[Warning: The following contains spoilers for Shameless' "Face It, You're Gorgeous." Read at your own risk!]
Cameron Monaghan shocked Shameless fans last week when he announced that Sunday's episode, "Face It, You're Gorgeous," would be his last as a series regular on the Showtime series. Considering Ian was facing serious prison time in the episode before Monaghan's announcement, many were worried about how he'd be written off the show and if Gay Jesus would actually get any justice.
We're here to tell you that Ian got the best possible ending that fans could hope for his character (barring him returning for the series' final episode, whenever that may be). He pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity with regards to the charges of blowing up a van to save a gay kid from being sent to conversion camp. He ended up getting two years in prison. Monaghan's final episode then saw Ian hanging out with his family and preparing for two years on the inside. It included some rough housing with Carl (Ethan Cutkosky) and more heart-to-hearts with Lip (Jeremy Allen White), but it was Ian's final scene that really stole the show.
Once he entered his prison cell, he was greeted by his new bunkmate; he might have looked familiar to fans.
That's right, our goodbye-to-Ian gift was a Gallavich reunion, which is frankly the only acceptable way this could have gone down. Mickey (Noel Fisher) — who was last seen escaping authorities at the Mexican border — rolled on the cartel he was working with in exchange for being bunked with Ian, so he could look out for his boy and the two star-crossed lovers could finally be together. He called the bottom bunk, obviously, and our hearts exploded.
Is it bittersweet that Gallavich found their happy ending in prison? Of course it is, but this is Shameless. There was never going to be a riding-off-into-the-sunset moment for these characters, or any of the others on the show. The point is that precious, giant-hearted Ian has someone who genuinely loves him and will have his back while he goes through what will surely be the toughest two years of his life. Yeah, Ian could have run away to Mexico to find Mickey but then they'd always be on the run. It's not like they can exactly "settle" in prison, but it wouldn't be a Shameless happy ending without a screwed-up twist to it.
Another good thing about this particular ending is that it leaves Ian in the country if the show should ever need him for a one-off episode or he could be released for good behavior to allow Ian back into the fold for a series finale. He's gone from the day-to-day workings of the Gallaghers, but never forgotten.
After everything he's has been through, Ian going to prison is him taking responsibility for his actions. He's grown so much over the course of nine seasons, especially since he first began grappling with his bipolar disorder. A Gallavich reunion was the perfect way to show him coming into his own as a man, but also letting the audience know that he's going to be okay, even if we can't see him for a while.
Shameless airs Sundays at 9/8c on Showtime.
(Full disclosure: TV Guide is owned by CBS, Showtime's parent company)