Shameless season 9, episode 12 recap: You’ll Know Rock Bottom When You Hit It


Shameless has many types of characters but there are only two types of drunks.

Frank has many apples fallen from his tree on Shameless. Though Frank continues to make comments lamenting Ingrid’s departure with a belly full of a Gallagher’s, those are not his kids. That ten thousand dollar check to cash is his though, to merrily drink away as he pleases.

Frank is a happy drunk. He may rant about in ways offensive to some working types, but not those with delicate Southside sensibilities. The patrons of The Alibi are used to Frank’s tirades; some even made sense. Fiona’s verbal onslaughts, however, are just grating ear beatings of brooding bar stool with a pulse.

Fiona is not a happy drunk. Fiona is a mean, mean drunk. Even though she eventually profited from Frank’s opportunist power outage hustle, she did take some convincing. And some alcohol. Just a bit more booze and Fiona could drop her initial protestations and join the degraded ways of Frank Gallagher. Just a bit more booze.

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The Chicago Blackout was a terrible tragedy. A horrendous few hours of heat and uncomfortably warm beer with the cheap surf and turf neighborhood cookout. Ice was a scare item for most of the day. Only a few blocks stood between Fiona’s Southside riot squad and the Cubs game. Only the quick work of sober, or functionally drunk, energy company employees restored power and peace to the streets of Chicago.

Fiona is the only person with the power to bring herself peace from her months long binge full of blackouts. Her old building and dreams are all but crushed, everything around Fiona is being torn down. The world is moving past Fiona as she slowly sips her vodka. The more she sips, the meaner she becomes.

Lip may seem mean, but he is only trying to help. The AA program is not quick or easy, but it is the best he knows. There are still babies in the Gallagher house needing a safe home. Fiona tried to provide that as best as she could. Save for one Liam overdose, Fiona raised some decently adjusted kids. Carl, Lip, Liam, and Debbie are all doing well enough to make a decent life for themselves. Ian is likely still fine in prison, but either way, that definitely falls on Frank.

Frank only feels terrible about Fiona though. Frank does not feel bad about Fiona’s lost job, investments, or failed relationships. Those things happen. It takes a lot of work to raise six kids, but how did Frank screw up parenting so badly as to raise a terrible drunk. Every Gallagher is born with the power to fend for themselves and have a good time. It’s Frank’s series-opening monologue for goodness sake!

Fiona has failed at a lot in the last nine years and has been able to bounce back. Having actual responsibility at Patsy’s Pies, owning an apartment building, and generally feeling like a responsible adult that made it was Fiona’s drug. Losing that high broke Fiona, and sent her to the bottle. Frank likely lived the same story, long before even Fiona was grown.

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Fiona finally woke up and saw rock bottom. It was Frank lying next to her, sleeping soundly in his homeless alcoholism. Fiona carried herself to an AA meeting after seeing that scene. Lip’s only requirement for her getting back into the Gallagher house is the one thing that could save Fiona’s life from becoming Frank’s.

Shameless has only two more episodes left this season, and Emmy Rossum has announced her departure from the show. How will she go out? Is Fiona headed to rehab, or will a quick relapse after her first meeting send her into street urchin status?