On the season three finale of Shameless, “Survival of The Fittest,” Lip graduates but struggles to figure out what’s next; Fiona thinks about job security while coping with Jimmy’s disappearance; Ian comes up with a way to get over Mickey; and Frank’s addiction finally catches up with him.
By Naima Abdi—
Even with all the uncertainty floating around, Lip becoming the first Gallagher ever to receive a high school diploma was the boost in morale just about everyone in the family needed to feel hopeful again. Lip, however, was a lot less excited than you’d except someone to be after doing what others thought was impossible, but not for the reasons you’d think.
After he receives his diploma from the hard-ass guidance counselor who pressed Lip to get his act right, he’s still just as nonchalant and willful as usual. Only there’s something noticeably different about Lip’s attitude; his trademark apathy concerning the future seemed to be way more watered down than normal, and for the first time ever, Lip expresses confusion about his next steps .
But he doesn’t tell this to the counselor, nor Ian or Fiona. Instead Lip confides in Frank over an unexpected father-son celebration. It was more than circumstances that brought them together as Frank somehow beat the robbery charges and got released from jail where he was told by prison doctors that it’s integral he stop drinking immediately for his health, but being Frank he shows up to the Alibi anyway. When Lip walks in and tells Frank the good news, he’s actually proud and very eager to spend time with his eldest son.
The fun times come to an abrupt halt when Frank starts vomiting blood profusely at the ice skating ring and is told by hospital doctors that he has severe liver damage and will likely die. At the same time, Fiona is struggling to figure out where Jimmy is and why he won’t answer his phone on top of finding a way to lock in a full time position at her job. Turns out her boss Mike is slightly bitter about their failed get together in the tent on the company camping trip, and denies Fiona a sales position until she can prove that she has the necessary experience.
Still none of this stopped Fiona from rushing to visit her father, and the two have a rather candid discussion about his alcohol addiction, that ultimately results in a dead end. She lets Frank know she’s given up on him, but that he still has two kids left who actually care about what happens to him, and if he values his family whatsoever, he’ll get sober. Frank is completely indifferent to the news that he’ll die unless he stops drinking, and like most hardcore alcoholics, he isn’t at all interested in shunning booze, regardless of how much Debbie and Carl need him and worry about him.
During the majority of the Gallaghers scramble to take on Frank’s drama and celebrate Lip’s accomplishment, Ian is quietly planning his escape from all the madness of the Southside and Mickey in particular. It’s touching that he’ll finally get the discipline and order he’s sought out for so long yet he’s going about it in the entirely wrong way. As close as he is to Fiona, Lip and the rest of the family, he at least owed it to them to say goodbye properly.
Never mind the fact that he told Mickey where he was going just to see his reaction. The worst part about his secret plot to join the army is that Ian used Lip’s identity in order to pass the age limits, which wasn’t a big deal before Lip got accepted to MIT on a full ride, but now could present a major problem for him with those plans. Should he get into legal trouble or stay because he feels guilty about leaving the family behind, it’ll be all Ian’s fault. Equally terrible is the amount of time Ian will be on active duty—four years! Surely he’s underestimated how long that is but more importantly how much he’s going to miss his family.
Ian’s exit couldn’t come at a more awful time since Fiona just resolved to move on with her life and forget about Jimmy, and going into next season she’ll trade that struggle in for a new one; life as a single guardian with a full time job and without the support of her brother Ian.
Expect mama-baby-mama drama between V, Kev and V’s mom who is finally preggers (though apparently, she’s been with child since the first try). Also look out for Sheila‘s success in light of her new found freedom and surprising knack for selling sex toys to middle-aged women.
As the episode title sets up, next season will be the next battle of “Survival of the Fittest” for the Gallaghers.