Shameless Season 4 Review “Iron City”

Episode 406

Last week’s episode of Shameless left the Gallagher’s in one of the worst positions they’ve ever been in and then, in ‘Iron City’, the show gives us the aftermath of Fiona’s birthday party with absolutely no punches pulled. Everything in this stellar episode was brutal and unflinching, sidelining the comedic plot lines and tying some of the formerly light stories like Frank’s schemes and Sheila’s new boyfriend into the overall, increasingly serious, themes of the episode and the season.

In comparison to everything Fiona and Lip are dealing with in this episode, for example, Lip’s bad grades and Fiona’s cheating scandal seem like no big deal and, while Liam’s accident will most likely be a welcome wake-up call for the latter, all of Lip’s hard work may now be wasted. Fiona’s anguish got all of the attention this week, for understandable reasons given where she found herself, but it’s Lip that has the most to lose. He might be done with his older sister right now, but it’s clear that he would give up everything in a heartbeat if it meant Liam could be spared from the foster system and the rest of the family were taken care of.

This is heartbreaking in a number of ways, but not entirely unexpected. It isn’t even unwelcome, since having Lip back in the Gallagher household has been pretty wonderful in terms of re-establishing the family dynamic. He’ll be sticking around at least until they discover how bad Frank’s liver failure has become but, after that, it’s unclear how Lip can single-handedly keep the family together. Maybe Sheila or Sammy could take on responsibility while Fiona fights to clear her name and reclaim her position as the head of the Gallagher household? Until then, it’s going to be a hard few weeks for the family.

And that includes the way in which the family deal with Debbie’s own revelation that her boyfriend is inappropriately older than her and, although we are working under the assumption that he has good intentions and genuinely cares about her, I’m not so sure the others are going to feel the same way. The family have been fractured all season long and, while we’re still waiting for Ian to return and Frank to find a miracle cure (or, you know, kick the bucket), I’m not sure how they’re going to find their way back to each other. This might break them but, however much I enjoy seeing Fiona and Lip at loggerheads, we all know deep down that they’ll stick together when it really matters.

What did you think of the episode? Do you think Shameless might really kill Frank off? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.