Shameless – Finale Recap: Let the Sunrays In
Well, there you have it. Shameless capped off yet another stellar season with “Survival of the Fittest.” I should be off buzzing my head to let the sunrays in, but instead I will wallow in my misery with the rest of you. My future Sundays are looking pretty bleak. I’d say I need a beer, but after watching this finale, I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to stomach a six-pack again. It’s time to think like a Gallagher.
The finale opened with Frank (William H. Macy) in jail, following his rather selfless, yet entirely appropriate, saving of Carl (Ethan Cutkosky) on the episode prior. Remember, little Carl was in the process of getting arrested for robbing his foster fathers when Frank willingly took the fall. Something was noticeably different about Frank from the get-go this week. Frank looked sick. Upon collapsing in his cell, he found himself released and under the impression that all he required was a shot of whiskey to curb his withdrawal.
Meanwhile, Fiona (Emmy Rossum) was beaming at the thought of Lip (Jeremy Allen White) conquering new territory as the first Gallagher to ever graduate high school. Lip, of course, attempted to play it cool and uncaring, but that would change shortly. He’d make his way down to his school to pick up his diploma in person. No ridiculous ceremony shenanigans for Lip, just one last goodbye to the teacher who’d supported him through it all. I appreciated that Lip folded up his diploma as though it were of no importance, but the proud smirks on his face said otherwise. Lip Gallagher was feeling good, and he deserved it.
Thus, he made his way down to The Alibi for a well-earned self-congratulatory shot. Much to his surprise, even Frank couldn’t dampen his mood. In fact, his father’s company was welcomed with open arms this time. I mean, to his credit, Frank has to be a fantastic drinking buddy, so long as you’re not the one paying. In fact, it was Frank who turned up some dough. After winning a pushup contest, the Gallagher’s found themselves looking to splurge. Frank, however, still wasn’t looking too hot, and it was starting to become obvious to those around him that something was off.
Frank and Lip kicked things off with gourmet meal and, of course, loads of scotch. It was nice to watch Frank this week, knowing we’d been teased about some sort of upcoming major health scare. We didn’t have to watch in fear of anticipating Frank’s latest shameless screw-up. Frank was still Frank, but he was kind of a pleasure to behold during this finale. This was some of William H. Macy’s finest stuff. I even enjoyed the scene where the two ran out on the check. What do they care? It’s not like they’d ever find themselves back there. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I thought skipping out on the bill was an awesome and rare bonding moment for these two. The drunken ice-skating debauchery that took place after worked along the same vein. That is, until Frank spewed a massive puddle of blood amidst the other skaters before collapsing again.
Meanwhile, Fiona had been ripping her hair out following Jimmy’s disappearance. I hadn’t thought of this last episode, but she did tell him not to come home. As we know, he might never come home. Fiona made call after call, only to find herself taking out her frustrations on Jimmy’s voice mail. I thought the show did a really good job of having Fiona move through the variety of emotional stages one goes through following a devastating breakup via solo phone messages. We saw her go from angry, to disappointed, to, well, sentimental yet resolute “bye.” Fiona had attempted to keep herself occupied by gunning for an open position once her temp job finished up. Problem; Fiona has no sales experience. If she’d had a single sale, Mike (Jake McDorman) would have handed her the job. Of course, Fiona assumed his barring her from a full-time career had something to do with the camping ordeal that had gone down last week.
Debbie (Emma Kenney) had made her way over to Sheila’s (Joan Cusack) to say “see you soon” to Karen (Laura Slade Wiggins), Jaime, and Jody (Zach McGowan). The unlikely friendship between Debbie and Sheila that developed this season was something special to watch as well. I’m glad we got a moment to see Sheila give Karen a tearful farewell following her absolutely impossibly positive response to Karen’s return home last episode. Sheila deserved an emotional moment with her daughter. In the end, she found herself left with an empty nest.
Veronica (Shanola Hampton) and Kev (Steve Howey) accompanied her mother to her first ultrasound. Strangely, the baby appeared to be twelve weeks old. Meaning, V’s mother had lied about not being pregnant in order to keep banging Kev. Veronica was devastated and distraught; however, when her mother came clean about the true reason behind her fibbing, the fact that she liked feeling like she was a needed member of her family, the two made peace. The mission was still accomplished; although, I’m personally still not truly on board with this whole storyline. If you follow my recaps, I say it every week. I can’t wrap my brain around anyone, even someone desperate to have children, wanting a half-sister, born of your mother and husband, for a daughter. Congratulations?
