The best way to talk about a season finale is to look back at the arc of the entire season.
We’ll start with Kevin, V, and Svetlana. After duking it out all season, Svet becoming depressed over her rival beating her to ultimate gold digger status opened the door for our favorite next door neighbors to get her to move on clean and clear. Lining up an old wealthy man is a challenge though and Svet got desperate last week with her replacement bride scheme. A risk, to say the least, Kevin and V go along with it, working to cover all the angles to get Svet hitched in a wedding most people seemingly already saw as a sham. They do find success in getting the bride to the altar with a near-death groom but this story isn’t over yet. Coming into this I thought two things could happen: it would blow up on the wedding day or Svet would get away with it and her time on the show would come to an end. The writers have a different idea. Svet gets married but there is a prenup. There is no info on the actual clauses but it’s definitely going to be The Next Problem for this trio (and Svet currently doesn’t know it exists). Not sure how I feel about this as it felt like this story for Kevin and V had been heading for closure. Kevin’s family that came around this year seems to be forgotten and his domination angle disappeared without a word (strange that they never gave V her scene to shut it down). While this group will always be the third string in the story department, I’d like to see them get mixed back into the Gallagher whirlwinds.
Deb has been a soldier all season long. Doing her best to be independent and provide for Frannie, she doesn’t take grief from anyone. Sure she’s made some bad decisions but she took a horrible injury like a champ and continued on her way. Derek made one last appearance to give her one more life hurdle to navigate. He’s getting married to the woman he found after ditching her and Frannie and wants joint custody of his daughter. He left because he was a scared kid with nothing going on and now that he’s made his own moves in life he wants to get involved and be responsible. This, of course, makes Deb furious that all this time later he now wants to be a decent person. She ends up talking to Carl of all people (in a rather odd scenario) about it and it sounds like she could be warming up to the idea that getting help from Derek would make her and Frannie’s life better. Child support would be huge but I don’t know how well Deb would deal with Derek’s wife being around her daughter all the time. It’s a grown-up decision, that’s for sure. Not sure if Debbie has grown up much in that department though.
Speaking of Carl, he takes the male Gallagher route in decision making by running from his problems. Sure he loves Kassidi (as much as a trapped teenager can be) and wants to be with her but his obligations to his Army brothers is just as strong. Since Kassidi can’t be reasoned with, running is the easiest option. She catches him though and chains him to the bed which makes you wonder how much of this she’s actually thought out. Lucky for her, Debbie is no help to him (everyone did tell him not to marry the crazy girls so he’s gotta learn). Unfortunately, Liam is a help to him. With a midnight assist, Carl makes it to the Greyhound bus out of town.
Liam’s been bobbing around this season like a cork. He pops up in everyone’s lives (usually in the kitchen) but he’s been closest to Frank. I must say this has probably been Frank’s best behaved season. He hasn’t truly done anything horrific to his family and managed to do a lot of good. Even for Liam. Sure he got him involved in some scams, but nothing that would pull him down the drain. Until the last con, to rob the father of Liam’s friend. Everything else has been a pretty easy explanation for Frank to get Liam on his side. But this one involves a friend, a person Liam cares about (and is a reprieve from his Southside Chicago life). He stakes out the mansion for Frank (quite smoothly might I add, he’s picked up on quite a few grifting tricks from Frank) and it looks like it could be quite the heist. But Liam is different from Frank, he has a much louder conscience that points him in the right direction. He gives Frank the wrong code to disarm the alarm system and leaves him to fend for himself. Rather poetic and a smart way to keep himself clear of getting the Frank Gallagher reputation of “Do Not Trust.” What doesn’t kill Frank… lets him live to scam another day. At this point it’s for the best, he doesn’t know any other way to live.
Ian has been looking for a reason to live for awhile. A sense of purpose is the better way of putting it. This “Gay Jesus” title seems to fill that void. Being an EMT he’s recognized that he enjoys helping people. This social movement that is growing behind him gives him the attention that I think he ultimately craves. Blowing up a van is rather extreme and has consequences that take Trevor to remind him of. Blowing up that van did get him tens of thousands of internet views so his time in the spotlight is far from over, as witnessed by his grand display when he gets arrested.
Lip is another Gallagher who has been searching for himself. He’s lived through others, taking on their problems, to avoid is own. It’s easier to ruminate on problems that aren’t your own. While everyone rises and falls around him, he’s been diligent about keeping sober. That’s really the only tangible goal he’s had in some time. That and the project motorcycle Brad handed over to him. Idle hands are the devil’s playground and building something has served Lip well when he has nothing else concrete to turn to. So through Charlie screwing up and Lip doing his best to stay out of it, pushed Sierra back to him. With all the relationship drama it’s made him think about himself. How he met Sierra and what their relationship was like. In a major milestone, he realizes that them being together isn’t good for either of them. He’s still in murky waters. He wasn’t sober for any part of the time they were together. He doesn’t know what will make him happy and what he wants so he can’t be a reliable partner for her. It’s pretty stunning idea coming from him. Lip doing the breakup is something I didn’t foresee. She’s shattered and he’s not too happy about it either but he’s finally putting himself first. He tells Brad (whose on an upswing) who agrees he made the right call. Eddie meanwhile, has taken off leaving her niece in the lurch. She’s around the shop all the time so Lip has become friends with her and seeing a kid in need of help brings out the nurturer in him. Unlike his role with Sierra, he can do a better job at giving this kid some stability until she finds out what’s next for her.
This season Fiona has been making professional moves. Wheeling and dealing trying to climb up that economic ladder. She’s done well (with a side of luck) until this lawsuit threatens the rest of her life. And then there is Ford, the looming question mark in her personal life. She has a lot to figure out and she works things out with Ford first. After being run over by Sean she turned to Tinder to cope. No dating, no commitments, no attachments. Just hookups. So when she met Ford, she had enough of the hookup world. Maybe she wants a relationship after all. Ford’s a mystery though. A world traveler with relationships all over the world (and even when they’ve broken up, they’re still friendly? Who does that? That’s the real head-scratcher for Fiona who’s known and seen only dysfunctional couples aside from Kev and V). So they’ve hooked up and gotten close over the summer but there’s…ambiguity to it. So she flat out asks him: what are we? What are we doing? Is this future worthy? Considering what he’s gone through with (and for) her and he hasn’t run for the hills, I’ve been thinking he’s ready to commit. He’s seen and known her enough to know what’s up. And he tells her as much. With this revelation, she’s ready to tackle her lawsuit problem. She gets advice from the developer that bought the laundromat after getting some rather unnerving options from her lawyer. The tip: give them an ultimatum that won’t kill you and will seem like a good last-ditch deal for them. And who gives Fiona the tip-off to start the bargaining? Frank. Seek out Pyro Pete. He makes a smoke bomb that successfully forces the squatters out of her building and then the final press: lean on the greed of the husband. She offers them a few thousand bucks in cash to drop the lawsuit and take off. Plus, a promise to send them monthly payments for the next year wherever they land. She wisely puts the crunch of the decision process, telling them a lawsuit can take years to play out and bluffs that her lawyer is sure Fiona is going to win and they’d get nothing. Burning cash in front of them starts the timer for the rash decision. Fiona’s gamble pays off when the husband folds. She is free of a major problem and things are looking up.
While not the best season of the show, it was another solid one to add to the series. The absurdity was reigned in, keeping it from falling off the rails. While that made for fewer high stakes situations and dark humor, I liked the balance. Especially because the journey of a lot of the characters (I’d put Lip as my favorite) was really good. A good sense of movement and I’m still all in to see what happens to the Gallagher family next.