The Shameless gods are wrathful gods
Let?s take a tally of who is up and who is down after the Season 6 finale.
Fiona seems to have finally discovered a man she is compatible with. How long with this one last? It is a good time to investigate the skeletons in her closet to see what she left behind.
Jimmy/Steve: Animal attraction with some glimmers of hope. Jimmy/Steve did love Fiona, and she loved him back. His compulsive lying, dual-life, crime-based career and taste of the high life doomed this relationship.
Mike: Rebound with friendly but controlling boss. This one was short-lived. Mike turned out to be a bit of a head case. Mike was the least compatible of Fiona?s relationships. He was hyper-critical and that does not work for the independent and head-strong Fiona. Which led to?
Robby: Lust, excitement and disaster. After the boring and annoying Mike, his alcoholic, sex and drug addicted rebellious brother Robby was irresistible to Fiona, who was feeling trapped in her straight job as a sales rep and stifling relationship with Mike. The short drug and sex-driven relationship with Robby ended horribly. She lost her job, almost killed Liam and ended up doing time for drug possession and child endangerment. Robby earns top position as Fiona?s biggest mistake and worst influence.
Gus: A romantic and nice-guy relationship, till it wasn?t. After a perfect start to their relationship, Gus and Fiona decide to tie the knot. As Fiona completes her vows, it dawns on her that she might be making a huge mistake. She is right. The relationship fizzles out quickly and Fiona realizes that her feeling for her restaurant boss Sean are much stronger and deeper than that for her musician husband. She ?ghosts? Gus, somewhat mutually. The unwinding of their marriage ends acrimoniously.
Sean: An understanding and supportive man. Fiona?s best match so far. He has a history of heroin addiction and has suffered one failed marriage. Unlike Fiona?s other men, Sean gets her. He knows she needs her independence and accepts her for who she is. He has his own demons and flaws, which flare up in worrisome explosions of temper and violence. Will Sean be able to keep it together?
Now that we have sorted Fiona?s romantic past, back to Season 6.
Lip gets a dose of reality [best and most ingenious storyline]
Lip?s second year in college has hit a rough patch. He has fallen for his beautiful philosophy professor Helene. She has a history of taking up with young students, but seems genuinely fond of Lip. This student-professor relationship is forbidden by the university and their clandestine affair goes public in a major way. Lip?s former girlfriend posts a naked photo of Helene in his dorm room and the picture goes viral.
After a disciplinary hearing by the university, Helene promises to break off all relations with Lip and enter counseling. Lip is crushed.
Lip had found a father-figure in the guise of his alcoholic physics professor, Professor Youens, who he loyally serves as a teacher?s assistant. He confides in Youens at his devastation due to the abrupt end to his romantic relationship with Helene. Youens suggests a cure-all solution. Drown your sorrow in alcohol. Lip heeds the recommendation and soon is drinking to excess.
The Lip-Youens relationship ends massively fractured after a blow-up over Youens taking credit for a paper that Lip authored. His rage at Youens is uncontrollable and Lip ends up locked up after smashing Youens? car windows. The father figure Youens has let down the trusting Lip. His abandonment and betrayal of Lip brings past memories of Frank?s letdowns all too vividly. This parallel between Frank and Youens is executed brilliantly. Lip?s future is greatly jeopardize as his idyllic collegiate experience begins to unravel. A more subtle and genius parallel is that between Helene and Monica. In one year, Lip builds deep and emotional relationships with his father and mother figures. Both relationships are deeply flawed from the outset. Are we to blame Lip for believing in these paragons of knowledge at his prestigious institution?
His fallout with Youens and Helene are a wake-up call to Lip that disappointment and abandonment are not the sole domain of the south side of Chicago. Even in ivory towers where upper-class intellectuals hold court; betrayal, personality flaws, addiction, ego and self-doubt exist. Lip seems headed down a dark path and may succumb to his father?s vice of alcoholism. The one Gallagher that seems most likely to break the cycle has taken two massive step back. Will he recognizes the risk of becoming his father and muster the necessary resilience to overcomes his setbacks brought on by his misplaced love for his flawed mentors? He ends the season expelled from school and is contemplating entering an alcoholic recovery program.
