This week’s season finale of Shameless had some massive shoes to fill after last week’s five star episode – and yet somehow it managed to not only fill those shoes, but to take them for a victory stroll down the runway.
William H. Macy
We start with Frank (William H. Macy) screaming “Monica!” at the windows of the hospital in the middle of the night. It’s like an older, boozier, and whiter West Side Story. A security guard who is clearly not a Sondheim fan tells him to can it.
Over at the Jackson’s, Sheila (Joan Cusack) and Jody (Zack McGowan) are playing house with Karen’s baby, to whom Sheila refers as “My little kung pow blessing.” The baby – who is seriously adorable – has a security bracelet around its leg that Jody calls a “baby lo-jack”. They decide that they have to hide him but since the attic is too cold, they opt to keep the kid in the dryer.
Over at the Gallagher’s, the kids come home from the hospital to find the ruins of their abandonded Thanksgiving, plus a pool of blood in the kitchen that may have been borrowed from the set of Dexter. The grown-ups send the kids to bed and Fiona (Emmy Rossum) and Jimmy-nee-Steve (Justin Chatwin) start cleaning up the blood, but then Fiona, elbows-deep in blood, loses it. After a minute she gets herself together again. That poor thing. Kev (Steve) and Veronica (Shenola Hampton) leave quietly and Jimmy and Fiona embrace and kiss. They go upstairs and start to get undressed, but are interrupted by Debs (Emma Kenney), who comes in to sit on the bed and cry on Fiona’s shoulder. Carl (Ethan Cutkowsky) and Ian (Cameran Monaghan) join them. It’s a beautiful, terrible scene.
Over at the hospital, Lip (Jeremy Allen White) watches Karen (Laura Wiggins) sleep and brushes her hair back from her eyes, which is the international sign for “I love you but I’m only willing to touch you when you’re sleeping, when you can’t yell at me.” The next morning Karen tells him that her mom stole the baby and that she doesn’t want “the f*cking thing” anywhere near her. But she does want some French Toast Sticks from Wendy’s, STAT. Yep – still a broken, empty shell of a woman, everything’s fine!
Frank visits Monica (Chloe Webb), who tells him that she has had herself voluntarily committed for 60 days. She can’t imagine what her suicide attempt at Thanksgiving might have done to the kids. I’m guessing a lifetime of emotional scarring and an aversion to pumpkin pie?
Fiona wants to meet Jimmy’s family, but he insists that she doesn’t. V comes over for a cup of cocaine and/or coffee. Frank wants to bust Monica out of the psych ward, saying that they’ll lobotomize her or fry her brain (too late!). Fiona says that they don’t do shock treatment anymore but V points out that “Princess Leia did it.” True. Fiona gets a letter telling her that she passed the GED. Good for her!
Over at Sheila’s, Jody has gotten a contraption that allows women who aren’t breastfeeding to simulate the process with tubes that they tape to their nipples, which he then demonstrates. He apparently gets a kick out of the sensation, because he can’t stop giggling. Somebody put on some Seal! Karen demands to know where the baby is, and Sheila plays dumb. Karen mentions the security footage of Sheila taking the kid. “Oh, that baby.” Karen orders her mom to take the baby out of the dryer, refusing to touch him. Jody, meanwhile, is lactating through his shirt. Karen says some insanely horrible things about sending the baby to “the retard freakshow home” and storms out, with an incredulous Lip following.
Fiona goes to Mandy’s to talk to Lip. She tells him that she passed the GED and they discuss his coming home and going back to school, but I’m distracted by the fact that Mandy (Emma Greenwell) is eating what is either the gooiest burnt grilled cheese ever or a sandwich made of chewing gum right behind him.
Jimmy has set up dinner with his family at Morton’s steakhouse (nice!) – Carl is excited to order the most expensive things on the menu, but Ian is unimpressed and Debs says that she can’t join because she has a sleepover.
Turns out this isn’t true, because moments later we see Frank being smuggled into the ward in a garbage can by the son of one of his bar friends – and he’s got Debs with him. Frank gives the kid a handful of pills for his troubles. (Patty the janitor kid, not Debs. Although at this point she’s probably due for a few herself.)
Over at Chez Jackson, Tony the cop (hey, remember him?) and his partner stop by to respond to a tip they received about a kidnapped baby. Karen tells them that Sheila stole her baby and she wants them to take it back to the hospital. They are immediately put off by her offensive tone (Tony looks crushed to see someone treating their own baby so horribly) and after the partner gives Karen a mild talking to, they leave without the kid. Karen gives her mom an ultimatum.
