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Biggest Unanswered Questions From Shameless

The American dramedy series "Shameless," created by John Wells and adapted from Paul Abbott's British series of the same name, follows a flawed yet charming ensemble of characters from the South Side of Chicago. The series doesn't shy away from bold, explicit content with its portrayal of gritty, poverty-stricken reality. To say single father Frank Gallagher is a bad influence on his six kids is an understatement. But it's his controversial parenting style that acts as a catalyst for all the mayhem and misadventures that ensue.

With more than 10 years on the air, "Shameless" became the longest-running original scripted series in Showtime's history (via The Los Angeles Times). From the moment it premiered, the show received critical acclaim from outlets such as The Hollywood Reporter, The New York Times, and more.

Even without the brain fog from a famous Frank Gallagher self-destructive bender, 11 seasons worth of chaos can be difficult to keep up with, leaving some unanswered questions about the show's plot and characters. Approach with caution: spoilers ahead!

What happened to the academic prodigy Lip?

Despite growing up in the slums of Chicago's South Side, the second-oldest Gallagher sibling seemingly has a bright future ahead of him, receiving straight As and a full ride scholarship to Chicago Polytechnic. Taking things back to Season 1, Lip's irresponsible brilliance is front and center. You'll usually find him using his gift for all the wrong reasons. It isn't until Season 3 that he agrees to enroll in higher education. College is no smooth ride for Lip, and sadly, Season 6 sees him hit a new rock bottom with his developing alcohol addiction. After some time in rehab, a string of unfortunate events causes Lip to fall deeper into his addiction.

By Season 8, his intelligence is a relic of the past. Maybe all the alcohol had a negative effect on his brain, or maybe the grief of losing his mentor Youens was too much to handle. Nevertheless, the way in which he navigates life from Season 8 to the end of the show is far from the genius we used to know. Lip is no longer referenced for his intelligence. Rather, he's exclusively associated with his addiction and trouble with women. Finishing college is out of the question and is never mentioned again. Sure, Lip has always made poor choices, but it's his decision in the finale that makes you realize how far his intellect has fallen off. Refusing to accept a $200,000 offer on the Gallagher house, Lip misses the opportunity and ends up settling for $75,000. A huge mistake that Season 1 Lip never would've made.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Is Liam okay?

After he accidentally overdoses on Fiona's cocaine in Season 4, Episode 5, "There's the Rub," Liam's potential brain damage is a pressing issue among the family. This is addressed heavily in the following episode, with Fiona sitting in jail for possession and child endangerment, while Lip struggles to handle everything back at the hospital.

After Liam experiences several seizures and is treated for acute cocaine toxicity, the doctors deliver some life-changing bad news: There's a high probability of long-term brain damage causing learning disabilities and future problems. It's a grim diagnosis, but the exact opposite happens as Liam's character develops throughout later seasons. In Season 7, Episode 7, "You'll Never Ever Get a Chicken in Your Whole Entire Life," Frank successfully enrolls Liam into a private school. Although his acceptance was originally due to the school's push for diversity, he ends up thriving in the environment before subsequently being kicked out as a result of tuition complications.

Back in public school, Liam uses his intellect to his advantage and gets to skip ahead to the sixth grade. So much for any brain damage or learning disabilities. Liam is now, in fact, the second smartest Gallagher kid after Lip, but we all know how he turned out. Seeing as nothing ever comes from the life-changing incident, it might be safe to assume Liam will be okay.

If you or someone you know may be the victim of child abuse, please contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-Child (1-800-422-4453) or contact their live chat services.

Why are there no consequences for Fiona's drunken car crash?

A drunk Fiona crashes her car in Season 9, Episode 6, "Face It, You're Gorgeous," after finding out her boyfriend Ford has a wife and kids. Luckily the cars that she hit were empty and parked so no one was hurt, but with Fiona stumbling off into the night, leaving her car behind, you would think cops would investigate the hit and run.

Fiona waits until the next day to go back to the crime scene and hide the evidence, but by then, someone would surely already have reported the hit and run. It's questionable at best. Dumb luck, maybe? The Gallagher family seems to have no short supply of it.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Are Kevin and Veronica still friends with the Gallaghers?

