I never thought I’d say this but Shameless is starting to feel a little stale. Perhaps the season is moving too slowly for me, but I don’t think I need another 3 episodes to know that Lip is still struggling with alcoholism and his compulsive chivalry, that Ian is the king of misunderstandings in romantic relationships, that Frank is a parasitic bum, that Fiona wants more out of life, or that all the promise we saw in Debbie as a little girl is gone. I guess I never knew I would miss Carl so much. The highlight of episode 9 was the return of Monica, the mostly absent mother of the Gallagher children and the love of Frank’s life. Trying to make up for lost time, Monica helps Debbie get her daughter back and meets Ian’s new lover. But the oldest Gallaghers, Fiona and Lip, know better than to get too comfortable with Monica being around. They resent their mother for her neglect and don’t do a good job of hiding it. Frank also tries to resist Monica, but she makes it nearly impossible by hunting him down and demanding his attention. Thus far this season, Svetlana has been my personal saving grace. She is the real MVP. In her relationship, in her work, and in her overall life, Svetlana has managed to pick up the pieces and build. Has she made some questionable decisions? Absolutely. But she is consistently reliable and proactive in making sure that her family comes out ok. In episode 9, Svetlana agrees to do “throuples counseling” with Kev and V, who still don’t trust what happened with her disappeared husband, even though she thinks it’s a waste of time. The episode seems to tease viewers with the possibility that Svetlana is actually the con artist that Fiona thinks she is. Kev and V are more than worried when Svetlana switches vodka distributors without consulting them and declares herself the new owner of the Alibi bar. Show faithfuls like me found this to be a bit of a curveball because Svetlana’s approach has never been one of outright defiance or bullying. Svetlanta’s not bossy. She’s the boss. So the scene left me scratching my head. And while I definitely think that Shameless can stand to shake things up a bit, I’m begging the show’s writers not to ruin Svetlana for me! Although last night's cliffhanger reveals that Mickey, Ian’s old flame and father of Svetlana’s baby, has escaped from prison. This is sure to bring out the best in my favorite bartender-housewife hybrid.