Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Season 2 Finale All About New Beginnings
Although the season 2 finale featured plenty of action like a rooftop police chase, a breakout from a psychiatric ward, and Frank's wife leaving him for a lesbian – the episode focused greater attention on the blooming relationships between characters, especially Fiona and Jimmy. There wasn’t a cliffhanger ending, but there might not need to be when the trailer for season 3 starts off with Frank waking up from a drunken stupor in Mexico.
Instead, the finale stirred that very human desire to find some semblance of family in what's left of the Gallagher household. It's them against the world, and by the end of every episode, after battling the poverty-stricken streets, after fighting and screaming and leaving, they somehow, just somehow, managed to make it back home. We craved reconciliation, more than over-the-top cinematics, and we were not disappointed.
At the beginning of the episode, Fiona and her on-again, off-again boyfriend Jimmy, picked up where the previous episode left off, cleaning up Monica's (Fiona's mother's) blood from the kitchen floor where they found her bleeding and unconscious on Thanksgiving after attempting suicide. The music is soft and folksy and Fiona is crying and the moment really works to bring the two back together. There is such gravity in their task that the rest well... just becomes water under the bridge.
To say their relationship has been rocky and unconventional would be to say the least. In previous episodes, Jimmy was actually known by everyone, including Fiona, as Steve, an alias he used to protect his identity as a seasoned car thief. After coming clean to her about leading two lives, Jimmy/Steve finally realizes that he needs her, but of course, the complications are already looming…
Jimmy's beautiful ex-wife ran away from her husband and shows up in the middle of the night hysterically screaming. The real significance is that her new husband, an intimidating and powerful head of some nefarious cartel, is hot on her 3-inch stiletto heels.
That same need for the Gallagher's to be part of something more than themselves is where we find the greatest joys in the episode. After Fiona passes her GED, she begs her brother Lip – who has moved out of the house and into an apartment with his bad-mannered girlfriend – to go back to school. She reminds him that they made a deal: if she gets past high school, Lip, who despite his South-side upbringing has a 4.6 GPA, has to go to college. Lip just walks away, while his girlfriend pushes Fiona to the door, sauntering around in only her T-shirt and panties.
But the point is that Fiona cares and somewhere under his grievances and his Luke-Perry-like indifference for his future, Lip does too. So he shows up for his Physics final exam, unannounced, to the befuddlement of his professor, who only drops him a knowing nod and an empty Scan-tron booklet. Later that night, when he goes back home, Fiona is the first to run into his arms.
The best part of the ending, thoughk is that after Frank sneaks into an insane asylum to break out his wife who has 60 more days after attempting her life; and, even after he finds her in her room, and she’s in bed with another woman; and, even after he breaks both of them out, she still leaves him for that woman. Even after all that, Frank still comes back home.
But this time, after a physical fight with his teenage son, Ian, the clan gang up on him, knock him unconscious with a frying pan, and help each other drag him out to the front yard. The last scene pans over fresh snow falling down on the Gallagher home, and feelings of new beginnings, when the forgotten Frank sits up from the snow, dusts himself off, and scurries away. Finally, after two seasons of not even being able to stomach him, Frank finally ends up where he deserves: out by the trash covered with snow.