Ian finds a man and a career
Unlike Lip, who was actively tortured by the Shamless gods throughout season 6, Ian escaped their wrath and enjoyed a positive season. Ian meets a nice-guy fireman, Caleb. Besides being a fireman, Caleb is an artist and the product of a good family. Ian gets his first experience at a normal caring relationship, and he likes it. Caleb encourages Ian to enroll to be a fireman. Ian goes along with the suggestion and is on track for a healthy new life and career. A gentle boyfriend, a good job, and his bipolar disease in control, Ian is close to reaching happiness and stability for the first time in his life. The rug is pulled from Ian. His boss at the fire-station discovers that Ian lied about his mental institutional history. She is unyielding. Ian is fired. After facing the prospects of his previous life in dead-end jobs and dancing at a gay bar, Ian decides to fight for his future. He returns to the fire station and demands his job back. Ian is reinstated and his dream future is back on track?but for how long?
Carl buys a house and then goes straight
Carl had the funniest storyline in season 5 and repeats his title in this field in season 6. After earning mad cash as a gangbanger, Carl is spooked when his buddy Nick senselessly murders a young boy for stealing his bike. Nick is sent to prison and Carl is scared straight. With the help of Frank, he gets out of the gang. He helps Fiona buy back their house with the windfall from his gang activity. After going straight, he finally wins the girl of his dreams, Dominque. Her dad, a Chicago cop, doesn?t like Carl and attempts to intimidate him into abandoning his relationship with his daughter. Carl works to win his confidence and enrolls in the junior police program. Carl?s relationships with Nick, Dominque, and Dominque?s dad are brilliantly acted. Our boy is growing up.
Debbie is a mom
Despite Fiona?s many pleas to abort her child, 15-year-old Debbie is defiant. With Frank?s assistance, she attempts to woe the husband of a woman suffering from cancer that appears to be terminal. After the wife receives the good news that her cancer is in remission, Debbie, who is serving as a mother?s helper for the family, is asked to leave. She returns home, but she and Fiona are not on good terms. When Sammi?s mother, Queenie decides to head back to her commune after her short stay with the Gallaghers, Debbie opts to go with her and get away from Fiona?s nagging.
After the stay at a commune with Frank and Queenie, Debbie returns home just in time to deliver a healthy baby girl. She is initially excited, but new motherhood is proving to be a challenge for the tired and single Debbie. Although the topic of teen pregnancy is poignant, her year of pregnancy culminating with the birth of her girl is less interesting than the more complex drama surrounding her siblings. Her primary conflict is with Fiona. With her baby-daddy out of the picture, Debbie?s character is mostly confined to preparing and waiting to have her baby. This leaves her with only so much latitude to captivate the audience.
Frank has many adventures
Frank floats in and out of many jams in season 6. After wallowing in the grief of his loss of his love Bianca in the season opener, Frank returns to form. He schemes to find another terminally-ill cancer patient in order to recapture the glory from his intense relationship with Bianca. He finds that hard to replicate and instead attempts to secure Debbie a stable home where she can raise her baby, and one in which he can leach off. This does not work out.
After learning that Carl was the financier for the purchase of the Gallagher house, Frank becomes interested in his gang-related work. With Carl quitting the game, Frank decides to try and take over where Carl left off. Carl?s gang leader tasks Frank with making a coke delivery when Carl declines the assignment. Instead of delivering the package, Frank and his new friends end up partying all night. The gangbangers are not amused. With Queenie departing to return to her commune, Frank jumps at this opportunity to join her and Debbie, and most importantly avoid the heat.
When Frank returns home, the gangsters are waiting for him. He is about to pay dearly for the failed coke deal. He saves himself by telling the gang-bangers about a massive opium supply that is growing at the commune. As the gang members go to steal the opium from the commune, a shoot-out between the commune leader and gang-bangers erupts. Frank sneaks out during the chaos to live another day.
Frank retreats home. With Sean now living with Fiona, Sean challenges Frank?s authority as the head of household. Frank does not appreciate Sean?s attitude and a epic brawl between Frank and Sean leaves both men battered and bruised. Frank is not over the slight and plans to settle the score with Sean. We see Frank at his worst as he exacts his revenge on Sean at the expense of Fiona.
Fiona loses the house, gets the house back; gets pregnant, aborts the baby; gets divorced and then plans on getting married again
Fiona has a roller-coaster season and takes center stage. As the season begins, she finds out she is pregnant. She is not sure if the baby is Gus?, Sean?s or Jimmy/Steve?s. She aborts the baby and encourages Debbie to do the same. With this battle regarding Debbie?s baby, Fiona and Debbie are not on good terms.
