Phillip Ronan Gallagher, known as Lip, is a main character. He is the second-eldest Gallagher child and the most academic. He is a straight-A student with a 4.6 GPA. While he possesses above average intelligence and excellent mechanical skills, he deliberately wastes time acting like the rest of the people in his town. He uses his intelligence to make money for his family, such as taking the SATs for other students or avoiding the cops when selling beer and marijuana from an ice cream truck. Despite his apparent genius, he has terrible judgement and is frequently shown smoking cigarettes and weed, having unprotected sex with multiple women, and drinking copious amounts of alcohol.
Lip has a juvenile prison record. Ian has been his accomplice several times, but Lip covers for him because Ian wants to enter the Marines. Lip has a cynical personality and is unrestrained in his criticism, which often gets him into trouble. He also has a string of unstable relationships: two years of off-again-on-again dysfunction with Karen Jackson, a little over a year with Mandy Milkovich (where she pulled most of the weight and the two fought over Karen), a casual relationship with his roommate's girlfriend, Amanda (which ended up one-sided on her part) and a fling with his polyamorous professor, Helené Runyon.
Lip often gets into fights, including brawls staged for cash, but generally doesn't care if he wins or loses. He is not as physically fit as Ian, and his provocative attitude frequently gets him beaten up. Lip is protective of his younger siblings, but his pessimistic worldview and apathy toward almost everything causes him to clash with Fiona in her attempt to better their lives. All the same, Lip is grateful to his older sister for the years she spent raising him and his siblings. Lip and Ian (later revealed to be Lip's half-brother and cousin) are particularly close, and often give each other relationship or career advice (though on two occasions, this resulted in a fist fight).
Lip is extraordinarily intelligent for his age, boasting a high GPA and a genius IQ.
Despite his remarkable intelligence, Lip can be extremely irresponsible and self-sabotaging. Other than Carl, he is the only member of the family to have a juvenile record, and he often gets into trouble just for the sake of causing mayhem. He is a loner and doesn't have close friends.
Lip is self-destructive, a common symptom of being an adult child of an alcoholic. Part of Lip's emotional problems are due to the high expectations his family places on him in their hopes that he will make something of his life and help them in turn. Lip rebels against social norms, repeatedly refusing to apply to college or even finish high school, which leads to major problems (graduating late, floundering in his first semester of college, etc.).
Lip is loyal to his family and protective of his younger siblings, as seen when he took over as guardian after Fiona's incident in season 4. Lip's caretaking abilities rivaled that of Fiona as he handled the responsibility well and had no problems tending to the needs of his family. He often clashes with his father Frank and his estranged mother, Monica, in response to their neglect for years, though he shows that he does care for and love his parents on occasions when they acknowledge their faults. This was seen when he was forgave his father for sleeping with Karen by urinating on him as his way of atoning for it. He was surprised Frank took the fall for Carl's crime when questioning him after his release, Lip was pleased with Frank's answer for doing that for family. He spent the day with Frank after he learned he graduated from school. Lip was also surprised by Frank's change in Season 8 when he defended the family from a meth head and threatened him with death if he did. Lip was even grateful to the latter giving him helpful advice.
His playful side shines through in his interactions with Liam and other children. Whenever Fiona is struggling, Lip is there to keep everything from falling apart. Despite this, Lip isn't always wise: a number of people remark that he is the "dumbest smart person" they've ever met. Lip likes to break into cars, steal science equipment, etc. (For example, he got caught doing car jacking schemes with Steve/Jimmy to buy Florence + the Machine concert tickets for his girlfriend.)
Lip is also shown to be "dickish" (his words), combative, and pugnacious. He's unafraid to back down from anyone who challenges him, and he vents his frustration by getting into fights and destroying property. He also uses his smarts to pull off lucrative cash schemes. Despite all his arrogance and bravado, Lip is a deeply sensitive person who has trouble being vulnerable, and his issues with women point to fragile self-esteem.
Lip has abandonment issues that make him drawn to dysfunctional relationships; part of Karen's appeal is how she keeps Lip at arm's length. Even though Karen has sex with Frank in "Daddyz Girls" -- going so far as to broadcast their hook-up online to get revenge on her own father -- Lip keeps going back to her. After she leaves, he hooks up with Mandy who is emotionally worse than Karen but shows him genuine love. Once Karen returns, he ignores her attempts to reconcile but went to sleep with her when he and Mandy had problems. However, he turns away from her after he and Many make up, though apologizes for leading a hurt Karen on.
Throughout the Seasons
Lip is a straight-A student who is tutoring Karen Jackson in science. Karen goes down on him underneath her dining room table while her mother, Sheila, is in the kitchen. Lip finds out Ian is gay and takes him to Karen to 'test' his orientation. Later, Lip finds out Ian is sleeping with the owner of the drugstore where he works. Kash, an Arab man who is married with children, has sex with Ian during his shifts. Lip becomes irate and punches Ian, since he fears Ian is being taken advantage of.
