Welcome back to my weekly review and recap of Shameless. Catch up on previous coverage here.
It almost goes without saying that season six of Shameless has been a touch sloppy. Inconsequential, poorly plotted with stories that have sent characterizations into deep dives, it certainly hasn’t touched the very best that the show could do, and isn’t even as good as the largely panned season five. The season finale hints at a return to form, but is it little too late?
There is no shortage of devastating imagery in this past Sunday’s season finale. Fiona sitting dejected, heartbroken outside of the church in her wedding dress, stubbing a cigarette out on the bottom of her heel. There’s Lip, standing outside of his college that he’s been expelled from, drunk again and alone as that world moves on around him and, critically, without him. There’s poor little Will and his face as he hears things beyond his comprehension as his dad is called a junkie but had the understanding to know it’s bad news.
There is so much sorrow as er find our characters at yet another set of crossroads, Lip and Fiona in particula . While I suppose I’m glad that Sean didn’t die in the finale as I’d predicted he would, we do learn that he’s been using again (for months) and then poof, he’s gone. If this is the last we see of the character it would be a shame not only because Dermot Mulroney has done a lot with a little but mainly due to how inconsequential his relationship with Fiona will feel. What was the overall point if the ending was once again Fiona being screwed over by a guy? My hope is that this is the catalyst for Fiona just simply being on her own for a while. It’s the only way that the show will be able too salvage what felt too often like redundant storytelling.
Unpopular opinion but Fiona’s relationship with Jimmy/Steve and Emmy Rossum’s chemistry with Justin Chatwin is the only relationship, toxicity or not, that’s made sense. Everything since has just felt like collateral damage of the fall out of that relationship.
Also off the relationship train it would seem would be Lip as he gets dropper off at rehab to deal with his alcoholism. We watch the show with the idea ingrained in our mind that the Gallagher’s are permanently set to self-destruct mode so any glimmer of hope should be taken with a heaping grain of salt but, the look on Lip’s face as he realizes Youens paid for his rehab is heartbreaking. So, despite his reckless tendencies I am hoping that he follows through, especially now with the knowledge that even after everything, Youens still has his back, something he could never say about his deadbeat father.
Which brings me to my favorite, low key theme of the episode that is the support system the Gallagher’s have. They have always had s mentality of being alone, adrift aside from their family but the people in their lives that have stuck around care and are fighting for them to succeed. Moments that caught me particularly off guard both involved Kev. The first was his (along with the rest of the bar regulars) utter disappointment in Lip for his expulsion. He tells him point blank to get used to his bar stool because its Franks favorite and like father, like son. Kev might not be the brightest character in the show but he’s not so dumb that he can’t see a dangerous pattern unraveling before him.
The second was his endearing shock at Fiona all dolled up in her wedding gown, a genuine, heartfelt moment in an episode that desperately needed it.
Who needs the Franks of the world when you have the trifecta guard dog team of Kev, V and Svetlana on your side.
There’s plenty more that happens in the episode including Debbie still being the worst, Ian getting his job back as an EMT and Carl continuing on his path to the straight and narrow but the heart of the episode, or more specifically, the heartache is Lip and Fiona, two characters who desperately need to pull their lives together.
Season six is officially over and season seven is confirmed. What are we hoping to happen next? I don’t know about you, but I would be happy just to see a little hope for the Gallagher troupe.
I’ll be back with the show next year.
Episode Grade: 7.5/10
Season Grade: 6/10