The thing that’s interesting about Ian & Lip Gallagher is that because they are so close in age sometimes that line of big brother/little brother gets blurred. I always felt n the beginning of the series Ian had a maturity and understanding of exactly who he was far beyond what Lip was capable of at the time. The scene with the two brothers outside of who they believed to be Ian’s biological father was where it became glaringly obvious how true that was.
There was something childish about Lip’s idea of what Ian being his uncles kid would mean. He thought it was a way for Ian to be free and exempt from the hell hole that was their life. But Ian wasn’t going to be swayed into a false sense of hope. He very clearly had an understanding that family is more than just biology. Ian understood that at some point family was who you wanted them to be.
Sure it would have been easy to be swayed by the idea of having a father that wasn’t Frank. A narcissistic drunk who only cared about himself, but accepting that and choosing this new family would mean that he would no longer be with his siblings day in and day out. He wouldn’t be Ian anymore, he would be pretending and one thing that was always clear about Ian was that he was very proud of who he was. He was a smart savvy gay American teen. He loved his family fiercely, he was dependable, loyal with dreams of one day being an officer in the Military and nothing was going to change him.
I love this scene because it showed that as brilliant as Lip was, he was still this hurt kid who wanted to see someone he loved have an out of the hole his family was in. Even if it meant losing Ian for him to have a better life. That’s what makes Shameless so powerful, you don’t always see what you would expect, but they show you the truth about life. That most of the time even if there is an easy way out it doesn’t necessarily mean its the right way to go, life is more complicated than money equaling happiness. Sometimes the right answer is sticking by the people you love no matter the outcome or consequences.
Which is what Ian was really saying to Lip in that moment. He was Frank Gallagher’s son for better or worse and nothing was ever going to change that.Watching Ian express all the love he had for his siblings was both powerful and heartfelt because he knew without them he wouldn’t be Ian.