The Five Things That ‘Shameless’ Must Deliver During Its Final Season

The Gallagher family will soon take a final lap on Showtime’s Shameless for an eleventh season to match the duration of the show’s U.K. counterpart, which (of course) entered finale territory in a different manner. For one thing, we’re still in the middle of a pandemic, one that pushed back Showtime’s summer release plans. Following rewrites, the show got back on course for a December 6 return date with plans to not-ignore what’s happening with a Chicago South Side spin. One can obviously expect the show to tackle Covid-19 in a different context than, say, the gruelingly appropriate Grey’s Anatomy treatment that’s ongoing. Whether the Shameless version will treat the virus with gallows humor or as a strictly-practical component of the story, who knows?

What is more certain, though, is that many open threads remain from the most recent season, which capped off the show’s Emmy Rossum-less voyage. Mickey and Ian are now married (will it last?), Lip has fallen off the wagon after another blowout with Tami, and Frank’s still an irredeemable mess. According to this season’s synopsis, Carl will become a cop (no kidding) while Lip juggles increased patriarch duties. Series creator John Wells also revealed that Debbie must register as a sex offender, which feels like post-dated comeuppance after she lost her virginity (and became pregnant) by raping Derek back in Season 5. So, those things will definitely happen, but what else should happen? I made a wish list for the last Shameless rodeo.

5. At least drop some hints about a future spinoff:


Not too long ago, the show torched its best chance at setting up a spinoff for Liam, who would have been ideal to revisit in a few years or even a decade. The framing was optimal, given that Liam found a role model (Mavar) outside of the family and a real chance at escaping Gallagher-dom. Unfortunately, Liam — after showing a ton of character development and exasperated awareness of his purpose as a tool for Frank’s grifting — instead chose to tell Mavar to go to hell. It made no sense after the writers propped up Liam’s situation, so that he might actually break away from the Gallagher cycle, but yeah, I gave up on a Liam-and-Mavar buddy-comedy series. Now, I can only hold out hope that Veronica and Kevin could fuel their own little spinoff-startup down the street. They are endlessly entertaining and a lot less stressful to witness than the Lip-and-Tami train. Oh, and Frank definitely would not be invited to the party, and that’s a promising detail that can’t be overlooked for a fresh take to launch a franchise.

4. Put a fork in Frank, for real this time:


Enough, already. Yes, Frank is an anthropomorphized cockroach, but even roaches can be exterminated. After he’s caused misery (and even, in some cases, death) to so many people in his path, the time has finally come for Frank to die. How should it happen? That’s a tough one. It shouldn’t be a coronavirus-caused death. That’d be too fraught with mixed emotions, and it would paint Frank in a sympathetic light. That can’t happen. He’s trash, so he needs to go out as a direct consequence of his own actions. Or fall into the river. I’d be alright with that, too. Don’t let anyone be sad about it, and don’t make it bleakly funny either. Frank ceased to be comic relief seasons ago, and after he faked his own demise and somehow survived destroying his own liver, the show should just do it and move right on to the next scene. He deserves no more and no less.

3. Let’s see both Mandy Milkovich-es: Why not?


Alright, I’m being absurd here, but I think that a fine bottle episode could be had by bringing back Mandy, and by that, I mean both Mandys. So, we’d see the version sweetly played by Jane Levy and the gritty devolution portrayed by Emma Greenwell. That tonal transformation was abrupt (even though it made sense without explanation), and Mandy never saw a proper resolution to her story. Instead, we saw her return for one Season 6 episode, when she called upon Ian to help her dispose of a dead body. That latter Mandy incarnation saw only tragedy and left her abusive family home to become an escort. I’d like to see the show actually put the two Mandys together (one perky and the other world-weary), and they could exact vengeance upon those who wronged them. It’d be nuts. Come to think of it, I’d watch Being Mandy Milkovich as a spinoff, too.

2. Allow Lip to feel enduring (and maybe even everlasting) happiness:


I got silly, and now it’s time to get serious. The death of Lip’s sobriety (the last time we saw him) was one of the greatest tragedies ever highlighted on this show. Years of hard work slipped down the drain, and now, he must claw his way back while juggling unsustainably increasing family responsibilities and dealing with Tami’s garbage treatment of him. Things are never as real for anyone else on Shameless than they’ve been for Lip, but it’s time to cut this guy a break. At least, let him achieve some form of peace. More AA meetings. More doing well at work. More of concentrating upon his own kid, rather than raising his siblings. Maybe less of Tami would help, and Lip surely deserves some freaking self-care time. I don’t care what it is: working on bikes, getting a mani-pedi, whatever he needs to unwind. Let him live some semblance of a normal life.

1. Bring back Fiona for the finale, and let Steve/Jimmy come, too:


I might get roasted for this one because Justin Chatwin’s character was very clearly a con artist, but he was still somehow less of a d*ck to Fiona (when he wasn’t disappearing, that is) than any other dirty, rotten scoundrel she dated. I mean, he didn’t exactly want to get kidnapped and stuffed on a boat and forced into “slave labor at a Brazilian cocoa processing plant,” right? Yeah, that was probably semi-embellishment from Steve, but he let Fiona know upfront that he was trouble. Whereas her other boyfriends hid drug addictions, publicly humiliated her, and gaslit her into oblivion. So if Emmy Rossum plans on making a quickie appearance as the show bows — and let’s face it, this has to happen — allow her to her do it after secretly reconciling with her first love on the show. It’d be a grand surprise to see this happen after Shameless finally removed Chatwin’s naked butt from the opening credits last year. Let the butt come back, too! And maybe Steve will have the medical degree that he wanted, so he can refuse to let Frank once again grift his way into organ-donation-land. See, now we’re having fun and solving problems because, guess what? Frank must die.

Showtime’s ‘Shameless’ will return on December 6.