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Recap: 'Shameless' Is Back, and Fiona Has Entered Her Frank Phase

By Dustin Rowles | TV | January 21, 2019 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | January 21, 2019 |


Showtime’s Shameless returned for its midseason premiere last night, picking up soon after the events of the first half of the season and opening up some new storylines. Katey Sagal’s Ingrid is sticking around, maybe for a while, after Frank switched out his dead swimmers for that of Carl’s so that Ingrid could have her frozen eggs fertilized (and as it turns out, based on scenes from next week’s episode, Carl is going to be the unwitting father of sextuplets, although I don’t expect that Ingrid will ultimately give birth to six babies). Carl’s relationship with Kelly has entered the larceny phase, and they couldn’t be happier. Meanwhile, Lip’s relationship with Tami is going strong, save for the fact that they can’t find a proper f*ck pad, because she has too many roommates, but she is also repulsed by Lip’s living situation (for good reason). Elsewhere, Veronica and Kevin are trying to adopt, but they end up becoming foster parents (?) to a child separated from his parents at the border.

The main thrust of the episode, however, is Debbie’s attempts to become the new Fiona because Fiona — in a depressive funk after losing her building, which was flipped and set for demolition to make way for condos — is becoming the new Frank. All of the Gallagher kids eventually go through their Frank phases (except for Ian, who went through a Monica phase or three), and eventually, they pull themselves out of it. For the time being, however, Debbie has to do all the heavy lifting around the house by keeping the bills paid and collecting money from various members of the household, while Fiona is drinking heavily and bailing on both household and work obligations.

Fiona’s funk, however, comes only five episodes before she’s written off of Shameless, so it’s particularly loaded. Will she pull out of this rock bottom, or will it ultimately pull her under? Will Fiona be killed off in her exit? Or will she rebound, run the tables on some real-estate scheme, and leave the show a wealthy woman?

For this, it’s actually instructive to look to the British series, from which the American series still takes occasional inspiration. Should the American Shameless follow its predecessor — and in this instance, I argue it should — Fiona will receive an unexpected visit from an old boyfriend in the second-to-last episode of the season. I expect that Steve/Jimmy/Jack will make his first appearance since season 5, and ultimately, Fiona will run off with the character played by Justin Chatwin. The two will live “happily ever after,” at least inasmuch as any dysfunctional couple meant to be together can, until Fiona returns for the last run of episodes when Shameless ends its run (probably, like its British predecessor, in the 11th season).

Meanwhile, with both Ian and Fiona off the series, the show will likely need to add another cast member or two. I don’t see Katey Sagal sticking around beyond this season, but I do like the idea of Lip settling down with Tami and trying his hand at domestic life for a while. Hopefully, Tami might help to make some improvements to the Gallagher, while she’s there. As someone who grew up poor, the thought of someone using dishwashing liquid in the shower brings back some horrible memories, though I love how Lip feels absolutely no shame about his living conditions.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

Header Image Source: Showtime