|“||How can you tell if a guy you've been hanging out with likes you?||”|
As if being a middle Gallagher child wasn't enough, Ian Clayton Gallagher is the most like his mother, which is not necessarily a good thing. He is also gay.
season 1-9 story line[edit | edit source]
Season 1[edit | edit source]
Ian is gay and closeted. When his older brother Lip discovers a cache of gay pornography in the room they share, he first confronts Ian with it and then sets Ian up to receive oral sex from Karen Jackson, a neighbor whom Lip tutors. When Karen confirms that Ian was unaroused by her ministrations, Lip comes to accept his brother and becomes Ian's trusted confident.
When the series opens, Ian is involved in a sexual relationship with Kash, owner of the Kash and Grab, the neighborhood convenience store where Ian works. Kash, a Muslim, is married to Linda, a white woman who converted to marry him, and has two children with her. Usually Ian and Kash have sex in the storeroom, but one weekend when Linda and the children are out of town Kash brings Ian to their home. Upon seeing the reality of Kash's life with his family, Ian balks at having sex with him.
Ian's schoolmate Mandy Milkovich expresses a sexual interest in him. When he does not reciprocate, she tells her brothers that Ian raped her. After evading them, he comes out to Mandy, who not only calls off her brothers but suggests that she be his sham girlfriend to deflect any questions about his sexuality.
Ian continues his affair with Kash but Linda, who has installed security cameras in response to rampant shoplifting at the store, catches them in the act on tape. Surprisingly, she does not mind if the affair continues but demands that Kash impregnate her before he has sex with Ian again. Meanwhile, Mickey Milkovich, one of Mandy's brothers and an aggressive shoplifter who has been terrorizing Kash, steals the gun kept in the store for protection. Ian confronts Mickey at his home, determined to retrieve it. In the ensuing altercation the pair realize their attraction and have sex. They maintain the sexual relationship although Mickey denies any emotional attraction to Ian; Ian cools off his relationship with Kash. Eventually Kash catches the two having sex in the store and, in response, shoots Mickey in the leg and has him arrested following Mickey's brazen theft of a candy bar.
Following the news of Ian's parentage, Lip encourages him to find his biological father. Upon visiting "Grammy", Frank's mother, who is incarcerated on charges relating to two deaths in a meth lab explosion, Ian and Lip learn that Frank has three brothers, Clayton, Jerry and Wyatt. Wyatt, however, is eliminated from consideration because he lost his testicles while serving in the Navy. Jerry, who turns out to be Frank's twin, refuses to speak to the boys. Clayton closely resembles Ian and the boys assume he is Ian's father. Lip suggests that the affluent Clayton would make a better father than Frank but Ian insists that Frank is his father and Lip and the rest of his siblings are his family, where he belongs.
Season 1 closes with Ian's arrest and release after being stopped with Lip in a car stolen by Fiona's boyfriend Steve. He tells Fiona that he's gay and Fiona claims she already knows.
Season 2[edit | edit source]
Season 2 opens the following summer. Ian still works at the Kash and Grab but his physical relationship with Kash is apparently over. It definitely ends when Kash, who can no longer reconcile being gay and being married, leaves. Ian is no longer interested in the Marines, setting the goal of obtaining admission to West Point. He does not have good enough grades so Lip offers tutoring. Although willing to help him, Lip is opposed to Ian's joining the military to "fight for a country that thinks you're one of God's mistakes". A colonel whom Lip knows through a contact at a local university leaves a West Point application with Ian, who is chagrinned to learn the officer thinks Lip is the interested party. This leads to a physical confrontation between the brothers, and they refuse to communicate with each other until Grammy, recently released from prison for medical reasons, convinces them to have another fight. After a short battle Ian confesses that he feels like he is trapped in Lip's shadow. He and Lip reconcile.
Mickey is released from juvenile detention and he and Ian resume their relationship. Mickey starts working security at the Kash and Grab. Frank catches the boys having sex in the cooler and Mickey, fearing that his father will kill him should Frank tell what he saw, resolves to kill Frank. After stalking him for several days, Mickey changes his mind and assaults a police officer instead, violating his parole and returning him to juvenile detention.
