If you've ever shipped a pair of television characters, you know the pain of the one that got away, the agony of will-they-won't-they, and the struggle of the love interest who can’t seem to stay away, yet isn’t the type to commit. Shameless, not to be outdone, has a character that combines all of those traits and who remains a mystery, even all the way out here in Season 9. Enter Jimmy/Steve (Justin Chatwin), Fiona’s long-time on again, off again boyfriend. He became a series regular for a few seasons and has made a few appearances since. It’s been quiet on that front since season 5, but with Emmy Rossum's final episode approaching, will fans get to see a Jimmy/Steve and Fiona reunion on Shameless before the character takes her final bow? It's not entirely out of the question, but maybe don't put money on it Warning: Spoilers for season 9 ahead.
Where The Jimmy Saga Ended
To recap, viewers met Jimmy in the very first episode as “Steve.” Turns out he had a whole backstory involving a grand theft auto “business,” a rich family he kept on the low, and a fake name (his real one is Jimmy, so he says). He and Fiona (Emmy Rossum) had an intense relationship that took center stage at times, yet came to an end when he was seemingly killed by a Brazilian drug lord’s daughter (who he was fake-married to). He came back as “Jack,” and tried to win Fiona over again, but she’d grown too much to run away with him and abandon her family.
What The Showrunner Has Said
In an October interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Shameless showrunner John Wells didn’t let on much about Jimmy returning. “I can say absolutely nothing about it, although you don't want to perform the same magic trick twice in one season.” Mickey Milkovich showed up in episode 6 this season, achieving a similar effect, which is what Wells is referring to. Mickey’s whereabouts hadn’t been known, so now that he’s Ian’s cellmate, they can finally be in love together, even if it is in jail. So that might mean that Jimmy just won’t show up in Fiona’s goodbye arc as well — there would simply be too many happy endings for this crew.
Jimmy Might Not Actually Be OTP, Despite What's In Your Heart
In 2015, after Chatwin’s season 5 departure, Rossum told The Hollywood Reporter that despite Jimmy’s reappearing act, this time felt different. “It does feel like Fiona knows that he isn’t the be all and end all for her," Rossum said. "...She’s defined it in her life where she doesn’t want to be that person anymore. She’s closing that door to that chapter and opening the door to the first chapter of her becoming who she’s going to be."
Chatwin said that their love story was originally pitched to him as a sort of “f*cked up version of Romeo and Juliet,” and that alone is reason enough to let it be. Fiona has a habit of being attracted to the bad boy type, and when she does have a healthy thing going with a fairly nice guy, she self-sabotages. There was Mike Pratt (Jake McDorman) in season 4, who was her boss at one of her only stable jobs, but also a genuine guy who cared for her and her big family despite the shenanigans that seem to follow them. However, she hooked up with his brother Robbie which led to a domino effect of Mike breaking up with her, little Liam getting into Robbie’s cocaine, and Fiona going to jail. Not ideal.
There was also Gus, a sweet musician who treated Fiona well and allowed her to open up to him and feel loved. They got married very quickly, but she slept with Jimmy and started a relationship with Sean (Dermot Mulroney), while they were still married. Time and again she Fiona's bad relationship decisions catch up with her.
But There's Hope, Especially If It's Her Last Hurrah
However, the audience has seen the potential that’s there in Fiona. Outside of relationships, she has aspirations and has found success, even if only for a short bit. If Jimmy were to come back into the picture, it could potentially upend the few victories that Fiona can tout.
Sure, Jimmy’s love for Fiona might be real, but it’s a feverish love that renders them unable to think straight. And then there are the lies; the amount of lies Jimmy has told, even until the very end, shows he’ll still cheat and lie to get his way. In his last episode, he told Fiona that he cancelled going to Dubai just for her, when really, his client was the one who cancelled. As Angela (Dichen Lachman), Jimmy’s work partner, tells Fiona after their final goodbye, “Jack’s a good thief, Fiona, but a shitty person.”
Knowing all that, Fiona not only shouldn't take him back, it's hard to believe Rossum and the show would put that on Fiona in her final episode. There's be no time to explain how the relationship suddenly worked out, no time to redeem Jimmy on screen, no hope that he’s changed (or will change), leaving Fiona’s fate in the balance.
Even if it might make your heart flutter, bringing Jimmy/Steve/Jack back wouldn’t be closure, it'd be pretty cruel to the series' central character.