Lip often concocts schemes to make cash for his family. This season, Kevin and Lip operate an illegal ice cream truck to sell cigarettes and blunts near the basketball court. Lip also takes the SATs for underperforming students until he gets caught by a professor from the University of Chicago. According to the professor, Lip is one of the only students in America who earned a perfect score (2400). He offers Lip an internship, but Lip insists that he'll go straight to the working world and skip college.
In Nana Gallagher Had an Affair Lip and Ian decide to do paternity tests on themselves to see if they are Frank's sons after learning Liam is. At the Alibi, he, Fiona, Carl, and Debbie find Frank and he tries to shoo them away since he was waiting for their mother. After Fiona tells Frank of the paternity test for Liam, Lip informs Frank that he is Liam's biological father and hears him reveal his grandmother's affair to conceive him. When Frank argues with Fiona over the kids, Lip punches him, out of disgust and leaves with his siblings. During dinner, he reveals the tests to everyone and tells Ian that he isn't for Frank. Lip learns that Monica cheated on Frank with one of his brothers, making him both his half-brother and cousin. Lip states to his mother that he wasn't too surprised by the news and they go over Frank's brothers. Lip takes part in the argument to state Liam is staying with the family.
In "Daddyz Girl", Lip tries to connect Ian with one of Frank's brothers, as they learned that Ian is not Frank's biological son. They visit their imprisoned grandmother Peggy Gallagher after Fiona tells them that she'll know. At the prison, they meet Peggy after reminding who they are. After a talk, she gives them their uncles' names, in exchange for cigarettes. They meet their uncle Jerry Gallagher, Frank's twin who immediately turns them away after learning who they were and threatens them to leave. They later go to their Uncle Clayton's house, he is more accepting and Lip likes his treatment. He is also stunned by how similar Ian looks to Clayton. When Clayton walks out with his wife, Lip and Ian overhear them discussing Ian obviously knowing the truth and Lip urges Ian to pursue genetic testing and move in with Clayton. This upsets Ian who storms out and insists that he's happy with his life and accepts that Frank is his father as the siblings are his family while also telling Lip not to shift his issues on him. Accepting his brother's choice, Lip bids his overhearing uncle Clayton goodbye as he and Ian go home. On the way back, the cops pull them over for driving a stolen Porche. In jail, Lip and Ian are awaiting charges before an officer notes on their relation to Frank and says they are in trouble. Not wanting Ian's choice to enlist in the Marines to be shattered, Lip wanted to take responsibility. However, they are freed when Tony Markovich pulls strings and covers up for them.
In the finale, "Father Frank, Full of Grace", Lip sleeps with Karen after apologizing for his words and says "I love you" to Karen during his climax. Karen rejecting him afterwards prompts Lip to say that it was just a "during sex 'I love you'" and meant nothing. When he learns she raped Frank, Lip attacks his father by nearly hitting him with a car and beating him until Kev stops it and he leaves his father in a bloody mess. Later on, Karen comes to him and they smoke together and she apologizes to him, before explaining what really happened with Frank. That night, he is at home when Frank comes over begging for his forgiveness; Lip takes a piss out of his window onto Frank as payback for Frank sleeping with Karen. Frank doesn't protest and accepts the punishment. After Lip is done, Frank leaves and both unknowingly share a smile, reconciling.
Lip spends most of his time believing he fathered Karen's baby. He keeps pursuing Karen during her pregnancy, despite her being married to Jody, another member of Sex Addicts Anonymous. Her plan to place her baby up for adoption in exchange for money troubles Lip, and he obsesses over what kind of person their baby will become. Lip finds solace in spending time with Mandy, Mickey's sister. (They hook-up for the first time in "A Beautiful Mess" during Debbie's sleepover party.)
He also bears witness to the release of his grandmother Peggy Gallagher and laughs as he watches his father tend to her after she shuts him down.
Going with Karen to adoption agencies and witnessing her sociopathic behavior ("Parenthood") sets off a chain of events that leads to Lip smashing a window and getting expelled. Fiona insists that he finish high school, but Lip refuses to graduate and become the family's "golden goose". In turn, she gives him an ultimatum: "school, or leave". Lip moves out and bounces around between Karen's, Kev and Vee's, and the L train before he finds sanctuary in Steve/Jimmy's room at the Chicago Ritz-Carlton hotel.
In "Just Like the Pilgrims Intended" (the penultimate episode of the season), Steve/Jimmy finally kicks Lip out in the hopes of spending Thanksgiving with the Gallaghers. Lip moves in with Mandy for a few weeks. He finds out that Karen's baby, Hymie, is actually Timmy Wong's, one of her old flames.
In "Fiona Interrupted", Lip ends his relationship with Karen and moves back into the Gallagher home at the urging of Mandy. Sheila and Jody steal Hymie from the hospital before he can be adopted, and they refuse to give him back. This prompts Karen to leave, despite Lip telling her she will regret it.
(The audience may wonder when Lip became interested in Mandy (prior to Season 2) because for the entire first season he was with Karen. However, it's hinted that Lip is attracted to Mandy during several blink-and-you-miss-it moments in Season 1.
