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The ‘Shameless’ Dysfunction Watch: While Hurricane Fiona Rages, Is A New Generation Brewing?

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With Emmy Rossum’s final season of Shameless churning past the halfway point, it’s difficult to predict how Fiona will exit the show. My guess, right now, is that her first boyfriend of the series, Steve, will resurface (again) because fans couldn’t get enough of Justin Chatwin. Before that happens, Fiona’s still a complete mess after her house of cards crumbled, and as Gallaghers are prone to do, she’s embraced alcohol as her newest true love. The ninth season’s ninth episode (which is somewhat annoyingly titled, “BOOOOOOOOOOOONE!”) continues the trend of grim times for Fiona.

Man, I thought that the drunk Fiona storyline would be a lot more enjoyable that it’s turning out to be. The series is actually getting pretty damn dark. Although every Gallagher family member is embroiled within drama, only three dynamics within this episode are worth discussing, so let’s chat about what’s going wrong with them on Shameless right now.

Fiona and Liam

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If Steve shows up anytime soon, Fiona’s liable to put him in the ground, but she may have received a nudge back toward her old self, thanks to Liam. We see this happen in the final moments of the episode after Debbie changes the locks and refuses to let anyone into the home without forking over bill money. That includes Liam, who’s still well under 18, and he and Fiona (who’s in no state to stop binge-drinking and contribute yet) cuddle up on the porch together when he drives straight to the heart of what’s happening with his eldest sister.

“I promise,” he solemnly states while proving himself to be the most perceptive Gallagher of all. “That I won’t screw over women.” Fiona’s greatly affected by hearing the sentiment, so perhaps there’s a light at the end of her anguish.

Debbie eventually relents and allows both to enter the home, but it’s clear that she won’t stop pushing Fiona to snap out of her funk. That’s a little bit sad, considering that Fiona raised Debbie and the rest of the siblings after mom and dad proved themselves to be aggressively useless. However, it’s clear that Fiona does need tough love — she’s taken to carrying a water bottle filled with vodka. Debbie tries everything to get the household running again, including shutting off the water while Fiona’s showering to prompt action. Understandably, Fiona’s angry as hell about this. “I’ll tell you what,” she spits before informing Debbie that she’ll damn well use any water that she desires until 2048.

Liam gets it, and Lip does as well. She kept her sh*t together through years of adversity, taking care of everyone, and now, Debbie won’t let Fiona ride for even a moment on anyone’s back. Both Debbie and Lip, however, back up Fiona when Ford accuses her of stealing his tools. Well, did she? Fiona denies everything and then later drunkenly throws tools through Ford’s window while wearing a maniacal grin, and Fiona’s also raging on the train and yelling at work. It’s obvious that an intervention is needed when she drunkenly attacks an employee after assuming that he copped a feel on her butt (he didn’t).

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And we see one failed pseudo-intervention when Fiona attempts to channel her aggression into boxing but ends up raging hard because the trainer is male. She accidentally breaks his nose while punching too hard, and when the guy — who truly seems to be a good-natured sort — suggests that she make it up to him by buying a drink, Fiona freaks out. She screams that she doesn’t want to sleep with him and yells that men are all scum. Ouch. Let’s hope the man-hating vibes disappear soon because what Fiona has gone through is much more complex than summing her troubles up to “men.” Yet it’s also easy to see why Fiona’s so shattered by Ford’s betrayal. He was supposed to be the “nicest guy,” after all, and her “picker” is pretty damn broken, thanks to having an awful dad.

Lip and Tami

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This episode is titled for Tami’s surprise fiancé, Boone, a military guy who tosses a wrench into her friends-with-benefits arrangement with Lip. Naturally, Tami’s a total ass about Lip’s feelings for her, which leads him to have revenge sex against a dumpster with Cory. (How these characters aren’t crawling with STIs is a mystery, but suspension of belief exists for a reason.) By episode’s end, Tami and Lip dispense with their mutual pangs of jealousy by admitting that they care about each other in their own messed-up ways. They then decide to become exclusive — a resolution of no real consequence other than for Lip to teach Tami that the tragedy of her mom’s death from cancer shouldn’t close her off from having feelings for others out of fear of losing someone. Lip’s slowly becoming more emotionally mature, although in Shameless land, this wisdom only comes about after he slept with his love interest’s little sister.

Frank and Ingrid

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An entire new generation of Gallaghers now sits within Ingrid’s uterus. That’s a scary thought, but even worse is how Ingrid believes that Frank’s the father, when it’s really Carl’s sperm that fertilized Ingrid’s defrosted eggs. Well, Ingrid is off her meds and hiding from medical authorities after deciding to keep all six embryos when the doctor advised terminating all but three. So, now what?

I can’t help but wonder if these babies are fuel for a future Shameless spinoff. That’d be a convenient “out” for this series in a few seasons — to have a time jump, and blammo, a fresh crop of characters take hold, but perhaps I’m theorizing too much here. It’s entirely possible that these babies will not survive, or that Ingrid will take them and run, or maybe the series’ writers are simply trying to motivate Frank to get a job and care for some new kids like he never did for his (true) biological children. That seed is sown when Frank decides to pursue a gig as mascot for a terrible tasting beer. A weird touch in this episode, also, is that Ingrid lets her therapist profession slide out a bit, when really, Lip damn well realizes that Ingrid’s an updated version of his mom.

That’s the saddest reality of being part of this family — once one version of crazy leaves, another one is sure to arrive. Perhaps the continuation of Ingrid’s madness, will only grow more complicated with next week’s episode.

‘Shameless’ airs on Sundays at 9:00 pm EST on Showtime.

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