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Shameless season finale recap: A beloved character returns to help say goodbye to Fiona

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<em>Shameless</em> season finale recap: A beloved character returns to help say goodbye to Fiona

So long, our sweet Fiona.

For nine seasons, we’ve watched (and occasionally cried) as the acting Gallagher matriarch raised her siblings, found both happiness and trouble, and navigated the demons that have plagued her family. And now she’s gone, leaving the South Side behind for warmer pastures (the exact location will be revealed at the beginning of next season).

To hear more on Fiona’s departure, read our interview with Emmy Rossum from before the season 9 finale and our postmortem with creator John Wells. And while the Shameless shameless rankings are taking the week off in favor of a traditional recap, it’s still time to grab a beer, bail your sibling out of prison, and find out how shameless your favorite Gallagher was this week.

With Fiona now in possession of a check for $100,000, it turns out that Max isn’t the biggest douche on the planet. Fiona does what all smart financial advisors recommend and hides it under her mattress. Up bright and early, she encounters Debbie and Carl dressed in all black, prepared to “f— up a truck,” while Frank is on bed couch rest. Fiona has already tired of the family having to take care of their injured father and his need for a sponge bath, with the annoyance only growing when he reveals that he could be like this for three to six months.

As Fiona later shares her frustration with Lip, Carl and Debbie return home from vandalizing Kelly’s truck, and Carl’s reward/punishment is cleaning out Frank’s bedpan. The siblings have a brief powwow about what to do with Frank, considering they can’t just throw him in the river again since would be elder abuse — even if Debbie insists that “no jury would convict.” Debbie decides to take charge of looking for a health care worker, quickly dismissing Frank’s point that this is what loved ones are for. “No one loves you, Frank,” she cracks, continuing to be on fire. Before she heads off for an Al-Anon meeting, Fiona offers to make breakfast for Debbie and Carl, but they’re grown coffee people now. It’s clear to Fiona that she’s no longer needed.

We stay in the Gallagher house as Fiona agrees to switch rooms with Debbie so that Franny can have her own bed. Staring at the small, toy-filled room that she will soon move to, Fiona is far from excited about the idea. Then, as Carl is headed off to work, she says how sorry she is that he didn’t get accepted to West Point. He argues that he’s stupid for ever thinking they’d accept someone like him. Meanwhile downstairs, Debbie is changing Frank’s bandages and getting the opposite of a thanks for it. Frank asks about Kelly, a.k.a. “that G.I. Jane chick,” suggesting that she probably is gay (“Softball, really?’) and Debbie just wasn’t tempting or smart enough. He adds in an extra dig by saying Fiona could have got it done with her “stripper-on-a-bender dangerous looks.” Debbie then calls the MIA Liam, leaving an angry voicemail since he’s the one who was supposed to be on Frank duty.

Next door, Kev has gotten his sexual swagger back, lasting a solid 47 minutes before V makes him wrap it up. “F— you, Mr. Vasectomy, I’m a man again,” he declares. He’s also a man with a cross in his bar. Hoping to take advantage of the supplies that he got from helping out the girls’ school, Kev is trying to rent himself out as Jesus, working bachelorette parties and whatnot. Fiona shows up at the Alibi, ordering a coke (the legal kind), and tells V about the money. “I feel like I got a second chance,” says Fiona, to which V replies, “And a third and a fourth.”

Speaking of second chances, Lip is at the shop and when Brad says he needs a mechanic, Lip suggests his sponsee, Jason. Tami then arrives, wanting to be with someone when she imminently gets her test results. She has the BRCA1 gene, which is good for the baby. But Tami doesn’t want to have the baby just to save her breasts. With her freaking out, Lip wants to talk, while she wants to f—. They drive under a bridge and go do her preference, before then arguing again. She’s decided to have the baby and give it up for adoption. When he says he’s not cool with that, she suggests that he will be a bad father, which is NOT TRUE. Marriage comes up, with Lip saying he likes her and could eventually love her. Well, she currently might hate him and drives off, leaving him behind. She must not hate him too much since she’s at the shop when he returns and they make up.

Also at work is Carl, who is surprised to learn that his restaurant’s titular Captain Bob is real and wants to meet their “very own White Panther.” Bob is very thankful for Carl stopping that robbery and begins selling the young man on a future at the chain, promising the chance to one day have his own Winnebago (the man is a good salesman).

After tracking Liam down and learning that he’s moved in with his friend Todd, Debbie returns home to find Carl packing up all of his military clothes to donate to Goodwill, revealing his intention to forego his remaining schooling for an assistant manager gig at Bob’s. Debbie isn’t having it, demanding that he go back to military school. “I’m a loser,” he says in an emotional rant. “A West Point reject with a shitty education and family history of alcoholism and drug abuse that’s bound to catch up with me sooner or later. Fast food is the best it’s going to get for me. I’ve accepted who I am, why can’t you?” He then declines to help her bring Liam home, adding, “He’s better off where he is.” Having watched Carl/actor Ethan Cutkosky grow up onscreen, that broke my heart. I’ll admit that it got a little dusty over here.

And I stayed on the verge of tears as a pissed off Kelly confronts Debbie outside of the Gallagher house. Kelly apologizes for giving the wrong signals, but Debbie makes it all about what she did to Carl and blames Kelly for him throwing his life away. While that seems more than a tad harsh, the scene still worked me over pretty good. Cutkosky and Emma Kenney really brought it this episode, clearly seeing all that potential extra screen time that’s about to be available! (The recap continues on page 2)

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