Showtime’s Shameless recently reached a pivotal point when Emmy Rossum’s Fiona Gallagher, the matriarchal glue that presumably held the family together, left the building. In Season 10, the obvious challenge will be to not only maintain the same level of family shenanigans as usual but also sustain the emotional core that Fiona represented. Will the series succeed or flounder? Can the U.S. version of the show manage to surpass the U.K. version that ran for eleven seasons? We’ll hash that out here each week.
The Gallagher family continues to persist for a tenth season following Fiona’s departure. Beyond the joy-filled chaos, including Kevin and V’s antics, Debbie’s luxury goods scamming, and Liam’s identity exploration, a few storylines are unfolding with heartbreaking results. The biggest crisis involves the birth of Lip and Tami’s child, and as we find out in this week’s episode, Tami’s on the mend and even visibly surfaces after nearly hemorrhaging to death. Good news, right? Well, she’s physically recovering, but emotionally, she’s a disaster, not only because of raging hormones but due to the return of her combative personality. I have a hunch that those feelings are going to boil over pretty soon, once she finds out what’s going on with Lip’s financial situation.
That’s pretty scary stuff, actually. Over the past few years, Lip’s conquered alcoholism (as much as humanly possible, obviously) and become a productive member of society. He’s been working his tail off as a mechanic and anticipated being able to provide for his child, and now, all of a sudden, his old ways are punching him in the face after a bit of a slip-up from Debbie. With Tami unable to work, and Lip’s earning power being severely diminished (his paychecks are being garnished by half), it’s a brutal turn of events by any interpretation. This is downright dark stuff for Shameless, and Tami has no idea what’s coming. Given that she’s already in tears about not having her favorite shampoo in the hospital, one can’t blame Lip for not spilling his update. Tami’s so volatile already, I’m afraid of what will happen when she learns the truth.
Yet I’m even more fearful of what this will do to Lip, all while he’s scrambling to find childcare so that he can work at all. I feel like he’ll soon be desperate enough to turn to some sort of illicit trade in order to provide for his family, or he’ll start drinking again — and the Gallagher cycle shall continue. Again, Jeremy Allen White’s getting some great material from an Emmy standpoint, and it’d be nice to see him gain some recognition instead of William H. Macy continuing to get nominated (probably for delivering an insincere, narcissistic, 30-second pep talk to Lip on how one can’t break babies) when he’s mostly functioning as comic relief that isn’t even comical anymore. Such as this:
Yes, Frank’s still doing the same old stuff every week. This time, he came out on top as Head of Household (which, you know, is where he should have been all along, but Shameless wouldn’t have had a reason to initially exist if that was the case) after Debbie decided that she no longer wanted the gig after Fiona’s departure. Then he sold Debbie’s stash of luxury clothing and trashed the house with a party, which was to be expected, right? William H. Macy has won so many awards for playing Frank Gallagher, and the role always inevitably leads to him passing out drunk on the floor or stealing drugs or money. This is only his latest grifting scheme — grifting atop his own daughter’s grifting — but honestly, I’d like to see Macy be able to stretch a little in this role at some point. Fortunately, Lip and Ian’s stories maintain central focus.
Speaking of Ian, he had quite a reckoning there with Mickey as their love-hate-love relationship deteriorated some more. Fortunately, Mickey snapped out of his selfish demand for Ian to throw his parole hearing and stay miserable with him behind bars forever. What will this do to Mickey’s time on the series, though? He’s a fan-favorite character, so I figure the writers will find a way to spring him from prison as well before too long. It’s also time for both of them to leave this sparse setting behind since it will do them no more favors beyond showing how both Ian and Mickey are both willing to commit attempted murder to keep their love alive.
No matter what happens, though, Noel Fisher’s return to the series was a wise move. My god, what a history these two have together. Mickey helped Ian surface from the deepest depths of his manic depression, and then the two realized, startlingly, that they were far too devastatingly different to maintain a harmonious (or even sustainable) relationship. Ian resolved to follow his EMT dreams and found that he was damn good (for the most part, other than feeling too much for patients) at helping people, all while Mickey stayed the same, frustratingly so for both partners. It’s a damn respectable move for Mickey to come to his senses and tell Ian that he must fly free, live his life, and all that jazz. Yet I hope that this decision doesn’t mean that we’ll be saying goodbye to Mickey Milkovich again. I don’t think the fandom could tolerate it.
Showtime’s ‘Shameless’ airs on Sunday nights at 9:00pm EST.