Shameless 4×12

Change, for better and for worse, has been an underlying theme since the beginning of this season – with Debbie and Carl growing up, Lip at college, Fiona going from upstanding citizen to convict in a heartbeat, Frank’s liver problems (and don’t even get me started on Ian!), it’s safe to assume that nobody in the Gallagher family has had an easy ride: not even poor Liam, who got into his sister’s coke supply. Whoops.

Season 4 has been filled with highs and lows, and with so many separate storylines happening at the same time, I didn’t know how they could bring everything together for the finale. But the writers managed to pull of a thrilling conclusion to this series, which totally restored my faith in American TV after that ending to ‘How I Met Your Mother’…

Ian and Mickey: Trouble in Paradise? 

In the penultimate episode, Mickey finally came out of the closet and it was awesome.  This season, Mickey confronted his darkest fears and freed himself from his brutish father once and for all… so now he could ride off into the sunset with Ian and live happily ever after, right?

Ha, WRONG. This is Shameless, and things are never that easy.

tumblr_n3ompcUPyT1rsstnoo3_250It was hard to ignore Ian’s erratic behavior since Debbie and Lip found him in 4.07.  We hoped that our fan theories weren’t true, but with each passing week, it became more and more obvious. Ian was sick, and nobody in the Shameless!verse bothered to run a quick Google search, or send him to the doctor. In fact, Lip even suggested recycling their mother’s lithium pills! Hmm.

Noel Fisher was given his chance to shine this season, and shine brightly he did. He has mastered the art of acting with his eyes and upon learning about Ian’s bipolar disorder, he dropped the tough boy façade and turned into Bambi caught between headlights. The sheer terror in his eyes, paired with the statement that ‘he’s fucking family’, is far more effective in showing his feelings than an outright declaration of love.

While this storyline remains unresolved, what will this bring in the next season? Should we expect a manic episode soon, similar to Monica’s suicide attempt in Season 2? Will Ian get the medical help that he needs? And finally, will Mickey and Ian’s relationship survive?

We Need to Talk About Carl

Frank and Monica’s genes are a frequent point of discussion on the show. The characters joke about which child would follow in the footsteps of which parent. At one point in the episode, Lip and Fiona are sitting on the porch. Fiona wonders if alcoholism is hereditary, and Lip tells her about nature/nurture. Skip to an earlier scene, when Frank explains to the doctor: “Started when I was twelve. Never breathed a sober breath since.”

Enter Carl. It should raise alarm bells when a twelve year old consumes alcohol, yet tumblr_n3ncswWZ451qblutwo7_r1_250nobody bats an eyelid. In 4.12, he drinks beer in broad daylight with his girlfriend. Nobody is around to snatch the bottle from his hands. Ian’s bipolar disorder and Fiona’s jail
drama has taken such a central focus in this episode that even the viewer forgets about this alarming behavior.

It could be argued that out of all his children, Frank connects most with Carl, who relies on the guidance of his father (see: 4.01, Frank teaches his son about masturbation, and Carl takes this lesson to extremes). Now, if we relate back to the end of 4.12, Frank encourages his son to drink the liquor, and it creates a moment of bonding with his father. But how long before Carl goes too far? Will this open the door to a new, darker storyline in Season 5? I think so.

Debbie: All Grown Up?

I can’t be the only viewer who suffers from second-hand embarrassment due to Debbie’s story arc this season. Perhaps it’s because I can relate to her character: her eagerness to please, to fit in with the crowd, making friends with the wrong people, it’s what most teenagers go through on a daily basis, and it’s only natural that she would rebel against Fiona.

tumblr_n3n4kcMaGH1qgr0y2o6_r1_250 (1)But at the end of the day, she is fiercely loyal to her family. After all, she kept asking about Ian’s whereabouts and helped Lip to track him down.

When Mickey asked if she knew what was happening to Ian, she replied “Yeah, I know what this is”. Emma Kenney successfully portrays a teenage girl who is trying to keep strong in the face of bad news, which brings an extra dimension to her next scene. When she is crying in Fiona’s arms, it’s a reminder that she’s not as bulletproof as some teenagers pretend to be. All their petty arguments are long forgotten and it brings back an important theme at the show’s center: family.

Special Mentions

Jimmy/Steve: The ending. Did anyone see that coming? Not cool, Jimmy-Steve(slash-Jack?).
– Mandy Milkovich: I love this girl, but can somebody please get rid of Kenyatta?
– Jeffrey Dean Morgan: Three words: Scorpion. Neck. Tattoo.
– Frank: Good acting, terrible character. Drinking away your second liver? Shame on you!
– Svetlana: McDonald’s. Burger King. I have no idea what she’s talking about, but that’s okay.
– Kev: That bar scene. It just goes to show that not everybody is a Terry. Choose to be a Kev.

Quote of the Week

You’re a grown-up. There comes a point in time when you have to take control of your own life. Wherever you’re from, whoever did you wrong… didn’t do what they were supposed to do… wouldn’t be who they were supposed to be – it’s just you. No more excuses.”

A special thanks to buckybaernes, isobelstevenz, benbruckner for the GIFs.

Rating: 4/5