Monday, December 19, 2016

An Teaghlach Roasting on an Open Fire

Season 21, Episode 30
First aired 15 December 2016

We open in the square or park or whatever it is—I really need an aerial photo of the set to figure out the geography—where a crowd has assembled to tut-tut over the fact that the town Christmas tree has been knocked over. Tadhg blames the kids at An Teaghlach, of course, but David insists he has no proof that it was them. It’s true, it could’ve been someone’s angry teenage cat, or possibly a surly adolescent tornado. Tadhg’s proof it was the teen tearaways is that the holidays are very hard on them, what with having no home or parents and also having to hear “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” repeatedly, because in fact some of them were happy not knowing it was Christmas. He wanders away, and then Rónán tells David that there has been a Pól sighting, so they rush off to tell the Gardaí. I’m sure O’Shea will be thrilled to see David and to hear more about this nonsense.

Vince arrives home with bagels for Caitríona, and they both act shifty and avoid eye contact for a while before he finally cracks first and apologizes for bringing up the whole Donncha thing. She says it was nothing, and they muse awkwardly on how we all do things we regret sometimes.

And speaking of things we regret sometimes, Bobbi-Lee is in the café telling Berni about spotting Caitríona and Colm kissing last night, and let’s all take a moment to appreciate the personal growth and restraint Bobbi-Lee has demonstrated by waiting until morning to start telling people rather than going door-to-door in the middle of the night distributing a newsletter. She gives Berni, and us, a bit more detail about the whereabouts of Colm’s tongue than we really needed to hear, and then says the line we’ve all been waiting for: “Wait till I tell Vince!” Berni tells her that she’ll keep her mouth shut and stay out of it if she has any sense, which of course she does not, and we can tell it’s only a matter of time before the hashtag #CaitrionaIsACheatingFloozy starts trending on Twitter. Well, once Bobbi-Lee gets Evan to create a Twitter account for her and start tweeting on her behalf.

Meanwhile, John Joe and Katy are warily congratulating Dee and Mack on their re-engagement, and the sisters start discussing plans for the hen night, which of course must include Pádraig because, you know, gay. As a gay man, I should probably be offended by the stereotyping, but I’m too hung over from all the hen nights I’ve been to lately. They leave, which gives John Joe a chance to start in on Mack with the usual “if you ever hurt my little girl again” empty threats, but just then Mo shows up with Gráinne in tow and is all, “Is there a problem here?” Mo is really more effective at solving problems than the local Gardaí in many ways, as we will see in grand fashion later this episode.

At Gaudi, Caitríona ignores a phone call from Colm just as Bobbi-Lee stops by to tell her she saw everything last night, EVERYTHING! Of course this elicits an innocent “Gabh mo leithscéal?!?” from Caitríona, which longtime readers may recall is one of the cornerstones of my Ros na Rún drinking game, the other being an offended “Gabh mo leithscéal?!?” from Berni. If I invent Ros na Rún bingo, “Gabh mo leithscéal?!?”  will be the free square. Anyway, Bobbi-Lee hisses that she saw the whole sordid affair, and Caitríona tries to play dumb by pretending she doesn’t know anyone named Colm and was also at the old folks’ home reading to blind shut-ins with scurvy all night anyway, but Bobbi-Lee knows ridiculous shite when she hears it, and tells her that one of them is going to tell Vince, and it’s up to Caitríona to decide who it is.

Mack and John Joe are outside carrying around what I initially thought was the world’s most festive surface-to-air missile launcher, but sadly it turns out it’s just a Christmas tree stand, as assembled townsfolk have gathered to put up a replacement tree. John Joe is passive-aggressive towards Mack, and Tadhg is aggressive-aggressive towards everyone, and Gráinne points out that there’s going to be a big party at An Teaghlach tonight to improve town-teen relations and also to conveniently get many of the key characters in a single highly flammable place.

Bobbi-Lee sashays into the shop to ask Vince Honey what time they’re meeting for drinks tonight, but he’s more concerned about whether she’s told Caitríona about their kiss. I suggest Bobbi-Lee avoid drinking for a bit, because she’s going to need a clear head to keep track of which secret kiss people are referring to at any given time. She tells Vince that she’s leaving it to him to decide how he wants to handle things, but assures him that whatever he decides, she’ll be there for him, nudge nudge, sex sex. She leaves and Caitríona enters, but just as Vince, who looks like he’s passing a kidney stone, is about to tell her what happened with Bobbi-Lee, Caitríona bursts out that Colm kissed her first. Ooh, here we go!

Over at the community center, Pádraig is excited about hiring a stripper for the hen night, and presumably even more excited about the private auditions he will be holding to select said stripper, for which he has devised a very complicated but thorough 50-point grading scale. Prissy Dee poo-poos his ideas, insisting she wants it to be classy. Of course they have to explain to him what “classy” means, much like last season when someone had to explain to Berni what “fun” means, and eventually he slinks away in defeat. Dee is being a complete uptight pain in the arse about it all, which she should know is what happens when you let anyone other than famous-wagon-but-amazing-wedding-planner Geena Kennedy get involved in your nuptials. Katy assures her that she and Pádraig will handle it, but Dee insists that she leave it to their mom or—hooray!—Geena Kennedy! I am so hoping that eventually we’ll see the infamous Geena Kennedy and she’ll turn out to be, like, a fabulous 7-foot-tall drag queen or something, possibly played by RuPaul.