Just as the baby issues are being dealt with, Fiona received an eviction notice. Their house is being auctioned off by their cousin Patrick who owns it. After a failed attempt to win the auction, Fiona and the kids are forced to move out. Good luck shines on Fiona as the buyer backs out when they realize how damaged the house is and what it will cost to repair the unit. With Carl?s money, Fiona buys back the house.
Although Gus started out as a nice guy, his resentment towards Fiona brings out his dark and vindictive side. When Fiona goes to see his band, he dedicates a song to her called the ?F Word?. It is not flattering and Fiona is humiliated in front of a large club crowd as Gus stares daggers at her as he spits out his vitriolic lyrics. Fiona accepts that she was to blame for their breakup and takes the high-road. She plans to end the relationship with a peaceful divorce settlement. When Gus goes on the offensive, she turns her lawyer loose. She take Gus down a peg and puts an end to this ill-fated marriage.
Just as the settlement terms are being finalized, Sean surprises Fiona at the lawyer?s office and proposes to her. She gleefully accepts as a dumbfounded Gus looks on.
Alas, the Shameless gods saved their most injurious fate for Fiona in season 6. The messenger to unravel her seeming storybook marriage comes in the form of Frank. In search of revenge, Frank breaks into Sean?s restaurant and discovers that Sean is using again. He interrupts the wedding ceremony to confront Sean. Fiona asks Sean if what Frank claims is true. Sean shamefully admits he is back on heroin. The wedding is called off and Sean says goodbye to Fiona. Although Frank may have saved Fiona from another divorce and a bad breakup, his timing and delivery are less than gentle. Fiona suffers another public humiliation as Frank delivers the news in front of the entire wedding congregation. Frank?s delight in Sean?s pain is selfish and insensitive to the heartbreak he is causing his daughter. Frank falls to a new low as he again puts his selfish ego and impulsive needs ahead of Fiona.
V and Kevin and Svetlana [side-story]
V and Kevin discover the secret to attracting and monetizing rich hipsters at the Alibi. The secret is discovered by Svetlana. She tells Kevin that the best way to get hipster money into the bar is to overcharge these wealthy, young patrons and treat them like shit. Svetlana is proving to be a key asset to the Alibi. When she comes under scrutiny by the INS, Kevin and V are concerned. In order to keep Svetlana from getting deporting, V and Kevin come up with a scheme. V will marry Svetlana since Kevin is still legally married to his first wife and gay weddings are legal in Illinois. In order to pass the INS test, V and Svetlana share a bed and get to know each other better. As we have seen in previous seasons, the sexually-liberated and obliging Svetlana aims to please. V and Svetlana get intimate. Feeling guilty, V confesses to Kevin. Kevin is initially upset but then realizes that a threesome is in the making. Svetlana and V prove to be a convincing loving couple in front of the INS investigator and her citizenship is secure. In the aftermath, Kevin and V make more room in the bed.
The whim of the Shameless gods
No Gallagher is safe in happiness. Tragedy, fate and betrayal are never far. Frank has become almost a mystical spirit cursing his children?s good fortunes. His traumatic parenting and alcoholism has left a deep scar on his kids and manifests in them making poor relationship decisions.
Lip has learned not to trust Frank and keeps an emotional distance from his father. There is a vacuum in Lip?s life for a male role-model he can look-up to, trust and impress. When he and Youens begin to count on each other, Lip is blind to the fact that Youens is all too similar to Frank. Through Yoeuns, Lip is again devastated at a father-figure betraying his love.
Sean is considerably older than Fiona. Almost old enough to be her father. Unlike Frank, Sean is there for Fiona. He is caring and considerate to her. What he shares in common with Frank is his inability to stay clean. Fiona has learned from Frank that his vices will always take priority over her. She accepts that he will never change. She also accepts that under the influence and in order to feed his addiction that Frank will do terrible things without a second thought of the damages he leaves in his wake. With Sean, she optimistically and somewhat naively hopes that he will be stronger than her father, and that her love for him will be enough to prevent him from returning to the drug that has caused so much ruin in his life. Unlike Youens, Sean is different than Frank. Alas, he shares with Frank the fatal flaw of uncontrollable addiction. Fiona, like Lip, suffers from loving a father-figure who ends up being too similar to their real father. And that is Shameless season 6. On to season 7.