This past Sunday, on December 18th, Shameless wrapped their season 7 finale. Throughout the season, we, the audience, see each character’s highs and lows, both individually as well as collectively as a family.
- In season 7, Frank’s world is shaken again by the return of Monica, his wife that has abandoned him and his children over and over again. However, this time, Monica explains to Frank that she is dying. At the end of season 7 episode 11 and into episode 12, Monica passes away in Frank’s arms. From the announcement of Monica’s death at the hospital to Monica’s funeral, each scene shows Frank love and devotion to Monica. As many times as Monica screwed Frank over, he still welcomed her back every time because he truly loved her. Frank’s speech at Monica’s funeral puts things into perspective for the Gallagher children. “I know you didn’t think much of her, but she loved you. You wouldn’t be who you are and I wouldn’t be who I am if she didn’t come into our lives. So, hate her if you want. But she’s in you. And that’s a good thing,” Frank says. Frank’s speech shows Fiona, Lip, Ian, Debbie and Carl that in her own messed up way, Monica really did love her children.
- In season 7, Fiona is establishing herself as a business woman and aspiring to become a property owner, to own something that is hers. Throughout the season, we see Fiona make some tough decisions in putting her foot down. She refuses to continue to take care of her family members problems before her own anymore. Fiona gives up the first property that she owned, the laundry-mat, for the money. As a result, she starts to make business decisions first rather than considering the choices that affect her friends and family. One example of this is Etta, a local who used to own the laundry-mat in town. Fiona promised to buy the laundry-mat and to let Etta live in the apartment upstairs. However, Fiona takes the $160,000 offered to her and turns her back on Etta, putting her into assisted living.
- However, Fiona’s denial to sell the $10,000 worth of drugs left to her by her mother shows her moral line when it comes to making money. She is no longer scraping to get by, she has a plan for herself and for her future that will allow her to prosper. Fiona isn’t simply buying properties out of money or greed. She wants to be successful, and she is willing to make some difficult decisions in order to get there.
- Near the end of the episode, Fiona also reveals her feelings about her mother after Monica’s death. “She didn’t love any of us. She didn’t give a shit about anyone but herself,” Fiona said. “I’m glad she’s dead, at least she can’t fuck us over any more.” This scene, along with the scene where Fiona is left alone with her deceased mother, reveals how Fiona felt about Monica at the end of their relationship. Fiona hits Monica dead body in the pit of her stomach, the same pain Fiona felt for so many years being abandoned by her parents time and time again and having to take care of each of her siblings as if they were her own children.
- Fiona and each of the Gallagher children that she raised into the strong, ambitious characters that they are will no longer be undermined or disturbed by Monica’s words or actions.
- In season 7, we see Lip’s struggle with alcoholism and addiction. Towards the end of the season 7 finale, Lip says, “I think I really fucked it all up.” Lip believes that it may be too hard to start over. But with encouragement, he realizes that he is surrounded by people who love him and believe in him. From friends and family, to someone he hasn’t known for more than a few weeks, they all encourage him. They support Lip, telling him that he can stay sober, that he can go back to school, that he can still have the future that he deserves.
- In season 7, Ian attempts to get his life together. He searches for a stable, healthy relationship, and works hard to establish a career path that he loves. Ian finds that in helping people, working as an EMT. However, towards the end of season 7, Mickey comes back into Ian’s life. Ian initially choose Mickey and the passion that they have together over a stable life. However, he soon realizes that this life style that him and Mickey shared together, running away from their problems and living in the moment rather than planning for the future, that this isn’t Ian’s life anymore. Ian knows that he needs stability. Despite Ian’s love for Mickey, Ian makes the decision to leave him for the sake of his own life. In one of the final scenes, Ian goes to the boarder patrol location to watch Mickey, making sure that he passes through safely. Although Ian tells Mickey he loves him before he leaves him, his actions of making sure Mickey is safe shows the extent of how much Ian really loves Mickey. Similar to Fiona’s situation, Ian has to make challenging decisions, even if it means letting something or someone you love go.
- In season 7, the audience sees the aftermath of Debbie’s highs and lows and her struggles as a single mother. Debbie has figured out a plan for herself, marrying Neil, finding a home, plans of attending welding school. She plans to establish a career for herself; rather than just marrying someone who has money or getting by with a part-time job. Debbie is doing what she has to do for the sake of her child. It shows her progression as a character and as someone responsible for another life.
- In season 7, Carl chooses to leave the South Side and attend military school. Carl has always been there for his family, even though he has made terrible decisions. But the affect of military school has seemingly taught Carl to have respect for his family and those around him. An example of this is when Carl picks up groceries for his family on his way home from military school. This simple act displays his thought and consideration for his family in a new light. But the reason’s behind his choice to attend military school are greater. Carl’s decision allows him to create a future for himself that is better than the environment he was forced into. Growing up, Carl served as Frank’s right hand man, helping Frank in whatever scheme he has plotted. At the end, Carl helps his father one last time, giving tribute to his mother with an old activity (tagging). Carl is the youngest of the Gallagher siblings, with the exception of Liam, who is able to comprehend what is going on. He is able to make his own decisions. Yet, Carl’s sense of devotion and loyalty in supporting his family members, towards even his addiction driven parents who abandoned him over and over, is still strongly in tact.
At the end of season 7, the closing scenes highlight each of the Gallagher children who are no longer children. They are, or are becoming, adults. Each of them are planning for their futures and how they are going to do better and be better than their parents, despite the obstacles put in front of them.
- Debbie is attending welding school classes.
- Ian returns to his job as an EMT
- Lip continues to go to AA meetings for his alcoholism
- Fiona takes the apartment complex building and starts her career as an owner of a property
- Carl is devoted to military school
In past season finales, there have been small moments. Moment of closure or defeat or conquer for certain characters, or a dramatic cliff hanger that left the audience waiting. But in the season 7 finale, everyone had their own moment of closure after Monica’s death. Monica’s death shows how each Gallagher faces the loss of someone who was never really there for them; but it also provides them each with something greater. The season finale’s ending shows each of the Gallagher’s creating and planning for their futures, something Frank and Monica could never grasp.