In Aunt Ginger, Lip stares lustfully at Mandy while she's in his/Ian's room when she's pretending to be Ian's beard. In Nana Gallagher Had an Affair, he flirted with her. It is implied Lip knew her before Season 1 because he made a sarcastic joke to her brother, Mickey, about the guys she's been with and got beat up.)
In May I Trim Your Hedges?, a homeless man on the bus masturbates to Debbie. Fiona chases him off, and the incident makes everyone concerned about the safety of the neighborhood. They discover a "child rapist" lives 3 blocks away from the Gallagher home. Lip and Ian enlist a group of residents to take down the rapist. The mob, led by Terry Milkovich, discovers the presumed he is actually a she, a teacher named Blake Collins. Unable to beat up a woman, the mob dissolves, yet Lip remains determined. He poses as a 15 year old who offers to do lawn maintenance for Blake (hence the titular question, "Can I trim your hedges?"). Blake goes down on Lip and trims his hedges (using Nair to remove his pubic hair), and he scraps the plan to expose her. Later, Lip uses Blake's signature peanut butter and oral sex move on Mandy in bed, and she becomes enraged when she figures out he slept with Blake. Mandy threatens to kill Blake and dump her into a grave someone is digging on her front lawn if Blake doesn't leave town by morning.
During "The Sins of My Caretaker", Lip calls Karen and insults her by listing the tirade of acts she has done to him and tells her to stay gone.
In "Where There's a Will", Lip and Mandy's relationship is consumed by insecurities and doubt. Mandy complains about being treated like a tool, and Lip feels smothered by Mandy who makes herself home. However, another wrench is thrown into their relation as Karen returns to the South Side. Karen talks with Lip and tries to make amends for how things ended with him. She tells him of how she got his call, in which he remembers where he insulted her before she reveals she hit rock bottom but Lip doesn't show her any reaction, only telling her that he's with Mandy. Disappointed, Karen tells him that he deserves happiness and sadly watches him leave only welcoming her back. Karen's return upsets Mandy, and she is furious when she suspects Lip is cheating on her with Karen and he orders her out of the house. The rift between them widens when Lip learns that Mandy applied to colleges for him without his consent. He later meets Karen and they temporarily reconcile by having wild sex.
Afterwards in "Frank the Plumber", Lip is interviewed by a college teacher and impresses the latter when he reveals his goals. Later on, he makes up with Mandy by having sex and he asks Mandy why she applied to out of state schools, to which Mandy replies that she wishes Lip will leave and take her with him; she believes he deserves better than living in the South Side. Her feelings reach Lip, prompting him to realize he should be with her. With this, he goes break things off for good with Karen. He goes to her house, as she is excited to see him and tries to talk with him but he tells her he has decided to choose Mandy over her, as Mandy had his best interests at heart and genuinely loved him, whereas Karen didn't seem to have the same kind of love and respect for him. Lip moved to leave but Karen stops him and tries to protest his choice, though he only apologizes for leading her on and walks off. Lip's decision devastates Karen, as the latter had truly cared for him but couldn't express it properly. She calls Mandy to tell her she can trap Lip by having sex with a broken condom and getting pregnant. Mandy is furious and determined to get rid of Karen. A few days later, she steals Lip's phone and sends a text to Karen asking to meet in the park. Sheila is apologizing for having sex with Jody when Karen gets 'Lip's' text. Karen kindly brushes off Sheila and races to the park to meet 'Lip'. Karen is hit by a car and goes into a coma; later, we learn that it was Mandy who mowed her over.
In Order Room Service Lip visits Karen at the hospital. Sheila remarks that Karen was excited to get his text, which confuses Lip. On the bus ride home, Lip deduces that Mandy must have sent the text. He doesn't confront her right away, but instead places an embargo on having sex with her per Kevin's advice. Kev's advice fails Lip; he phones Kevin after Mandy rapes him (though he says he let her do it). Lip visits Karen once she wakes up from her coma and returns to Sheila's home. He learns that Karen has brain damage and cannot form new memories, which explains why she forgets him telling her that Mandy hit her. Disturbed and angry, Lip crashes Mickey's wedding and confronts Mandy about her role in crippling Karen. He breaks up with her on the spot, but she is indifferent and admits that she'd given oral sex to a man named Kenyatta to make Lip jealous. Lip leaves the reception with a drunken Ian, who tells Mandy that he slept with her brother before he pukes on the way home. Lip later intervenes when Carl is nearly arrested for a robbery and he protests this while the officers try to stop him. Lip soon watches as Frank arrives and he questions his father on his presence, he soon watches Frank take full responsibility for Carl's act. He tends to Carl as they watch their father get arrested, deeply surprised by his act.