Frank wanders the halls of the psych ward looking for Monica, and runs across a rather terrifying-looking tall man in a slip who says, “I can be her if you want me to be.” Maybe another time! He also runs into Kermit, who was also helping out Butterface, if you remember. He’s in for shock treatments, which help his seizures. Frank finally finds Monica in her bed, and she doesn’t seem very happy to see him. And we find out why – it’s because Jenna Elfman is orally satisfying her at this very moment! I swear that it’s Dharma herself playing Jill, Monica’s new friend. It’s utterly surreal, gotta say. Now we know where she’s been all these years!
Fiona, Ian, and Carl have dinner with Jimmy, his mom (the exquisite Julia Duffy), his jerkwad brother Chip, Chip’s wife, and his dad, who is running late. And when he does show up – GASP – he’s Harry Hamlin, the guy that Ian banged the week before! OMG, totally did NOT see that one coming, gotta say. I love it. Ian and Lloyd (Jimmy’s FATHER’s name) have a meeting in the ladies’ room, and Ian asks if his family knows that he’s gay. Lloyd answers that he isn’t gay – he’s up for anything that walks. Okay then – make sure those lobsters are good and cooked, okay?
Frank tries to talk Monica into letting them break her out, but she doesn’t want to leave, saying that she needs to get herself together. Jill is in because she shot her husband 26 times … with a pistol (“I reloaded. Twice!”). And yes, it totally is Jenna Elfman, which I find incredibly bizarre – not least of all because just last week she popped up on SyFy’s reality show Monster Man and I realized I hadn’t seen her in like 15 years or so. Anyway, Monica gives in and she and Jill are up for breaking out.
After dinner, Ian tries to tell Fiona about Jimmy’s swinging bisexual dad but doesn’t have the chance. Carl stole a steak knife (shocker!). Steve and Fiona go upstairs to get busy, but the doorbell interrupts them. It’s Estefania (Stephanie Fantauzzi), who is bloody and crying – apparently Marco played polo on her face. She begs Jimmy to help, reminding him that he is her husband.
After getting out of the hospital by climbing down a rope hung from a window, Monica and Jill steal the car and take off – Monica screams “I LOVE YOU DEBBIE!” out the window as they screech past. A tearful Debs tells Frank that Monica said they’d be better off without her. I can’t say I’d disagree.
Jeremy Allen White
Lip shows up for class and takes the AP Physics final. He tells Karen, who isn’t impressed. She gives her mom one last chance, telling her that it’s her or the baby. Sheila picks the baby. Ouch. Karen storms out, and Lip follows, yelling after her that she’ll regret this. She pauses and they stare at one another, then she turns and leaves.
Back at home, Ian is getting booty-call texts from Lloyd, and he again tries to tell Fiona about the whole mess but is interrupted when Frank comes in to rifle through the kitchen for their money. He gives up and takes a case of beer instead, but Ian grabs it back from him. Frank throws Ian up against the wall and the rest of the kids try to pull him off of him – and then Estafania whacks him on the head with a skillet, screaming in Portuguese that “men who hit women and children get frying pans!” I guess that’s how they do it in her country!
They dump Frank out in the yard, and it begins to snow as Lip walks in. Group hugs ensue. Jimmy and Fiona finally get to reconnect (several times, apparently!) and Estefania invites Lip to spoon with her on the couch. Awwww… so it’s a happy ending after all! Oh – except for Frank, who wakes up under two feet of snow and shuffles away through the drifts.
I couldn’t have been happier with this finale. It was very touching (full disclosure: I choked up when Debs came into Fiona’s room to cry), it was hilarious (Jody and the breastfeeding thing, Monica’s crazy new girlfriend), and that twist with Ian and Jimmy’s dad is awesome. I can’t wait to see where that goes next season. Plus, it’s good that the whole Lip/Fiona standoff is over (blech), and I’ll be damned if I didn’t actually find myself swept away by the Fiona/Jimmy love story. My only complaint, as usual, is that the episode could have used more of the awesomest couple on television – Kev and V. But it’s a small complaint when there was so much to love otherwise. Sheesh – can you believe that just twelve weeks ago it was summer, Fiona was boffing James Wolk on the Lake Michigan shore, and Butterface was still alive?
So! What’d you think of the finale? Of the season in general? And what are you looking forward to the Gallaghers effing up next season?