Shameless 4.10 “Liver, I Hardly Know Her” Recap

by Shilo Adams / March 23, 2014

shamelessAfter going over to Robbie’s to confront him, Fiona ends up partying with him and a group of his friends; she snorts coke, drops ecstasy, and chugs alcohol in the chaotic mess that is Robbie’s apartment before falling onto the ground while dancing. It’s particularly quiet at Sheila’s, where Sam tries to parlay to Carl that what he says to Frank might be the last words the two exchange and how he’s going to remember this for the rest of his life. However, Frank isn’t in any mood to die just yet, as he tells Sam to get him more pills and Carl leaves accordingly. As she waits for the dealer she called, Sam goes downstairs to find Sheila in the tailored wedding dress and learns that Chuckie has agreed to serve as ring bearer for the ceremony. That is, if there is a ceremony, since Frank has been especially weak recently.

Sheila doesn’t want to even consider the possibility of losing Frank before the wedding, so she followed the recipe for a Dr. Oz-approved liver cleanse, even though Frank can’t swallow right now. She just needs him to stay alive for the next six days so she can adopt Roger’s nieces and nephews. Over at the Gallagher’s, Mickey wakes up to find a manic Ian fixing breakfast after arriving back from work at 3:00 and waking up at 5:00 to go for a fun, where he also took pictures of the sunrise. Before they have the chance to talk, Debbie comes downstairs to tell them that Fiona never came home last night, nor is she at Sheila’s with Frank or at the hospital helping Veronica give birth. Since it’s before 8:00, Debbie thinks that her sister might have gotten mugged the night before, or even fell and injured herself, and Ian promises to check around the local hospitals to see if Fiona ended up there. Meanwhile, Lip comes back to his room and gets both a text about Fiona not coming home that night and a laminated schedule from Amanda that includes when his midterms are scheduled and the grades he needs to get in order to keep his scholarship.

As Sam goes through with the drug deal in the kitchen, Sheila overhears the dealer mentioning that he knows a guy who does liver transplants for $25,000; all they’d need to do is provide medical records. While the idea of some back alley organ transplant isn’t the most reassuring, especially considering Sam met this guy in the parking lot at a Phish concert, she admits that he hasn’t sold her anything bad yet and they decide to pursue it. Fiona wakes up on Robbie’s floor with her ankle monitor having been removed from her leg and beeping, just as Carl admits to Bonnie that his father is dying. To make him feel better, she breaks the windshield of a 99 Ford Contour and begins showing him how to hotwire it. Veronica has her babies Amy and Gemma (the latter Kev pushed to name Zaniqua), though the moment is tarnished due to the text Kev received about Fiona not being around. Since he needs to get some baby supplies anyway, he promises to go to the Gallagher’s, Sheila’s, and the Alibi to see if she pops up, all the while V tries to figure out which baby is Amy and which is Gemma.

As Mandy, who stayed in Lip’s room the previous night, gets ready for work, she talks to Debbie about their boyfriend issues; Mandy managed to cover her bruises from Kenyatta with makeup, while Debbie claims to not be worrying about Matty and Semma after finding her shiv. Lip comes home with Liam, having seen Carl speed off with Bonnie behind the wheel, and learns that nobody has found anything out about Fiona, though Carl and Ian will be checking more hospitals later. Matters are made worse by the fact that they can’t call the police or Fiona’s PO and use their resources in order to track her down. Elsewhere, Sheila and Sam meet the doctor Sam’s dealer recommended – a Bangladeshi man who calls himself Johnny and doesn’t have his medical license in America. He tells them that they’ve secured a donor and have the supplies to perform the operation, but they’re not going to help Frank while he’s in recovery. Instead, following the operation, they’re to call 911 and get him set up at a hospital; he also informs them that the price is $30,000 and not $25,000, with that extra $5,000 going toward the liver only. Sam and Sheila argue him down to $26,000 and he gives out his contact information before leaving in the cab he drives as his day job.

Ian arrives home and tells Lip, who’s studying for an exam, that he didn’t find anything on Fiona at the hospitals. When he begins rambling about the family possibly learning instruments, Lip snaps, telling him that he already can’t concentrate due to the possibility Fiona’s laying dead in a ditch somewhere. Debbie overhears and he apologizes before bringing up that maybe Fiona, having been decidedly down over the past few days, pulled a Frank and binged. Ian and Debbie feel guilty about possibly driving her to this, while the plan is to contact Worldwide Cup and get Robbie’s number. While Fiona wakes up again, this time in the backseat of a moving van which she pokes her head out of and pukes, Sam interrupts Sheila’s wedding planning with the news that Frank died and that she opened the window to let his spirit fly free. Panicked, Sheila rushes to the bedroom and Frank wakes up during the commotion.