By the end of the season, Lip is back in school and about to graduate. He thinks little of this milestone, despite Fiona's insistence of its importance. After picking up his diploma, Lip meets with his father at the Alibi and he learns Frank was released for a technicality. He inquires on his selfless act, as Frank states that's what family does. They celebrate by going out for a steak dinner, where Lip calls Frank "Dad" before they go for drinks and ice skating. They get hammered and Lip vomits on the ice; Frank follows suit and projectile vomits blood. Lip and Frank go to the ER and Lip spends the night huddled by a toilet in Frank's room.
A few days later, Lip visits Mandy and tells her his plan to enroll in college. He thanks her for applying to colleges behind his back, despite how she plagiarized Gandhi and other famous speakers on the essays. Before Lip leaves, Mandy asks if he even wants to go. Lip raises a hand in a dismissive gesture, as if he doesn't even know himself.
Lip begins as an undergrad at Chicago Polytechnic Institute. Between working as a busboy in the cafeteria and keeping up with the workload of his classes, Lip finds that college is more difficult than he thought. He can no longer study for 10 minutes to get an A, and he isn't popular with women, as evidenced in "My Oldest Daughter." Lip gets a D on a paper about Byron's Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, and he often comes to class without a pen. He finds a friend in his roommate, Ron, who allows Lip to borrow his laptop. Ron's girlfriend doesn't like Lip, however. Amanda and Ron have sex at all hours of the night, and she disapproves of Lip smoking weed.
Lip feels like he's going crazy from all the rules and regulations he's expected to follow, and no one will give him a break. After a debacle in the laundry room, he arrives to class late and can't take his midterm. Lip vents his anger by bashing in a row of cars. He narrowly escapes being caught by campus security. Later, he returns home and briefly (very briefly...) rekindles his affair with Mandy. Their affair ends in a fight after he makes a disrespectful comment to her about not taking the morning after pill, despite knowing he won't be around to provide for a baby.
As of "Iron City"Liam is hospitalized for a cocaine overdose, and Fiona's prison stint for child endangerment creates chaos for the family. Lip is forced to find his father since he is needed to prevent his brother from going to foster care. He is angry at the events and ignores his family and friends' attempt to calm down. After Liam shows signs of recovery, he is happy and calms down before heading home. He learns from Carl of his older half-sister Samantha Slott and nephew Chuckie Slott who were taking care of Frank. He is happy to locate him but worried for his condition. Lip is later relieved his brother is released.
In "A Jailbird, Invalid, Martyr, Cutter, Retard, And Parasitic Twin", Lip takes over as caretaker for the family and watches over Liam and sneaks food out of the cafeteria to feed the family. Fiona and Lip clash when he refuses to let her take care of Liam or show her any sympathy. Amanda offers to babysit while Lip is in class; she takes things one step further when she makes him a schedule (including sex breaks with her) and gives him care packages. In exchange, she asks him to help her get back at her parents.
In "Emily", Lip suggests she can torture her parents by having them over for dinner at his house. He also finds that Carl's girlfriend has her siblings at the house and complains about it but feels sympathy for them and lets them stay. He is also not pleased when CPS shows up to visit. Despite the crazy night, Lip learns good came from it, since the agent found him to be a sympathetic person to the homeless kids while taking care of his brother. Also, Amanda's father offers Lip ten thousand dollars to never see her again. He takes the money, according to Amanda's plan (though she says he could've gotten at least five thousand more) and uses it to support the family.
Lip becomes more studious and feels less like an outsider thanks to Amanda's influence. He repairs the rift between him and Fiona in "Liver, I Hardly Know Her" when he rescues Fiona after she violates her probation and gives her emotional support.
In "Lazarus," Amanda and Lip enter an informal relationship when he participates in a pinning ceremony at her sorority, a Greek tradition that celebrates couples. After the ceremony, Amanda takes Lip and several of her friends to the diner where Mandy works. Lip sneaks off and tries to ask how she's doing, but Mandy treats him like a stranger, much to his dismay. The season closes with Lip telling Fiona that he passed his midterms.
Lip goes home in the summer after his freshman year and gets a job with Tommy's construction company. Ian tells Lip that Mandy is planning to move to Indiana and asks him to change her mind. At Mandy's, Lip and Mandy hook-up; during sex, Mandy tells him that she loves him, which catches Lip off guard. He doesn't say it back. The next day, Mandy leaves with Kenyatta.
In "A Night to Remem...Wait, What?", Lip flies to Miami to stay with Amanda in her luxurious vacation home. Her father is dismayed at Lip's arrival, going so far as to lock his liquor cabinet in front of him. Later, they have lunch with her parents, during which Lip and Amanda's father bond over her father's projects. They smoke pot in private and talk about Lip's summer plans. Amanda's father regrets that Lip took on a construction job, and offers him a paid internship the following summer.
Lip accompanies Mickey when he shoots up a new coffee shop that will soon open and gentrify the South Side. Lip is surprised when Mickey's gang pulls out machine guns from their truck, and he refuses to take a part in the shooting. Mickey calls Lip a "college bitch" when he realizes that Lip didn't actually shoot the storefront. When sirens are heard, Lip bolts and jumps into the dumpster in a nearby alley.
