Shameless returned on Sunday night from mid-season hiatus to continue Emmy Rossum’s final lap as a Gallagher after she went down like the Titanic because of the worst day of her life. We’re not sure how much time has passed following the tragic implosion of her house of cards — given that Fiona’s still wearing an arm cast, it’s been less than two months but long enough for her to look like she’s been living hard for several weeks. Clearly, the makeup crew has worked overtime to achieve Rossum’s “rock bottom” look, and she’s relishing a character arc that should allow her to leave the show in dramatic fashion.
Before that happens, this ninth-season midpoint episode (“The Apple Doesn’t Fall From The Alibi”) teases how perilously close Fiona could be to becoming like Frank, given the perfect storm of circumstances. My hope is that, while it’s fairly obvious that every episode from here until season ten will revolve around Fiona — because Showtime has to give Rossum a proper send off and a reason to leave, rather than simply booting the series’ de facto matriarch off the series — other characters will transition into more compelling arcs, so as to continue the show for maybe a few more seasons. Next week’s episode will see progress on that note, but for now, the writers are sizing up the various pairings, whether they’re romantic couplings or affairs of another nature.
Fiona and Booze
Fiona languishes in her downward spiral throughout the episode and boozes from the moment she wakes up until she sleeps every day. Yet it’s hard to fault her for despising reality at this point. After having tried to pull herself by the bootstraps and away from being a stereotypically South Side girl, she’s backtracked several seasons. Her house of cards has fully crumbled (her investments, apartment building, dog, and awful boyfriend are gone), and she pretty much hates everyone, especially Ford, who mercifully doesn’t show his face during this episode. However, Fiona’s life now sits in a shambles:
– The liquor store clerk refers to her as “my favorite customer,” which tells us most of what we need to know, but also…
– She’s “running” Patsy’s Pies again and doing a terrible job, rattling around and obsessing about gum under table tops, unsettling employees, and mouthing off to customers who complain.
– Bills aren’t being paid at work or at home.
– Fiona’s officially hanging out at Frank’s favorite bar.
– Kevin’s carrying her home every time she passes out/blacks out. We learn that Fiona’s been doing this a lot lately. He unloads her onto the couch at the end of the episode — an ending that feels a lot like the series’ first episode where the cops dump Frank onto the kitchen floor, almost a decade ago.