After seven seasons of a show, it’s hard not to think “What more could they possibly do with these characters?” The season 7 finale proved there’s still so much more to see when it comes to the Gallagher clan. In a nearly perfect tearjerker of an episode, we saw Carl return from military school, Sierra and Lip reunite, and everyone bid a fond farewell to Monica. Let’s dive into “Requiem for a Slut” and see what’s going on with the Gallaghers for the last time this year.
When Ian and Carl receive the news about Monica, the former is riding a Greyhound bus back to Chicago from the Mexican border, where he left Mickey, and the latter is running through the woods at military school. Fiona, Kev, V, Lip, Neil, and Debbie are all at the hospital, waiting for news on Monica’s condition. They’re told Monica came in unresponsive after suffering from a cerebral hemorrhage, and was, in fact, deceased.
Frank is sitting outside the hospital, solemn and stone-faced from the whole ordeal. Fiona goes out to tell him the news and mentions the family is taking the opportunity to say goodbye to her. Frank walks away without saying anything to his daughter, eventually heading into a nearby bar to self-medicate.
Once back at the house, Fiona, V, Kev, Debbie, Lip, Liam, and Neil are joined by Ian at the kitchen table. They eat fried chicken, drink coffee and beer, and discuss their next steps. Eventually, they start going through Monica’s personal items — jewelry, clothes, drugs and paraphernalia, a copy of Siddhartha by Herman Hesse, and an unexplained key Fiona assumes serves no purpose. Later in the night, Frank shows up at the house and passes out on the floor. Fiona gets up to clean up his puke and put a towel under his head.
In the morning, Carl walks in with a bag of groceries and starts making breakfast. Everyone is woken by the smell of bacon and eggs, and they’re both thrilled and impressed to see Carl. V and Kev walk in with donuts and everyone catches up Carl on what he’s missed — particularly V and Kev losing The Alibi and Kev’s new job at The Fairytale.
Fiona heads into Patsy’s, where she sits down at her desk and tries to get in touch with Grandpa Bill, Monica’s father. It turns out Ian, Lip, and Fiona were all aware of Grandpa Bill, but the younger siblings had no idea they had a grandfather. She leaves a message for him that his daughter has died. Ryan shows up at Patsy’s and mentions Fiona stood him up that morning, skipping their meeting to discuss the apartment building. Fiona insists she forgot but is still interested, and — perhaps trusting him too much — agrees to use his lawyer and look through the info about the building he provides her. They meet again at the building later in the day, and Ryan shares details on the current tenants and what she can expect from them. Fiona abruptly has to leave, but eager to get this done, Ryan pushes her a bit more. “Hey, are we doing this or not?” Fiona hesitates but ultimately shakes on the deal.
Lip goes to a motorcycle repair shop in search of his AA-buddy-turned-sponsor Brad. Brad’s working, but Lip tells him he’s been fighting the urge to drink since his mother’s passing, despite the fact his mother was the perfect example of why he shouldn’t. Brad listens and asks Lip if he’s good with his hands. He tells Lip to help him out with the bike he’s working on for a bit, and afterward he’ll take him to IHOP for a stack of pancakes. Lip later heads to Patsy’s, where Sierra offers to talk after work. He appreciates the gesture but says no thanks.
At the Gallagher house, Frank finally wakes up on the kitchen floor. He squeezes himself on the couch with Liam, Debbie, and Carl and starts looking through Monica’s belongings. Frank notices the key and realizes it’s a key to a storage unit. He employs Debbie, Liam, and Carl to help him sneak in so they can see what Monica might be hiding.
Once inside, they realize Monica must have been living in this unit for some time. They find clothes, cans of food, blankets for sleeping, and other personal items. Finally, Frank finds a metal case containing seven large bags of crystal meth.
Ian visits Trevor at work, where Trevor initially tries to ignore him. Ian says his mother died and Trevor is very apologetic. Trevor asks where Ian’s been; he’s been texting him the past couple of days. Ian admits he was with Mickey — which, deep down, Trevor probably knew anyway. Trevor rejects Ian’s offer to get a drink later but requests Ian let him know when Monica’s service will be.
Back at the Gallagher house, Frank is weighing the bags of meth at the kitchen table with Debbie, Carl, Ian, Lip, and Liam gathered around. Fiona walks in and is baffled by the situation. Frank repeatedly says this was the legacy Monica wanted to leave them, insisting she wanted the kids to be “taken care of.” Fiona tells them they’re all going to flush it, but Frank says each pound would be worth $10,000. The other siblings, shocked at that amount of money, all vote to NOT flush their share down the toilet. Debbie admits $10,000 would pay for a lot of child care. “Maybe we should sleep on it and talk again in the morning?” Ian suggests.
Just then, there’s a knock at the door. Everyone scatters and Frank attempts to hide the meth in Franny’s crib. Fiona answers the door and sees it’s Grandpa Bill, who storms in and immediately goes after Frank. Apparently, Bill is not a fan of Frank and blames him entirely for his daughter’s death. Bill beats the hell out of Frank and throws him down the stairs, after which he lands a few more punches.
After Frank’s pummeling, everyone gathers around the table to discuss Monica’s service. Fiona said they didn’t have the money to do anything special for Monica, but Bill insists he’ll pay for everything to give her a proper burial.
