This article contains spoilers for 'Shameless season 9 episode 12: You'll Know the Bottom When You Hit It.'
While the extremely messy fight between the Gallagher siblings - Lip and Fiona - was one of the biggest curveballs in the last and 12th episode of Shameless' season 9, what also managed to leave us a little surprised and shaken was the unlikely bond seen between Fiona and her absentee, deadbeat father, Frank. Played by Emmy Rossum for the last nine years, Fiona's character is finally coming to an end owing to the actress quitting the show following the ongoing ninth season. And something tells us, this new bond with shared interests between her and the father, whom she has always hated, was the show's attempt at helping the character come full circle.
The biggest aspect about the two of them bonding that must be addressed is that this is the first time Frank (William H. Macy) and Fiona have shared a momentous screenspace, ever since the fiasco that was Fiona's ruined wedding to the drug addict Sean. What's even more significant is that Frank was the reason the wedding ceremony was ruined, thus tainting their relationship even more than it already was. So to see the father-daughter duo come together at a time where what Fiona really needs is a guardian to guide her through the downward spiral is touching. But trust Frank to stick to his signature, hilariously degenerate styles even at that too.
The reunion arrived at a time where Fiona - bankrupt, heartbroken, and almost homeless - is in the process of turning into the very same father she has always passionately hated. She takes to binge drinking on the sidewalk, ganging up with hobos, and can't keep the one job she was so good at - all of which seem like typical Frank behavior. So after the final fall-out with younger brother Lip (Jeremy Allen White), that Frank is the one who offers her the much-needed shoulder to lean on (granted with some really questionable advice) and also lends a ear to hear her out, was a closure of sorts. In that, Fiona doesn't necessarily need to act upon her father's words, but at least he is being a father to her and guiding her through similar self-destructive behavioral patterns like his own.
But all of that how-to-be-a-proper-drunk advise aside, Frank shines in his own questionable ways. First, he takes Fiona's side when Lip bursts out at her and threatens to kick her out of the house, reminding him of all the years worth of effort Fiona put into raising her siblings. And then like the father he should have been, he addresses her drinking issues. Even though he doesn't directly ask her to quit, because he “would never say that to my worst enemy,” he still reminds her of the sh*tstorm she is bringing upon herself and those around her by being a 'bad drunk.'
Worry not, this new, wise Frank doesn't last for long, because his wisdom at other not-so-positive things jumps out the very next second when there's a power outage in the town, and he tries to rope Fiona into profiting from the crisis. And this is where the show goes the extra mile in showing that Fiona is after all an apple that fell from the Frank Gallagher tree, as after a little convincing and some booze, she gives in to her father's depraved ways.
At the same time, once again, it is waking up next to her father sleeping in all his homeless, alcoholic glory, that gives Fiona the much-needed wake-up call. And this is also the very reason that leads us to believe that bonding with her father helps her story come full circle. While Lip lashed out at her, trying to get her to sober up and finally go to an AA meeting, it was seeing Frank in his signature wasted glory that rung all the bells in her mind, and also possibly led to an epiphany where she realized she was turning into him after all these years of trying to be the exact opposite.
In its own messy, chaotic way, 'Shameless' takes Fiona through a full circle of bitter realizations and a comforting ending, and none of that would have been as symbolic at this juncture of her journey, had Frank not been involved in it. To find out how a conscious effort at sobering up works for Fiona in her final days on the show, tune into 'Shameless' as it returns with its episode 13, titled 'Lost,' on Sunday, March 3, at 8/9c, only on Showtime.