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'Shameless' finale recap: Frank triumphs and Jimmy returns in 'Lazarus'

Season 4 | Ep. 12 | “Lazarus” | Aired Apr 6, 2014

Not every problem was solved and not every loose end was tied, but the overwhelming theme of Shameless’ season 4 finale was resurrection. Just as Saint Lazarus is said to have risen from the dead in the Bible, three characters experienced revivals in the April 6 episode of Shameless, titled “Lazarus.” Fiona is freed from jail, Frank rises from his hospital bed with a new liver, and Jimmy (Justin Chatwin) quite literally returns from the dead in the episode’s final seconds. It’s an episode filled with ups and downs, culminating with a final scene that even the cast didn’t know was coming.

It all begins with Frank waking up in his hospital bed, his memory returned since last week’s episode. The only thing he’s confused about is how he and Sheila ended up married, and how he’s suddenly gained five Native American children. Sheila and Sammi go head to head as Frank continues to recover, both determined to be the most important woman in his life. Although Sheila throws Sammi out of her house, they make up over pot roast after the tribal council prevents Sheila from adopting her ex-boyfriend’s five children, and Frank flees the hospital with Carl.

After coming out in last week’s episode, it’s like a weight has been lifted from Mickey’s shoulders. He wakes up in “Lazarus” next to Ian, gently brushing back his boyfriend’s hair and smiling as he walks to the kitchen. Unfortunately for Mickey but fortunately for everyone watching the show, his wife (Isidora Goreshter) has dyed her hair red and strapped on a dildo, showing that she can be just like the man her husband has fallen in love with. He rejects her, but she says he has to take care of the baby anyway, and also tells him that her (female) lover will be coming to live with them. It actually sounds like a perfect situation, all things considered. The cheerful mood brought on by this hilarious exchange with Svetlana is destroyed, however, when Mickey returns to his room and comments that Ian is still asleep at noon. It may not mean anything to Mickey just yet, but to everyone watching, Ian looks just like Monica; his actions from the past several episodes start to fall into place as signs of bipolar disorder.

Fiona is still in prison at the beginning of “Lazarus” when another inmate hits on her and drops off a pill as a token of friendship. It seems a little less friendly a few minutes later, when Fiona is hauled off to take a drug test. We don’t know whether she took the pill or not, but she sits handcuffed to a chair waiting for the results. Just a few minutes later, Fiona is released from prison thanks to overcrowding, and her probation officer (Regina King) waits with a car to drive her home. The officer, who also grew up on the South Side of Chicago with an alcoholic father, takes Fiona to a restaurant where Charlie Peters (guest star Jeffrey Dean Morgan) gives the eldest Gallagher a job.

After Fiona returns home to tearful greetings from Carl, Debbie and Liam, she goes to see Ian and confirms what we all knew to be true — he’s suffering from depression, likely caused by bipolar disorder. She wants to take Ian to a clinic or psychiatric hospital, but Mickey isn’t having it. He refuses to take Ian to the “nut house,” and insists on taking care of the man he loves in his own home.

Debbie continues to pine for Matty during this episode, and she’s back in the mindset that they’ll be together as soon as she turns 16. He doesn’t seem quite as on board with the idea, so we’ll just have to wait and see how that pans out. Things turn tumultuous for Carl’s relationship in “Lazarus,” and we see a little more of the awful story that turned his 13-year-old girlfriend against sex: “Something about her mom’s old boyfriend and a biker gang,” he tells Lip. She explains to Carl that he shouldn’t fall for her, and when he goes out to the van where she’s living a few hours later, her entire family is gone. Lip, meanwhile, continues to play house with Amanda, trying on Prada and Armani suits for her sorority pinning ceremony, which turns out to be more cult-like ritual that college party. When they go out with friends after the ceremony, Lip’s ex-girlfriend Mandy is the group’s waitress. He tries to talk to her, but she is cold and pretends she doesn’t know him.

Season 4 has been a dreary one for Frank, but as the finale moves toward a close, we see Carl pushing his father’s wheelchair out to frozen Lake Michigan, the Chicago skyline at their backs. The doctor has just told him about the side effects of his liver transplants and new medications, the most significant of which (to Frank) is that he absolutely cannot drink. Frank rises from his chair and opens a bottle of liquor, and for a moment there’s a chance that he’s going to symbolically pour the dark liquid onto the ice. But this is Shameless and this is Frank Gallagher, and that sliver of hope doesn’t last long, as the family patriarch takes a sip and then takes another. He yells at God or Death or whomever is listening, shouting that he can overcome anything they throw at him, because he’s still alive. He passes the bottle to Carl (a callback to an earlier conversation Lip and Fiona had about how nurture, not nature, turns children into alcoholics like their parents), and father and son stand victorious, looking out over the frozen, empty waters.

As the credits begin to roll at the end of the Shameless finale, the feeling is one of triumph and closure. However, that doesn’t make for a very good cliffhanger, and so another scene opens in the middle of the credits, showing a car in front of the Gallagher home.

“Is this the right house?” the woman in the driver’s seat asks the passenger. The man, whom she calls Jack, turns and says that it is, but he isn’t going in. “Not tonight,” is the only line we hear from Justin Chatwin, the actor who played Fiona’s on-again, off-again boyfriend for the first three seasons of Shameless. His character, Jimmy/Steve, died at the end of season 3. It was never shown, but he’d gone off into the ocean to be killed by his wife’s drug kingpin father. Actress Emmy Rossum had said he was dead. And the producers confirmed that he wouldn’t be a season 4 regular, but might return for one episode (presumably to provide closure in a flashback scene).

It was clearly all a ruse, and it seems to have been one of the best-kept secrets on TV. “HOLLLLLLY MOLY NO IDEA. HE’S ALIVE. JUST FOUND OUT WITH YOU,” Emmy Rossum tweeted as soon as the finale ended, later returning to Twitter to explain that the producers flew Chatwin to Chicago and put him in a separate hotel so that none of the cast would know.

The season 4 finale was one of Shameless’ best, with fantastic acting driving Fiona’s and Frank’s story lines forward. It’ll be a long few months before we find out more about Ian’s condition, before we see if Fiona can keep her waitressing job, and before we have to watch Frank to destroy his brand-new liver. But it’s Jimmy’s unexpected return that will have most Shameless fans counting down the days until season 5.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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