Once Bill leaves, Frank loses it. He charges upstairs to find the meth, tearing apart Debbie’s room and Franny’s crib. He’s completely distraught and yells at everyone, grabbing Debbie by the throat and Fiona by the hair. This tussle goes on for a while — until Ian and Lip manage to pin Frank against the wall and Debbie socks him across the face (GO DEBS!). In another emotional scene, Fiona pushes Frank out into the backyard and appropriately unloads on him. Frank defends Monica and shares his delusions of her as a good mother and angelic figure. Fiona makes it clear she was the only mother — or parent, for that matter — available to her siblings from the age of 9. Never Monica, and certainly never him. “She didn’t love me. She didn’t love you. She didn’t give a sh-t about anyone but herself. I’m glad she’s dead! At least now she can’t f-ck us over anymore.”
Later that night, Debbie shows Fiona some unmailed birthday cards she found in Monica’s storage unit, addressed to them. Fiona also finds her share and Liam’s share of crystal meth lying on her bed. Exhausted, she hides them under her mattress.
The next day, Fiona heads to the funeral home to inspect the final arrangements. She repeatedly laughs at Monica being dressed in her wedding dress, at Grandpa Bill’s insistence. Fiona asks to be left alone with Monica, where she tucks the two pounds of meth into the casket. She leaves Monica with “F-ck you, mom” and goes back to punch her lifeless body a few times.
Monica’s funeral service is pretty apropos. Both Sierra and Trevor attend the service; Grandpa Bill says a few words about his daughter; and Lip, Ian, Debbie, and Carl share some stories of their own. Fiona gets up to read some passages Monica had underlined in her copy of Siddhartha, admitting she didn’t really understand them. “You couldn’t count on her, but she never had a bad thing to say about anyone. And she always had a good time. And that’s something,” Fiona says.
Just as everyone is getting up to leave, Frank gets up to speak. He talks about meeting Monica in college (?) on his way to a Supertramp concert (even more ??). He admits to some of her faults but says to his children, “She was strong and you’re strong. She was brave and you’re brave. Hate her if you want, but she’s in you. And that’s a good thing.” Well, Frank’s right about some of those things, anyway.
Back at casa de Gallagher, everyone is dancing, drinking, and enjoying each other’s company. Lip is outside drinking coffee when Sierra joins him. Lip is especially pensive and starts reflecting on the last few months of his life. He gives Sierra his jacket and admits, “I feel like I f-cked it all up.” He says he wants to go back to college and acknowledges his professor, who “inexplicably still seems to give a sh-t about me.” Sierra tells Lip his professor isn’t the only one.
Ian and Fiona are inside talking about Ian’s relationship with Trevor — and their surprise over the fact that apparently, Frank and Monica really loved each other. Just then, Frank insists Fiona dance with him. She initially resists but then gives in, letting go of at least some of the frustration she’s felt during this whole process.
Finally, a montage of everyone closes out this season: Debbie enjoying her studies in a welding class; Lip waiting for Brad to enter their AA meeting; Ian on call at a traffic accident; Fiona holding the keys to her new apartment building; and Carl, still in uniform, working on some graffiti of Monica’s name next to Frank in an alley.
Could you have asked much more from this Shameless finale? This hour had every element of a great episode: Laughs, fights, love, reconciliation, and — perhaps most importantly — the Gallagher siblings appreciating and supporting each other. Plus, V and Kev are finally back in the mix where they belong. It’s likely no mistake an episode this completely on-point was written and directed by executive producer John Wells, who’s been a consistent presence during the show’s development over seven seasons.
Say what you will about some of Fiona’s personal choices, but this has been one of Emmy Rossum’s strongest seasons to date. In her final blowout with Frank, we’re reminded just how much of Fiona’s existence has been dedicated to her brothers and sisters — pretty much all of it, filling the shoes of two absentee parents beginning at such a young age. Perhaps everyone’s bravery and strength should actually be attributed to her. And thankfully, after a recent contract dispute came to an end, Emmy will be getting (at least some of) the credit she deserves for carrying this show for the last several years.
And just when you think you have no more empathy for Frank, he shares a few touching words that make you think “Perhaps it will all be okay.” That’s how this finale felt to me, anyway…like things will be okay for the Gallaghers. I’m more excited than ever to see where the family takes us next.
Let us know in the comments how you felt about episode 12 and the whole of season 7. See you next year and thanks for following along!
- Maybe Frank is the smart man we always suspected he was. He went to college and was on track for all kinds of internships; from his side of the story, Monica was the one who was his downfall. Let’s hope Lip doesn’t continue this trajectory.
- Frank: “Monica’s dead.”
Debbie: “I know. We were there.”
- Fiona haggling about Monica’s burial expenses with funeral director Connie, played by a fantastic Kerri Kenney.
- “Okay, Connie, what’s the cheapest way I can get this woman into the ground?” —Fiona
- “It’s your mother’s legacy to her children. It’s like a family heirloom! Only drugs!” —Frank, on the seven pounds of crystal meth that Monica wanted to leave for her children
- Carl and Ian going for a run that quickly turned into a race.
Much like the premiere, this episode had a stellar soundtrack.
- When Carl walked his way back into the Gallagher house – “We Trying to Stay Alive” by Wyclef Jean ft. John Forté, Pras
- Dance party back at the house: “Worship” by Lizzo
- The montage at the end of everyone getting their lives together: “Show Me Love” by Laura Mvula
- Song in the credits, after Lip yells at the audience: “Lean” by VHS Collection