Debbie, Liam, and Ian arrive at Robbie’s looking for Fiona, but while they see her shoes, phone, and coat, they don’t see her. Debbie warns Robbie to stay away from her sister before texting Lip with the news during his German Philosophy exam, just as Kev announces the birth of his babies to the Alibi and concedes to a request for free drinks. However, he sees that the cash register is empty; it turns out that Mickey took the money he was still owed from the previous week, as well as a finder’s fee for providing the girls, who are all bundled up in parkas due to there being no heat upstairs. Kevin pulls the gun he got from Mickey and gets him to empty his pockets, though Mickey promises that his business partner will regret it. Meanwhile, Carl hits the last hospital on the list with no luck and Bonnie confesses that her father was arrested for robbing ATMs and won’t be out until she’s 30. She tells him their last conversation involved wringing the sponge out and the two go out for a drive.

Sheila meets Dr. Johnny in a warehouse basement where she delivers the money for the operation. Frank’s stomach gets shaved and with the guy who agreed to be the donor anesthetized, the six-hour procedure begins, but not before Johnny tells them to wait 10 minutes before calling 911 because they don’t want to be there when paramedics come. Fiona’s van stops at a Food Mart and she gets out to go to the restroom; she tries to keep herself from having a crying fit and uses her time alone to let down her ponytail and take a few deep breaths. However, Robbie’s friends leave without her. While Bonnie and Carl ram their stolen car into the front of a convenience store, gathering candy and chocolate milk for their trouble, the convenience store clerk gets Fiona’s story and calls Lip for her; he leaves a quick voicemail and gives her the phone so she can say her piece. The store she’s at? In Wisconsin, one of the many things she apologizes for.

Frank’s operation proves to be a success, though he’s still unconscious. After Johnny and company leave, Sam and shamelessSheila go to see Frank and Sam gets worried enough to call the paramedics before the 10 minutes are up. While Lip calls Fiona back, Mickey talks about getting his brothers together and emptying assault rifles into Kevin’s house over the robbery at the Alibi. He leaves with Ian chasing after him just as Fiona’s PO and another officer come to the house over the ankle bracelet going off; Debbie tries to cover for her sister, even when her own shiv is found, while Frank gets wheeled out of the basement with low blood pressure and a nervous Kev brings home the baby supplies he bought with the money he took from Mickey. As he gets the shotgun he keeps in the closet out of the case, Lip arrives in Wisconsin and hugs Fiona, grateful that nothing happened to her. He takes her back out to the car and the two start their long trip home.

The doctor inform Sheila and Sam that while Frank’s vitals are stable, he did not, in fact, receive a liver transplant; instead, one of his kidneys was taken and he has only days/hours left before passing. When he leaves, Sheila asks Frank if he wants to get married right in the hospital, though his response (“more pills”) is misinterpreted (“couldn’t be more thrilled”), while Bonnie brings Carl to the van she, her mother, and their siblings live in, which is currently outside a local supermarket. But before Carl could get the grand tour, he gets the text that Frank is dying and getting hitched with Sheila and Bonnie agrees to come with him to the hospital. Meanwhile, Mickey and Ian arrive at the Milkovich home to find Mandy cooking for Kenyatta and denying the fact that he hit her. Instead, she’s telling people that she fell and Ian tries to convince her to face up to what happened. When Kenyatta intervenes in the altercation, Ian pulls a knife to his throat and gets pulled outside by Mickey, exasperated at the sudden changes he sees in Ian. They can’t talk, though, because Ian receives the same text from Debbie that Carl did.

Lip stops at a gas station and picks up coffee for him and an egg sandwich for Fiona. She doesn’t want to turn into a Frank and lacks any understanding of who she even is now that she’s not Fiona Gallagher, Super Guardian; Lip, though, says that maybe it’s a good thing she isn’t this infallible caretaker because there’s so much more to her that she can define herself by. He apologizes for taking her for granted and hates that he turned his back on her when she needed him the most. Just then, Deb calls and gets to talk to Fiona, telling her sister that she loves her and that Frank is both dying and getting married to Sheila. She then texts Kev with the news that Fiona’s safe, only for Kev to hear what sounds like gun shots outside. He grabs his shotgun and heads out the door, seeing that instead of gun shots, what he heard was two little boys making trouble. Kev runs them off before tripping over some of the babies’ things and accidentally firing a shot into his house. Luckily, no one is hurt, but Veronica is freaked out and he promises to get rid of the guns at once.

The kids arrive at the hospital and Ian, Debbie, and Carl say what could be their last words to their father. While Lip takes Fiona to the police station, Sheila walks down the aisle where Kermit acts as priest and he weds her and Frank to a small audience in Frank’s hospital room. Unfortunately, as soon as she kisses the groom, hospital staff comes in to tend to her new husband.