Monica Gallagher returns home following the death of Frank's mother, Grammy. While home she tells Ian that Frank told her about seeing him with Mickey and that he should be proud of who and what he is. She takes him to his first gay bar. The next day Ian, depressed over a poor math test score, allows Monica to take him to a local enlistment center to join the Army. He is refused because he has not graduated high school. The following morning Ian is attacked in his kitchen by Terry Milkovich, father of Ian's sham girlfriend Mandy, because he believes Ian has gotten her pregnant.
Ian spends the next few days avoiding Terry but it becomes increasingly more difficult. Lip suggests they plant Grammy's old gun in the Milkovich home; this will violate Terry's parole and, if the gun is tied to a murder, could get him incarcerated for life. They break in and discover Terry already has several guns; they plant theirs anyway. Terry catches them. Lip escapes but Terry corners Ian and is about to shoot him when Mandy, brandishing a rifle, orders him to stop. Terry already knows that he himself is the father. Mandy later explains that when Terry drinks he sometimes mistakes her for her deceased mother but insists "it's no big deal". Ian helps raise funds for an abortion.
The night before Thanksgiving Ian returns to the gay bar. He is picked up by an older gentleman who calls himself Ned; they spend the night together. A few days later at Fiona's insistence her on again-off again boyfriend Jimmy arranges a dinner for the Gallaghers and his family. Ian is shocked to learn that "Ned" is really Lloyd, Jimmy's father, who sends repeated text messages to Ian suggesting they get together again. Ian tries to tell Fiona several times but is interrupted when Frank shoves him against the wall out of anger for Monica leaving. Ian is saved when Jimmy's wife Estafania hits him over the head with a frying pan.
Season 3[edit | edit source]
To cope with losing Mickey a second time, Ian starts a new relationship with an older man, Ned. Once Mickey returns from Juvie at the beginning of the season, Ian becomes disinterested in his relationship with Ned but uses Ned's more conventional dating practices to encourage Mickey to show his jealousy that Ian had temporarily moved on.
Having experienced a more conventional dating relationship with Ned, Ia starts pushing for more from Mickey, who is still in the closet, such as kissing and spending more platonic time together. Mickey obliges and they do share a kiss while on an errand for Ned. Mickey invites Ian over to his house to spend the night and presumably enjoy the privacy for sex. The following morning, Terry Milkovich, Mickey's father, comes home early and catches them having sex. Both boys are beaten and Mickey is also raped by proxy by Svetlana. After the assault, Ian's and Mickey's relationship changes greatly as Mickey struggles with his PTSD and great changes in his life and Ian struggles to fully understand.
In response to Terry discovering Mickey is gay, Mickey is forced to marry Svetlana which Ian takes very hard as he realizes that he and Mickey can't truly be together. He tries to appeal to Mickey to go against his father's wishes but when Mickey goes through with the wedding Ian is devastated.
Hurt by Mickey's marriage to Svetlana, Ian decides to run to the army using Lip's identity for his age. Despite Mickey asking him not to go, Ian decides to still go because he knows nothing will change between he and Mickey now that he is married and with Terry around. It is presumed that Mickey's marrying Svetlana triggered Ian's first symptoms of his bipolar disorder which he is diagnosed with in a later season.
Season 4[edit | edit source]
At the beginning of season 4 it is quickly established that Ian has been missing for several months with no updates for his family. Lip is confronted by Military Police (MP) who announce Ian is wanted for desertion and misusing and damaging government property. Lip and Debbie search for Ian and find him at the White Swallow where he is working as a dancer and bartender. It is also later revealed he and Monica are squatting in an abandoned house.
When Lip and Debbie are unsuccessful at bringing Ian home Lip asks Mickey to help which he does. Ian finally comes home and it quickly becomes apparent that Ian is not well.
Most of Ian's storyline through season 4 is developing his bipolar disorder and the rekindling of his relationship with Mickey who is more willing to give Ian more of what he wants. Ian wants more than Mickey is able to give at that moment and, afraid that their relationship will remain stagnant, Ian is prepared to once again walk away. Afraid of Ian leaving him for good, Mickey comes out of the closet at his son's christening. At Terry's violent response Ian jumps into the fray and helps Mickey defend himself against his homophobic family. At this moment their relationship is now solidified.
