'Shameless' season 9 could finally give Carl Gallagher the focus he deserves
The reason we are upholding Carl with such high expectations is that unlike his five other siblings and their father Frank, Carl (Ethan Kutkosky) is actually not back being messy
When Showtime's hit dramedy 'Shameless' returns with the second half of its ninth season, once again, there is going to be ample excitement and speculation from fans regarding how the show's ever-so-messy and dramatic characters' plots unfold. We know they can get a little too extra and radical, and often end up in jail, but it won't be entirely wrong to expect the Gallaghers — in all their dysfunctional glory — to show certain bits of remorse or redemption. And topping all charts at that should be our very own Carl Gallagher (Ethan Kutkosky) because it's about time the show gave him the spotlight and character arc he deserves.
The reason we are upholding Carl with such high expectations is that unlike his five other siblings, and even their deadbeat good-for-nothing scumbag of a father, Frank (William H. Macy), Carl is actually not back on his bullsh*t.
Fiona is a wreck because of a man and her finances (yet again), Lip (Jeremy Allen White) as usual needs another person to rely on as the crux of his existence. Monaghan's Ian got his happy ending and has already exited the show, while Debbie (Emma Kenney) is still doing the most messed up things to prove her significance. This is where Carl steals the spotlight because while all the other Gallaghers are doing what they have done exactly in the last couple of seasons, the former juvie detainee is actually showing certain changes that make for progress.
Carl's stance as a cadet in military school seemed a little shaky in the beginning but all of that changed once he came back home and went back to his old days of being a soulless thug. And while getting his 'homicidal mojo back' just in time for his showdown duel with the kid whose West Point recommendation he stole worked for him, it was nice to see the cutthroat no-nonsense Carl caring for the dogs at the shelter.
Let's for a second ignore all the typically Gallagher things he does to rescue the dogs from a merciless death at the shelter and provide for them in his basement — the fact that he actually showed some moiety of an emotion when it came to them just goes a long way to allow another character aspect of his to emerge.
Sure, he agrees to a fellow cadet taking down his wife/stalker and despite refusing at first, he shoots the West Point recommendation kid too, but in Carl's defense, both of them were annoying him. Especially with the West Point kid, he went ahead with the shooting only after being requested to by the kid himself.
Whereas with the dogs, that was pure Carl conscience. A little unsettling the way he went about it, sure. But this came from the boy who shot an eagle and then fed its meat to his family for Thanksgiving. So it's official: Carl Gallagher has a soul and it belongs to ailing dogs. The list, however, doesn't end there, as, after years of messing with the wrong romantic partners, his knight in shining armor arrives in the form of Kelly Keefe (Jess Gabor.)
Kelly happens to be the daughter of the dean at Westpoint — the military school Carl is attending and was introduced to us as a risk taker, ready to go to any rebellious extent to act out against her own father. The only other thing she is ready to push limits for is Carl's future. As Kutkosky himself revealed a promotional video for the second half of season nine, "Kelly is someone that's gonna be changing him (Carl) from being a drug runner, and a gunslinger." Knowing Carl's past, that is big because so far, nothing has been able to deter him from those two passions of his life.
In the same video, we see Macy admitting that "One of my favorite parts of this season has been watching Carl", and he isn't the only one at that. As a viewer, it almost seems like with two main characters of the show leaving, the creators have finally decided to steal the light away from golden boy Lip, and shed it on Carl's potential at becoming a better person. Granted, we must thank the creators for finally bringing someone as firmly grounded and determined as Kelly in Carl's life, but to be completely honest, a lot of credit goes to the character too.
In an exclusive interview with MEAWW, Gabor discussed why Kelly is doing whatever she's doing, saying: "Kelly has been so stuck in what her dad wants for her that I don't think she ever realized what she wanted for herself. Throughout the season, you will see Kelly struggle with her self-identity without her dad's demanding watch. I think my goal for her in this season, and hopefully next, is that she figures out what she would want to do with her life if the Navy was not an option. All the while enjoying the first boy she ever loved."
Gabor also assured that "Kelly is a very determined character. She may not know fully who she is and what she wants, but she will work her ass off once she figures it out." And it is this bit of reassurance that fans needed to know that Carl's training for Westpoint, and the direction in which his life seems to be going right now, is in good hands. To find out how it all pans out, tune into 'Shameless' once the second part of season nine premieres on January 20 on Showtime.