Ahead of Shameless‘s season 9 premiere, I predicted that Fiona Gallagher would reach relationship rock bottom with Ford. What I did not suspect was that she’d hit rock bottom in multiple senses or that all of this would happen during the course of one episode. Indeed, the show’s writers dropped an entire season of drama upon Fiona in the sixth episode (the title for which is “Face It, You’re Gorgeous,” which holds no relevance to anything we’ll discuss here), and her entire world has shattered. Not only has Ford revealed himself to be the dirty dog that I suspected him to be, but financially and professionally, she’s also suddenly in the gutter. And tragically, this prompted her to disappear (which she does not do) during the most important family event in years. That would be the show’s farewell to Ian that arrived with an unexpected (and positive!) outcome.
We’ll get to Ian soon, but here’s Fiona’s 24 hours in a nutshell:
- Loses her foothold in a major investment deal, in which she’s placed every financial acorn, both current and future.
- Breaks an apartment lease that she signed hours earlier.
- Realizes that she’ll lose her home.
- Gets drunk with one of her employees while dildos fly over her head on a bridge. That part’s pretty dumb, admittedly.
- Finds out her “good guy” boyfriend is secretly married.
- Totals her car.
- Goes MIA and misses Ian’s departure for prison.
Is this truly the worst day of her life? Well, these consequences will outlast the trauma of her prison strip search and finding out about an ex’s heroin use at the altar. Frankly, Fiona may never be the same, and Emmy Rossum’s haunting portrayal of this character’s rapid deterioration makes a mockery of the fact that she’s never been nominated for an Emmy award.
Fiona realizes that all of her carefully placed dominoes could tumble in the wake of one initial setback — a possibility that she should have anticipated but wildly chose to ignore due to her desperation to climb far above the poverty line and prove that a Gallagher doesn’t have to be a failure. Financially, she’s screwed, and she spends much of the episode distracted by being in over her head with the real-estate investment group, which she had brashly insisted upon joining, mostly to prove that she could roll with power players and despite knowing very little about how these things work. Since she mortgaged her only asset (the apartment building that’s her main source of income and the place where she lives) to join this group, Fiona’s now faced with losing everything if she can’t scrape up an extra five digits within days for “unforeseen” expenses.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, Fiona reacted to that news by breaking the lease to live with Ford without telling him why she’s doing so. She’s an enormously bad communicator, perhaps because she’s been hurt so many times, but she probably also wanted to avoid Ford’s predictable “I told you so.” He’s (kinda justifiably) super angry, which leads to a set of circumstances in which she finds out that, indeed, he is a terrible person. Remember that second phone that Fiona found earlier this season, and how Ford had dared her to contact the “Patty” who kept calling while insisting that it was his mom in Ireland? Even though Ford has been pushing Fiona to take their relationship “to the next level” and get serious, Patty turns out to be Ford’s wife.
Ford reacts like a hoovering narcissist by claiming that he’s divorcing, but what else does one expect from a guy with a “harem” of adoring ex-girlfriends and who’s a proud sperm donor for lesbian couples worldwide? Nothing but trouble, that Ford. And Fiona responds in a very Fiona way by promptly crashing the hell out of her car. She takes off on foot, bleeding, disheveled, power-ponytail in tatters, and with Ford half-heartedly still chasing her, before evaporating. I (sadly) predict that she’ll take Ian’s ex-con friend up on his “I know a guy who knows guys” offer, and that will end disastrously. Or she’ll decide that she’s fine with losing everything and leave the country. Needless to say, Fiona’s in a horrible place now, and that’s why she fails to show up for her family for the first time while Ian’s due to show up for prison. And right when we think that’s all for Ian, he meets his cellmate.
Mickey Malkovich, the love of Ian’s life, is no longer in Mexican exile but standing in the cell with him. Is this real? Is Ian off his meds again? Do either of those questions matter? Shameless teased the heck out of a Mickey reappearance during episodes 100 and 101 (at which point, fans resigned themselves to this simply being a tease), and there seemed to be no possible way for these two to get back together with Ian headed to prison. And yet, here they are, locked up together for a few years as “punishment.” Mickey explains that he rolled on a cartel, and in exchange, he got to choose where to be locked up. This makes very little sense, but Mickey nonchalantly states that he gets the bottom bunk, “So, you’re on top.” The audience is finally getting their desired reunion, and while these two aren’t on a beach together, this works.
Since Ian has left the series for good, and Fiona will be gone after the season finale, is it possible for this series to survive? Showtime’s added multiple new characters over the past few episodes, which might help ease the transition into season 10. Here’s Courteney Cox as Jen, an actress who ends up with Lip as her sober companion. She initially makes his job hell but later chows down on some White Castle with the fam.
Katey Sagal will recur as Ingrid. She’s already pounced on Frank during a psych hold yet, once medicated, pretends not to know who the hell he is. Her craziness reminds him of Monica, so he follows her home and insists that she has nothing to be ashamed of. “That was the real you, and I loved it,” he assured her while probably eyeing her silverware. Watch out, Ingrid.
And Bob Saget has hopped aboard as Father D’Amico, a priest with extensive knowledge of and an appreciation for sex toys. Um, alright?
Showtime’s Shameless airs on Sundays at 9:00 pm EST.