Shameless starts off its seventh season with ‘Hiraeth’, a premiere more focused on showing what everyone has been up to, rather than shocking its viewers like it used to do.
There’s no denying that Shameless has lost its spark. In fact, many argue that the series has long run its course. Nevertheless, the Gallaghers still have plenty of entertainment to offer, if only because we’re so involved with these characters at this point. As if being aware of this, ‘Hiraeth’ focuses on showcasing what everyone’s been doing one month after Fiona’s failed wedding and Frank being thrown into a river.
For better or worse, Frank has always been the one character that affects the course of the main story the most. This time, after a quite strange, yet well-done opening sequence under water, he wakes up from a coma in a hospital. For some reason, he’s still surprised to find out that, in one month, no one has bothered to come to at least identify him. And sure, Frank crawling into the house while even Liam ignores him is funny, but it’s just a joke that has been told too many times already.
Debby’s pregnancy storyline was easily one of the most infuriating ones from the show. Not only did the character become extremely unlikable, but the choice to welcome another baby to a show that’s already packed with characters (and babies) seemed like an odd choice. We see that Debby is struggling and even recognizes that Fiona was right (as expected), but at least she’s nicer to others this time, and seeing her kleptomaniac tendencies back was a nice callback to earlier seasons.
If there’s something I’m really happy about, though, is Fiona’s new no-dating rule. Fiona’s journey in the story started off as the sibling that took care of everything and everyone while not thinking about her own happiness, and so her romance with Steve/Jimmy was a way for her to allow herself to be happy. However, those romances quickly got out of hand to the point that even Emmy Rossum complained about her repetitive storylines. This time she chooses to stay single, and her siblings are also now old enough to take care of themselves, so hopefully she’ll try to do something for herself. For now, she’s pretty occupied with being the manager of the diner.
Even if Carl’s storyline is a bit silly and on the comedic side as usual, it’s still about a topic I’m actually surprised the show hadn’t touched before: circumcision. Ignoring everyone else’s suggestions, Carl decides to go straight to the operating room. It’s a poor choice, but not for what the doctor told him, but because he’s changing his body to please his girlfriend. If that’s not a sign that him and Dominique will not last for long, I don’t know what is. Regardless of that, this “storyline” gave us what was probably the best scene of the ‘Hiraeth’, if only for the sake of nostalgia: Lip, Ian, Carl and even Liam in the living room talking about penises. It was both funny and sweet, and a reminder that having all the siblings under one roof does not only make for some entertaining scenes, but also works as meeting point for characters to know what others in the family are up to. Gallaghers “need to stick together”, right?
As for the other brothers, Lip is out of rehab and so far doing pretty well with his no-drinking new routine. Liam is all grown-up, but sadly he’s still far from being a character as he doesn’t even speak any lines. Ian is a whole different matter. His storyline from last year was quite controversial, not only for how much Noel Fisher leaving the show impacted the fandom, but for details like Ian not seeming to care about Mickey, or even allowing Caleb to laugh at the fact that he was raped. This time, Ian suspects that Caleb is cheating on him. He’s cheating, but not with another man, but with a woman. Their make out session in the middle of the street was pretty over the top, so it still could be that Caleb just staged the whole thing because he knew Ian was following him. But if that’s not the case and Caleb is really bisexual, that certainly would not help the stigma that bisexuals are promiscuous.
Finally, there’s also some advancements for the non-Gallaghers. Kev, V and Svetlana’s polyamorous relationship was one of the highlights of Season 6, and they seems to be doing just fine with the babies and the bar. That is, until they discover that Svetlana is surprisingly good with math, and she finds out how poor their financial situation is.
Overall, ‘Hiraeth’ was not a jaw-dropping premiere, nor did it have any of its usual over-the-top comedic moments. Instead of that, it just focused on wrapping up previous plot threads (Frank, Lip, Debbie) while presenting new situations for others (Fiona, Carl, Ian). There’s been some rumors that this will be the final season of Shameless, but nothing has been officially confirmed yet. Judging by Cameron Monaghan’s Instagram post about ratings, if anything it seems like things are still up in the air.