Ian's behavior is consistently erratic and indicative of mania over the course of the season but the excitement of Mickey coming out seems to trigger a shift toward the depressive side of bipolar and Ian is bedridden for days by his depression. He ends the season in bed unable to get up and Mickey fighting Fiona over how to handle Ian's mental status.
Season 5[edit | edit source]
The season starts with Ian living with Mickey at the Milkovich house with Svetlana and Yevgeny. He is shown to care for Yevgeny and his relationship with Mickey is stable. Despite this, Ian exchanges in sexual acts with strangers. His bipolar mania increases through out the first half of the season, showing the effect it has not just on himself but Mickey as well. Ian has a bipolar episode after Mickey tells him that he's sick and needs help.
In Episode 6, 'Crazy Love', he takes Yevgeny and plans to drive to Orlando but is stopped by the police in Indiana due to his erratic behavior. Encouraged by his siblings and Mickey, He admits himself into a Psych Ward on a three day mental health assessment which is when he is officially diagnosed with Bipolar, acute mania with psychotic features. Ian is in denial as he is afraid to be like his mother, Monica, because of all the pain that she caused through that particular disease. This diagnosis is especially hard on the Gallaghers as they deal with the similar problem of associating bipolar to their Mother's destructive nature.
Ian is refusing to take his medication and flushes them when he arrives home from the psych ward. Over the next couple days, Ian has to face the fact that "something is wrong with" him. Mickey and Ian go to a doctor who prescribes him medication, stating that he would have to take the pills for 30 to 40 years.
In episode 10, Ian is arrested then released soon afterwards into Monica's care. When Monica takes Ian to live in her trailer, he discovers she is using methamphetamine and he leaves. He returns to the Gallagher household and by the end of the season has ended his relationship with Mickey, citing his mental illness.
Season 6[edit | edit source]
Ian is still struggling with his condition and still appears to be distant and withdrawn from surroundings; although he visits Mickey in prison, he seems disinterested in continuing their relationship (given that Mickey will be in prison for almost 8 years). He briefly re-encounters and helps Mandy (who is now working in an escort agency), and though he fails to convince her to find a better job, he reassures her that he is still her friend.
Around episode 6, Ian begins dating a firefighter named Caleb and he thinks about becoming a firefighter as well. Ian goes on a first date with Caleb that does not go particularly well, but the two continue to see each other despite this and become closer; Ian even is Caleb's date to the sister of Caleb's wedding. The pair start officially dating, and in episode nine each reveals a "skeleton in their closet". Ian reveals he is bipolar, Caleb reveals he is HIV positive due to a guy who lied to him in college, but they use condoms as Caleb's doctor said he cannot infect anyone. This also leads to Caleb saying Ian should get tested. Ian does, and goes to the doctor with Caleb, and his results are negative.
The nurse also asked Ian how many sexual partners he had had, which led to Caleb leaving the room because Ian did not want to reveal that to Caleb. Later Ian tells Caleb that he truly did not know how many because he used to dance at a strip club "and worked the back of the house as much as the front". Caleb seems to be okay with Ian's past.
Along with all this going on, Ian is working to be a firefighter and passes his EMT test with flying colors with the help of Caleb, but is distressed when he gets the paperwork and realizes he won't be able to be an EMT because of his bipolar disorder, but Caleb convinces him to lie on the paperwork. Ian gets a EMT job and has a good first day but then his boss runs a background check on him and finds out about his stay in the mental ward. Ian tells her that they wouldn't hire him if he put that. She tells him she can't employ somebody she can't trust. Ian is then fired. However, Caleb convinces him to go back and make a case for hiring him in spite of his disease. After trying and failing to find more menial work elsewhere, Ian does so, arguing that he can be more helpful with assisting the mentally ill and that he would not be denied the job if he had any handicap apart from mental illness. His former teammates are moved, and refuse to make the next run unless the boss puts back Ian on the team. She does so, with the stipulation that he will be sent home if he starts showing any abnormal behavior. Ian agrees and rejoins the team.
After Fiona's wedding to Sean (which is dismantled before it starts due to Frank's vindictiveness) Ian joins Debbie, Carl, Kevin, Veronica, Svetlana and Caleb in taking revenge on Frank by kidnapping him, driving him to a bridge over the freezing Chicago river, and dumping him in.
Season 7[edit | edit source]
Ian still works as an EMT, he is not too surprised when it is revealed Frank survived the fall and returns home but is not welcomed back.