Kevin and Veronica — V, for short — are the Gallaghers' neighbors and longtime friends. They're always there when a Gallagher needs them, whether it's Kevin helping Lip illegally sell alcohol, drugs, and candy to the community out of an ice cream truck, or it's V using her medical knowledge to help identify a rash on Debbie's arm. The couple are essentially unofficial members of the family.

However, in later seasons of the show, the characters hardly speak to one another. Instead, Kevin and V are too busy caught up in their own storylines outside of the Gallagher family. Kevin is focused on his bar, the Alibi, while the two raise their twins and newly adopted child. Toward the end, the rare times Kevin and V do interact with the Gallaghers, it mostly happens within the walls of the Alibi.

No big falling out prompted their distance, but of course, friendships can naturally fizzle out over time. While they might not be as close as they once were, you can't have the Gallaghers without Kevin and V.

Where is Svetlana and Mickey's kid?

In Season 4, Svetlana gives birth to Mickey's son, Yevgeny. Reluctant to take any part in the child's life, Mickey eventually steps up and cares for Yevgeny with Ian's help, and they play the part of one big happy family — that is, until Ian kidnaps Yevgeny during a psychotic break. Yevgeny is eventually returned, and Ian is institutionalized. As if their makeshift family couldn't be torn apart any further, Mickey lands himself in jail for the attempted murder of Sammi, Frank's long-lost oldest daughter.

Yevgeny is seen visiting Mickey in jail during Season 6, occasionally playing with Amy and Gemma in Season 7, and lastly in Season 8, when Svetlana marries a new man and takes Yevgeny with her. That would be all fine and well if Yevgeny wasn't Mickey's son, too. After developing a strong bond with his child, how can Mickey so readily forget about his existence? Sounds like another case of bad parenting.

If you or someone you know needs help with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.

Where is Kevin's baby?

Missing children are a common occurrence in the world of "Shameless."

In the first few seasons of the show, Kevin and V's infertility is a major conflict for the couple, who wish to have kids of their own — so much so that they turn to impregnating V's mother in an at-home, do-it-yourself type of way. Desperate times call for desperate measures, after all. Yet after going through all that, V ends up getting pregnant soon after. The whole situation feels like some sort of sick joke, but in the end, the plan works — sort of. V's mother becomes pregnant with Kevin's son, but after giving birth, she insists on keeping the baby for herself.

Being such a loving father to his other kids, you would think Kevin would make more of an effort to see the son V's mother took for herself, but the child is almost never mentioned again. At least he's in somewhat good hands.

How was V able to get pregnant?

After troubles with infertility, V becomes pregnant with triplets in Season 4 — a development that comes as a surprise to everyone, especially the fans. So much for getting her mother to be their surrogate. The news sends them into a panic. Triplets plus the surrogate baby on the way? Amy and Jemma are born in the Season 4 finale. As for the third triplet, they were absorbed by the other two. These things happen.

The best explanation for V's newfound ability to become pregnant can be attributed to the miracle of life.

Contrary to fan speculation, writers didn't add in V's pregnancy because of actor Shanola Hampton's real-life pregnancy. Shanola told the Chicago Tribune, "When I went to tell (showrunner) John Wells, 'Hi, I'm pregnant,' he was like, 'Great! Because we already have that planned for Veronica, so that means we won't have to put a belly on you.' And I was like 'Oh my goodness, this is crazy!'"

Who's the real father?

If there's one thing Frank and Monica are good at, it's making babies. The two unstable parents and their toxic relationship leave the kids questioning whether they're all really related, and after some DNA tests, we're left with a series of unanswered questions about Monica's many affairs — as well as the surprising revelation that Liam is indeed Frank's biological son. Given that Liam is the only Black child out of the bunch, everyone always assumed Monica had an affair, but as it turns out, Nana Gallagher was the one who had an affair with a sax player. A weak explanation, according to Vulture, but we'll take it.

It isn't difficult to imagine how devastating it must have been when Ian found out Frank wasn't his biological father in the episode "Nana Gallagher Had an Affair." The most this is explored, however, is that Ian was fathered by one of Frank's brothers. There have been theories tossed around on various fan sites, with some speculating that Debbie could also have been fathered by Frank's brother, seeing as how Debbie and Ian sport the same red hair, unlike the other siblings. 

