'Shameless' season 9 episode 8: Kevin and Veronica Ball invest their energies into yet another social cause
Kev and V have finally adopted a son and he is an immigrant adoloscent boy from an ICE detention center. Intense much?
This story may contain spoilers for 'Shameless' season 9, episode 8: 'The Apple Doesn't Fall Far from the Alibi'.
Ever since the beginning of its ongoing season 9, Showtime's hit dramedy 'Shameless' has upheld two of its secondary characters, Kevin (Steve Howey) and Veronica Ball (Shanola Hampton) as patrons of social causes. From going about the show's own form of the #MeToo movement through making their bar The Alibi 'less-rapey' and a woman-safe zone to now fostering an immigrant teen, over time, the raunchy, freaky couple who once used to indulge in cam-porn for fast cash, have come a long way. However, from time to time, it does come off as if the showrunners are trying to use Kevin and Veronica - no matter how spicy the storyline is - as props for social issues, probably to balance out all the degenerate debauchery the rest of the characters get up to.
And in the latter half of season 9, the mid-season premiere itself was able to establish that the majority of Kevin's and Veronica's storyline was going to be invested in yet another social cause; this time focusing on the struggles that immigrant children and their families undergo while seeking asylum. The fact that the couple went ahead with these plans in the first place was purely because Kevin wanted a son to play catch with was slightly ridiculous to register as he emerged to be the pro-women's equality/feminist hero of the first half of the same season.
But we'll let that slide because over the years if there's one thing that has been made clear, it's that the world doesn't deserve the pure soul that is Kevin Ball, even though he might not always be politically correct in the way he projects his thoughts. At the same time, Kevin also thinks that adopting an adolescent instead of an infant would be beneficial in terms of having an older kid to babysit the set of twin-daughters they already have, so it's a win-win situation all over.
That is, until we are finally introduced to the foster child they adopt, called Santiago (played by Anthony Gonzales, aka the voice of Miguel in the animated film “Coco”). Things get even messier when we learn that while Kevin is getting overly enthusiastic about the prospect of finally having a son, all Santiago can think of is never being able to see his family again. This isn't Kev and V's fault though, as they only realize that the adoption center is actually an ICE detention center for children once they are there in person and have been matched with Santiago.
Even though his country of origin is never mentioned, we learn that Santiago has been separated from his father and sister, and this only brings back memories of last summer, when ProPublica published an extensive report titled 'Hidden in Plain Sight: Hundreds of Immigrant Children and Teens Housed in Opaque Network of Chicago-Area Shelters.' In its signature style, 'Shameless' is once again tackling real-world issues in this burning climate addled with crisis and that is just bonus points for the show when it comes to being what millennials would call 'socially-woke'.
But for anyone wondering why the showrunners went ahead with addressing the issue through this couple, the episode offers some touching answers too. In one scene we see V questionably furrowing her eyebrows at the children detained in the shelter, clutching on to their disposable foil blankets and it just proves that if there was one character on the show capable of nurturing and providing care to these children in need, it would be V.
Granted Fiona Gallagher (Emmy Rossum) has always been the matriarch on the show, having raised her five siblings since the tender age of six, but at the same time, the character has sunk herself into a not-so-favorable situation in the show's current timeline, and considering Rossum's exit from the show following this season's finale, it wouldn't make much sense for Fiona to adopt an immigrant child in need.
That Kev and V are truly the most genuine people on the show is also proven by a heartwarming scene where the two of them are sitting in the administrative office at the detention center as they wait anxiously, anticipating the outcome, there were plenty of sounds of children crying in the background. This didn't deter them and that's all we needed to know that despite the few minor plot holes, Santiago really is in good hands.
'Shameless' returns to Showtime on January 27, at 9pm.