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‘Shameless’ Gives Fiona Gallagher An Unexpectedly Understated Send-Off

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Shameless‘s season 9 finale episode, “Found,” plays off last week’s “Lost” episode, which felt like an ironic label. That is to say, Fiona Gallagher was already finding herself, and the rest of the family was falling spectacularly to pieces. The series has now said goodbye to actress Emmy Rossum without growing overly sentimental and without much fairy-tale magic. Justin Chatwin’s Jimmy-Steve didn’t swing back into town with a cleaned-up act to whisk Fiona away from the South Side. Instead, Max did what he should have done already and bought out Fiona’s $100,000 property investment that she thought was gone forever. Then she promptly got the hell out of Chicago, skipping out on her official goodbye party and quietly leaving half her money with Debbie.

It’s not a dramatic send-off, nor did it appeal to a vocal contingent of fans who believes that scam-artist Jimmy was the least harmful boyfriend in Fiona’s past. It was telling that his original courtship-mechanism (buying her an appliance) broke down seasons ago. That’s one reason why the writers’ apparent refusal to bring Jimmy back feels like an earnest effort to allow Fiona to be responsible for her own destiny. After all, that $100,000 was rightfully hers, not a gift.

Where, exactly, did Fiona go, though? We never hear an actual answer to that question, nor do we know if she’ll return. We do see her taking an airplane for the first time, and she briefly mentioned to Ian (who urged her to flee) that the equator was calling with warmer temperatures. It’s hard to blame her, given that the polar vortex has been atrocious in Chicago lately, but even more than that, Fiona’s frozen-over by over a decade of raising her siblings after Frank permanently fell down on the job. Although Frank and Fiona did some form of twisted bonding while she was boozing hard a few episodes ago, he stayed true to his narcissistic pattern by downplaying Fiona’s role as she left.

“Well, see you around,” he sputtered as Fiona headed toward the door. “You did a good job. Monica wasn’t up to it. You stepped up and helped. Thanks.”

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At first, the audience is led to believe that Fiona grows emotional because the Gallagher sperm donor faked a drop of gratitude, but her tears appeared for a different reason — disgust. “Helped,” she sarcastically muttered. “I did it all, Frank.” Naturally, he responds with no remorse at all: “Yeah, well, if that helps you sleep better…”

One really has to feel sorry for the remaining Gallaghers. None of them have glimpsed a better life, other than Liam, who appears in an interesting chaos-filled flashback as he was being ignored by the entire family while declaring that he was moving out to live with Todd. The youngest sibling ends up coming back during this episode, but not before he issues a list of demands, including some cultural recognition. Debbie, of course, can’t believe that Liam has “decided that he’s Black, and he wants us to do a lot of Black shit.” That’s a nod to no one believing that Frank is Liam’s dad, yet he’s somehow a biological Gallagher.

With Fiona heading out, the series touched base again with Ian in prison. He’ll presumably be sprung next season, given that Cameron Monaghan decided to return to the series. Let’s hope Mickey comes along, although we never see him during this finale.

However, Lip is very obviously still around and (bizarrely) looking almost as jacked as Chidi from The Good Place. The dude never visibly works out and lives off BBQ and cigarettes, but alright.

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Lip ends the season wondering if he’ll be a good father when Tami gives birth next season, and he receives some reassurance from next door. “You just love ’em, man,” declared Kevin with a grin. “It’s hard to fuck ’em up if you just love ’em.” And that’s exactly what Frank never did. He could only love himself (and by extension, alcohol), which led to a family full of messed up kids.

We also see more during this episode why Tami is so cold and incapable of acting like a decent human being. She’s stressed to the max after testing positive for the BRACA-1 gene, and although having a baby could reduce her chances of developing cancer, she doesn’t want to leave her kid without a mother, thereby replicating her own childhood. There’s no telling how she and Lip will survive their tenuous relationship. They discuss getting married before realizing that they barely like each other, even though Lip drops a half-hearted, “We could end up loving each other.” Mostly, Lip doesn’t want Tami to give up the baby for adoption because he worries that it will feel unwanted. His thoughts come from an honest place, but my god, these characters are damaged. No wonder Fiona packed a single suitcase and didn’t look back.

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