After the incident at the coffee shop, Lip returns to college early. His Resident Advisor application is accepted, and Amanda paints a mural of a naked woman in his room. When Lip finds that his schedule is blank, the Registrar tells him that his family never gave him the documents to renew his financial aid. Even after taking out a five thousand dollar cash advance on a dozen credit cards, he's still short on his tuition. He goes to his critical theory class and persuades his professor, Helené Runyon, to take him on as a student by going down on her. The Registrar tells a wealthy friend about Lip's plight, and he pays Lip's tuition.
Lip begins developing stronger feelings for Helené after she takes him to an academic conference in "Going Once, Going Twice." Helené, extremely drunk, says that their relationship isn't just a fling but something "deeper", although she takes this back the next morning. However, this makes Lip convinced that they're in love. In "Refugees", Amanda exacts revenge when she exposes Lip's relationship with Helené by sending the naked picture Lip took of her to the entire school. Lip asks Amanda why she did it, and she claims that Lip ruined her life by "making" her fall in love with him. He loses his RA position and private room because of Amanda's mural, which violated res life rules.
Lip has sex with (or, he tries to -- he has erectile dysfunction, which Frank's ex, Queenie, cures with foot reflexology) many girls in the sorority he works for, but his heart is still with Helené. After his ED disappears, he starts having orgies and his drinking habits get worse. At one point, Lip wakes up in the hospital after being diagnosed with alcohol poisoning, his BAC at a deadly 0.35. He is expelled for bashing Professor Youens's car and assaulting a campus guard. Youens shows Lip tough love by driving him to rehab, and the audience is left to wonder if Lip will finish the program.
He is the only Gallagher child curious about his father's location and seemingly agreed with Debbie that he might be dead after getting thrown off a bridge.
In Hiraeth, Lip successfully completes rehab, but still grapples with alcohol addiction. He and Youens have made amends and the latter promises him an internship. At home, he and his brothers weren't too surprised to find out that Frank survived and was passed out on the floor along with Ian and Carl were not fazed by his return. Like his siblings, he wants nothing to do with him but he has some care for him.
In Swipe, Fuck, Leave, he is pleased Frank disowns them since it was already a shame but is angry when Frank takes Liam, his only loyal child. He works at Patsy's as a dishwasher and interns for a tech start-up, which Professor Youens secured for him. However, the internship isn't what it seems: Lip isn't paid, and he's forced to be a drink-food runner and change his supervisor's urine bag. Later, he discovers that the start-up is scamming people by using proxy servers to hide their illegal activities, and the gig falls through when the FBI shows up. Lip also comes home to find the walls were blocked with cement, courtesy of Frank getting revenge on his children for trying to kill him and kicking him out. Lip was not pleased by his father's act and worked to drive Frank out but Frank maintains his stance and drops a raccoon to torture them. Lip wakes up Ian and the brothers run from the animal while Franks taunts them for their treatment of him. Later on, he and Ian made fun of Carl's circumcision but feel guilt when he yells at them for it before they supply him with painkillers. Afterwards, he and his family destroy the walls of cement.
During Home Sweet Homeless Shelter, it is shown that Lip and Fiona aren't on good terms. Very soon, Fiona cracks down on the family and demands that they start pulling their weight, since she wants to secure her own future. She resents Lip for his arrogance and how he prioritizes his internship above helping out his family. Lip is frustrated that Fiona is using the Gallagher home as collateral for an investment in a laundromat near Patsy's that he claims might not work out (Eventually, it does). He is also not too pleased when Frank opens a homeless shelter in a empty house not far from the house. Lip protests his father's choice but Frank tells him along with his other children (except Liam) to leave him alone since they have shown him how they feel (throwing him off a bridge, insulting him, and kicking him out) and they leave.
In "The Defenestration of Frank," Lip organizes a wire fraud scheme at his second tech start-up internship. He's assisted by Juaquín, a hacker he met in college. No one at the company catches on, so Lip starts wiring larger amounts of money. When Kev asks how Lip can afford top shelf booze, he replies, "we ripped off a bunch of corporate crooks: two wrongs do make a right." Although he isn't entirely unaware of this, Lip is becoming more and more like his father.
Later on, Lip begins a casual relationship with his co-worker, Sierra, a single mom. Lip thinks Sierra is good for him, but he's cautious about repeating the patterns of his past relationships. They share an intimate moment in which Sierra female ejaculates on him, which apparently means she's "comfortable" with him. This makes Lip both fascinated and scared about things getting too serious. Sierra asks him to take things to the next level and become Lucas's dad, but Lip wants to keep it casual.
In "You Sold Me the Laundromat, Remember?", Professor Youens encourages Lip to attend his appeal hearing at Chicago Polytechnic Institute, and Lip reluctantly agrees. Ian and Professor Youens testify that Lip has changed, but the committee refuses to expunge Lip's disciplinary record and let him re-enroll. Lip drowns his sorrows in alcohol and attacks Sierra's drug-addicted baby daddy, Charlie, which prompts Sierra to break up with him. Lip copes by going on a bender; he miss an interview that Professor Youens arranged for him and ends up sleeping on L. He finally hits rock bottom when he wakes up wasted in Helené's house. Helené tells Lip to get help, and he leaves in tears.
