The Darkest Hour is the ninth episode of the sixth series of Shameless.

Shane wakes from a coma after several weeks, but half his body is paralyzed. Mimi finds out that Shane and Kelly were running a scam against various businessmen, and blames Kelly for Shane's current condition. But Kelly arranges for the hospital smoke alarm to go off (using Paddy), and secretly moves Shane out of the hospital back to Lillian's house. Kelly helps Shane to rehabilitate. Later, Mimi and Kelly almost come to blows over Shane, when Kelly tells Mimi that she should more concerned about Paddy, confessing that he is addicted to Heroin.

Norma finds Stella has a mouth infection, but when she brings this to the family's attention, Frank wonders loudly why Norma is still living with them since Monica disappeared. Resentful of the lack of support from Frank's children, Norma leaves the estate (with the family camper van). She comes to live with an old friend named Ruth (called "Ru" by Norma) who is a manager of transportation. When Norma receives a text from Liam, asking her where the TV remote was (but may have been his way of checking up on her) Norma decides to return to the Gallaghers, but Ruth tells her that she's welcome to come back at any time. When she returns to the Gallagher home, Norma tells them that she's willing to contribute a quarter of her wages in return for living there. Carl hugs Norma, Liam smiles, admitting that they've missed her, and Frank mocks his son, saying that he's easily bought.

Karen figures out that Mandy is in an abusive relationship with Joe Pritchard . She arranges for a girl's nightout with Mandy, initially to find out details against Joe. When Joe is getting ready for the match, Karen confronts him over Mandy, but Joe vehemently denies harming her. But Karen blocks his exit from the changing room, so Joe pins Karen against the wall. Karen threatens to get Jamie, but Joe scorns her threat. Then they end up kissing, before having casual sex in the changing. This delay to the match sends Jamie to collect Joe, and he almost walkis in on them having sex, but Karen disappears into the showers before her husband catch them. Joe assures Jamie that he's nursing his hamstring. Karen later has a nightout with Mandy, but doesn't delve to deeply into Mandy's relationship with Joe. They return to The Jockey later that night to be received by Joe and Jamie. Karen drunkenly shares some veiled threats with Joe, before assuring Mandy that she's only messing with him. Joe and Mandy return to their room, while Jamie tries to help and inebriated Karen to her room. She pushes at him, telling him to "fuck off", but struggles to stand up before allowing Jamie to carry her.

Carl experiments with a form of pre-match conditioning, using viagra and cocaine, but this backfires on him.

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