This article contains spoilers for season 10, episode 4.
Weighing in high on the emotional and sentimental aspects, episode 4 of Shameless’ season 10 proves to be an ode to Frank and Mikey’s friendship. The new friends who hit it off instantly over their shared interest for drugs and alcohol and expert crookery set off on a day of adventure around the city in pursuit of Mikey’s dreams, which is to be a businessman – suited, booted and attending conventions. But standing in the way of Mikey and his dreams is his malfunctioning kidney needing immediate care – for which he has to pay the ultimate price, as a homeless, broke man. As the two go around conning their way through the gala of conventions, free goodies, and alcohol, for the first time ever we see Frank actively engage in making somebody else feel better; add some neon hues and dark undertones to it, and you have the year’s Indie gay romance between two middle-aged men and their fiery passion rising from the injustice of the curbs.
When we meet Frank and Mikey this episode, the two have partied all night after selling all of Debbie’s she-shed stuff. The two can finally take Mikey to the ER to get his infected wound checked, but Mikey is hesitant. Instead, he wants to spend the day achieving his dreams of being a businessman. Frank, in a shocking display of affection, doesn’t try to distract Mikey from having his day. Suddenly, Frank is not a crafty manipulator helping a person purely out of his personal, selfish interests. He and Mikey first buy suits and later arrive at a business convention center to hijack the free food and alcohol.
When they start feeling suspicious stares on themselves, they ditch the food and fancy club for a self-promotion seminar where they get to visit little stalls offering self-promotion tips and games such as mini-golf, and Frank is your typical cheerleader for Mikey. They buy matching ties together and have professional business mock-photoshoots too – both single shots and those of the two of them in a frame. Think the father Frank should have been to his six kids, but only all of those feelings are shown towards a grown middle-aged alcoholic. Things, however, lead to a minor conflict where Mikey accuses Frank of using their day out to make himself feel good. But while Mikey believes Frank can allow poor Mikey to have his dream as long as it’s on Frank’s terms, the look on Frank’s face is that of utter shock and disappointment – the kind of sullen look that shows self-loathing for trying so hard, yet being a screw-up.
It is only when Mikey expresses his real reason for wanting this one day out, that Frank is able to defend himself. Mikey realizes that his best bet for free medical care as a homeless, sick man, is prison. Kind of genius, if you think about it, considering pretty much everything Mikey does could lead him to be put away behind the bars, so that’s one item off the bucket list. But Frank isn’t ready to let go yet as he fumbles with words, his conviction remains unwavering while assuring Mikey they can figure this out, and he will even stop drinking if it keeps Mikey away from prison. That’s Frank’s long term plan to save on expenses and the fact that he would even suggest sacrificing his dear alcohol for another human is a big deal. He asserts how the two of them finding their way back to each other must mean something, and how he can’t go on with his life eating pizzas when he will keep worrying if Mikey has had any food to eat all day. Frank admits that when Mikey was getting his dialysis done, he prayed for him – a revelation only made more wholesome by Mikey hugging him goodbye and saying he hopes his last day on earth is with Frank.
If one didn’t already know the dynamics of the two grown men’s friendship it is quite easy to mistake them for a neo-noir gay couple trying to keep their romance alive in the times of despair. But that’s just Frank and his new best friend Mikey for you – the most unexpected wholesome relationship on this season so far, definitely capable of stealing your attention away from the absence of Fiona. Sure, with Mikey getting arrested for hitting a cop, there’s not much wholesomeness to look forward to, but there’s the Gallagher brothers Lip and Carl almost on the brink of new romances when their existing girlfriends show up out of the blue, so that’s definitely something to look forward to in the coming episodes, when Frank and Mikey aren’t giving us all the feels.
‘Shameless’ season 10 airs on Sundays at 9pm only on Showtime.