Shameless 4×12 Review: Lazarus
I think HBO and Showtime got together to form a double whammy of awesome to completely blow my mind, with the Shameless season finale and Game of Thrones season premiere. Congratulations because you succeed! This season finale was a fantastic way to end such a roller coaster season, complete with a pretty shocking ending. My favorite thing about this episode was the feeling of family. When the season began, the Gallaghers were broken up, all off doing their own separate things, and we saw how much that took a toll on the family. But by the end of Lazarus they were a team again, ready to tackle whatever life threw at them next! So let’s dive into my feelings on this awesome finale!
I have to admit, I’ve been more than a little confused by Shelia and her shotgun wedding to Frank. I mean…does she actually expect him to remember their “ceremony”? The man was, as one of my college professors would put it, FTD: fixin’ to die. He didn’t know where he was, much less what was going on around him. Shelia’s involvement and her storyline during this season has been pretty weak, which is a pity because I love Joan Cusack. I think the one thing they were trying to establish with her small storyline is just how lonely she is now that Karen is gone. She misses being able to take care of people, and I think that’s why she crossed swords with Sammi the way that she did. Sammi was competing with her in who would be the main person to care for Frank. Personally I think she went a bit too far by barring Sammi from the hospital room and from seeing Frank, but towards the end, she came back around when Sammi planted her trailer in the lot next to Shelia’s house, inviting her and Chuckie inside to eat the roast she has prepared for Frank. My heart broke when she was denied the ability to adopt Roger Running Tree’s nieces and nephews, but deep down, I knew that situation wasn’t going to work out. What I would like to see them do with Shelia next season is have her help the Gallaghers properly deal with Ian’s mental illness, now that it has been addressed. When we were introduced to Shelia in the beginning of the show, she was very diligent about taking her medications and working with her therapist. The Gallagher kids have grown up seeing how to deal with mental illness in all the wrong ways, which is why Shelia’s input would be so invaluable! She knows more than any of them what Ian is going through and can be a positive and stable influence with him going forward. Please Shameless writers if you see this, take this note under advisement!
Speaking of Ian…when the poor guy crashed, he crashed hard. Mickey had no idea what was going on, which I think is because he has grown up in a household that didn’t address such issues. After two days of Ian not leaving the room, Mickey went to Ian’s siblings for help, who only had to take one look at him to know what was going on, something that fans have been thinking for a while now: Ian has bipolar disorder. I loved that even though Fiona had just gotten out of jail, the moment Debbie and Carl told her there was something wrong with Ian she was on it like white on rice. She got to be a big sister again, gently trying to coax Ian out of bed, and I loved it. Mickey and Fiona butted heads slightly when she explained what some of the options were, one of them including hospitalization. Mickey looked completely panicked at the idea of losing Ian again, insisting that Ian wasn’t leaving that house and that he and the others could take care of him. I’m worried that Mickey will do exactly that: try to deal with the situation on his own and inadvertently make it worse. This kind of disorder is not something he can just deal with on his own. Ian needs professional help. Earlier in the season, my brother theorized that something might have happened to Ian while he was in Basic, and I’m starting to think he might be right. I think that the incident with Mickey and his dad and the events following that might have triggered something, and if something did happen to Ian during Basic, that was the tipping point that really pushed Ian off the deep end. Some fans are unhappy that this wasn’t addressed more fully, but this is an ensemble show. There was several storylines in the air, and they all needed a little screen time. I think people would have been even angrier if the writers just tried to quick-fix Ian’s problem. Personally I think that the writers dealt with the subject very well. Those closest to Ian know what’s going on; now it’s just a matter of getting Ian to acknowledge that. The first step on the road to recovery is admitting you have a problem, which is something Ian has yet to do. So have a little faith and patience, Ian fans. I’m sure the writers are busy cooking up a bigger and better Ian storyline for next season!