Ian is still in a relationship with Caleb but one morning, Caleb tells him he is going to meet an old friend. Ian gets suspicious over that friend's being a female. He has a chat with Rita and Rita tells him gay men are likely to cheat. Ian does not think so, as he has never cheated on Caleb. Along with Lip, stalks Caleb on the train. Ian sees the girl, and Lip wants to go back. But Ian wants to see the scene completely. Caleb finally makes out with the girl, Lip tells that at least Caleb is not cheating on Ian with a man. Ian replies, "I wish she had a dick." The first episode of the seventh season ends with Ian's frustrated face.
In the next episode, Ian tries having straight sex but fails. Because he and Caleb do not see eye-to-eye on casual sex with women and the legitimacy of gay men having ocassional sex with women, Ian breaks up with Caleb. This break-up triggers his manic episode. Due to that, he takes a break from work. When he returns, he meets Trevor. Trevor seems like the opposite of Caleb in character. He confesses to be a transgendered man. Due to his ignorance of this segment of the LGBT+ community, Ian says some unpleasant things, including referring to himself (being cisgender) as "normal" since he doesn't know the correct terminology, and offends Trevor unintentionally. Ian apologizes, and Trevor lets it go. Later on, Ian introduces Trevor to his father. Trevor seems like the first person to like Frank in a while.
As the seventh season progresses, Trevor introduces Ian to some LGBT+ friends. Trevor kisses him during a party. After this kiss, both of the guys discuss and seemingly both of them have worries. Trevor thinks Ian is afraid to date a transguy. Ian thinks Trevor has just happened to kiss him and there was nothing special about it for Trevor. This discussion ends with the two kissing again in a "friendly" manner. Ian now wants to sleep with Trevor but he is confused about how to approach him and he wants Kev's help. As a straight man, Kevin gets more confused than Ian so he cannot be of much help. Ian tries to act normal when he is with Trevor but he cannot help ending up weirdly. This overall weird condition lasts till Ian loses an injured woman and goes to Trevor's house for comfort. Since Trevor is the only person Ian has wanted to tell about the incident, the two characters are about to have sex. However, they both want to top, therefore they cannot have sex at the moment, and they laugh about it. After some time they manage to have sex.
Ian and Trevor become an official couple and Trevor comes to realize the "true" Frank. On a date, Trevor refuses to go to a bar in which they ask for IDs. Ian suspects he is underage. He says he still uses his ID which he got before his operation. He does not want Ian to see his old photos with long hair, etc. The two have a sad dispute and Monica, who has been with them tries to calm Ian down. Ian does not listen to her, saying "You just appear in no time and ruin our lives," and leaves Monica with Trevor. Then we see Trevor with Ian, now he volunteers to show his ID to Ian. Outside Ian's house, Fiona and Lip meet a detective, who reports Mikhailo Aleksandr Milkovich's escape. Ian tells Trevor he will not be involved in Mickey's life but he gets a mysterious call. That is from Mickey and he waits for Ian in an hour. Ian goes to the address and Mickey tells him he is going to Mexico with a fake ID. He wants Ian to join him. He gives Ian some time to decide. Ian needs Fiona's help. Fiona tells him she is proud of him for he has made his life better. Nevertheless, he meets Mickey again. He tells him his life is in a good condition now, he even has a boyfriend. Mickey asks, "Then why are you here?" and Ian has sex with him. This makes Ian make up his mind and he decides to go with Mickey.
On the road, Ian tells Mickey that he loves him. He then leaves him and Mickey escapes the country alone. Ian confesses to Trevor that he has been with Mickey and Trevor only suggests to attend Monica's funeral. At the funeral, Ian speaks for his mother and soon sees Frank make a moving speech about Monica before leaving with his family.
Season 8[edit | edit source]
He still works as an EMT and he seems to be continuing his bipolar treatment. As of the second episode, he seems like the only Gallagher that misses his mother. He and his siblings also believe that Frank has lost his mind after he smoked most of the meth and decided to change by getting a job.
In Where's My Meth?, he talks to Carl about her but seemingly the methamphetamine matters to Carl more than their mother. Because of drug-dealing, both brothers got into trouble when they are threatened by man named Eric Stark who owned some of the meth and chases them.
