(Spoilers for this season of Shameless will be found below.)
It’s been a strange final season of Shameless, not only because they have worked the pandemic into the storyline, but because of how the pandemic seems to be affecting the shooting schedule. The eleventh season kicked off in early December, but the final twelve episodes of the series have been alternating with six “Hall of Shame” episodes, which are essentially clip shows looking back on specific characters and relationships throughout the series’ run.
It’s also a strange season because it is winding down without its longtime star Emmy Rossum, who played Fiona on the series for nine seasons. There has been speculation that she could return for “a brief something” this season, but the cast held its final table read on Friday, and there’s been no word on Rossum’s return yet.
We just had our final #Shameless table read. It’s a lovely end to this little show of ours.
I think we’re all staggered by the immensity of the end of 11 years which were some of the best of our lives (both personally and professionally.)
Thankful and grateful can’t cover it.
— Cameron Monaghan (@cameronmonaghan) February 19, 2021
However, Steve Howey — who plays Kevin Ball on Shameless — did leave this very cryptic tweet yesterday, presumably as shooting began on the final episode.
I miss Fiona
— Steve Howey (@stevehowey) February 20, 2021
It’s obviously unclear what Steve might mean by this tweet. Is he trolling fans because he knows something we do not, namely that Emmy Rossum is set to return for the final episode? Or is he being earnest and sincere because Fiona’s absence is being felt in the final stretch as they begin shooting the finale?
It would seem odd for Fiona not to return at least briefly in the final season, and the storyline seems to be leading us toward the perfect opportunity.
We have learned over the course of the last few episodes that Frank (William H. Macy) is suffering from the early stages of dementia. This could be a warning that the final season will end in Frank’s death, and if so, a funeral would obviously provide a suitable opportunity for Fiona’s return. In fact, if Frank died and Fiona didn’t return, it would be odd.
Presumably, we’ll find out for sure whether Fiona returns when the season finale airs on Showtime in mid-April. Emmy Rossum is also set to star as the lead in Angelyne, based on L.A.’s mysterious billboard icon. However, production on that mini-series, set to air on Peacock, was delayed last year by the pandemic.
Shameless, in the meantime, returns with a new episode next week.