes on the DVD being released April 23.

In addition to wanting to ditch the group she was with, it's clear Debbie is drawn to this stranger. When they leave together, one thing leads to another and we see Debbie leaving her hotel room. Before heading out, the woman leaves Debbie an envelope filled with cash. Whether she's seen as a hooker or not, Debbie doesn't turn away from a payday.

Rest in Peace, Billy

(Credit: Paul Sarkis/SHOWTIME)

Frank is among the barflies waiting for Kev (Steve Howey) and V (Shanola Hampton) when they're late to open the Alibi. But when they find a man named Billy in his barstool asleep, they feel bad, claiming they didn't know he stayed behind the night before. But then someone taps him to wake up, and Billy's lifeless corpse falls to the ground.

Quick on his toes, Frank manages to snag Billy's keys and wallet, feigning sadness over the man's loss. He finds Billy's apartment and gets away with some new duds. Upon Frank's return, he meets a mysterious woman named Faye (Elizabeth Rodriguez). The two become enchanted with one another and despite Faye's outwardly high-end appearance, we later learn she's living in her expensive car, which has a metal boot on it.

(Credit: Paul Sarkis/SHOWTIME)

Meanwhile, Kev and V are worrying about their funds since Billy was behind more than 25 percent of their profits. In a low scheme, they disguise themselves and infiltrate an AA meeting, talking up the Alibi Room while posing as alcoholics. However, Kev is uncomfortable with the plan and he feels guilty that he may have contributed to Billy's demise after serving him so much booze. Later on, they see the people from their meeting filing into the Alibi with disappointed looks on their faces.

Lip's Struggle

(Credit: Paul Sarkis/SHOWTIME)

Tami (Kate Miner) and Lip (Jeremy Allen White) have hit a new milestone in their relationship as the six-week postpartum mark is reached. Wishing to reignite their physical relationship, the couple is constantly interrupted, first by a septic tank problem when Tami flushes baby wipes in the trailer. Once that issue is settled, things are halted once more when neither of them has a condom.

After a desperate search, Lip's prayers are answered by Debbie's babysitter, Stella (Bella's bratty older sister we met last week). She pulls a full sleeve of them out for Lip, while cornering Liam (Christian Isaiah) herself. When Lip returns to the trailer, he finds Tami's father has come to help with the septic tank.

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The actress will depart the series in the second half of Season 9.

Will the couple get the peace and quiet they deserve? It seems that way by the episode's end, but there's still more to come. Don't miss it when Shameless returns next Sunday.

Shameless, Sundays, 9/8c, Showtime