Shameless

Tonight’s midseason finale of Showtime’s Shameless was all about goodbyes – and not just until the season picks up again.

WARNING:  This article contains spoilers on the midseason finale of Shameless. Proceed at your own risk….

The year was 2010. Barack Obama was finishing his first term as the nation dug out of the worst recession since the 1920s. Apple unveiled the iPad, BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil pipeline exploded in the Gulf, and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg was Time’s Man of the Year.

And Cameron Monaghan was cast as an ensemble player on Showtime’s Shameless, playing Ian Gallagher, a gay, bipolar teenage son of a large Chicago family where dysfunction was the rule. He quickly drew raves for his performance.

But all good things must end, and Monaghan announced earlier via Instagram that he would be leaving the series at mid-year, joining the previous announcement by castmate Emmy Rossum, who will leave at the end of the season.

Ian’s final episode was last week, so this mid-season finale was all about wrapping up the loose threads of that departure and seeing how the remaining characters cope with that void in their lives. As might be expected, Down Like The Titanic gave us an aftermath that offered dysfunction as a way of life.

Some of the highlights:

Fiona:  The title of the episode refers to her status, which is spiraling. We find her passed out by a toilet, bloodied and ignoring attempts at human contact. She missed the prison send-off for Ian, much to her regret. As a way out of her money problems, she decides to put her building up for sale. Max to the rescue. He will buy it for the exact amount she’s financially in the hole, plus interest. Now it’s party time, and she samples store vodka, throws a party for herself, and winds up drunk in the Gallagher backyard.

Frank:  Having moved in with Ingrid (Katey Sagal), it’s still the honeymoon period, which means lots of action in the office, even if patients are around. But Ingrid is off her meds, and starts having a breakdown. Ex-husband Randy rides to the rescue, and actually has a nice conversation with Frank, one of his few legit therapy sessions.

Debbie:  Finding Fiona in a bad way, Debbie enlists Farhad and Alex to kidnap and humiliate Ford.

Ian:  Gone but not forgottenhe left behind an alarm that goes off at 2 AM with his picture on it.

Lip:  Reunited with Tammy and it feels so good. She was the drunk bridesmaid from Brad’s wedding, but she’s back for seconds. Very sloppy seconds, following a taco truck meal.

Kev and V:  They will have another child. But this time around, it’s adoption all the way.

Carl:  He’s studying to get into West Point. He’s got a long way to go.

Liam:  He’s got a neat summer job and appears poised to lead the Gallagher family to financial freedom.

Shameless will return in January with new episodes.