During God Bless Her Rotting Soul, Ian continues his job but learns Eric has tracked them down from his boss. Ian arrives home to try to save Carl who was being drowned but was subdued and Eric threatens the Gallagher family for his money. He and his brother research Eric and learn of his dangerous past and decide to ask Lip and Debbie for help but they are unable to get enough money. Ian soon asks Frank to steal from his new job but he refuses. Left with no other option, they go to Fiona for help. Ian apologizes for not listening to his sister and watches as the others except Carl doesn't do so. After Liam and Frank (who had decided to change and experienced guilt) appear to help, Ian and his family are forced to dig up Monica, since Fiona put her share of meth in the ground with her. Ian wanted to pay respect to his mother after her body fell out. The family soon gather the items and arrive at the storage unit to pay Eric, Ian hands Eric some money but its still not enough and Eric threatens them at gunpoint. Fortunately, Frank steps in and Ian watches as he successfully intimidates Eric to accept the payment or be faced with death if he ever comes near the family again. Ian is surprised by his father's actions and leaves the area with his family. Ian later puts his mother back to rest and is pleased with doing so.
While Ian continues his life in Fuck Paying It Forward, he learns about Lip not getting action with ladies and Sean being back in Fiona's life. He sees Frank is still trying to change and is surprised the latter gave Lip helpful advice. After Frank states he is going to be more fatherly, Ian remarked he's out of kids to screw up with his new ways but Frank says he has Liam and resolves to raise him properly. Ian is surprised by Frank's continuing change and calls him "Father Frank".
As the season progresses, Ian admires Trevor's helpful personality. He, himself, wants to help the kids too. Ian and Trevor need to find shelter for the kids. They find an abandoned church. Ian needs money, so he tries to blackmail an old visitor of Fairy Tail but it backfires as this rich man's wife knows about Fairy Tail. She invites Ian inside and demands oral sex from him. Ian, who has performed straight sex since the seventh season, agrees to do so for the sake of the kids. He manages to take the rich man's money and he tries to give it to the woman who tries to sell the church. He says, "We're buying it," and Fiona, who is there at that moment, tells Ian that "The neighborhood needs safety." Ian replies, "My kids need safety." Fiona claims those kids are creating the insecurity and the episode ends there.
In the next episode, Ian jokingly wants to give Carl money to kill Fiona. The money is not enough for Carl, actually. After this joke, Carl takes Ian to where he is going to come across Kevin. Kevin, who has been questioning his sexuality, needs Ian's advice. Ian tells him that while he was a 5th-grader, he liked a girl that looked like a guy. Then he was certain because of Justin Timberlake. Kevin asks if Ian finds him hot, but before Ian is able to give an answer, Sierra interrupts them, by serving their coffees. She tells Kevin that it was already paid by a guy. A confused Ian leaves Kevin there, looking at the guy who paid his coffee.
Later, Fiona pays a visit to Ian in his workplace in order to leave behind their argument from the previous episode. But Ian seems like he is not ready to forgive Fiona. The last scene involves Ian, pouring water onto a sleeping Fiona. Ian is going to continue these protests, with his "kids".
Fiona is angered by Ian's protests and asks him if he stopped taking his meds. Ian yells at Fiona and leaves the scene. Trevor, who's there at that moment, takes Fiona's advice and goes to see a building for the homeless kids. He likes the house and Ian doesn't like it. Then, Fiona for the last time visits Ian in his room to fix the things between them, Ian now seems like he's calmer. He tells Fiona that he shouldn't have spent time on trivial things while he had bigger problems, and Fiona asks what they are. Ian doesn't reply.
Next episode, Ian is still disses Fiona about the church for a couple of times. One of his and Trevor's homeless kids tells the two boys about a homosexual guy who tried to commit suicide because his family were forcing him to go to church. Ian and Trevor buy him some food while his mom's not at home and learn where that church is. They go there and attend the priest's speech, who's trying to "free" a lesbian girl of her "sin" of "homosexuality". Ian despises the priest greatly and he and Trevor leave there.