With this, he decides to sober himself up by deciding to go back to alcohol meetings and does better. He also goes to a meeting for college, but they insist on keeping his expulsion
In "Ouroboros" Monica returns and he ignores his mother before he shouts at her to leave him be. As he tries to get sober, Sierra approaches him and she shows signs of trying to mend the fence between them.
Much later, he is present at his parents vow renewal and joins in the fun after he realizes the drinks are spiked. He seems to have forgiven his father as they have fun.
When Monica dies from brain trauma in "Requiem For a Slut", Lip and his family go to the hospital in shock. After they are allowed to see their mother, Fiona notices Frank was not present and Debbie tells her that he is outside on the curb. Lip offered to retrieve their father but Fiona went though Frank left after her attempt. Much later, he surprised to see his grandfather Bill Darrgen arrive and watches him fight Frank. He tells a confused Carl the old man is their grandpa. At Monica's funeral, he speaks up about her and watches Frank make a moving speech before he leaves. Afterwards, he is surprised that he doesn't want to drink. He talks to Sierra after his mother's funeral and decides to eventually return to college, even though he feels too old. He joins his family in dancing the night away.
The season closes with him going into an AA meeting with his new friend and sponsor, Brad.
After his mother's funeral, Lip is sober and working at Brad's motorcycle shop, Born Free Cycles. He is left with some meth by his mother and seems to have sold it for money. Like his siblings, he is put off by his father's decision to change his ways by getting a job and starting over by de-aging himself.
In God Bless Her Rotting Soul, Lip attends more AA meetings and makes progress in them with Brad as his sponsor. Later, after Carl and Ian are attacked by thugs led by a man named Eric who owned some of the meth and threaten the family for his money. He and his family are forced to try and gather up money but have no luck and soon go to Fiona. They all apologize for not listening to her before Liam and Frank (who had decided to change) arrive with the latter offering to help them with Fiona having him do it by getting shovels from his job. The family then dig up Monica, since Fiona put her share in the ground with her. Lip is annoyed by Frank listing emotions rather than helping with digging until Carl retrieves their mother quicker. They arrive at the storage unit and pay Eric, Lip gives him some of his money but its still not enough and Eric threatens them at gunpoint as a scared Lip protects Carl from the danger. Fortunately, Frank steps in and Lip watches as Frank successfully intimidates Eric to accept the payment or be faced with death if he comes near the family again. Lip is surprised by his father's actions, seeing that his new change is genuine. Frank then led the family out to safety, as Lip leaves the area with them.
Very soon in Fuck Paying It Forward, Lip faces another problem with getting no women and is surprised when his father gives him helpful advice and watches as Frank decides to bond with Liam. At work, he is surprised when his father's advice is supported by a coworker. Brad tells him to just being straightforward in asking for sex, since relationships are distraction in recovery. Lip asks out a waitress at Patsy's, though she is flattered she turns him down since he is Sierra's ex. His complaints about lack of action distracts him from work and this causes his co-worker, Eddie, an edgy girl with tattoos and a mean streak to hook up with him. Lip enjoys the encounter but is put off by the latter's aggressiveness in bed.
He's still preoccupied with Sierra; to work his way back into her heart, he babysits Lucas while she goes out with Charlie. Lip tries to sabotage Charlie by tempting him with a pizza topped with a baggie of coke. However, Lip gets second thoughts about sending the pizza when Charlie turns up at his AA meeting. Lip attempts to retrieve the drugs by breaking into Charlie's apartment, but he's attacked by Charlie's Rottweiler; he drops his fidget spinner, which gives away that he was the intruder. Charlie interprets the incident as Lip trying to save him from getting back into drugs.
Lip's issues with co-dependence are further explored when he helps Brad get back on the wagon and tries to rescue Professor Youens when the latter crashes into a house and gets his fifth DUI. Lip reaches out to Youens by bringing AA meetings to him, despite Youens' protests that he doesn't want help. Later, Youens accompanies Lip on his search for Brad, who disappears after going on a bender. Despite Youens' cynicism, Lip helps Brad clean up his act. On the day of Youens' hearing, Lip gives a touching testimony about Youens paying for his stint in rehab. Everything goes well until Youens gets drunk in the bathroom, which lands him in jail.
After Debbie thinks she might be pregnant after a series of drunken hook-ups, Lip takes her to Planned Parenthood. Charlie happens to walk in with a heavily pregnant woman. He begs Lip not to tell Sierra, and Lip reluctantly agrees.
In "The Fugees", Charlie's ex has his baby, and Sierra is extremely upset when Charlie tells the truth. Charlie persuades Lip to convince Sierra to forgive him, if only for Lucas's sake. Lip shows up at Sierra's door; he starts to explain that Charlie is crazy about her, but then she pulls him in for a kiss. After they hook-up, Sierra asks him to stay, but Lip insists he should leave.