Another mystery among the children occurs in Season 7, Episode 5, "Own Your S***," when Carl takes a DNA test only for his results to indicate no signs of African DNA. This doesn't add up to what we learn about Liam and Frank in Season 1. It's highly probable Carl isn't Frank's biological son, either. You can take your guesses.

Where is Fiona's dog?

It seems to be a recurring plot device for TV shows to introduce a dog only for it to quickly disappear, never to be seen again, and "Shameless" is one of many series that have opened up this familiar plot hole. In Season 8, Episode 5, "The (Mis)Education of Liam Fergus Beircheart Gallagher," one of Fiona's tenants, Mrs. Cardinal, dies in her apartment. The elderly woman's little white crusty-eyed dog gets a taste of some flesh from her dead body. Because of this forbidden snack, the dog is scheduled to be put down, but Fiona decides to partake in a random act of kindness by taking in the dog as her own.

This doesn't last long. After selling the apartment building in Season 9, Episode 7, "Down like the Titanic," Fiona leaves the dog behind, and fans can only hope someone else swooped in to give him a better home. Presumably Max, who bought the building from her?

What happens to Fiona?

In the Season 9 finale, Fiona bids farewell to her hometown and the family she's dedicated her life to raising. The rest of the kids take over her various responsibilities in her absence, leaving viewers with vague comments about Fiona on rare occasions. But overall, her friends and family have almost no contact with her, and her existence is hardly mentioned again. There's no invite to Mickey and Ian's wedding — heck, even Frank forgets to mention her in his final farewell speech as he goes down the list of children that he loves so dearly.

Even showrunner John Wells has questioned his decision to leave out updates about Fiona, saying to Entertainment Weekly, "It always felt strange to write too much of 'Oh, hey, we got this letter from Fiona,' or 'Here's a postcard from Florida.' It all seemed a little cheesy, so we didn't do it. I don't know if it's the right decision, to be honest."

Why wasn't Frank arrested in Canada?

Frank and Canada go together like water and oil — they just don't mix. It all starts in Season 1, Episode 2, "Frank the Plank," when Frank wakes up in Canada not knowing how he got there. He's quickly arrested for sleeping on public property and ordered to leave the country, except he can't — not without a passport. Luckily, in the end, Steve, Kevin, and V are able to smuggle him back to Chicago.

Later in Season 8, Episode 8, "The Fugees," Frank gets caught up in smuggling illegal immigrants to the Canadian border for some extra cash. Lost in the woods, he's eventually apprehended by authorities and taken to Frank's least favorite place: Canadian jail. He and his partner miraculously get away, but it wouldn't be a "Frank escape" without backstabbing said partner. On the run by himself now, Frank makes it back to the United States on foot. Sometimes that Gallagher luck really comes in handy. At least he learns his lesson and stays away from Canada for the rest of the series.

How does Frank survive for so long?

It's hard not for "Shameless" fans to wonder how Frank was able to survive for as long as he did. Due largely in part to his alcoholism and addiction, the number of times Frank has escaped death is almost too many to count, but in Season 4, Episode 10, "Liver, I Hardly Know Her," he comes closer to his demise than ever. Frank's in need of a liver transplant, and Sheila and Sammi attempt to help by arranging a back alley procedure; unfortunately, instead of gaining a new liver, he loses his kidneys. The kids say their goodbyes, thinking this is the end, when news breaks that he's next on the donor list and he receives a healthy liver in the nick of time. In other instances, Frank's always taking a beating from his children — and we mean literal beatings, whether that's Debbie beating him with a pillowcase full of bars of soap after he destroys her school project or Carl breaking his leg for another money scheme.

There even comes a time when his own kids try to kill him by throwing him off a bridge, but once again, it isn't enough to do him in. When the inevitable finally happens in the season finale, no one could've guessed that the invincible Frank Gallagher would succumb to Covid-19 complications. Showrunner John Wells explained this decision to Entertainment Weekly, saying, "We didn't think we could let Frank off scot-free for his years of abusing his body with alcohol and drugs ... then as COVID came up, we'd already written in the alcoholic dementia and it seemed like it would be inappropriate to not address the subject matter in this community."

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).