Frank: “They don’t even have HBO or Showtime, just basic cable.”
Fiona made her way to the hospital with Carl and Debbie following a concerned call from Lip. Assuming Frank had suffered another simple stomach pump, Fiona didn’t seem too fazed to begin with. After hearing the grim report from the doctor, she snapped into parental mode. If Frank refused to quit drinking, his rotted insides would kill him, and soon. She pleaded with him to get better, if only to prove his love for his kids. When he seemed unsure, she reminded him of his seemingly boundless love for himself. Either way, she wanted him to make the right choice. Man, is Emmy Rossum simply the best when it comes to feeling straight from the gut? It’s like she taps into emotions in their purest forms when she conjures up those tears.
Ian (Cameron Monaghan) seemed to be recovering from his Mickey (Noel Fisher) meltdown. In truth, he’d been pushed to the brink. Without giving anyone any notice whatsoever, Ian made the decision to enlist in the military. Still, he needed a better sense of closure than a drunken tirade at his lover’s wedding, so he made his way to Miklovich Manor with the intention of bidding Mandy (Emma Greenwell) farewell, and getting one last long look at Mickey. This was a fantastic scene for Mickey, who’d been absolutely rigid when it came to experiencing any sort of an interpersonal, romantic, emotional break. Even though he couldn’t give Ian what he needed, a true plea for him to stay, the choked-up “don’t…” that he did manage was kind of perfect. I was still happy to see Mandy, back to her finest form, though, chastising her brother for letting Ian go. He’d leave the next morning.
Beto, Jimmy’s former “babysitter,” swung by the Gallagher’s one last time to introduce himself to Fiona. He did so by handing her a massive wad of cash in the name of Jimmy, while promising her that he was never returning. Beto also made sure to let Fiona know that Jimmy realized she was too good for him. Inside, Fiona gave Lip a pep talk following his drunken day with Dad. Lip, put on your game face and celebrate for Debbie and Carl. They need inspiration! And so he did. The party looked like a blast, and even Sheila, oddly, got in on the action. Fiona ended the night by framing Lips crinkled diploma.
Carl decided to leave the party early in favor of paying Frank a spontaneous visit in the middle of the night. This was probably my favorite seen of the episode. Watching Carl ask to shave his dad’s head to let the healing sunrays in was just excellent. Frank’s advise had helped Carl beat “cancer,” so Frank went with it. This was the moment where we knew Frank was going man up.
Fiona cleverly concocted a scheme to woo Mike and his father into hiring her. She handed the money gifted to her by Beto to Kev and asked him to do her the favor of ordering company cups. No, he doesn’t run a frat house, but he loves Fiona like family. The massive sale landed Fiona a well-earned position with the company, benefits included. Thankfully, Debbie could finally get those braces she’d been dying for. We were also left with a slight hint at what’s to come next season with regard to this plot line. Fiona, having talked to Connie who’d worked at the same office for decades, realized what she could be digging herself into, a corporate hole.
Taking Debbie’s polite advice to find some friends her own age, Sheila decided to take up a new business venture; selling sex toys in the style of classic Tupperware parties. Sheila has found her forte.
As if Lip didn’t have enough success jammed into one finale, he received his admissions letter for MIT. He’d been accepted with a full scholarship, and he had Mandy to thank for that. That he did, and I’m very happy that Shameless left these two off on a positive note heading into Season 4. There is one massive looming cloud of doom, though. Ian was obviously too young to be enlisting, so he decided to pay to have a fake ID made using Lip’s information. This could ruin everything for everyone.
The episode closed with Frank making the choice to leave the hospital in nothing but his gown. He walked the streets, basically naked, forging through the cold. Watching Frank’s moment was even better considering that it was intercut with a scene of Fiona saying her final “bye” to Jimmy as snow fell on the Chicago South Side.
What did you think of the Shameless Season 3 Finale, “Survival of the Fittest”? Are you tuning in for Season 4? Is this the last we’ll see of Karen and Jody? Is Ian actually making it to the military? Will Frank’s turn for the better be a permanent fix? Will Lip enroll at MIT?
Thanks for reading my Recap and Review of the Shameless Season 3 Finale, Episode 12, “Survival of the Fittest”! Until next season… “See you soon.”