The US version of Shameless has been running for over a decade. During that time, it has seen its share of ups and downs.
The U.S version of Shameless has been going strong since 2011, having just finished airing its 10th season earlier this year. Season Nine saw the departure of series regular and co-lead Fiona Gallagher played by Emmy Rossum with her character leaving Chicago behind to live a life for herself. Although the latest season was still well-received, season 11 will see the series come to a close with the current cast all returning.
Unlike the UK version of the series, this Shameless continues its focus on the trial and tribulations of the Gallaghers, living in Southside Chicago. These are the five best and five worst episodes from the first ten seasons of Shameless, ranked by IMDb’s user rating system.
Best: Happily Ever After (9.3)
At the Mexican border, Ian decides he can’t leave his life behind and lets Mickey go without him, explaining he has become a changed man. Meanwhile, Fiona is given an offer she can’t refuse from Margo to buy the laundromat.
Kev and V struggle with money after Svetlana takes over the Alibi from them, which results in Kev taking up a job at the bar Ian used to work in. The episode introduces Brad, who would become a recurring character throughout the series and a support for Lip.
Worst: Sleep Well My Prince For Tomorrow You Shall Be King (7.5)
This episode explores Ian and Mickey’s relationship in prison, which started out strong but the two have been stuck in close quarters far too long at this point. Back at the Gallagher house, Lip continues to struggle to be a single parent whilst Tami is in the hospital.
Carl returns from military school and resumes working at Captain Bob’s where he starts running a vape pen side business with Liam and a co-worker. Frank, needing to contribute, recruits Mikey to scam Uber drivers out of their cash. Speaking of scams, Debbie continues returning used items within their 30-day return policy.
Best: Crazy Love (9.3)
Following on from the cliffhanger of the previous episode, Fiona is reunited with Jimmy/Steve and he gives an expedited explanation of where he has been all this time. Meanwhile, Ian, suffering a breakdown, goes on the run with Sveltlana’s and Mickey’s baby but ends up getting caught.
Sammi takes over the Gallagher house, making everyone adhere to her strict rules. Jimmy shows up again and despite Fiona now being married to Gus, Jimmy spends the night. The episode highlights how little Gus and Fiona know each other in contrast to Jimmy’s concern for the wellbeing and interest in how the Gallagher family is doing.
Worst: Mo White (7.5)
Due to Frank’s exploits with the PTA, Liam is expelled from his prestigious private school. Frank becomes a campaign manager when he sees there’s a lot of money to be made in local politics. Fiona talks her way into an investment deal, which would open up the opportunity for her exit story.
When Ian is released on bail, he finds out he has become an even bigger gay icon and becomes overwhelmed by the scale of things. The episode also marks the start of a running gag with Kevin and V sending their twins to daycare but getting them to pretend to be the same child to save tuition costs.
Best: Requiem For A Slut (9.3)
In the season seven finale, the Gallaghers learn that Monica left an inheritance for the family, which turns out to be $70,000’s worth of Methamphetamine. Fiona, hungry for a new investment opportunity, decides to purchase an apartment building and Debbie develops an interest in welding.
Ian reveals to Trevor what happened with Mickey, putting their future in limbo, and the Gallaghers meet Monica’s father for the first and only time, who decides Monica deserves a proper funeral. There’s a very emotional scene between Fiona and Frank, where Fiona reveals she’s glad Monica is dead and that she never loved any of them.
Worst: Adios Gringos (7.1)
In the previous episode, Ingrid’s ex-husband Randy shows up with the twins Carl unknowingly fathered last season. Frank decides to keep one of the babies and, along with Liam meets with prospective buyers at a hotel. The pair make the most of the situation, getting themselves a fancy suite and plenty of room service.
Mickey attempts to make a prison break hiding in a medical waste bin but is caught by a guard. The Warden reveals that his receiving an early release due to his assistance in apprehending his former cartel associates. On the bus ride home, a car follows alongside which causes Mickey to jump from the bus in fear. However, it is revealed to be his parole officer, preparing to meet him at the bus stop.
Best: Emily (9.4)
Whilst Franks recovers in the hospital from his liver transplant, Fiona is sent to prison to serve a 90-day sentence. Back at the Gallagher house, Lips juggles a social worker visit at the same as Amanda’s parents come over for dinner. Luckily, the goal for Lip is to make Amanda’s parents dislike him, which works out well.
At the hospital, Frank befriends a girl named Emily who is waiting for a heart transplant. Frank begins to hallucinate and calls her Fiona, telling Emily he’s sorry for abandoning her. Meanwhile, Ian crashes Mickey’s son’s baptism, which leads to Mickey finally coming out in front of his family and friends.
Worst: A Little Gallagher Goes A Long Way (7.0)
Debbie attempts to get child support from Derek only to find out he died whilst serving overseas. Frank and Mikey go on an adventure in the city, getting a free buffet, and attend a business convention. Later on, Mikey decides, for the good of his own health to get sent back to prison and get the care he needs.
Lip begins attending parenting classes where the single mothers flirt with him and he becomes close with the instructor. Liam moves past his self-identity phase and accepts that he is indeed a Gallagher.
Best: Lazarus (9.5)
When Fiona is released from prison due to overcrowding, her probation officer gets her a job at the Golden House Restaurant run by Charlie Peters (Jeffery Dean Morgan). This would be the only appearance of the character as he was replaced by Sean Pierce (Dermot Mulroney) in the following season, and the Golden House renamed Patsy’s Pies.
The other storyline for the episode sees Frank waking up in the hospital, no longer delirious, and informed he is now married to Shelia with five Native American children. The episode ends with the reveal that Jimmy/Steve is still alive as he drives past the Gallagher house.
Worst: O Captain, My Captain (7.0)
Most of the lower-rated Shameless episodes come along in season ten, so it’s no surprise that episode nine makes the bottom of the list. Ian and Mickey continue to be the highlight of this Fiona-less season as they go through another rough patch.
Debbie, who has been dating an older woman (who initially thought she was a prostitute) ends up cheating on her with her daughter. Still being held captive by Faye, the Gallagher family finally starts to realize he might be missing.
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