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'Shameless' Season Finale: EP Talks Season 2's Wild Ride and the Gallagher Evolution

Co-Executive Producer and Director Mark Mylod Speaks to THR about the Showtime series' revelations and what to expect on the season-ender.

Chloe Webb William H. Macy Showtime 2012
Cliff Lipson/Showtime

On the second season of Showtime’s Shameless, viewers have watched summer give way as the show moved into a very dark period for the Gallagher family. Along the way, it also made a departure from the plotlines of the original British version.

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“We started playing more towards the strengths of our particular actors, and the way that they evolve in the characters, which inevitably was going to start moving away from their British counterparts, from the original mold,” Co-Executive Producer and Director Mark Mylod tells The Hollywood Reporter.

THR spoke to Mylod about the themes of the series’ second season and the crazy ride of its penultimate episode heading into Sunday’s season finale.

The Hollywood Reporter: With Monica’s (Chloe Webb) attempted suicide and Karen’s (Laura Wiggins) baby’s birth, many viewers were struck by how moving and frankly crazy the last episode was – almost like a season finale. What was the reasoning for that?
Mark Mylod: It just evolved that way, I think in the writers room, because we wanted to get to a place where we kind of completed Chloe, the mother’s kind of arc, and in order to kind of make space for the kind of season finale popper. The actual inherent drama of that scene, the attempted suicide, and the immediate fallout from that coupled with wanting to get to a place where the birth of the child again could come before the end of the season finale, so that we could deal with the aftermath of that somewhat in the season finale. It just ended up being a very high stakes dramatic episode, so consequently, obviously was a lot of fun to direct.

THR: What can you say about what we’ll see on the finale?
The season finale actually really continues directly from where we left off in Episode 11 where we deal with the aftermath of this horrendous night, and actually see the characters’ result. I’m scared about unwittingly being a spoiler, but I’m kind of judging my words too carefully, weighing my words too carefully, but it really is about dealing with the aftermath of the event of Episode 11 with the event of that night, and actually the audience will get to see where the certain ongoing conflicts through the second season, will or will not actually be settled.

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THR: One of the most striking differences in this season comes with Frank (William H. Macy). We definitely see a whole different side of him with Monica around. What was it like to bring that out of him?
Mylod: That was a surprise for me this year, and a really good surprise, because I worked on the first season of the British version, that we were so sure at that point way back in 2004 that Frank would be this irredeemable sociopath really. I always thought that finding any kind of humanity in the character would be some kind of sellout, you know, making things too warm and cozy. But actually I think that between the writers and Bill, we found a way this season of actually really exploring where that character comes from through Chloe, and then through obviously through meeting his own mother. And actually we had just found a way not to excuse Frank, but to just take it as more context as to where he came from, and I think you get wind of this peculiar kind of family dynasty that locks into place and you see Frank and see that at one point as a young man in love, he was probably very charismatic.