In "The Church of Gay Jesus", Lip is stunned when he discovers from Youens' daughter that the latter died of a seizure. The service is emotional and filled with touching stories about Youens. After one of the students comments that Youens was "like a father" to him, a look of epiphany crosses Lip's face as he acknowledges that he, too, found a father figure in Youens. He goes back to the shop and has a breakdown. The following morning, Youens's daughter shows up at the Gallagher house with a draft of a recommendation letter. Lip says he's "too angry to keep it", despite how highly Youens spoke of him.
Sierra continues to look to Lip for emotional support. When her father (who went to prison for murdering her mother) makes parole, Lip stages a fight that lands her father back in jail. She sleeps over at Lip's house and says she loves him; Lip says it back. Yet in the season finale, "Sleepwalking," he admits to Sierra that he isn't sure how to love her (even though he wants to). He urges Sierra to give Charlie a second chance. Sierra protests, but Lip insists it isn't her fault: he's been "sleepwalking through [his] life" and "loaded" since he was 12, and he isn't sure who he is or what he wants. He wonders if he can truly love Sierra when he was drunk, during most of their relationship. Sierra is devastated and tells him to go.
Eddie splits and leaves behind her niece, Xan. Lip offers to take in Xan for a few days before CPS places her in a home. The season closes with Lip testing out the bike he's worked on since the first episode (which Xan named 'Keith') as Brad and Xan watch. The audience is left to interpret this scene as Lip riding off to discover who he is and where he's headed in life.
As seen in Are You There Shim? It's me, Ian, Lip is now the caretaker of Xan and acts like father to her, prompting his siblings to note on his change. Despite being advised by Brad to either call foster care or the mother, Lip ignores it and continues to care for her while becoming a sponsor for a fellow drunk named Jason who he seems to relate too.
In Mo White!, Lip attends Brad's wedding and meets the latter's sister-in-law Tammi who he hooks up with but she ends up puking on him. At Brad's suggestion, he asks Tammy out but she turns him down while mocking his skills in bed. He later talks with Ian about Shim, an-invented word for the genderless God, and disturbed by his brother's words. Lip is also annoyed by Frank's comment but doesn't argue with him.
During Weirdo Gallagher Vortex, Lip also prevents foster care from taking Xan when she steals, he finds and tells her to stop her acts and get in line. When Xan is injured, he steals her from the hospital and tends to her himself.
Very soon, Xan's mother comes in Do Right, Vote White! and asks for her daughter but Lip is reluctant to give her up after seeing the mother no different. After selling a motorcycle, Lip takes his earned money and offers it to Xan's mother in exchange for her signing parental rights to him but Xan arrives on the scene after following him. Xan presumably leaves with her mother while Lip is left devastated. Lip buys several packs of cigarettes and does many other activities to preoccupy himself over Xan's departure.
In Black Haired Ginger he is in the bath and talks with Liam and learns he had an experience with a girl while being amused by his worry. He soon talks to Fiona about Ian and is not surprised she "went Fiona" on him while telling her to let him make his own decisions. He soon takes part in a drag race to feel better. Much later, Ian went missing but returns home to meet Lip and they talk about recent events and share a laugh. Afterwards, he attends the hearing of Ian and watches as he admits to being bi-polar to get the insanity plea and shorten his time in sentencing. Lip later helps Carl and Debbie take care of Liam's situation with his classmate Sissy (who decided to move in after supposedly being impregnated by Liam) by drugging her and bringing her to a clinic.
As seen in Face It, You're Gorgeous, Lip spends his time as a sobriety watcher and prevents a celebrity from casual drinking, doing his best to stop her even calling her fans to swarm her as a distraction. Very soon, they reach an understanding and bond a bit before he introduces her to his family and she has fun there and doesn't try to drink. Lip is later present when Ian goes to prison for two years, he sadly hugs his brother goodbye and wishes him luck while telling he knows he won't pay him back with a smile before watching him leave.
During Down Like the Titanic, Lip is woken up at two in the morning, he and his siblings investigate the sound in the attic and see its an alarm with a picture of Ian. They realize that he left them a memento and smile at the gesture. Lip is preparing for the christening of Brad's child, though he is nearly sidelined when Debbie tells him of Fiona's hardships. He takes over in talking to Fiona and learns she is putting her on the market to make up for a financial issue. Lip and Jason (the boy he is sponsoring) attend the christening and he is dismayed to see Tammi again who shows up drunk and he informs the other boy of the encounter. He is annoyed when Tammi takes note of him and harasses him later about her latest sexual exploits. Afterwards, Lip sees Jason off and is met by Tammi who takes him up on his previous date offer since she was bored. The two go for tacos and talk about having harsh lives with their families, before she offers him the chance to redeem himself in sex and he takes her up on it. They have sex in her car and Tammi rates him as better than before but critiques him as not enough, this causes him to tell her they will try again until she admits she is wrong about him while she is amused. Very soon, Lip redeems himself and he offers Tammi another chance at a date, as she accepts before the two joke and she kisses him, a sentiment he returns. They part with another joke and he heads to Patsy's. At Patsy's, Lip is present at watching Ford's humiliation, he congratulates Debbie on her act and enjoys Fiona getting revenge on him by shooting paint balls at him. He later watches Fiona get drunk in the backyard along with Carl and worries for her.
