Fittingly, the Shameless season 8 finale, “Sleepwalking,” begins how so many of the recent episodes have — with a busy morning at the Gallagher household. Both Lip and Carl are trying to make early exits without their ladies knowing. Lip’s unsuccessful as Sierra wakes up as he’s leaving for work. “I’m proud of you,” she shares. “This last year… you’re strong. I didn’t know that before.” She drops the L-bomb, which Lip reciprocates, but not before a noticeable pause. Lip’s struggle to quickly get out of the house continues when he comes upon Carl attempting to climb out the window. The newly married teenager needs to run some errands and asks Lip to tell Kassidi that he’s in the shower.
Even when Lip gets outside, he can’t leave yet. Liam is passed out in the yard, since apparently he’s a big sleepwalker. Lip brings his youngest brother inside, where Kassidi is whipping up breakfast and Frank’s planning “one more big score.” As predicted, Frank wants to rob Dylan’s house when they take Liam on vacation to the Caribbean. “We have a moral duty to rip this a–hole off,” argues Frank, who likens himself to Robin Hood, although he’s the only poor person he’ll be giving the wealth to. He says Liam can go on the trip, but first, the boy needs to take pictures of the valuables and get the security code. Meanwhile, Kassidi is tired of waiting on Carl and goes to check on him in the bathroom, leading to her shrieking. When Liam asks what’s going on, Frank replies, “Marital bliss.”
Speaking of marriage, quite the situation is taking place next door. Kev, V, and Svetlana are standing over a tied and gagged Frelania. Also as predicted, Svetlana’s plan is to take Frelania’s place in marrying her rich, old, senile fiancé. One problem: Frelania’s mom is en route. Second problem: She’s a cannibal. Third problem: Frelania has to pee. That last one gets solved by Kev pulling down her pants (revealing “Yes, daddy?” underwear) so she can use a bowl. And in hopes of neutralizing the mom, Kev and V go to pick her up at the airport. Kev is armed with a driver’s outfit and a sign that has the cannibal’s first name, with the last name misspelled and scratched out, replaced by “super long last name.” Never change, Kevin Ball. Upon arriving back at the Alibi, they take care of problems No. 1 and 2 by knocking out Frelania’s mom with a glass of valium-infused vodka.
Like she has been so often this season, Fiona is absent from the busy Gallagher morning. But that’s okay, as it’s never a dull moment at their house. After reacting to Debbie’s burned off toes, Fiona gets a similar suggestion from Frank in terms of dealing with her unwanted tenants. Frank says she should “burn them out” and even recommends a guy named Pyro Paulie for the job. Speaking of illegal activities, Trevor shows up looking for Ian, for whom there’s an arrest warrant out (I guess you can’t just light cars on fire anymore). Fiona can’t get ahold of her brother and worries he’s once again gone off his meds.
Fiona also has her own legal problems to deal with. She goes to meet with her unnamed lawyer, a.k.a Janice from Friends, who reveals that the homeless people are willing to settle the lawsuit in exchange for $3 million, the title to the building, and the dog. Oh, that’s it? The dog is a step too far for Fiona. Instead of taking the deal, Janice suggests Fiona sell the building, spend the money, and then file for bankruptcy. Damn Janice, that doesn’t seem like ethical advice — but I love it! Heeding that counsel, Fiona negotiates a sale with Margo, who’s lowballing her. Fiona passes on the deal and, in turn, passes Margo’s test. Fiona’s entrepreneur role model says the neighborhood is on the rise and she should make the squatters one final offer.
She’s not the only Gallagher taking care of business at Patsy’s. Carl hides a duffle bag in the back office, which Sierra assumes is full of either drugs or cash. But this isn’t the old Carl, so it’s just school supplies that he’s hiding from Kassidi. Despite what he told her last week, Carl still plans on returning to school, telling Sierra that he loves Kassidi and his military brothers. “You can love two things at once if you’re not f—ing them both, right?” he asks. We can only hope so, Carl. Kassidi clearly doesn’t think so though. When Carl returns home, she tricks him into believing they’re going to have sex, but she actually uses her seduction skills to handcuff his hands and feet to the bed (just in time for the release of Fifty Shades Freed!).
Conflicted, but also determined to go to the Caribbean, Liam follows his father’s orders, takes pics of the valuables at Dylan’s house, and tricks the maid into revealing the alarm code. Frank is impressed with the recon work done by his youngest. But Liam is hoping they could rob someone else, maybe someone who isn’t their friend. Frank insists that they aren’t robbing a friend, they’re robbing the rich dad. “He’s a robber baron,” argues Frank. “Stealing food from the mouths of working class children.” This rightfully leads Liam to ask if they’ll give the stuff they steal to the less fortunate, to which Frank responds, “It’s a metaphor.” That’s a no. The father-son scheming is put on hold as the police knock on the door looking for Ian. “Who?” says Frank upon the mention of his son. “Never heard of him.” Well, at least he’s a useful father when it comes to avoiding the cops.
There is one person who does now know where Ian is. Trevor has tracked his former (current?) boyfriend to the basement of a church. The fugitive is sitting quietly, refusing to eat, and unsure what to do next. “I’m making a difference here,” he says. “I feel good. Alive.” Trevor’s not happy, because the police are threatening to round up the kids at the youth center. “These kids believe in you, but this isn’t about you helping them anymore,” opines Trevor. “This is about you loving all of the attention and their hero worship.” He wants Ian to turn himself in, declaring, “That’s what a real leader would have the courage to do.” Sorry Trevor, Ian’s not ready to do that. Instead, he wakes up the kids who are hiding out with him and tells them he needs a lot of sheets. “I know what I have to do now — and it’s big,” he reveals. Let’s pray that it’s similar to Fluffy Town.
