Shameless Finale Recap: 'Is This Family Ever Going to Catch a Break?' -- Plus: A Huge Twist!

Shameless Jimmy/Steve AliveShowtime’s Shameless wrapped up its best season yet on Sunday night with moments of catharsis, clarity and a huge cliffhanger.

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Hopefully, you stuck around past the initial closing credits, because that’s when a car drives up to the Gallagher house. “Jack, are you going to go inside?” the female driver (played by Dollhouse‘s Dichen Lachman!) asks. Before the man sitting in the passenger seat even turns around, you already know who it is, but that doesn’t make the reveal that Jimmy/Steve (Justin Chatwin) is alive any less thrilling. (The episode’s title, “Lazarus,” could also have been a giveaway had Frank not had his own near death experience and rising.)

The twist — which not even star Emmy Rossum knew about! — was actually kind of validating. Just earlier in the episode, as Fiona was making her way through the house, I found myself wondering what Jimmy/Steve would think of what her life has become. Would he even fit into it anymore? Whatever the answers, it doesn’t seem we’ll find them out any time soon. Jack replies that he won’t be going inside the house tonight.

Even without that surprise, Sunday night’s finale would still have been a terrific finish to an even better season. This year, the show allowed its characters to evolve and really plumbed their emotional depths. And no one had a richer arc than Fiona, who gets out of prison early in the episode because of overcrowding. Her parole officer (played by Regina King, the master of tough love) hooks her up with a job at a diner run by Jeffrey Dean Morgan and tells her she needs to take responsibility for her own life.

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“It’s all me,” Fiona later says, sitting on the steps with Lip. She can’t blame Frank or Monica or nature or nurture anymore for what’s happened.

“You’re not perfect, Fiona,” Lips offers her. “None of us are.”

Meanwhile, another family crisis hits when Mickey can’t get Ian out of bed. Unfortunately, the Gallaghers are all too familiar with this kind of behavior. “Is this family ever going to catch a break?” Fiona wonders. When she suggests it could be bipolar disorder, like their mom had, and that Ian might need to be hospitalized, Mickey freaks out and insists that Ian stay with him.

“I can take care of him!” he exclaims. “He’s f–king family.” How’s that for coming a long way?

But while even Mickey has evolved, a recovering Frank may be back to his old ways. While Sheila and Sammi fight over him, Carl whisks him out of the hospital and brings him to an icy bank. Despite being told by his doctor that he can’t drink alcohol, he takes a swig from a bottle and yells into the void, “That all you got? That’s it. I’m still here, you f–ker! I’m alive! You see me? You see me standing here? You lost, asshole.” Then he offers the bottle to Carl. “A little nibble won’t hurt you,” he says. Wanna bet?

Elsewhere in the hour:

* Lip and Amanda’s “relationship” gets even weirder as she buys him a fancy suit for her sorority’s pining ceremony so she can make all the other girls jealous. (Anybody else think for a second that this was some weird mass marriage ritual?)

* Carl’s sorta girlfriend Bonnie abandons him after he tries to give her a present.

* Sheila loses her petition to gain custody of the five Native American kids.

* And Debbie? She’s still obsessed with Matty.

Shameless fans, grade the episode via the poll below, then hit the comments to back up your pick and sound off on Jimmy’s surprise appearance. Plus: Did the show lose its guts by not killing off Frank?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Song says:

    any1 knows the name of the song played at the end of the episode?

  2. Loren says:

    I am curious to know why they haven’t aged Liam. Or given him actual lines. Or started really addressing the fact that this is a black kid that we’re all to believe is a blood relative to this white family. And for all the amazing writing of this show I am disappointed that the only black males on this show have essentially no lines. Liam never talks (I mean he looks about 3 and kids re talking by then, especially television children. i.e. Michelle from Full House, Lily from Modern Family, or Olivia (Raven Simone) on The Cosby Show… Also Mandy’s boyfriend couldn’t be a bigger stereotype of the “menacing and dangerous black man”. It’s so bad that he never even uses actual words. All he gets to do is grunt, beat up and chase white people, and then there’s the constant references to his large black penis. I love this show, but for the black characters they really have to do better. Or just do like Game of Thrones and leave them off entirely!

  3. Dan says:

    Did anyone catch it when Karen was being loaded into the van and JUST as the door slides shut she rolls her eyes and turns her head???? There is nothing wrong with her……

  4. Actually I had given up on season 4 Coz of Jimmy but now am eager to watch it after his return…..they (fiona& Jimmy) make t awesome

  5. Actually I had given up on season 4 Coz of Jimmy but now am eager to watch it after his return…..they (fiona& Jimmy) make t awesome…luv the Gallagher family

  6. Arthur Burlo says:

    I was totally expecting Jimmy to come back. It was so obvious he wasn’t dead. Since episode one I was wondering when he would come back. When the episode almost ended and I didn;t see him, I was surprised, but then it happened.

    Love Mickey and his coming out! Best TV coming out ever: the kind of coming out every gay guy should have: a hot boyfriend, alcohol, punches, blood and police arresting everyone! YEAH! Sad that afterwards Ian got so sick. :(

  7. Chandra Page says:

    No guts, chickened out by not killing off Frank. His character has nothing new to add….boring.