‘A Yurt of One’s Own’ sees the return of Mandy Milkovich, who might have learned a few things during her time away from South Side. The thing is, can Shameless work when its characters try to move on?
WARNING: This review contains spoilers
The best scenes from ‘A Yurt of One’s Own’ came from Lip, Ian and Mandy. Getting to see Mandy back was already a big plus, since it still seems kind of strange to watch Shameless without the Mikovich. Besides, there was also the fact that Mandy left the series by going away with her abusive boyfriend. The fact that they brought her character back served to show that she has been able to get rid of her Kenyatta and get a better life for herself and to prove that it’s actually possible to move on. Her line “just cause we were born here doesnt mean that we have to end up here” ties perfectly with Lip attempting to convince Ian that he could be doing more with his life than being a janitor a few episodes ago. Speaking of which, I am so happy that we are seeing more scenes with Lip and Ian this season! Their relationship was easily one of the strongest pillars of the series in the earlier seasons, but it seemed to dissolve after Lip left for college. They don’t even need to share a storyline, just seeing simple moments like them hanging out or toasting to Carl is already enough to bring out that sense of family that has been missing from the show lately.
Can Ian really follow Mandy’s advice? Well, he is certainly taking some steps towards that. He is studying for his EMT (or so he says, we don’t really see much of it) and he is settling for a stable relationship with Caleb (although he was asking for guys during Lip’s party). As a matter of fact, Ian doesn’t really expect his relationship with Caleb to work in the long run. He is convinced that Caleb will dump him once he sees the reality of his disorder and/or of his family. While everyone’s storylines seem to have seen its worse and be working towards improvement (Carl, Lip, Fiona…), Ian has been doing fine all season, so it’s to be expected that things will go south soon. I wouldn’t make much of his mention of missing Mickey, though. After all, it’s understandable that he would mention him considering he was hanging out with his sister and it’s only natural that he would miss him after so many years of being a couple and, above all, friends.
Carl has easily had the most interesting story of this season. Having gotten rid of his braids and everything they implied, Dominique now reciprocate his feelings because he’s finally real. They go as far as to losing their virginity to each other in this episode. I am truly happy to see how far he’s gone: being, next to Lip, the only Gallagher who’s staying in high school, he’s now got a stable girlfriend and a job at Sean’s. I’m not sure what to think of Fiona, though. She was one of my favorite characters in the first seasons and one of the reasons why I got so invested in this show in the first place. However, her latest storylines have only involved relationships, which is why I found myself nodding enthusiastically when she actually said it out loud this week. Getting a (difficult) divorce with Gus and arguing with Sean, this would have been the perfect opportunity for her to try to stay single for a while… I guess not.
‘A Yurt of One’s Own’ continued the task of fixing character storylines that last episode started with Carl’s. Lip realizes that he doesn’t know anything about those girls and, after ending up in a hospital like Frank would have, he realizes he can’t keep this up. Fiona also had a moment of realization about her relationships, even if it was a bit pointless after she accepted to marry Sean. Ian also sees the light thanks to Mandy. The only one who didn’t get a moment of realization (aside from Liam, who was barely in the episode) was Debbie, who was taken away to a commune by Queenie. The thing is… can these characters really move on? The series is called ‘Shameless’, so a story in which all the characters move on to get better lives wouldn’t really work. Hell, one of the reasons why I believe this season is weak compared to others is because we barely get to see the things that made Shameless so unique. And now, we don’t even have to get the Milkoviches running around South Side carrying guns. Remember when Debbie stole a baby in the first season and the whole family was working together to fix it? Chaos is Shameless‘ main characteristic, so the question now is: are we approaching the end of the series? And can this family even get a happy ending?