Is it possible to go to prison and come away with a happy ending? Seems impossible, but Ian Gallagher just pulled it off.
As previously announced, Sunday’s “Face It, You’re Gorgeous” is Cameron Monaghan’s final Shameless episode, ending his nine-season run as the formerly red-haired, third Gallagher child, and it was a beautiful conclusion to his story (at least for now).
Considering the significance of the episode, the Shameless shameless rankings will take a week off, being replaced by a traditional recap that can do justice to Ian’s farewell and the show’s strong send-off.
Picking up weeks or months after Ian pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, he’s spending his last day of freedom moving his stuff up to the attic and telling his siblings that he just wants a normal day — except for a family White Castle dinner. So the rest of the Gallaghers go about their business: Debbie heads to work; Lip has a gig as a sober companion; Carl is working out with new lady friend Kelly; and Frank takes Liam to wait for the release of mental patient Ingrid (Katey Sagal), whom Pops is carrying a flame for after their crazed run-in last week.
Elsewhere, Fiona is preparing for a big move, committing to an expensive new apartment to share with Ford. But that plan suddenly looks less appealing when Max reveals that the retirement home they’re investing in together needs an influx of cash, approximately $25,000 each. Her attempt to pull out and get her original money back doesn’t work, so instead she pulls out of moving, which causes a heated argument with Ford.
Meanwhile, Ian decides that while he hangs around the Gallagher household, he should partake in the survival lessons that Kelly is giving Carl. And if these dangerous moves aren’t enough, Antonio, a friend of one of Ian’s followers from his last time in prison, comes by to give Ian a rundown on the facility where he’ll spend the next two years.
Next door, the Balls are spending their day watching Paw Patrol and trying to have sex, and it’s only trying because they’re interrupted by Sister Francis from their daughter’s school (remember, the twins are pretending to be one person). One of the girls brought a dildo to school for show and tell. As a result, Kev and V are called in to see the head priest, who has a dark sexual history of his own, making for the genius casting of Bob Saget. The talk from the father leads the Balls to decide that it’s time to get rid of their impressive collection of adult toys.
Across town, Lip is helping out Barney and covering for a few hours as the sober companion for Jen Wagner, played by Courteney Cox. Jen is a famous actress who is in town to speak at a stockholder’s meeting for the cosmetic company she represents, and they don’t want a repeat of her last commercial, which became a famous internet moment when she showed up drunk for filming. The two bond as Lip chases her around the city, doing everything he can to stop her from drinking, even tackling her and turning down her sexual bribery.
NEXT: Our final goodbye to Ian…
Frank makes his triumphant return to the psych ward, where he came many times to see Monica. It was clearly his old home away from home considering how happy the guard is to see both Frank and Liam. But the good times are halted when they see Ingrid, who’s much more subdued as she’s released to her ex-husband (played by Andy Buckley, a.k.a. David Wallace from The Office!) and acts as if she’s never seen Frank before. That doesn’t stop him; he leaves Liam behind, steals a bike, and follows Ingrid home, which is right next door to her ex’s house. Once she’s alone, Frank knocks on her door and declares his intentions, saying she has nothing to be ashamed about. “I don’t like that part of me,” she admits, with Frank responding, “I do.” Looks like you might have that new mommy soon, Liam!
After being turned down for another loan and turning down Antonio’s offer of an illegal way to get the cash, Fiona is in full meltdown mode. She heads to Patsy’s and takes money out of the safe, but it’s not nearly enough so she puts it back. Then, rather than go to family dinner, she drinks during a work party and continues the drinking later, going down by the water with one of her employees. Their drinking and wallowing is temporarily interrupted by Kev and V throwing their sex toys into the lake, but things take a turn when the employee kisses Fiona, who realizes she needs to apologize to Ford.
Well, he’s actually the one who’s going to need to do a lot more than just apologize. When she gets home, Ford’s not there, so she tracks his iPhone to a house, where she finds him, a kid, and a woman named Patty, who I’m starting to think isn’t his mother, which is what he said when the name previously came up on his second phone (the signs were there). The scumbag has a secret family but insists that he’s getting a divorce. Fiona is hysterical and drunk and shouldn’t be driving, but she does. When she finally crashes her car, she just leaves it behind.
Over at the family dinner that Fiona skipped, Kelly, Carl, Debbie, Lip, Jen, and Ian have a night filled with White Castle, Gallagher stories, and more hot kisses for Debbie (this time with Jen). The evening ends with a nice little scene on the porch with Lip and Ian as the brothers share a cigarette, silence, and each other’s company.
The next morning, everyone is gathered at the house, except for Fiona who has gone MIA. So Kev steps in and drives the entire clan to the prison to drop off Ian. Upon arrival, it’s clear that the Gay Jesus team won’t be coming. “You can only count on family, dude,” declares Carl as he goes in for a hug. The emotional goodbyes continue with a group hug, Kev making a joke about not getting too raped, and one last bonding moment between arguably the two closest Gallagher children. “Thanks for being my brother,” Ian tells Lip, to which he replies, “I never had a choice.” Ian cries, I cry, you surely cried.
We then follow Ian into his new home. Once locked into his cell, he stares around at his future. Then, while his back is turned, the cell door reopens. It must be time to meet his cellmate. “Holy f—.” Holy f— is right, Ian. IT’S MICKEY!!!! The love of Ian’s life, who was last seen escaping prison and going to Mexico, is very much back in the states and back in prison. It turns out he ratted on the cartel he was working for in exchange for getting to pick where he’d be locked up. “I got bottom, so you’re on top,” he says to Ian — and he’s not just talking about the bunks! Mickey lays down, Ian jumps on top of him, and they begin kissing.
And that is how we said goodbye to Ian Gallagher. I’m sure the internet will be delighted at that ending — I know I was. Let us know what you thought in the comments below, and make sure to come back next Sunday for our take on the Shameless midseason finale.