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[Warning: This story contains spoilers from Shameless’ penultimate episode, “Happily Ever After.”]
Showtime’s Shameless sent a surprising and beloved character off into the sunset during Sunday’s penultimate episode of season seven, but that exit may not mean the end of the road for fan-favorite couple Mickey (Noel Fisher) and Ian (Cameron Monaghan).
Following last week’s surprising reunion — which featured Ian agreeing to leave Chicago and follow his former flame turned escaped convict Mickey to Mexico — Ian had second thoughts and ultimately backed out of leaving his family and current boyfriend, Trevor (Elliot Fletcher). Instead, Mickey, dressed as a woman, fled the country, seemingly ending the former couple’s reunion.
Below, Fisher talks with The Hollywood Reporter about the couple, how Mickey would be there in a heartbeat if Ian were to ever call him and what a “happily ever after” might have looked like for the duo.
Is this the end of the road for Mickey and Ian?
It’s left in a way that doesn’t necessarily have to be the end. Who knows what the future holds. That’s one of the reasons I was really excited to come back and do these episodes, because I think that this is a storyline that culminates in a much more profound way than we’ve gotten to see in terms of the types of goodbyes they’ve had. They’ve had a lot of goodbyes. It’s their whole relationship kind of crunched into an episode. There’s a lot of funny, chaotic moments. There’s a lot of touching, loving moments. There’s profound love, passion, fun and sadness, and all of it mixed together. When you get to watch these characters love and support one another all the way through yet another crazy moment of adversary, I think that’s going to make people feel satisfied. It definitely did for me.
What do you think made fans connect so much with Mickey and Ian?
At its heart, this is just a love story, and it’s a love story that is about two people who are told by different areas of life that they shouldn’t be together or that they can’t be together. Everyone can relate to that, and sexual orientation doesn’t really play any kind of part in people’s ability to feel that and empathize with that. That’s powerful.
Will we see Mickey again? Are Ian and Mickey meant to be together?
I absolutely love playing this character and getting to work with the all the talented people on this show, so I would jump at the opportunity. It’s left open, and I don’t think anything would prevent them from living happily ever after if that’s what would be best for the characters. That’s the bigger question and what would have to be decided. These characters have known each other and grown up and changed so much because of one another. That’s what Shameless does well — it’s the story of people exploring themselves and growing and reaching to better themselves over and over again. As long as that continues to happen, I’ll be happy.
What do you think changed in the time that Mickey was locked up this time? Because it seemed like Ian evolved, but Mickey didn’t.
Prison is probably a fairly difficult place to evolve in. (Laughs.) I don’t think it’s necessarily structured for that, which is probably not the best thing in the world. The past few seasons have spent a lot of time watching Ian continue his evolution, grow and take more control of his bipolar disorder. Whereas the evolution that Mickey has had is the opening and growth of this character, and it’s ongoing. He basically learned how to love and what that meant for him over the earlier seasons, and this is a storyline that continues that, because he’s now reaching out to really the only person that he trusts because of that kind of love and connection. He might have been in prison, but he definitely didn’t stop growing in terms of that.
Now that he’s safely over the border, as far as we can tell, do you think that evolution will continue for him?
That’s my hope for Mickey. The future that I imagine for Mickey is one that is much more peaceful and one that is filled with true friendship and true love in whatever forms it comes. That’s the single biggest, most important gift that Ian helped Mickey with, and it’s something that he gets to hold onto for the rest of his life and is an integral part of who he is. I don’t think that there’s any way to go back from that, and I think that his life is forever changed for the better by that interaction and that journey that he’s had with Ian.
Were you satisfied with how their story ended? Was it what you imagined for them?
I am happy with how this episode ended and the storyline there. It’s not what I expected, but that’s the reason that I like Shameless — it doesn’t give you what you expect. It constantly surprises you with what these characters are capable of and the journeys and the growth that they kind of undergo. In that way, I think that it’s a perfect, perfect way to end the episode and this particular story arc, because they get to love each other and be there for one another one last time. In the end scene, the love there and the care there is so obvious and so powerful and so palpable that, despite the fact that it ends on somewhat of a sad note, there’s a lot of beauty there. Neither of these characters would be who they are without one another. Mickey doesn’t have any kind of regrets when it comes to who he is or how he’s loved or the time that he’s been able to have and spend with Ian. He wouldn’t take it back for anything.
What would it take to get them back together at this point? Could a few years apart allow them to come back for a healthy relationship?
Well, the breaking out of prison definitely took away some options. (Laughs.) But no matter what, if Ian ever found himself in trouble, if Ian ever reached out for help, Mickey would be there in a heartbeat. He would find a way. There’s always that kind of option, but, again, the writers and the creators of the show are very good at finding surprising ways to do things, so I’m sure that if they wanted to do that, I’m sure they would have some kind of crazy, cool, Shameless way of making it happen.
What do you think of the Ian and Trevor pairing? Do you think that it’s a good fit?
I think that it’s a different fit. The differences between Trevor and Mickey are very profound, and they represent very different things. There are a lot of things that Mickey represents that are beautiful and wonderful and passionate. Trevor is a person who has his life together, and he’s a person that is in control of the direction that he wants to be moving in and making that happen. That that’s something that Ian had struggled with for a long time. You can learn and grow from almost everyone that you meet, and Ian can definitely grow and learn with Trevor if that’s what he chooses. If not, then he’ll grow and learn in some other way.
Would Mickey feel the same way, or would he think that no one should be with Ian but him?
I don’t think Mickey would be nearly as understanding. (Laughs.) The memory that comes to mind is the poor kid that Ian was fooling around with under the bleachers that one time — the last time Mickey got out of prison — and the immediate response was just a beatdown. Going back to that point you brought up about growth in prison, I think that Mickey has grown in that area and would probably be more understanding of Ian being in a relationship. I just think he would probably try and probably just do a little seduction and change it up on Ian.
What did you think of Mickey and Ian’s story? Are you still rooting for them? Is this it? Sound off in the comments section, below. Shameless airs on Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Showtime.
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