Shameless Survives!

In Television on April 9, 2013 at 11:37 am


This past Sunday, “Shameless” ended with its season finale “Survival of the Fittest”. For those of you who don’t know about or don’t follow this show, you have got to check it out.

“Shameless” stars  William H. Macy as Frank Gallagher, an alcoholic father and con man who will use every situation to his benefit, even the lives of his children. Due to his absence as a father, Fiona, played wonderfully by Emmy Rossum, fills in and cares for her brothers, Lip, Jeremy Allen White, Ian, Cameron Monaghan, and Carl, Ethan Cutosky, all who have their own little quirks and intricacies that make this show rise above the rest. She also has to care for her younger sister, Debbie, Emma Kenney, all the while trying to maintain her relationship with Steve, Justin Chatwin. I apologize if this short synopsis makes this show sound soapy, because it is anything but that. These family struggle with poverty, drug problems, sexuality, and the legal system. The writing is phenomenal and the story lines are ridiculous without being over the top. The reason I tune into this show is to see the chaotically sexual relationship between Kev, Steve Howey, and Verionica, Shanola Hampton. The story line for these two characters are outrageous but they encounter every obstacle in a realistic manner and the solutions they reach, albeit are a bit strange, make some logical sense.

If you haven’t seen the show, then please don;t read on for there are spoilers everywhere!

The season finale finds our characters coming to terms with just about everything. Lipp is coming to terms with Karen’s brain injury, Fiona coming to terms with Steve’s sudden departure, that was heartbreaking, Sheila coming to terms with an empty nest, Ian coming to terms with Mickey’s marriage, and Frank coming to terms with the damage his drinking has done to his body. This isn’t an episode in which the characters live without a care in the world, this is an episode rooted in reality where everyone must atone for the decisions that they have made.

Frank is at an all new low, I have never seen him in a situation as bad as this one, and it is absolutely heartbreaking. Which goes to show, just how great an actor Macy is as well as what a great character Frank is. In a majority of episodes, he is just a degenerate drunk who cares only for himself and as many times as the audiences wishes he would just turn over a new leaf, or die, a point that Fiona expresses quite humorously, it is terrible to actually see it happen. When you see what his death is actually like, no longer does it seem something to wish for. You want to see the light-hearted con-man, not the bed ridden liver failing travesty. When he was leaving the hospital, I thought that he was going to kill himself and that was something that I didn’t want to happen, despite all of the crap he had brought upon himself and others.

Ian is also in an extremely low point within his life, which is understandable, the love of his life his marrying someone else and once again he is going to have to sneak around with a married man. He loves Mickey and despite my initial misgivings about Mickey, I want Ian to be happy. So I understand why he left and honestly I think he is going off to war in hopes that he will die.

Fiona. Poor poor Fiona. She gets nearly everything within this episode, except for one thing, Steve. She finally gets a full-time job, with benefits, she has Frank out of her hair, and Lip gets his diploma. But her support, her rock, is no longer there and once again she must do everything on her own. What a tragedy. God I wish Steve could have made that call to her to reassure you that he wasn’t running. I also do not think he is dead and will pop up again in season 4.

Speaking of Steve, I wasn’t the biggest fan of his character this season. I empathized with him when he was pissed that Fiona made that decision without him but I also don’t have any sympathy for individuals who don’t speak up when something is bothering them. Clearly, he was bothered by Fiona’s assumption that he would agree to whatever she said, without asking him, but he also didn’t bring it up until some time later. He also came off as kind of scummy, to me at least. Trying to sneak around, not really facing his problems. He could have come right out and told Fiona that he thought it would be best if he went to med school on his own, but instead of bringing it up to her, he just tried to be sneaky behind her back. The whole Este thing really detracted from his character as well. Would Fiona have been pissed that he had to fake being married to her? For sure? But could they have settled it like adults, possibly, but who knows.

Lip. Oh Lip. Lip was all over the place this season. He was happy with Mandy. Whoops, she turned out to be crazy. Karen was back. Let’s sleep with Karen. Wait, no. Let’s stick to Mandy. Wait, what am i going to do with the rest of my life? This experience he was having, I believe, at least, is one that is extremely realistic. Not the bouncing back and forth between two women, but the indecision he was experiencing. Lip’s at a point in his life where he is realizing that the decisions he make are truly his own decisions and will affect the rest of his life. As a result of this, Lip rebelled against what people wanted for him. Fiona wanted him to graduate, he didn’t want to graduate. His guidance counselor wanted him to go to college, nope, not going to college. In order to truly make his own decisions, he just rebelled against whatever people suggested for him. However, nearing the end of the season, he realized that what people wanted for him wasn’t necessarily bad for him. I love that he got into college and I think he will go. I think that will allow the show to expand a a bit more and include some other great characters, which they need to do with the loss of Karen, Jody, and Hymie(sp?). I think this would be a great route for the show to take.

So, in conclusion, I kinda sorta liked the ending. I loved and hated the ambiguous nature of it. i want to know it Lip is going to school, I want to know what happens to Frank and where the hell he is going, I want to know what happened to Jimmy. But alas, Showtime needs to keep me interested so I tune in next season and because of this finale, I will definitely do that. What did you think of the finale?

  1. I loved reading your summation of the finale, but wanted to add something: Ian using Lipp’s identity to join the Army will have an effect on season 4. Either Lipp will have to out his brother for lying to the government to join the Army and go to MIT, or he’ll have to keep his mouth shut and not go to college so Ian can stay in the Army as Lipp.

    Either way. can’t wait for next season!

    • True. I have thought about that, but Ian isn’t stupid. Even if Lipp wasn’t going to MIT, he would still find out that his ID go Ian into the army. If he decided to get a job or something like that, he would find out that Ian had assumed his identity. What I believe will happen, is that Ian will have to come back home because it will be determined he isn’t who he says he is. As I stated before, I also think that Ian went off to war so that he could die, which is why he didn’t really think through the actions he took. He’s a smart guy and he knows that Lipp would find out sooner or later. But at that point in time, he didn’t care. He just wanted out and took the quickest route to do so

  2. I did not think it was humorous at all when Fiona shared that she had prayed for Frank’s death. It illustrated just how much damage Frank had caused to her-so much that she wanted him to die. Her point was that he would cause even more damage if he did end up dying though, I agree with you that steve is most likely not dead. Maybe the focus groups tested poorly with a death scene, but I think not. I think they left that open to speculation on purpose (my guess? Either he is back in Brazil, or they made a deal that he couldn’t see Fiona anymore so he would stay focused on Este in exchange for his life)

  3. Nice write up. Although I disagree on Ian joining the military to commit suicide. I think he did it because his heart was broken and if he had stayed there was no way he wasn’t going to constantly be running in to Mickey. He probably figured since he was going anyways when he graduated now was a good as time as any. Actually his knee-jerk response to try and get over a broken-heart was pretty normal. Some people cut their hair, some get drunk & hook up with someone else as soon as they can and some join the military.

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