After a fantastic season, Shameless delivers a (mostly) fantastic finale. Let's take a look:
Surprise, surprise! I thought Fiona was going to stay in prison until next season, but she gets out early due to over-crowding. Her parole officer gives her a firm talking to, and sets her up with a waitressing job with Jeffrey Dean Morgan (whoa!), as well as the nearest NA and AA support groups. Fiona returns home late to a silent house (a conceit that's quickly becoming all too familiar) – but after yet another chilly homecoming, she wakes up to the hero's welcome she always wanted. Unfortunately, the happy reunion is somewhat tempered with news of Ian's bipolar disorder. As she talks it over with Lip, we get another heart-to-heart between them: she finally admits that she is the one driving the bus that is her life, and vows to take responsibility for her actions from here on out. And with that, character growth and a light at the end of a long tunnel finally come to be. Here's to Season 5!
And guess who else is back on track? Frank... and unfortunately not in a good way. He manages to sneak out right under Sheila and Sammi's bickering noses, and appears to be off the wagon once more. He has Carl (his one remaining enabler) wheel him out over a frozen Lake Michigan, where he proceeds to cuss out God ("I'M STILL HERE, YOU F**KER!"). Sure, it makes sense for the character, but watching him take that first blissful gulp of booze was shades of heartwrenching and disappointing. Guess Frank is back to square one.
Now, after the events of last week, Mickey comes back to the Alibi Room, fully armed and ready to brawl again – and he's surprised to find, with the notable exception of his incarcerated father, nobody cares that he's gay. The Alibi regulars return his volley of, "If anyone's got anything to f**kin' say, then f**kin' say it!" with a laundry list of all of their favorite gay celebrities – Mickey's still reeling a little when Kev pours him a beer on the house and toasts to "butt buddies." But alas, it's not happily ever after for Ian and Mickey, just as we expected. First, Mickey's wife rather convincingly threatens to stab them both in the heart with screwdrivers if he doesn't take on his fair share of parenting. And then things take a serious turn for the worse when it becomes clear that Ian has finally crashed into the depressive stage of manic depression. Mickey's flummoxed, but the Gallaghers spot what's going on right away. When Fiona informs him that Ian will need medical attention, maybe even a stint in the psych ward, Mickey insists that he be the one to personally nurse Ian back to health. Which is sweet, if ill-informed – here's hoping that the two of them can weather it together.
Oh, and they just had to end the season on a cliffhanger: it turns out that Jimmy/Steve (now known as "Jack," ugh) is still alive. To which, I say, "Meh." I was never a huge fan of Justin Chatwin's, and honestly wasn't too bothered that he was gone, especially since he had such an outlandish offing. But, grumblings aside, I'm already counting down the days until Season 5.
* How come we never got closure on Debbie/Matt?
* Also, what's going on with Lip and Amanda? The music swelled romantically when they kissed at her creepy sorority event, but then he's quite shaken at the sight of Mandy (someone I never thought he seriously cared for) at the local diner. Guess we'll have to wait until next season.
* Ah, poor Carl. The first heartbreak of many.
* Speaking of heartbreak, Sheila broke mine when the council refused her petition to adopt, though I'm honestly glad we're not going down that road.
* Also: hello, Dichen Lachman!