Next time, the same priest tries to "free" a gay boy of his "sin" of "homosexuality". While quoting the Bible, Ian interrupts him, by quoting another passage from the Bible and the priest asks him if he's homosexual as well. Ian says yes and continues to quote. The priest makes more quotations and Ian makes more. After some time, he asks Trevor if he's Ian's "queer" boyfriend. Trevor comes out as "queer transgender ex-boyfriend" and Ian says that they'll probably have sex again soon. Ian also calls the homosexual ones among the audience to their place where their homeless kids stay. The very homosexual boy who was forced to be heterosexual in the first place tells Ian he'll go there. This whole scene is being recorded by a girl among the audience and it ends with the gay boy's dad, calling him back. Ian intervenes and asks the dad if he wants his "ass, kicked by a h-o-m-o-s-e-x-u-a-l". The dad stops, calling his son and some other homosexual people follow Ian and Trevor, out of the church.
The girl who recorded the scene apparently posted it to YouTube and the homeless kids know about it. They thank Ian, and the boy who tried to commit suicide hugs him. In the next episode, Ian is seen doing what he told the priest he'll do: having sex with Trevor.
Two priests pay a visit to Ian and they tell him they agree with him. Ian and his kids, with the support of these priests, make more protests in order to help the homosexuals going forcefully to church and one priest, against Ian, has a heart attack. Ian applies CPR and his life is saved. The episode ends there.
Next episode, people believe Ian can perform miracles. Ian gives speeches. As many people attended, Ian had to close down his Facebook page. Ian goes by the name "Gay Jesus". His popularity causes him to ditch Trevor. Good news is he makes up with his elder sister. In the next episode, a kid named Blake is being kidnapped and Ian sacrifices himself and the dad gives up on kidnapping him. Instead, he talks to Ian and makes him believe Blake's a junkie and mentally sick. Ian decides to talk to Blake and Blake says things like Ian could relate as a bipolar person, and he decides to prevent the dad once more. As he is about to kidnap Blake, Ian makes a speech: "My God's a gay, my God's a trans, my God's a junkie." Ian's friend blows up the dad's car right after this speech so it's like Ian performed yet another miracle. The crowd goes wild and this won't stop till next week, till Ian's finally arrested for acting like Jesus Christ.
Season 9[edit | edit source]
Ian is still gay Jesus and he gives speeches in prison. As he has not taken his medicine, he acts erratic but is shown to be a skilled leader as he defends the gay inmates and force their lovers to comply with his demands and soon does. When visited by his sister, she can see he is spiraling without his meds and wants to pay for his freedom but he wants to stay in prison.
Very soon, he is bailed out by his followers on the outside and he is overwhelmed by the new attention that he is receive. Being free triggers his manic episode, and he tries to hear Shim, an invented word for the genderless God. At Frank's comment, he visits a church and some temples in order to ask if the religious people can hear Shim. None of their answers satisfies Ian, so he starts questioning being gay Jesus.
He goes to a meeting with his lawyer, with Fiona attending even though he told her not to. Ian watches as Fiona "goes Fiona" on his advisor, unable to make his own choice. After the meeting, he leaves Fiona who is sad at this.
Ian visits Terry Milkovich who tries to shoo him away after telling him where Mickey is, but he asks the latter about jail. Terry tells him of his experience there and advises Ian to flee while he had the chance. After considering it, Ian dyes his hair black and gets a bus ticket, preparing to flee. However, he doesn't go through with it and returns home, where he meets Lip and they talk about recent events and share a laugh.
The next day, Ian wakes up for his hearing and finds his family and friends waiting for him. He finds Fiona has decided to let him make his own choice and they go to court. Ian makes a speech about his life and soon pleas not guilty by reason of insanity after admitting his bipolar condition and not being medicated, much to his family's joy and his followers' dismay.
Ian is sentenced to two years in prison. He enjoys his last day packing up his belongings and decides to sit at home, while talking to his family. He learns some fighting moves from Carl and his girlfriend Kelly to help survive prison before a former inmate and a friend of his comes to give him tips on how to survive. The next morning, he waits for Fiona but she doesn't appear to take him as she promised before Kev takes him with most of his siblings. Ian shares a tender moment with his loved ones outside the gate, before he bids them farewell. As he settles in, Ian finds out his old lover Mickey is his cellmate, to his surprise. Mickey tells Ian that because he worked as an informant, during his time with a cartel in exchange for getting to choose where he would be locked up. The two are happily reunited and kiss, concluding Ian's story on a good note.