“The only thing that’s permanent is impermanence. Change is the only constant…”
Change is not a simple thing. This entire farewell season of Shameless has functioned as a test of change from many different angles, but the figures have reached a point where they must stop running and face these developments now that there are only 3 episodes left in the series.
“Survivors” is a busy episode that puts every character out of their comfort zone and at the center of transformations of different severities.
Kevin carrying over parenting duties for a day or Carl’s transfer to a different police department are barely as drastic as Vee’s mum moving from Chicago or the ultimate fate of the Gallagher home, but they light a fire under everyone in the same way. The Gallaghers are a resilient family of adorable cockroaches, but”Survivors” pushes the concept that if you don’t proceed with all the changes then the changes will certainly move you.
The last few episodes of Shameless have largely been preoccupied with all the sad decline of Terry Milkovich, which has also functioned as a powerful counterpoint to the Gallaghers’ particular scenario with Frank’s health. Terry is gone but his soul heavily lingers in”Survivors” and it pushes forward a number of the incident’s most rewarding substance. Mickey casually echoed the sentiment, “family is family,” a few episodes back and Terry’s departure has prompted Mickey to stand by these words. It leads to some growth that surprises Mickey over anybody and he is constantly at odds with the confusing and raw feelings that bombard his episode.
Mickey is generally one of the Shameless’ broader characters and this season has thrown him into several caricature-like circumstances which take advantage of his no filter mindset. Sincerity isn’t generally the character’s strong suit, yet Mickey’s free-floating grief over his dad is compelling, new land for him. He and Ian involve themselves having an earnest and sweet story that will manage to humanize Terry in a sense and almost act as an”origin story” for his despicable racism.
Some of Noel Fisher’s greatest work from the entire series is in this event as he wistfully reminisces over dreadful moments from his youth. It becomes somewhat repetitive, but Ian’s deadpan reactions to Mickey’s”precious moments” all soil and it’s a refreshing change of pace to have Ian behave as this grounded foil. Mickey’s turn since the sympathetic one in this adventure is also the right approach. Mickey and Ian’s characterization was a little questionable at the onset of this season, but it is comforting to observe these last few episodes hit on the sweet spot of the connection.
Frank launches into a significant chapter from his past just as Ian and Mickey get to find out more about Terry’s younger years. Frank’s plan is much more maudlin than Terry’s elegy over unrequited love. The concept that Lip is selling the home remains in Frank’s mind enough that he establishes a strategy to get the essential cash to simply buy the house himself. Frank was involved with a lot of ridiculous shenanigans over the course of Shameless, but none are deluded as a strategy to rob the Art Institute of Chicago. This could be a near-impossible task for an accomplished burglar, so a severely impaired Frank does not look like he has the best probability of turning this scheme into a reality.
“Survivors” has some fun as Frank tries to get the (literally) old gang back together, but this crazy pipe dream transforms into a morbid fact check for Frank. He’s surrounded with signs of decay and he’s unexpectedly forced to come to terms with how he’s also at the end of his rope. Frank gets caught on whether he’ll still have an effective wheelman for his art heist when he should love that he still has people in his corner that care for him. Frank’s family is infinitely more precious than a treasure.
One of the most intriguing moments from this season of Shameless involves Frank’s frailty and the way everyone treats him after they become conscious of his identification. It provides each of his interactions a small additional effect and pathos. “Survivors” chips off at the notion of Frank’s legacy in yet another interesting manner, however in the long run it feels like that he was able to pull off this artwork heist entirely by himself?
Speaking of crime, Lip was completely at odds with Brad from the previous episode and ready to take items into seriously dark land, but now they’re pulled together more closely than ever before. Their volatile situation gets much more combustible as soon as they understand that their former employer has deep ties with the mafia since it seems like 90% of Chicago is corrupt in accordance with the season of Shameless. The awkward Godfather-Esque music cue that’s used when Lip and Brad meet the crime family also doesn’t change upon the scenario in the way in which the episode believes that it does. It is an unusual way to resolve the hefty danger that is followed for a quarter of the year.
On the other side of the law, Carl’s reckless act of altruism with the squad reunites him with his former partner on the eviction squad. It’s wonderful to have Joshua Malina back in this nebbish character and it seemed strange to just have him pop up for a single episode before. His fresh zen attitude about destiny raises some superfluous questions for Carl, but the character does not feel that different from before and this material fails to amount to much. Carl’s job for the authorities has made for profitable character development, but his constant rotation during Chicago’s police departments is starting to feel repetitive and aimless.
Between Carl’s job on the eviction unit along with the possibility of the Gallagher home going up available there is a lot of focus on if the lack of a house usually means the lack of a household. Vee finds herself in a situation that oddly parallels the Gallaghers’ current uncertainty when her mom goes away from Chicago and attempts to establish new roots in Louisville. Vee is chiefly critical her mother’s actions are impulsive and they won’t survive. She worries about losing a relationship with her mother and it will become a different situation where everybody is so caught up on what they might lose that they shed stock of what they have. Veronica’s maturity with her mother gets juxtaposed with Kevin’s absolute regression and failure to parent for less than 24 hours. It doesn’t go well and it is slightly misguided that this parental catastrophe ends as a punchline and not a cautionary tale.
Vee’s mother has a fancy new house in Louisville, but Liam remains left worrying if he will have any dwelling at all when the Gallagher residence goes in the marketplace. In ideal Liam fashion, he tries to solve his paranoia within the future in a style that’s more professional than every other Gallagher. There’s an inherent comedic character during Liam’s attempts to get put to a foster home or become adopted so that he’ll have somewhere to live after his house has sold.
They’re exaggerated minutes, however Liam’s concern is very real and it stays impressive to see how self-sufficient he’s become. He always thinks rationally about the future while his sisters ward off the mob and plead they don’t possess some sexually-transmitted diseases. Honestly, put Liam in control of the family and they will be thriving inside six months.
All of the chaos in”Survivors” starts and ends due to Lip’s stubborn attitude over selling the house. Lip’s insistence to induce his family to move because his life is imploding is still super problematic, but thankfully everyone finally just talks to each other and has their fears and doubts out in the open. The last moments of”Survivors” are nice and it’s long overdue that Lip communicates and listens to the people that he cares about.
It’s quite sweet that Lip promises Liam that he’ll be a part of his house and that the family’s sense of community isn’t likely to change, even when their living arrangements do. Nonetheless, this is also something which must have occurred at precisely the same time as Lip’s first proposal to sell the home as opposed to the renegade sledgehammer that went through the wall. It’s led to a couple of episodes of drama that was unnecessary, but the Gallaghers are on a front now as the series heads into its final three episodes.