As seen in The Apple Doesn't Fall Far From The Alibi, Lip is still seeing Tammi but are not serious yet. Tammi tries to persuade him to get an apartment, while he asks her to move in with him. He shows her the life at the Gallagher Household, where the house is dilapidated and how he is with his siblings. Tammi decides to help them move from their way of life.
In BOOOOOOOOOOOONE!, Lip is at home as Debbie takes charge and he sees she is really serious. He tells his family that he is going to meet Tammi and help her family pay tribute to her mother by walking in support of fighting cancer. Lip is also worried for Fiona who is still down and gets ready to defend her when Ford comes but is turned away. Lip goes with Tammi and meets her other sister Cori who makes advances on him while also meeting her ex-fiancé Boon who still has feelings for her. Lip later learns of his father having kids, he scoffs at this while listing himself as an example of his father's failure and calls his fault a recovering alcoholic. Later, he meets Tami and questions her on her former fiancé and they argue for a while until she leaves. Finding Tami's sister Cori in the alley of the Alibi, they kiss and they have sex. Lip goes to Tammi and admits to sleeping with her sister, as she doesn't seem bothered and he questions this. Tammi gives her reasons, stating they were just sleeping around, like she's doing with her ex-fiancé. As Lip sits down, Tammi decides to open up and reveal that it does bother her. They decide to put in the effort of starting a relationship while promising to not sleep with Cori or Boon again.
As of Los Diablos, Lip is still seeing Tami and they seem to really putting in the effort. While returning home, Lip and Tami find Xan who had returned after her mother ditched her again and she had nowhere to go.
During The Hobo Games, Lip tries to file for guardianship over Xan and deals with Tami's flaky behavior. He also tries to get through to Fiona over her drunken behavior but she refuses to heed his warning. Later on, he catches up to Tami and ask her what's up with her recent behavior, as she reveals herself to be pregnant. Lip is shocked and questions if his as she confirms she's carrying Lip’s child. nearly got kicked out by Lip, and assaulted a woman for harassing Liam. However, Lip really hits a problem with Jason spirals out on beer and he learns it was Fiona who gave him alcohol. Having enough of her behavior, he orders out of the house, since she is now a bad influence.
In You'll Know Bottom When You Hit It, he speaks with Xan who is preparing to go out in foster care and sadly watches her leave. He is left angry at this and gathers Fiona's items to fulfill his promise. Lip later argues with Fiona when she comes back home and once more tells her to leave but is told by his father to cut Fiona slack, because of her hard time. When he learns of Fiona's plan to stay with Kev and V, he implores V not to do it since Fiona needs to know how he felt when he spiraled out of control. Later on, he goes with Tami on her doctor's appointment. He is later pleased to see Fiona has attended an alcoholic meeting to get control of her drinking.
During Lost, he reconciles with Fiona and she learns he is going to be a father and is surprised by this. Lip later talks with Tami's father about the baby and his plans. Lip is confused as Tami was unsure to keep it while her father is adamant about it and once more inquires about the plan. Lip also helps take care of the injured Frank. Lip goes to work where talks with Brad about his father-in-law coming to his house before Tami arrives and he tells her that her father showed up to ask about his plans for the baby. He watches Tami get annoyed her father did so and rants about others controlling her life. Lip then hears Tami reveals her sisters are cancer free but she is unsure of hers, which is why she isn't sure about having the baby for health reasons. Lip assures her and she goes for the results and is still nervous. After going to the doctor, she is worried about the results and offers sex to calm her nerves and he complies. The results
During Found, Lip is told by Fiona of her assault being reduced to a misdemeanor. He and Tami continue to see each other and reach an understanding. They go to his house where he is told by Debbie that she found Liam and that Fiona is leaving. Lip asks his sister about this decision and Fiona tells him that she has to branch out now that everyone is grown up. He understands and she entrusts their family in his hands but she asks that she stay for a party to say goodbye. Tami helps Lip gather party items, though he finds that Fiona already left the house but they party anyway. At the party, Lip sits on the stairway as Kevin joins him. Lip expresses his concerns over Tami's pregnancy and wonders if he'll be a good dad asking Kevin for advice. Kevin encourages him and decisively tells him that he'll do great and that it doesn't matter if Frank didn't raise him right.
- He is one of the few Gallagher children to call Frank "Dad".
- Lip is Frank's third child and first son.
- He is the only Gallagher child to graduate from High School along with getting his diploma.
- Lip has attacked Frank more than any of the Gallagher children.
- Despite resenting Frank, he acts more like him than any of the other children.