Wow, just wow. Now this is how you do a proper finale, especially considering that the season was very flawed coming in. Most of the doubts I had after watching the first half of the season were silenced after watching the incredible improvement late in to the season. Even more so after that really well done finale. For me this was the perfect way not only to end the season but to end the series. Yeah, I know I’ve sounded like a broken record on this issue, but despite how well done the later half of the season was, I still believe it’s time for Shameless ton finally say its goodbye, and this would have been a proper send off, honestly.
Of course, we do know that this isn’t the end since the show was already renewed for a ninth season. At this point I do hope the writing staff considers wrapping certain things up and preparing to use this finale as a stepping stone to an eventual end; but, I suppose if the series continues to bring in good ratings, the longer it will be around.
Now you must be wondering why I thought this finale would work so well as a series end. The honest answer for me would be because of its vagueness. I don’t mean vague to the point that everything was either confusing or left us wondering in a bad way. Quite the contrary, we knew the direction everyone is going and we were left wondering where their chosen path would lead. It would ideally be up for interpretation but at the same time, and for the first, every member of the Gallagher family is happy with their place or their decision.
Everyone but Frank.
The episode opens with Lip and Sierra, and for once it seems like Lip is in sort of a good place. Sierra wakes to tell him she is proud of him and majorly drops an ‘I love you’ bomb on him. He hesitates but eventually says it back. He then walks into Carl escaping the house via the top bathroom window so he could replace all the stuff Kassadi destroyed. Speaking of Miss Chipper, she is again making breakfast for everyone and lets Lip know that Liam is asleep outside, a case of sleepwalking and key stealing? Frank schemes with Liam to rob his friends home while they’re off on their yacht trip because he believes he has the moral high ground since this guy is responsible for shutting down businesses.
Kev and V start making their plans to replace Freelania with Svetlana at the wedding, but run into a problem in the form of her mother Zlata coming to attend the wedding. Apparently she survived the battle of Stalingrad by eating human flesh. As for Fiona’s suing tenant situation, Frank suggests burning them out, which is of course ridiculous, but she still needs to get rid of them. Trevor shows up and lets Fiona know that there’s a warrant out for Ian’s arrest and of course, no one knows where he is. At the bike shop, Lip is nearly finished working on his from-scratch bike and has a cute little exchange with Eddie’s niece, who wants to name it Keith. Eddie also mentions her mother is still a no show. Also Brad is finally back at work and in his wife’s bed again. He mentions it pretty explicitly.
Carl uses Patsy’s to hide his military stuff from Kassadi and discovers she’s been looking for him and acting ridiculous. Kev and V pick up Zlata at the airport and she passes out after crushing Valium into a rather large glass of Vodka. Fiona meets with her lawyer, apparently the family is considering settling for three million, including having Fiona hand over the deed to the apartment. Oh and they want Rusty back. Her lawyer recommends selling the apartment and traveling the world, then declaring bankruptcy so she doesn’t need to pay them back. Liam schemes to get photos of all his friend’s father’s valuables, including tricking the maid into punching in the code. Poor Consuela.
Debbie brings Franny along to a party. While there he drops the bomb on her that he is marrying his girlfriend Pepa, and asks Debbie if she would consider giving him partial custody of Franny in exchange for child support. She does not take it well. Carl finally sneaks back home to try and play nice with Kassadi so she doesn’t catch on. But she does and in the act of seducing him into bed, she handcuffs him to the bed, planning to keep him there until the deadline to be back at school ends.
Fiona tries to get advice from Margot, who influences her not to sell considering how the prices are going up in the area. She tells her to offer them enough to think they’re winning the lottery and use it as a final offer. She and Lip also finally see the truck video from the previous episode and both wonder if Ian is off his meds. Lip then has to break up a fight between Charlie and Sierra, while not taking sides.
Back with Svetlana, Kev ends up being the one to give her away and to be her muscle. Both he and V are amazed at how good Svetlana looks in a wedding dress. Liam has second thoughts about helping Frank rob the home. Frank tries to convince him that he’s only friends with them because of racial tokenism. Trevor finally finds Ian in a pensive state and in hiding. He lets him know that Ian is being incredibly selfish, especially considering the police are threatening Trevor. They’re going to raid Trevor’s center, in effect scaring all his donors away, shutting him down, and taking his license. Back at Sierra’s, she is very drunk and tries to make moves on Lip. He doesn’t mind but she feels horrible for having empty beer bottles around and for her mouth probably tasting like it.
