Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Frank's Family Epiphany

Frank has made a total transformation this season, and I wouldn't be surprised if he came back next season clean and sober, and a productive part of the Gallagher clan. 

I know, I know... Let me explain. 

At the end of the last episode, he actually turns himself in to the police so that Carl doesn't get arrested for the robbery. This is a side of Frank we have never seen – where he actually puts someone else's well being before his own. After Frank is cuffed and taken away, Ian runs onto the scene asking what just happened. Lip's only response: "Hell froze over."

Frank and Lip celebrate his graduation with scotch.
And in this episode, he actually takes Lip out to celebrate his high school graduation with lobster and fine scotch at an opulent restaurant. Although they eventually skip out on the bill, Frank had intended to spend his hard earned money on his son, which is the point, and which is something we have never seen from him before either. The fact that he wanted to spend time with his son at all is a complete departure from the old Frank. When he tells Lip that they don't get to spend enough time together, Lip responded, "No. We don't spend any time together." Frank is making up for lost time.

I really enjoyed them getting all day-drunk together because they are the wittiest characters on the show, and it was nice to see Frank actually spending quality time with his son. I can actually get on board with Frank now, instead of hating him for being a selfish drunk who not only doesn't care for his kids, but actually tries to harm them. Because the things that come out of Frank's mouth are really hilarious and even eloquent at times, even if only as means to his egotistic ends. Some of the speeches he gave during his brief stint as a gay right's advocate were truly funny. Or when giving an impromptu speech at Aunt Ginger's funeral, a few episodes back, he said that she was good at what she did (prostitution) and that "she could unhinge her jaw like a Burmese python."  

Carl shaving Frank's head.
Probably the most powerful scene of the finale was when Carl snuck into the hospital to shave Frank’s head. What was fantastic about that scene was that "letting in the sun rays" was all Carl really knew about medicine and so that is exactly what he did: shaved his dad’s head. It’s really quite profound and poetic in itself. If only sun rays could cure us – if it was really that simple. 

But, it is to Carl. And watching the boy shave his father’s head to try to cure him was quite powerful. It’s tragic that the only reason the boy thinks there is medicinal power in the sun's rays is because Frank told him that as an excuse, after he shaved Carl’s head, in a failed attempt to scam a cancer foundation. Carl still thinks he's a cancer survivor. But, the power of that scene comes when you think of Carl, whose childhood has been ravaged by his non-existent father, still having the inert humanity to venture through downtown Chicago in the middle of the night to save his father from sickness with nothing more than a pair of hair clippers. That was all really well done.

Frank leaving the hospital.
That is why I wouldn't be surprised if Frank comes back next season a brand new man. He might not be an exemplary father figure, but I could image him at least being a healthy part of his children's lives. With his scare with death and his failing health, with his drunken day spent ice skating with Lip and the realization that Carl and the rest of his family will fight to save him, he might have just had himself an epiphany. There is more to life than booze, more to life than his own twisted desires. There's family. And while walking through the snowy streets of Chicago in nothing but a hospital gown, he might have been walking back to his old ways, to the booze, and eventually to his own death. But, I think, he was actually walking home. 

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