Here’s the thing, I’m the first one to say Mickey deserved better. But think about what that really entails. What we actually mean when we say he deserved better, is that he deserves to be happy. Ergo: He deserves Ian. Because, Ian made him happy.
I’ve seen a lot of commentary about how Mickey loved Ian more. Some weird internet pissing contest because, let’s face it, Mickey is love goals isn’t he? He’s a man who went from this scared shitless, self-hating, insecure child and grew into a strong, caring, and passionate man. One you’d kill to have fight for you. He came out of the closet for Ian.
Let me emphasize that point. In a homophobic upbringing, environment, in front of the man that literally beat the shit out of him for being gay, (before having him raped by a prostitute to “fuck the faggot” out of him); Mickey Milkovich came out as gay, in a dive bar on the Southside, for Ian Gallagher. Whether you love or hate Mickey, that is goddamn significant.
Now, possible domestic abuse issues aside, cuz, let’s face it folks: we’re cutting both Ian and Mickey a lot of slack when it comes to the fact that there was physical abuse in their relationship. But that’s what makes it so beautifully real. It’s not that the writers are glorifying an unhealthy relationship, or even that the fans are. It’s real. This is EXACTLY what it would look like if two, fucked up, Southside thugs, fell in love against the societal expectations of their socioeconomic status and environment. And to quote Tupac, their love is a rose that grew from the concrete.
THAT is what is so beautiful about this pairing. Again, I am not advocating or condoning IPV (Intimate Partner Violence), which is actually a problem in the LGBT community; what I am saying is the reason there’s an inordinate amount of people who ship Ian and Mickey is because they were a light at the end of a dark and dismal tunnel. Well, they were until reality literally bitchslapped both of them.
But I think there’s something pretty damn important we are all forgetting: and that’s the hell Mickey put Ian through in the beginning. I’m not trying to justify the shit Ian pulled after Mickey had his personal epiphany that made him into the man we have all grown to adore. But here’s the thing:
Ian was falling for Mickey when shit was still raw and relatively unrequited.
Ian loved Mickey when he was still just a filthy thug. Ian loved Mickey, despite his refusal to kiss him. Ian loved Mickey, despite the serious internalized homophobia. Ian loved Mickey when he knew he shouldn’t, when Mickey made it clear that Ian was nothing more than a warm mouth to him.
So, here’s the thing. Mickey deserved better… but so did Ian. They both deserved better. And what I mean by that, is not that Mickey deserved better than Ian, or Ian deserved better than Mickey. No. They both deserved to be happy. And honestly? They were their happiest together. Whatever bullshit aside, what their relationship represented was a love that managed to bloom from a dark and hopeless place. And if they could find love, couldn’t we all?