Shameless 9x12 “You’ll Know the Bottom When You Hit It” Review
Frank and Fiona’s dynamic has changed greatly over Shameless’s nine season run, their constant verbal sparring somehow leading to the pair scheming and drinking together. If we should take anything from this week’s episode in particular, it’s that Gallaghers will be Gallaghers.
When a blackout strikes, the Southside struggles to stay cool. Much of the episode takes place at the Alibis, where Kev and V continue to serve warm beer to their usual patrons and attempt to figure out what to do with the $500 worth of meat that’s thawing out in their freezer. Meanwhile, Frank and Fiona decide to make the best of the situation and start up a Blackout Supplies business.
The two stumble around the city stealing a kiddie pool, ice, various drinks, batteries and the like and set up a stand underneath the L train, a landmark from earlier seasons. And perhaps having learned from the best, Fiona scams Frank into giving her 60% of the profits they make.
Across town, Xan is taken by DCFS. Lip attempts to call her all day, but she doesn’t pick up. Work doesn’t seem to be an effective distraction. On top of all this, Tammi is pregnant, and Tammi’s sisters come to the shop and threaten Lip, concerned that he won’t stick around and provide for the unborn child.
When Lip gets sent home for “having a bad day,” he runs into Fiona. Despite Lip’s attempts to explain to Fiona that she can’t be in the house with Liam and Franny there while in her alcoholic state, Frank backs his daughter up. In a last attempt to get through to her, Lip advises her to get to an AA meeting. However, it doesn’t seem like Fiona has much interest in that, as she cracks open another beer and storms off.
Carl and Debbie also butt heads, unable to share Kelly. Carl fears the two girls are getting too close, especially with Debbie semi-recently declaring she likes women. Paranoid, Carl volunteers to leave work when the power goes out and follows Debbie to Kelly’s softball game, where the two compete for her attention from the stands. By the end of the night, Kelly is fed up with Carl’s clinginess and breaks up with him.
With no sign of the blackout ending, Kevin and Veronica decide to throw a cookout. All of the South side seems to show up, and unsurprisingly, follow Fiona in an angry mob when it’s revealed that the rest of Chicago already has their power back. The protest is short lived when their efforts actually work, but Fiona isn’t done being angry. The crowd stumbles back to the Alibis, where she berates them for forgiving and forgetting so easily.
All the while, Veronica, who skipped out on the protest, is forced to make a tough decision. Though she’s agreed to let Fiona stay with her, Lip warns her not to. He fears that Veronica’s enabling is only hurting Fiona. Veronica wants to help her friend, and makes the tough decision to retract her offer.
Fiona wakes up the next morning on the floor of her abandoned apartment building, Frank just a few feet away from her, still asleep. She’s visibly weak and can barely stand, having to cling onto the stairs for dear life. This must be the rock bottom we’ve been waiting for her to hit, because soon after, she shows up at an AA meeting, one that Lip just happens to be at.
I’m so glad that Fiona showed up to a meeting, I really am. But again, why wasn’t AA suggested to Fiona by Lip episodes ago? I actually went back and watched some of Season 7, when Lip was struggling with his own alcohol addiction, and it was infuriating to see how quickly people in his life jumped to help him and make sure he was okay. They didn’t babysit him, but they checked up on him. As soon as he started to go downhill, Fiona recognized over the phone that something was wrong and asked if he wanted to meet to talk.
Where was this attitude from the other Gallaghers when they could physically see Fiona’s condition deteriorating?
It took this long for anyone to suggest any kind of help to Fiona, and in the same episode she got that help. That AA scene could’ve felt so much more satisfying if we actually saw Fiona work for it, struggle to fight the voice in her head that tells her she needs help for more than half an episode.
It’s as if everyone around Fiona only just started to care about her wellbeing in this episode, and it wasn’t prompted by anything in particular. She got fired two episodes ago now and arrested in the last one. So why has this worry and this conversation been so delayed?
Also, where is Liam? He’s been missing for two episodes if we don’t count Lip mentioning his name, but it’s the middle of summer. He isn’t at school, so why is he visibly missing? One could argue that he’s not important to the plot right now, but even Franny was included in a couple of scenes. Lip might want to worry less about adopting Xan and more about finding/taking care of Liam.
Now that Fiona is actually going to AA, it seems like she might be turning her life around. And from the next episode’s previews, it looks like she and Lip are going to have an actual talk. Why has it taken this long? I have no clue. I’m not sure why the writers hate making their characters actually interact with each other, but their strategy isn’t translating.
Two characters that actually did interact this episode were Fiona and Frank, and the dialogue between them was much needed. I never knew that I actually had the capacity to agree with Frank, but his speech about Fiona being an angry drunk was incredible. I may not want Fiona to end up like Frank, but I’m glad that the show decided to explore their dynamic in a new way before Emmy makes her exit. Both of these actors are so talented, so it’s no surprise that their scenes were my favorites of the episode.
We’re going into the last few episodes of the season and of Emmy’s run, so I’m hoping things will finally start looking up. It’s safe to say that Fiona has finally hit rock bottom and will begin her ascend back into normal life, but then again, she’s unpredictable. I’m still worried about where Shameless is headed though, and every episode I watch of this season makes me more sure of that. It’s rumored that Cameron Monaghan, who plays Ian, will return for the finale and possibly make a cameo next season, so maybe he’ll reclaim his role of Gay Jesus and save this show. Is that possible at this point, though? Personally, I’m not so sure.
Shameless airs Sundays on Showtime at 9/8c.