Shameless 4.12 “Lazarus” Recap

by Shilo Adams / April 7, 2014

shamelessFrank wakes up and Sheila and Sam soon realize that his post-operative delirium is over. However, Frank gets a start when he learns that Sheila married him while he was out and that they have five Native American children together. Meanwhile, Lip wakes up in his freezing home that is set to have its gas cut off that coming Friday. After telling Debbie that they’ll use some of the money from Amanda’s father to pay bills, he gets Carl up and notices that Bonnie was sleeping in the same bed as him. He tries to talk to Carl about it, but Carl just says that Lip’s girlfriend sleeps in his bed, too, and Bonnie doesn’t even like sex anyway.

Lip then goes downstairs where he trips over Bonnie’s siblings and asks Debbie to pick up some money orders so they can begin making a dent in their bills. Carl comes down and Lip mentions that Bonnie’s siblings have to go before agreeing to go visit Fiona that weekend, despite his mounting homework and the six total hours of travel time. While Fiona gets accosted by an inmate who leaves her a pain pill, Amanda and Lip pile Bonnie and her siblings, a few Gallagher children, and Chuckie into a car, with Chuckie getting dropped off at the hospital and Bonnie’s crew being taken back to the parking lot. Once the last of the children leave, Amanda and Lip head off to buy him a suit for her sorority pinning ceremony.

Over at Mickey’s, Mickey wakes up, gets dressed, and stumbles upon Svetlana, who changed her hair and put on a strap-on with the intention of using it on him. He gets her to take it off and she asks whether he loves Ian because he has a real penis. She then admits to hating penises and liking women – specifically, a trumpeter named Nika. However, she’s not letting Mickey get away from their child that easily; even though the two of them have a choice about who they want to be with and who they want to be, the baby doesn’t and she argues that he needs both of his parents if he wants to grow up to be somebody. As such, Nika is moving in and Mickey will help raise Yevgeni. Sheila takes a picture of Frank and the kids at the hospital, with Frank having to get up right after for his daily walk, and pulls Sam outside when the two nearly get into it. Sam tries to argue that Sheila can’t pull the wife card since Frank only realized they were married half an hour ago, but Sheila counters with the fact that Frank knew Sam existed and didn’t care. She then warns Sam that she wants her gone by the time she comes back from the adoption meeting that night.

While Ian still hasn’t gotten up by the time noon hits, opting to skip getting lunch with Mickey in favor of staying in bed, Fiona gets called away from her duties in the prison laundry room to take a drug test. She assures her PO Gayle, who comes into the room a short time later, that she’s been keeping herself out of trouble, going to her meetings, and staying clean and the test turns out in her favor; Fiona gets released from the facility and picked up by Gayle, who offers to take her to a nearby Sonic for food. Mickey heads to the Alibi where he encounters gay jokes and Kev is the one who calms the atmosphere down, getting the bar to talk about famous gay people and who they were/weren’t surprised came out. He then gets Mickey to sit back down, citing that nobody cares who he bangs, and they all toast to butt buddies. Meanwhile, Amanda puts Lip in suits by Paul Smith and Prada, telling him that she hopes to make her sorority sisters sick with jealousy.

At the hospital, Frank gets his catheter removed and learns that while he’ll be on medication for the rest of his life due to the transplant, he’s not going to be permitted to drink, since it could interfere with some of the meds he’ll be on. While shamelessDebbie orders a pizza so that Matty can give her a ride to the checking place, Carl shows Bonnie a necklace he stole for her and she immediately gets weird, telling him that she has to go back to the van just in case her mother shows up. Elsewhere, Gayle tells Fiona that overcrowding was the reason for the release and tries to learn her story, why she felt the need to go on a bender. She then tells Fiona about her own life, how her father was a drunk yet how she realized that she had to take control of her own life. At the end of the day, she argues, it’s just you and you have to be responsible for what you do and not allow yourself to make excuses for where you are.

Ian still won’t get out of bed after 5:00, just as Sheila makes it to the adoption hearing and states her case for tribal council. However, she loses out due to the children’s great-grandfather being on the council and she has to quickly say goodbye to them as a result. Gayle brings Fiona to Patsy’s Pies, a job she lined up for her with Charlie, an old friend. He gives her a quick briefing over the rules (don’t show up drunk/high) and pay (between 8-12/hour) before committing her to a meeting at a nearby church the next morning. Back at the Gallagher’s, Mickey shows up looking for Ian and ends up bringing Debbie back to his place to look at Ian, where she claims to know what’s ailing him. Elsewhere, Lip attends the pinning ceremony that features flower crowns, ghostly chanting, and candles before heading to a diner with Amanda and a group of her girlfriends. Their waitress? Mandy, who won’t engage with Lip when he tries to talk to her. Although he does keep looking over at her.

Fiona arrives home, checks in on the sleeping kids, and promptly passes out on her own bed for the first time in a while. The following morning, Debbie wakes up and sees her big sister cooking French toast; the two have an emotional reunion that quickly becomes a family affair when Carl and Liam join in on the hug. However, it’s not all good news for Fiona, since she’s called into helping Ian. After asking Mickey a few questions, she ascertains that the problem could be bipolar disorder, which may lead to Ian being hospitalized. Mickey freaks out at the idea and assures everyone that he’ll be taking care of Ian, that he’s going to ride this out with him as best he can. While Carl finds out that Bonnie’s family’s van is no longer in the supermarket parking lot and Fiona attends her meeting with Charlie, Sam arrives at the hospital and learns that she’s been barred from seeing Frank by Sheila. She then charges at the room before being dragged away by security, giving Carl enough time to sneak into the room and wheel his father out without being noticed.

