Shameless 9x09 “BOOOOOOOOOOOONE!” Review
Each episode of Season 9 of Shameless has left me with the same burning question: What will become of Fiona? Ever since the midseason point, she’s been heading down a dark path. Will she ever be able to turn back?
Episode 9 picks up with Fiona in a recently familiar place, hungover in bed and with the need to self-medicate before even getting up. Fiona stumbles through the day drunk as always, but with a new and frightening level of anger that she can no longer hold in.
Perhaps it’s because Ford makes a cameo, asking Fiona for tools of his that have gone missing. Although she does have them, she accuses Ford of being narcissistic for thinking she’d take them. Fiona’s also bumps heads with Debbie, who refuses to let her use the water or even sleep in the house if she does not pay for her share of the bills. Though Fiona tries boxing to get out some of her built up anger, it just ends in her boxing instructor hitting on her and her screaming about her hatred for men.
Meanwhile, Carl fears that he may be spending too much time with his girlfriend, Kelly, and distracting her from training to get into the Naval Academy in Annapolis. Though he wants to break up with her so that she can focus on her future, she stands up to her militant father and expresses that she wants balance in her life (and a raise in her allowance). He agrees, meaning that Carl and Kelly may actually have a future together.
Lip also struggles with his relationship with Tami, whose ex-boyfriend, Boone, shows up to take part in her cancer charity run. Though she and Lip are not exclusive, he’s taken aback by her general disinterest and lack of empathy. So when Lip finds out Tami and Boone have just slept together (again), he gets back at her by sleeping with her sister. This forces Tami to confront her feelings for Lip and come to the realization that she does want to be exclusive with him. So Lip too, may actually have a promising romantic future.
Frank, meanwhile, has to find a way to support six new children. His girlfriend Ingrid who is now, unbeknownst to her, pregnant with six of Carl’s children, refuses to eliminate any of the embryos despite the danger it poses to her and the unborn children. Though Frank is denied welfare, he may have just gotten the chance of the lifetime to be the new face of a liquor called Hobo Loco. After all, if anyone is the Hobo Loco man, it’s Frank.
Elsewhere, Kev and V attempt to find foster son Santiago’s uncle Jose, his only biological family member still in the United States that they know of. Unfortunately, their attempt goes very wrong when Jose is detained for being in the country illegally.
It’s not all bad though, because Santiago has found a friend in Liam, who to his surprise can speak Spanish. Santiago helps Liam make some money so that he can pay his share of the bills, despite only being nine years old. Liam also confides in Fiona at the end of the episode, telling her that he doesn’t know if he likes boys or girls yet. If he does like girls though, he promises to never screw over a woman.
This is one of many sweet moments in the episode. While Lip and Carl are getting serious in their relationships and discussing what they really want out of life with their significant others, Liam doesn’t really know yet. If Ingrid gave him a vision board like she did with Carl and Kelly, he wouldn’t know what to put on it.
I love this focus on Liam after he was visibly absent from Episode 8 and hasn’t had much of a storyline this entire season. Liam and Santiago is a pairing I didn’t know I needed but am so glad I got, and I hope to see more sweet scenes of him adding his innocence into a world that’s so...not.
However, it’s upsetting and confusing to me that Liam is the only Gallagher who really talks to Fiona and tries to help her this episode. Lip does make a comment to Debbie about how she’s always supported them, but there’s a lot of talk and no action. It’s frustrating that nobody is seeking to help her and look after her emotional wellbeing as she’s done for so many of them in the past. I was hopeful last week that this just hadn’t come up yet, but everyone is definitely aware of the situation now and yet aren’t looking out for her at all.
Even Kev and V are absent, albeit preoccupied by Santiago’s situation. However it’s still out of character to me that Veronica hasn’t done much more than make sure Fiona got home okay after a night of drinking.
This isn’t to say that anyone else is responsible for Fiona’s actions, but there has been a strange shift in the way the Gallagher siblings interact with each other that doesn’t quite translate. Sure, they’ve all grown up and have their own lives, but they also pride themselves on sticking together and staying loyal to each other.
On a similar note, Debbie’s character development this season seems all over the place. She’s stepped up to take on a more responsible role since Fiona is incapable of doing so, but she’s also turned on her sister who cared for her and even gave her a job when she was struggling to take care of Franny. There was no inciting incident that we’ve seen that could’ve caused this shift in attitude, so is it something boiling under the surface or just poor writing?
For all its faults, this episode did have many well-written, emotional moments that made me remember why I love this show so much. Liam’s few lines to Fiona at the end of the episode were definitely a highlight, as was Kelly’s demands to her father. Prior to this scene, I had no real attachment to Kelly and didn’t quite understand her and Carl’s relationship. Now however, I can see them having a real future and don’t mind the idea of them being endgame.
And I must say, as much as I hate seeing Fiona like this, Emmy has done a phenomenal job at really bringing this storyline to life, and making me laugh out loud and want to cry within minutes.
Overall, this episode was a real turning point for many characters and made me excited to see what the rest of the season will bring. If the preview for the next episode is any indicator, it looks like Fiona is finally going to have to face reality, and I can’t wait to see if she can snap out of her funk or not.
Shameless airs Sundays on Showtime at 9/8c.