Fiona had to look her own demons in the eye during the course of this episode, highlighting a very good point: the sins of your parents do not have to be your own. In the jail, a fellow prisoner gave her a pill of some kind, and we the viewers were left to wonder if she actually took it. Later, she received a visit from her parole officer, who surprised her with a random drug test. The drug test was negative, and due to overcrowding at the jail, Fiona was granted an early release. Her parole officer drove her home, during which time she gave Fiona some great words of wisdom: “My dad drank. I loved him, but he was a drunk. But…you’re a grown up. Comes a point in time that you gotta take control of your own life. Whatever you’re from, what did you wrong, didn’t do what they was supposed to, wouldn’t being who they were supposed to be…it’s just you. No more excuses.” Fiona kept insisting she was not a drug addict, a sentiment she has been quite empathic about ever since the incident with the cocaine. But I think what Fiona is really saying when she says this is, “I’m not my dad.” She saw firsthand what Frank’s lifestyle did to him and those around him, and she is terrified of becoming that person. I think this woman’s words were just what Fiona needed to hear. She can’t always blame Frank for what’s going wrong in her life any more than I can blame my dad for what goes wrong in mine. But she can acknowledge that part of herself that is like Frank and figure out how to change her behavior.
Fiona’s PO had a job already lined up for her, which was where we were introduced to Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s character, Charlie Peters. He was gruff and to the point, which I really liked. I was right in assuming that his character would have some kind of past, as he offered to take Fiona to an NA meeting. I hope that he and Regina King’s characters return in season five and continue this vein of positive support in Fiona’s life (especially given the bombshell the writers delivered in the episode’s final moments). The scene in the kitchen between Fiona and the kids just really brought that family feeling in close. She’s back in her element, cooking the kids’ breakfast and getting them ready for school. She got to be their big sister again, and you could see just how much that meant to her. Towards the end of the episode, Lip and Fiona met up to discuss Ian and some fans again became upset with how they seemed to make light of the situation. But for me, I think the memory of Monica at Thanksgiving with blood pouring out of her wrists was right in their mind’s eye and neither of them want that to happen to Ian. But sitting there and panicking isn’t going to accomplish anything, so yes, they cracked jokes and talked about Lip at college. As someone who has been through some hell in my life, I completely understood their reactions. It may seem callous to some, but when you have bile rising in the back of your throat, your mind is racing a million miles per minute, and you feel like your entire body is going to burst open with panic at any second, a little dark humor or a pull of focus can be just what the doctor ordered. Lip and Fiona love Ian, and they’re not going to let him go through this alone. Yes, the family has been disjointed this season, but what family doesn’t go through such periods? These characters are human, and they make mistakes and can be selfish at times. What person isn’t? But the Gallaghers always pull together when things get rough, and I guarantee you that they will be there for Ian, even when he doesn’t want them to be.
I felt bad for Carl, as Bonnie disappeared without a word. I thought the actor that plays Carl did a great job this season, and I’m hoping they continue to give him meatier roles as he gets older. Lip’s past and present had a moment of contact when, after some bizarre-ass college thing with Amanda, they went to the restaurant where Mandy works. I think Lip will continue to struggle with reconciling where he came from with where he’s going in the future. I felt bad for Mandy, and her avoidance of Lip probably had something to do with her worthless boyfriend who is unfortunately still around. I really hope she has more screen time and a proper storyline of her own next season, one that includes getting rid of that jerk. I don’t think it was a surprise to anyone that Frank bailed out of the hospital. It infuriated me to no end that he got this new lease on life, and the first thing he did after Carl broke him out was buy a bottle of booze. If he isn’t careful, he’s going to end right back in the hospital. Organ transplantation is nothing to make light of, and Frank better realize that quickly unless he wants to die for real this time. But for now, Frank has received a stay of execution and only time will tell how long that will last.
What was shocking was the scene after Frank’s big declaration on the outskirts of the city. A car pulled up in front of the Gallagher house, and the female driver asked the guy sitting next to her if he was going to go inside. The point of view changed, and it was none other than Jimmy/Steve, back from the dead! This reveal was shocking not just to the fans, but to the cast as well, as none of them knew of this plot twist. I can’t help but get excited by this turn of events, having never believed Jimmy/Steve was dead. But my mind is simply abuzz with questions! How did he survive his encounter with Estefania’s father? Where has he been all this time? Why is that woman calling him Jack? Will he try to reconnect with Fiona, and what will her reaction be? This, along with several other moments from the finale, has me super pumped for season five, which is shaping up to be better than the last!
So what are your thoughts? Was your mind blown by the return of Jimmy/Steve? Are you hopeful like me that the Gallaghers will ask Shelia for her help with Ian? Give me your feels! Whatever they are, comment below and thank you for reading! See you next season, Shameless fans!
Author: Sarah Sue
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