Additional thoughts and observations:
-“Sweetie, let mommy do her drug deal, honey.”
-“Are you robbing me with my own fuckin’ gun?”
-So, I think we’ve reached the end of the line on Fiona’s downward spiral this season. It’s one thing to have your lead character go through a rough time and it’s another to have them morph into the series-long antagonist and now that we’ve had Fiona disappear on her family like Frank’s done countless times, there’s nowhere else for her to go other than becoming Frank entirely. Which isn’t the type of show Shameless is, so with Fiona recognizing she has a problem and willingly going to the police station with Lip, she’ll likely serve out whatever punishment she’s given and begin trying to rebuild her life from square one.
-Still, her storyline this episode was quite heartbreaking, with her near-breakdown in the bathroom, being left in Wisconsin, and finally realizing that she can’t continue going down this path if she wants to make something of herself. I bought her going wild after continually being defecated on by life, as the last of what hope she had that things would get better dissipated after she got reamed by Mike’s sister, all of which made the hug Lip gave her when he saw her that much more satisfying. As well as Debbie telling her that she loved her after treating her poorly following the accident. Fiona deserved the feeling she got when she heard that and that might be the catalyst for her to begin changing her life.
-I loved the little running gag that people think Frank’s dead and that nobody can understand what he says when he’s lucid enough to speak. Very dark humor without being overly gross/broad like the show can fall into, so I’m into it. Not as into all the cliché elements of Frank’s plot this episode (the foreigner who was a doctor in another country but does something menial in America, the black market operation that goes awry), though I think the heart of what was saw was in the right place.
-I know Shameless can have a bleak worldview sometimes, but would it have been bleak enough to have Kev accidentally kill one of his babies while trying to protect his home? Speaking of, how much of a weiner is Mickey if he has to not only gang up on Kevin, but gather assault rifles, as well? Major overcompensation for his insecurity regarding his sexuality; he thinks that if he does enough violent things and has enough weapons that’ll “make up” for him being gay in the eyes of the hoodlums whose respect he’s looking to earn.
-Carl’s “last words” to Frank were rather sweet and very, very him.
-Let’s talk about Frank’s survival. Do you want him to die this season? Because I do and I think I’ll be disappointed if/when they find some cockamamie way to keep him on two feet. William H. Macy is obviously fantastic and I think this season is the best Frank’s been written, but losing him would be an emotional loss that would cause the series, and the Gallaghers themselves, to make some necessary growth. Keeping him around would betray the narrative this family is on and be the case of the show liking Macy so much that they invent a way to keep him around rather than going where the story takes them.
-They’re really going to let this season play out without calling Ian’s bipolar behavior out? Mickey almost did before the text from Debbie, but I’m surprised that the word hasn’t been uttered yet. Or at least, no one’s made the connection between his behavior and what they’re used to from Monica. Could this be a carryover issue into next season?
-Two things I really want explored: Bonnie’s (terribly sad) home life and the domestic abuse Mandy suffered at Kenyatta’s hands. The former, just because I’m still wondering what makes this character tick; the latter, because with Lip gone to college, she’s been marginalized and I’d like to see where she’s at, why she’s deciding to cover it up, whether this is a long-standing issue between them, etc. Regarding Mandy, I have ideas about why she would cover it up (she comes from a home where violence is the norm, she’s insecure enough to believe she can’t get anybody else, she doesn’t want to look “weak” in front of Lip), but I’m curious how the show would handle it.
-I wonder why Debbie and Ian didn’t get Fiona’s stuff from Robbie’s place, especially her phone. Too upset?
-Why in the world is Lip taking German Philosophy? Just the thought of that makes my headache. And then it makes me sleepy.
-I mean, I like candy and chocolate milk, too, Bonnie, but I’m not ramming my car into the local convenience store because it’s closed. I’ve thought about it, sure, but at least I didn’t go through with it. Yet.
-Random, but Fiona’s series of blackouts reminded me of this season of Revenge. But instead of getting vengeance against the individuals who harmed her family, hopefully Fiona gets back at the system for the hell it’s put her family through and finds a way to get her life somewhat together by the end of the season.
-Next week on Shameless: Fiona gets taken to a correctional facility, while Frank suffers from post-operation delirium, Ian crashes the christening for Mickey’s son, Amanda’s parents try to bribe Lip, and Debbie meets an older student with ulterior motives.

Shilo Adams is a contributing editor for ScreenFad whose work has appeared on TVOvermind, TVHackr, and KSiteTV. You can e-mail him at or follow him on Twitter @shilo_adams.