Time to check in with Debbie. She brings Franny to a party for one of Derek’s family members. Now in the military and engaged, Derek takes the opportunity to request joint custody of his daughter, since he’s able to afford to pay child support. “Go f— yourself” is what Debbie thinks of that. Despite her initial reaction, she’s unsure if she should take her baby daddy up on his offer, so she seeks Carl’s guidance. But considering that Kassidi’s in the shower, Carl would much rather Debbie cut him loose than chit-chat. He has no such luck.
Back to the double Russian kidnapping: Kev is watching Frelania and her unconscious mother. Frelania is trying to seduce him with her underwear (could he be daddy?). He’s snapped out of it by V calling him upstairs, which is only slightly delayed by him adjusting himself. As if Kevin weren’t already speechless enough at the sight of Svetlana in her wedding dress, he’s even more so when told that he’ll walk her down the aisle (so I guess he did end up being daddy). Later at the wedding, while preparing to fulfill his duties, Kev meets the old man (still as senile as ever) and his son, who casually mentions that there’s a prenup. This is a surprise to our favorite throuple, but the wedding goes off without a hitch — although it’s worth noting that when Svetlana takes off her vail, the groom’s son clearly looks confused. (Recap continues on page 2)
Not long after breaking up a fight between Sierra and Charlie, Lip goes to Sierra’s place and finds her drinking her problems away via a few Mike’s Hard Lemonades. She apologizes for many things: the argument with Charlie; being tipsy; kissing him with liquor on her breath. The duo spend the night together, but the next morning brings shocking news. Lip tells Sierra that she should give Charlie one last chance. Admitting he’s “been drunk or high almost every day since I was 12 years old,” Lip says he doesn’t know if he loves Sierra. “I want to,” he insists. “I really do, but I’ve been sleepwalking through my life for years and I’ve been so loaded that I haven’t known what I want or who I want to be or be with… I don’t know how to be with myself, let alone someone else.” She wants him to leave. And I want Jeremy Allen White to leave and go pick up the Emmy he deserves for his performance.
Lip isn’t the only one seeking clarity. While she stakes out her building and considers taking Janice’s advice, Fiona confronts Ford about their relationship status. Are they dating? Well, that’s tricky, because he’s really good at answering a question with a question. He does admit that he’s happy, while adding that he’ll never be “madly in love” with her or anyone. Somehow, this conversation helps Fiona come to the realization that “it’s time to go Gallagher.” I’m scared to know what that could mean — there are so many options!
In this instance, going Gallagher means visiting Pyro Paulie to acquire a smoke bomb. Fiona throws it in the apartment, causing the large group of squatters to rush out. The “s—heads” are greeted by Fiona, who offers them $4,000 to head west and another $500 per month for the next year. Trina (who I just realized is Mindy Collette from Friday Night Lights) says no, but after Fiona begins burning some of the money, the husband relents and signs paperwork to end the lawsuit. Gotcha, s—heads!
Carl’s unsexy reboot of Fifty Shades of Grey continues as he and Kassidi go to bed for the night (well, stays in bed in his case). As Kassidi pictures their life together, which will include six kids, getting fat, and an apartment in the hood (what a dream!), Carl silently stares off, while Liam sadly watches what’s happened to his brother. And apparently, he subconsciously decided to do something about it, because Liam wakes up in the yard with keys in his hand and Carl wakes up unchained. Not even bothering to put on pants, Carl makes a run for it. We catch up to him boarding a bus for military school, which, as it leaves, is chased by a screaming Kassidi.
It’s Caribbean time for Liam, so he shares the alarm code to Dylan’s house with Frank — or does he? When Frank breaks in, the code doesn’t work and his calls to Liam go ignored. With the alarm going off, Frank grabs as much stuff as he can before being chased by the cops. He hops a fence and hides behind a Porta Potty. The police check there, but no sign of him. Once they leave, as evidenced below, Frank emerges from the blue chemical- and feces-filled toilet. Not evidenced: the sly smile he cracks knowing he’s pulled it off.
Bad news: Ian’s plan didn’t involve building a giant sheet fort at a local community college. Instead, Ian and his crew roll into the downtown area, unveiling a “God is gay and he loves you” banner. News crews and the police quickly — like really too quickly — show up. But when the cops announce they’re here to arrest Ian, the Gay Jesus supporters go full Spartacus. “I’m Ian Gallagher,” they declare one by one. They end up arresting everyone, which seems to be a bit of a overreaction. As he’s being cuffed, Ian has a big, cocky smile on his face, but upon being loaded into the squad car, the look switches to one of fear.
Like every other time he’s been frustrated this season, Lip heads to the shop work on his bike, which is finally done and has been given a name — Keith. Why Keith? It was the recommendation of Xan, who happens to have been abandoned again. Eddie quit, ran off to Cabo with a dude, and called social services to come get her niece. But aspiring family man Lip suggests Xan stay with him for a little. What can we say? The guy loves to take people in.
The season ends with the Gallagher kids (at least the ones who aren’t at military school or in jail) watching the news coverage of Ian’s big protest. Their attention shifts elsewhere when Papa Smurf, a.k.a Frank, now fresh from the Porta Potty and covered in blue, walks in, declaring, “Not a f—ing word.”
The most shameless character of the week: Frank. Does it get more shameless than hiding in the toilet of a Porta Potty?
What did you think? Were you expecting a big twist? Are you glad to have the old Frank back?
For more on the Shameless finale, read our postmortem interview with executive producer Nancy Pimental.