The first time we meet Mandy Milkovich she had her flirty eyes fixed smack on Ian Gallagher, her knight in shining armor. From the look of longing on her face when she thought Ian had stood up to her brother Mickey to the one of disappointment when she found out that Ian had been with someone who wasn’t Kash the crush Mandy had on Ian was obvious. And then over the summer Mandy became a completely different person. The girl we had come to know had disappeared and in her place was an angrier, sadder Mandy. A Mandy that had seen things. A Mandy that knew pain. But we wouldn’t come to know the source of that pain until later.
What hadn’t changed was her devotion to her best friend. If there is anyone that Mandy loves unconditionally it’s Ian Gallagher. Sure she loves her family and is devoted to them, but that is more in the “they’re my family so I have to love them” way. But her love for Ian had morphed from being someone she had a crush on to him being her person. This was made clear when Ian discovered that it was her dad, Terry, who had gotten Mandy pregnant during an alcoholic induced blackout and instead of running he offered to help her and to stand by her. Not even Lip, who she had slept with, stood by her during that time.
Despite the abuse she suffered at the hands of her father she steadfastly refused or rather she couldn’t bring herself to believe that life in the Milkovich house was a “house of horrors” and that no child should have to be subjected to her father. In her mind she feels that she and her brothers have it better off than the Gallaghers because their dad has never left them. Not the way Frank and Monica left Fiona, Lip, Ian, and the rest to fend for themselves. Terry didn’t leave her the way her mother left, regardless of the fact that she died she still left. Mandy’s obvious dislike of women makes me wonder if it is possible that her mother committed suicide and she blames her for leaving her alone with her dad. Surely her mother knew what kind of monster Terry was and yet did nothing to protect her from him.
It probably seems absurd to those that have never lived through a cycle of abuse why a person would still be able to love their abuser to the point they defend them, but that is exactly what it is a cycle. Which means for every bad action there is an equal and opposite reaction. When Terry is an abusive monster he follows it up by being a loving father who will do anything for his kids. After years of living through this cycle it is no wonder that Mandy will go to her grave believing her dad is the good guy.
And yet there is a part of her that continues to search for a way out even though like her brother Mickey she too believes that she is fucked for life. For a brief period she allows herself to believe that Lip is that way and finds herself going to great lengths to make that happen; including instilling herself in every aspect of his life and trying to be the perfect girlfriend so that Lip doesn’t ever want her to leave. Unfortunately her actions have the opposite effect and only lead to Lip feeling as though he was being smothered. It also didn’t help that Lip was stuck in his own cycle of abuse because he was still in love with his ex-girlfriend Karen who treated him like garbage.
At times it appeared that Mandy was so wrapped in her own drama with Lip that she failed to notice her best friend had fallen in love. She failed to notice that while she was desperate to hang on to her own relationship her best friend was having his heart-broken. She failed to realize that while she was going on about how romantic it was that her brother was getting married her best friend was dying inside. But when her eyes were finally opened to his pain she stepped up and stood by him. Not only did she continue to support Ian, but she also let her brother know that she supported him and his relationship with Ian.
Hopefully we will see Mandy begin to believe that she deserves that same type of devotion and loyalty. Hopefully we will see her begin to believe that maybe just maybe she isn’t fucked for life and that she deserves more than the scraps Lip had been throwing her. Hopefully we will see her believe she deserves more than to spend the rest of her life living in a constant state of abuse.
Most Shameless Moment: Hitting Karen with a car after she finds out Karen and Lip slept together.
Least Shameless Moment: Plagiarizing speeches to fill out the essay part of college applications on Lip’s behalf so he can get in to college.