'Shameless' season 9 episode 11 review: Fiona is back on the bottle, but Lip has stepped up...again
Sadly, after years of bearing the brunt of every Gallagher's behavior, nobody seems to realize that it is actually Fiona who needs help now.
This may contain spoilers for Shameless season 9 episode 11: The Hobo Games.
As Emmy Rossum's nine-year-long run on the hit Showtime dramedy comes to an end, any hope of redemption for her character Fiona Gallagher seems to disappear because she keeps falling farther, and farther away from the firm, grounded, sensible matriarch she had been all along. Yet somehow that isn't the most surprising addition to the Gallagher family's story this week.
To start off with Fiona, as her own words so articulately put it: “I’m just in a really f—ed up place. You ever been in a f—ed up place?” One would think binge drinking on the roadside with hobos, and getting shoved into a cop car for ganging up and punching a racist neighbor would be peak rock bottom, but Fiona's personal rock bottom just reaches new depths in every new episode. From waking up on an empty pizza box and stealing random pills lying around to get her sister Debbie (Emma Kenney) off her back, to spiralling back to her drinking days in front of a boy celebrating his 100 days of sobriety - it's not hard to deduce just why Lip (Jeremy Allen White) - the sibling closest to her - lashes out at her so intensely, asking her to leave the Gallagher household.
Speaking of Lip, moving into a new house and finally being in a stable, mature relationship wasn't the only milestone the showrunners had in mind for the character who went from Southside's golden genius to regular failure. In the last episode, we saw Xan - the pre-teen Lip had intended on adopting - returning to him after being abandoned by her mother yet again, and this week was a whole other ball game as it turned out Lip's girlfriend, Tammi (Kate Miner) is pregnant with his child. This is a major step and also a positive development because we have seen how keen Lip has been about the prospect of having a child under his wing, so at least one Gallagher has their lives on track!
When it comes to the rest of the Gallaghers however, they are pretty much still slogging through the same self-destructive tendencies despite having pulled up their big-boy and big-girl pants. Debbie is stepping into Fiona's shoes in terms of taking care of the household and doing more compared to what a much older Fiona was seen doing in the initial stages of the show. As for their other two siblings, Carl (Ethan Cutkosky) and Liam (Christian Isiah) they are still somewhat being controlled by their deadbeat father Frank (William H. Macy) and his selfish motives.
As Frank participates in the Hobo Games for the monetary gains to satisfy his booze and drugs dependency, we see him completely aloof of the prospect that his new lady love, Ingrid (Katey Segal) is pregnant with sextuplets. And mind you, Frank had convinced Carl to lend him sperm just to impregnate Ingrid, so only heaven knows what is going on in the military school recruit's head as the possibility of him having to own up paternity looms around.
But despite the messes the characters seem to have landed themselves in, it is still Fiona's downward spiral that continues to upset viewers, at least me, the most because, after years of bearing the brunt of every Gallagher's behavior, nobody seems to realize that it is actually Fiona who needs help now. People are too quick to lash out at her for her behavior without offering constructive support and maybe this is the showrunners' way of easing out the character's departure, but for old times' sake - could you please go a little easy on her? Thanks!
'Shameless' airs on Sundays, at 9pm ET/PT only on Showtime.