Fiona talks to Ford about leaving the country. She asks if he would come with her and then wonders about what they are together. He reveals that he was in love once. It didn’t work out so he doesn’t fall in love anymore, but he is happy with what they have. In this moment of clarity she decides that she’s going to ‘go Gallagher’ on her unwanted tenants.
Turns out Liam’s sleepwalking worked for the best as he took Kassadi’s keys and unlocked Carl, who sneaks out without waking her. Good man, Liam. Fiona actually takes Frank’s advice and meets with an Arsonist named Pyro Paulie. Ian has a moment of clarity, wakes the kids, and sets them to making great signs out of sheets. Liam reluctantly gives Frank the house code for the alarm system as he leaves for his trip. At the wedding, Svetlana’s groom shows off just how old he is and how bad his memory is. Kevin also finds out there’s a prenup involved.
Back at Fiona’s apartment, she throws a powerful smoke bomb to get them out, coughing pretty violently. She finally gets them out and offers them a deal of four thousand dollars if they leave. After they leave, as long as they don’t follow the case, she’ll give them five hundred a month. She burns money just to prove her confidence in winning and that’s all Rodney needs to see to say yes.
Lip also has a mature moment of clarity, telling Sierra that she should give Charlie another chance. She thinks this means Lip doesn’t love her. Lip reveals that he has been drunk or high since he was twelve and for the first time, he is actually himself. He doesn’t know what he wants or who he wants to be with. He doesn’t know how to be with himself, let alone with someone else. Ian, on the other hand, hosts a massive rally and display, which of course attracts the police. While his message returns to a love based one, he is still arrested until his closest supporters come forward, saying they’re Ian Gallagher. They are all arrested and Ian smiles from the back seat of a police car.
The episode ends with Frank getting the cops to chase him because Liam gave him the wrong code. He only escapes by hiding in a (quite full) portable toilet. Lip finally finishes his bike and decides to keep it. He tells Brad that he told Sierra the truth, and Brad gives a surprisingly profound quote, “No one ever said being honest would be painless.” We also find out that Eddie quit and ran away with some guy, leaving her niece at the bike shop to wait for social services. Lip decides to ask her if she wants to stay with him, sharing a really tender moment with the kid. Together he, Brad, and Eddie’s niece test out the finished bike. Carl gets on the bus for military school, his headphones drowning out the sounds of Kassadi running after it, shouting his name.
It’s really hard to talk about all the great little moments in this episode without bringing it back to why it works better as an actual end of the series. At the same time, this finale made me pretty okay with there being an upcoming season because there are so many questions to be answered. Mind you, they would work perfectly well as questions that would never be answered.
What is the next step for Fiona and Ford? What will Debbie do with the decision to let Derek get partial custody of his daughter? What will life be like for Lip after dropping that huge self realization on Sierra? How will the newest member of the Gallagher household add to the story or to them as a whole? Will Eddie come back for her or will social services try to take her? What will happen to Ian and his movement? What can Carl expect from his crazy wife when he returns from school again? These are just the surface of what I expect to be brought into next year’s season of Shameless.
As for everyone’s respective finale, I think Lip’s was the most significant. He has spent nearly four seasons battling his alcohol addiction, and he really has come a long way. Sierra was not the only one who was proud of him. He learned a few things in his sobriety as well: responsibility, the difference between love and want, how to let go, and the difference between healthy and unhealthy emotions. It was a trying season for him, but if we’ve learned anything from fictional stories, it’s that knowledge is often gained through pain. For a time, Lip’s story was the only thing keeping me watching the show, and I’m so glad I kept on watching.
Ian’s close was a bit anti climactic. He had a whole five minutes of screen time in the finale. Yet, what little we did see of him showed that he, too, was ready to take responsibility for his actions. His peaceful surrender upon arrest was a testament to his new found ideals in his cause for free love and acceptance. While his mental health was consistently questioned throughout the season, it was never actually built upon. Rather, it was used as no more than a reason for his family to make sense of his actions. While mental illness should not define someone, the amount of times it’s thought of as the cause for Ian’s actions shows us that the show still has somethings to learn about its portrayal. Hopefully it will be further explored in a more positive light in the next season.
I clapped so damned hard when Carl got on the bus and ignored Kassadi’s calls. Like, never have a I been so happy for a character on a show. I was seriously worried after the previous episode when he told her he wasn’t going to go. The fact that he did shows how much he’s grown from the little delinquent he was in the earlier seasons. I do hope this is the last we’ve seen of Kassadi, though.
All in all, this was a very flawed season, but at the end it came out shining and brought out a new love for the Gallagher family in me. It also brought back an interest in them that was beginning to wain. I hope you all enjoyed these reviews and that you’ll all join me again when it returns next year. So long until then!