Fiona confides in Lip about Ian’s condition and says that she always thought it would be her who inherited Monica’s mental illness. She then hears what’s been happening in Lip’s life, with the midterms and Amanda, before telling him that her mistakes cannot be about anybody else – they’re about her. He assures her, though, that nobody’s perfect. Sam sets up her trailer in the vacant lot across from Sheila’s house, while Carl takes Frank out to the water. The latter drinks and shouts about how he’s alive.

Additional thoughts and observations:
-Apologies for the late recap this week, everybody. Showtime didn’t make the finale available on its screener site until the east coast airing began.
-The post-credit sequence – what did we think?
-Going into the finale, I was a little disappointed that they allowed Frank to live, but I thought that if the show could hint that he’d be on a different path and that his story wouldn’t be rehashes of the first three seasons, this might all be worth it. Season four has been a season about the Gallagher family’s evolution and maybe Frank’s would be that he learns not to be such a hedonist and that he should appreciate what he has while he has it? But, nope, it’s going to be the same story they’ve told about him for nearly 50 episodes and after a season like the one we just had, that’s incredibly frustrating. William H. Macy did some phenomenal work this season, but Frank’s story is and has been over – let him go.
-Interesting hypothesis: Sheila is the most despicable character on this show. While I know her storyline this season is rooted in loneliness, a need to connect, and empty nest syndrome, all very valid issues/themes to explore, this was the episode where she crossed the line from being mildly entertaining distraction to active annoyance, both as a person and a character. What’s worse, though, is that her good side has been in short supply this season; the Gallaghers and those in their orbit might make horrible decisions, but you root for them and you know about the good that lies within each of them. With Sheila, I know she’s kind of sad inside and she’s played well by Joan Cusack; I don’t actively root for her, partially because she’s a more comedic character and I’m less invested in her fate and partially because her storylines are always so lightweight and non-descript that they make no impact. Add in the show indulging in her not so positive traits and she becomes even more of a time suck than she was before.
-Although I like the idea of Fiona accepting responsibility for what her life has morphed into this season, the idea that one’s adulthood issues are strictly one’s own fault and that experience plays no part in who we are as people is kind of troubling. That read a little like “you’re-poor-because-you-want-to-be-poor” political rhetoric and isn’t exactly the type of thing I thought I’d hear from this show specifically. I do think Fiona recognizing her pattern of behavior and doing what she can to change it is positive, though, and can only make for a more satisfying television experience.
-Why do you think Amanda is so into spoiling Lip? Does she genuinely like him? Is she insecure enough to believe he wouldn’t be with her if it weren’t for the money? Or does she merely want a cute “bad boy” trophy boyfriend on her arm to make her friends jealous?
-I’m glad the show addressed Ian’s bipolar disorder – I think it’s going to be an interesting season five thread and I’m especially looking forward to seeing how it impacts his relationship with Mickey. But I’m curious why Fiona immediately jumped to hospitalization when there are other methods of dealing with that particular diagnosis. Possibly due to her poor experiences with Monica’s disorder and how she’s not used to seeing something like that under control without the use of a psychiatric hospital?
-While all the talk this season has been about Fiona, Lip, Ian, Mickey, and Frank, let’s talk about Carl and how much my opinion on him has changed this season. Prior to this season, and through some of this season, he just felt like a little ball of outrageousness specifically designed to be a hellion without anything else to him. He was comedic, balancing the heavier plots of his siblings, and he was mini-Frank in that we were supposed to find his antics cute when they were more disturbing/distressing. However, Carl falling for Bonnie fleshed him out as a character and made him seem like a human being for once, to the point where I was genuinely sad to see her so thoroughly reject his necklace. Ultimately, through all the bad behavior and the possible warning signs for a life of crime, Carl is a sweet kid who just wants to be loved – by his father, by the girl he likes, by anyone who can recognize what a good person he is inside.
-I love how there was an extended shot of a dog peeing on the Gallagher fence that had nothing to do with anything.
-So, hands up if you thought the pinning ceremony was going to be some type of cult reveal and that Amanda was going to try to get Lip to join or participate in some other worldly ceremony. Because oh my, what a creep show that was.
-Nice fake out when Mandy turned out to be Lip’s waitress. I would have bet a million dollars he would have ended up in the diner Fiona’s working at.
-Speaking of, Jeffrey Dean Morgan! It would be super if he had a larger role next season and we got to see how he helped Fiona put her life back together. Just no affairs between them.
-Mickey gently touching Ian’s head after he woke up. That is all.
-Debbie kissing a photo of Matty she put on her door – creepy or not a big deal?
-What would your first post-prison meal be? I would eat all of the Taco Bell. All of it. Every bit.
-Kevin wearing his twins’ umbilical cords might be the grossest thing the show has done thus far. But I loved it in this case because it wasn’t graphic and it was very much in line with who Kev is.
-Thank you guys for reading my coverage of Shameless this season. Not only has the coverage itself done better than I expected, I liked the season as a whole much more than I anticipated. Shameless was always a show that fell into the Very Good category, tripping over itself on the way to Greatness, and though it’s not consistently great as of yet, it’s much closer to becoming the show it was always capable of being. Hopefully we can reconvene next year and discuss whether Frank learned anything from nearly dying, how much we’re rooting for Fiona to put it all back together, and the amount of tears shed over Ian and Mickey.

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.