Shameless Season 4 Review “Liver, I Hardly Know Her”

Episode 410

Rarely does a show indulge in its misery quite so entertainingly as Shameless, which has pushed its characters further down than ever in its fourth season and, judging by this week’s episode, ‘Liver, I Hardly Know Her’, has no plans to offer them easy ways out of their respective emotional ditches. Fiona, our hero in previous seasons, has gotten to her lowest point and, despite the fracturing of the family over the last nine episodes, her turmoil may just be the thing to mend the Gallaghers in the run up to the finale. After all of this anguish we have to have a happy ending, don’t we?

The source of most of the misery is Fiona and Lip, who have become co-leads of the show more than ever this year, and the episode marked the first time the two of them have been in the same place all season. While Lip has been quite understandably against his sister since the incident with Liam, the sheer amount of pressure on him to provide for the family on top of staying in school and worrying about money eventually had to manifest itself as something other than rage and distrust. After Fiona pulls a disappearing act this week, then, Lip decides to respond to her call for help and, after experiencing the fear of losing her, offer compassion.

But, even if she gets her life together and returns home as the matriarch she once was, there’s a lot of mess to clean up at the Gallagher house. While Lip is doing his best to juggle everything, Ian and Mickey are clashing with everyone either accidentally or deliberately, and Frank’s storyline almost came to abrupt end this week. While I found Sheila’s determination to marry Frank and the fake liver transplant to be a little to comedy-Shameless than we really should be dealing with this late in the season, Ian and Mickey have been one of the highlights of the season for me.

For, as much as we enjoy seeing the two of them grow closer than they ever have before, we also know that there’s something seriously wrong with Ian. Could it be drugs? Or bipolar disorder? We don’t yet know but, after threatening Mandy’s boyfriend with a knife in the same hour as reasoning with Mickey not to retaliate against Kev, it’s clear he hasn’t been in his right mind since returning. Both rivalries seem to be a bit like B-stories that need to be dealt with quickly but, if all of it is to bring those boys closer to a real relationship, then it’ll be more than worth it.

Kev and V’s babies have arrived at last, and that lingering pause after his gun went off was one of the tensest moments of television I’ve seen in many a year. That’s the beauty of Shameless – you have no trouble believing they’d kill off an infant hours after birth. Will Kev and Mickey’s fight escalate to that level? I really hope not but, with the ever-expanding darkness of season four, it’s hard to believe we’ll get to leave the year without at least one horrible death. With Frank’s surprise transplant, it’s likely it won’t be him, either. It takes more than a bit of liver failure to kill a Gallagher, after all.

What did you think of the episode? Should Lip have forgiven Fiona for digging herself in even deeper this week? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.