Shameless‘ Lip Gallagher is a high school drop-out and father-to-be who was recently kicked out of his home by his own sister. And, if you can believe it, there’s more trouble on the way. Below, TVLine chats with the character’s portrayer, Jeremy Allen White, about the return of the clan’s unhinged matriarch, Monica, this Sunday (Showtime, 9/8c), Lip’s “sociopathic” sort-of girlfriend Karen and why he can’t seem to break out of his destructive life.
TVLINE | This Sunday’s episode is “Hurricane Monica.” What can you tease about it?
Monica comes back, and Lip is incredibly distraught about it. He really feels like he’s been kicked out even though he was given some kind of ultimatum. In Lip’s eyes, Fiona kicked him out of the house. The next time he sees all of them, Monica’s there. So it’s another smack in the face. Not only am I kicked out, but now our mother, who abandoned us, is back. … [Monica] will be spiraling more and more out of control. She puts the whole family in jeopardy.
TVLINE | Now that he’s essentially homeless, does he find refuge somewhere else?
No, I don’t think so. It’s very hard. I feel like Lip is searching for some kind of refuge up until the very end of this season in the finale. He really can’t find a place to settle down because the only place for him is home. He’ll come to that conclusion soon enough, but he is definitely going to do some searching before we get to that.
TVLINE | Lip has gotten himself into quite a mess this season. Do you feel like he’s self-sabotaging himself in a way?
Yeah, absolutely. His judgment has become completely clouded with what’s been happening with Karen and the baby. It’s very hard for him. He’s trying everything he can in order to not become anything like his father. It’s all having a reverse effect on him, and he’s just mirroring Frank and Frank’s life choices.
TVLINE | It seems like he’s trying so hard to avoid becoming Frank that he’s ignoring all the warning signs with Karen.
Yeah. Karen was probably the first girl that he ever really fell for very hard, and it’s taking a lot for him to give up on that. He’s not quite there yet. He’s still in it and still trying to make something happen there.
TVLINE | Do you think he still loves her?
Last week is when we went to the adoption meeting, and that is kind of the beginning of the end. He’s always known what kind of person Karen is, but he’s just really paying attention now whereas before he seemed almost ignorant to some of the despicable things that Karen would get herself into and get him into as well.
TVLINE | She’s been particularly terrible to him this year.
Yeah, she’s particularly sociopathic this year. [When] we left off the first season, she lost her dad and she raped Frank. I don’t think she’s ever going to be the same again. But Lip is hanging on to this idea [of her] that he knew last season. He’s really searching for that part of her, but I think he’s getting tired of looking.
TVLINE | How is he going to be dealing with possibly giving this baby away?
I don’t actually know. I think he really wants to be a father. It’s not exactly that people are pointing fingers at him, saying that you’re going to become something like Frank, but I feel like Lip’s at a very paranoid stage in his life. He wants to do everything he can to prove to the world that he can stand up and be a great dad. He’s had a lot of practice helping raise his own family. So he’s kind of excited about the whole thing really. He would have an incredibly hard time giving the child away if that’s how it happened.
TVLINE | Out of all the Gallaghers, Lip seems to have the most chance of success if he would just step away from all the destructiveness in his life. Can you see him ever leaving behind his family and going to college?
I don’t think anytime soon. I like this Lip. I like that he loves where he comes from and he respects the working class, blue collar people. He wants to be one of them. It’s confusing to him why he’s not just one of them. So I don’t know. It’s still a bit of a journey to go through before he can fathom the idea of leaving home, going to school and making something of himself. He has a bit more to learn before he can step into something like that.