Darkness, heartbreak, near death, accidental infant drug overdose, and imprisonment visit the Gallagher?s in season 4. Not a lot of laughs this time out.
The season began promisingly enough. Fiona is doing well and dating her responsible, albeit boring and overbearing boss Mike. Frank is still alive and scheming to get a new liver. Carl is up to his normal delinquent behavior, and Debbie is dating an older boy. Ian is AWOL, and the only one who is really hurting is Lip who is struggling to adjust to college life.
If you are to watch only one episode from this season
The best episode comes early in the season. The third episode is titled ?Like Father, Like Daughter?. The title has a triple meaning. Frank unveils that before Fiona was born, he had another daughter named Sammi. Sammi is living in a trailer with her pudgy toddler son Chucky. Frank calculates that Sammi is a candidate to donate him a liver and proceeds to fortuitously meet her. His plan is to befriend her and charm her into donating her liver. His plan proceeds with surprisingly good results. Sammi and Frank are very much alike. The one catch is that Sammi begins to develop romantic feelings for Frank. Frank does his best to deflect her sexual advances but finally has to come clean and tell Sammi that he is her father. A justifiably irate Sammi yells at Frank and kicks him out of her trailer. It was all for naught anyways as Sammi, who had agrees to serves as an organ donor, turns out not to be a match. A dejected and guilt-ridden Frank stops in at the Alibi bar. He has become fond of his long lost daughter and is saddened by the abrupt end to their relationship. He looks up and Sammi is there. She forgives Frank and a grateful Frank asks Kevin to pour a drink for his daughter. The episode is not yet over. Another story line is the drama that unfolds as Robbie, the coke and sex addict brother of Fiona?s boyfriend Mike, and Fiona meet. Fiona is incompatible with her boyfriend Mike, and rather than call it off, she choose a far more dangerous and self-destructive exit. She has a torrid affair with Robbie. The episode ends with Fiona realizing the extent of her error. Is Fiona becoming Frank?
Fiona going full Frank
Things go from bad to worse for Fiona. Despite knowing better, she continues her affair with the toxic Robbie. The secret of their affair is short-lived and Mike is devastated at her betrayal. He drops her immediately but allows her to continue working at the cup company. This reprieve is short-lived. Robbie drops in on Fiona at her house with a bag of coke to celebrate her birthday. Fresh off the humiliation caused by her affair with Robbie, she kicks him out and slams the door. Kevin, V and the kids have a house party for Fiona?s birthday and they celebrate with Robbie?s left behind coke. Liam is found unconscious in the kitchen with cocaine around his mouth and nose. They call 911, and the paramedics rush Liam to the hospital with an accidental cocaine overdose. Fiona is arrested for possession and child endangerment. Debbie, Carl and especially Lip are furious at Fiona for her irresponsible behavior and almost killing Liam. Fiona is devastated at the speed at which her life is unraveling as she spends the night in lock-up.
After being on house arrest after a plea bargain, she continues to mess up. She goes to Robbie?s house to tell him that he ruined her life and ends up going on an all-night drug and alcohol binge. She passes out and violates her curfew. It keeps getting worse for Fiona, and she is now headed to prison for parole violation.
A final small glimmer of good fortune finally greets Fiona in the season finale. She is released early from her prison time due to overcrowding. After a season filled with chaos, bad luck, and self-destructive behavior, Fiona is finally back home. Has she learned her lesson, or is she to repeat Frank?s legacy?
Debbie?s first crush and getting crushed
Debbie is 13 and ready for a relationship. She meets a nice guy named Matty and they start hanging out. The problem is that Matty is 20. Once Matty discovers that Debbie is only 13, he makes it clear to Debbie that she is too young for him and that they can only be friends. A stubborn Debbie refuses to give up on their relationship and maintains her crush on Matty through the season finale. This relationship is not looking promising.
Carl meets his female partner in crime and gets crushed
Carl meets Bonnie in detention. She is crazier and poorer that Carl. They rob a convenience store at gun point and steal a car. Crazy, young love. Carl falls for Bonnie and they kiss. Bonnie gets freaked out when Carl starts showing real affection and feelings. Carl gives her a necklace and she rejects it, warning Carl not to fall in love with her. The season ends with Bonnie?s family, who live in a van, gone. Carl sheds a tear for the first girl he ever loved.
Ian going full Monica
Halfway through season 4, Ian is back. He has gone AWOL from the army and is taking drugs and dancing at gay bars for money. Mickey finds out that Ian is back in town and they rekindle their relationship. Mickey, fearful of losing Ian, comes out by announcing he is gay at the Alibi. The entire season Ian is drugged out of his mind and out of control. As the season closes, Ian refuses to get out of bed for days and has fallen into a deep depression. Carl, Debbie and Fiona are familiar with the signs. They worry that Ian has inherited Monica?s bipolar disease.
Lip ends as the one bring spot
Season 4 began with the majority of the Gallaghers thriving, except for Lip. The world has turned upside down, and only Lip survives season 4 better than he entered it. He is doing well at school and has a wealthy girlfriend taking care of him. Lip?s journey through his tough days were turned around with a little tough love talk from Kevin telling him to quit acting like a child and get it together. Using Gallagher resilience, Lip is back on track. Though the relationship with his girlfriend seems ill-fated, Lip is enjoying the benefits of that connection for the time being.
The side stories
There are three main side stories in the season.
V and Kevin have 3 kids. One by V?s mom, who decides to keep her baby boy, and V has her twin girls.
Sheila meets a Native American man on Christian Mingle. He is taking care of his sister?s 6 kids and Sheila being Sheila wants to adopt the kids, even after her relationship with the man fizzles out. She marries an incapacitated Frank in order to increase her changes of winning custody of the kids. Her adoption request is denied.
Mickey has a child with his Russian prostitute wife. He has also started pimping her and her friends at the apartment above the Alibi in a partnership with Kevin.
A near dead Frank makes for a somber and less interesting season
For the second half of the season, Frank is mostly comatose which on top of being depressing is also boring. Frank is the straw that stirs ?Shameless? and Macy can only do so much when his character is incapacitated.
Running out of time, Frank miraculously gets a liver donation. The season ends with Frank on the road to recover. He and Carl are looking out a Lake Michigan. He has a flask of whiskey which he plans to throw into the lake in a symbolic gesture for his thankfulness at a second change and a farewell to the vice that nearly killed him. Instead, he takes a sip, and then a large gulp. A smile appears on his face as he hands the whiskey to Carl to share. Rather than thankfulness, he defiantly screams out to the heavens a challenge alerting the world that Frank Gallagher is back. Thank God! On to season 5.
A final surprise
One final surprise comes less than 60 seconds before the season finale ends. Jimmy/Steve drives by the Gallagher house with a new girl, car and name. Looks like Jimmy/Steve is not out of Fiona?s life yet.