Saying goodbye to Shameless was always going to be tough, but I was oddly ready to end my time watching the Gallaghers by the end of Shameless Season 11 Episode 12.
For a series finale, the first half of the episode didn't feel like it brought much to a close. There wasn't much closure at all when you think about it.
The episode played out more like the series finale of Orange Is the New Black in that life goes on because what can you possibly change for the characters?
Frank's death was inevitable. It's a miracle he awoke after his overdose, but it hit me harder than I thought it would.
If you watch Shameless online, you know Frank has never been an upstanding man. He would trick his family without a second thought, and his suicide letter was pretty telling about the way he thought about everyone in his orbit before his passing.
His hospital files were big enough to fill a library, and the nurses' reaction was considerably more comical than I thought it would. My biggest concern with how it was handled was that I figured a face from the past would show up at the hospital.
The nurses were desperate to find an emergency contact for him, all the while Frank drifted away. I figured Fiona, Sheila, or someone else from the past would show up at the hospital.
Thanks to COVID-19, I had already tempered my expectations for the finale. Asking someone to quarantine for a cameo is a big ask, especially with the world still being ravaged by the pandemic.
But I can't help but be a little miffed that we didn't get a Zoom-based cameo from Fiona. She was such an integral part of the series for nine seasons. As a result, it feels weird that we didn't get any indication about what she's been doing or how she feels about her father's death.
The episode's message is that 'life is finite, so you should enjoy it while you can' might explain Fiona's absence. But we didn't get to see Frank's funeral. It's possible Fiona did return for the funeral and possibly the South Side.
Ambiguous conclusions tend to work better because they allow fans to ponder what might happen next, and "Father Frank, Full of Grace" was as vague as they come.
There were so many questions unanswered, but we left all of the characters at pivotal times in their lives.
Lip's struggle throughout Shameless Season 11 to provide for his family amid the pandemic hasn't been an easy watch. He's been so close to returning to a life of crime, alcohol, and drugs.
He still might. A part of me questioned whether he would ultimately become a carbon copy of Frank. Still, Lip was visibly concerned about Tami possibly being pregnant with their second child.
While Lip has never admitted it, he clearly suffers from Imposter Syndrome. He never thinks he's good enough for what life gives him. Fiona was the same, so I think they have way more in common than we think.
Ian telling Lip he was the closest thing to a father their siblings had likely allowed Lip to realize that raising two children will be nothing compared to the Gallaghers.
Lip has made many questionable decisions, but the saga about selling the house taught him a lesson about endurance and making decisions on the fly.
Whether Lip and Tami will live happily ever after, I don't know, but I liked that we didn't have to witness them and everyone else leaving the South Side.
Speaking of Ian, it certainly seemed like he was destined to call things off with Mickey. There are conversations they hadn't had before getting married, and the questions about having children reared its head a bit later than they should have.
Mickey is a child himself, and he grew up in a toxic environment, so he never thought he was worthy of being a father. We already know Mickey does not want to live a legit life. He's been all about making some compromises, but he wants to stick to what he knows.
I wouldn't be surprised if Mickey and a potential kid were planning heists in 18 years or so. Ian telling Mickey about the date consistently made me think there would be a huge bust-up that could make them realize they're not right for each other.
Mickey planning an engagement party all along worked well because it resulted in a beautiful scene that highlighted why Gallavich has always been an endgame. Yes, I hate the term "endgame," but I will use it if it fits the scenario.
For Debbie, the writers were backed into a corner. She's had so many storylines that they struggled to find one that fit the character.
Like I've said countless times, Debbie lives for chaos. Heidi's rap sheet may be bad, but something tells me Debbie would fall even more challenging for her if Carl told the truth about her new girlfriend.
The bar not selling was a surprise, but the idea of Carl joining forces with his friend and making it a bar for cops could be an exciting way to take things. The Alibi Room has been a pivotal part of the series, so they needed to find a way to keep it alive somehow.
Kev and V barely got any screentime, which felt weird. Maybe the writers gave us too much of their plan to escape the city earlier into the season.
"Father Frank, Full of Grace" was a somber way to end the series, but it seemed to leave a lot up for debate, leading me to believe that Showtime will revisit the world at some point down the line.
It really should have ended a few seasons ago when the writing was still consistently good, but I like the idea of picking up with the characters after a decade or so.
It would also be nice to know which storylines were lost due to COVID-19. It's rare for a series to go out without any splashy returns, but maybe Shameless was never going to aim high.
The South Side is a place people probably wouldn't want to return to after leaving. It's deeply rooted in crime, so it's perhaps a miracle many people managed to get out.
What did you think of the conclusion?
Are you surprised by the way Frank died?
Should there have been more?
Hit the comments below.
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.