Back at the shop, Vince and Caitríona are still arguing. He’s livid that she repeatedly denied having any interest in Colm and then got all up in his tonsils, and she counters that it was only the one time, and besides, did he see the episode where Colm took his shirt off? Eventually Vince orders her to leave, but she refuses, so he storms out instead. This isn’t going to go the way she planned, because it means that now she has to work the rest of Vince’s shift.

At the community center, Tadhg is scheming with Evil Politician Lady Whose Name Is Apparently Muireann, who is a cross between Celine Dion and Sarah Palin. He tells her that the party tonight at An Teaghlach would be an excellent opportunity for her secret-agent hooligan to do something big. She asks what this would be, and he tells her to let him use his imagination, and he leaves as she picks up her phone.

And meanwhile, completely coincidentally, teen stropbot Pól is outside trying the handles of parked cars, presumably hoping he’ll find another diamond ring, since that’s what the locals seem to keep in their glove compartments. He looks angry, as always, but also surprisingly well-groomed and artfully scruffy for someone who’s supposedly been sleeping rough for weeks. He’s probably worked out a deal to use the showers in the Aer Lingus lounge at Ros na Rún International Airport. The same crowd that’s been milling around all episode passes by, so he hides and eavesdrops as David explains that he reported the recent Pól-sighting to the Gardaí. It seems they tried to arrest him, but he ran. They really need to have Áine set booby-traps all over town to catch him, or possibly garrote him. It could be her end-of-term school project. They discuss how terrible Pól is for a while, but also what a lovely time they’re going to have at the party tonight, and then wander away. He’s angry but frantic, and gets on the phone with the one who looks like Celine Dion and says he did the job, and now he wants his money. She tells him about the new job she’s got for him, and that he’s to use his imagination, and as she hangs up on him, he’s all his usual “frig this” and “eff that” until he sees a conveniently placed petrol can. He grabs it and runs off, and the lesson here is that people really need to learn to keep dangerous items such as petrol cans and dog poison out of reach of children, specifically this one.

After the break, Berni’s “I-told-you-so”-ing Bobbi-Lee, who replies that she told her not to tell Vince, but didn’t say anything about telling Caitríona. I love it when Bobbi-Lee avoids prosecution on a technicality. Berni tells Bobbi-Lee, who's tarting herself up for drinks with Vince, to stop trying to break up Vince and Caitríona, but Bobbi-Lee is all, “Well, we’re never going to break them up with that attitude!” She chooses this moment to casually mention that she kissed Vince last night, and then reenacts how she sat beside him on the couch and unveiled her 3 meters of legs in his direction. Berni interrupts this demonstration before the pillow-kissing starts, and then ignores a phone call from Tommy. Bobbi-Lee tells her to take the cork out of the bottle for a change and slinks away with a sultry “Ciao!” There’s always a good time ahead when Bobbi-Lee starts speaking other languages.

The party at An Teaghlach is in full swing, but because that set has never been built, we will be concentrating on things happening in the street in front of An Teaghlach. David gets off the phone and tells Gráinne it was the Gardaí, who told him they haven’t spotted Pól, and also to stop calling them. Gráinne tries to calm him down, brightly suggesting that perhaps Pól went to visit his brother, or maybe died. That last bit is implied. Everyone goes inside and then we see Pól running around with his plastic bag full of weapons of moderate destruction, but just then Jason runs into Frances and Áine, who are just back from visiting Santa. I bet Pól’s not the only one who’s getting explosives for Christmas this year! Jason asks if they’re going to the party, which they didn’t know about until now, and you can tell Frances is going to thank Jason for this later when Áine turns the whine-o-meter up to 11 and insists on going. As soon as they disappear inside, Pól runs past and hurls a Molotov cocktail into the open door, setting off an explosion of flames, instantaneous screams, and a fire alarm we’ll be hearing for the rest of the episode.

Speaking of things that are alarming, Berni and Tommy are flirting in her kitchen, and I’m not sure whether it’s supposed to be sweet or creepy, but given that he’s already banging on about marriage, I’m going to say “creepy.” Meanwhile, John Joe bursts into Gaudi yelling about An Teaghlach being on fire, and the newly assembled masses join the pre-assembled masses out in the smoke-filled street to watch David herding smudge-faced coughing teens out the door. Several people start hilariously spraying tiny fire extinguishers on the brick exterior of the building, which is totally not on fire, but I suppose it’s nice that they’re trying to help. Tadhg appears, and a blackened Cajun-style Jason coughingly asks him if Áine made it out, which sends Tadhg into a panic because as far as he knew, Áine was still at the mall pickpocketing Santa. Everyone starts running around looking for her, and then she appears from down the block in the opposite direction (?), asking where Frances is, which starts the whole process over again, except now everyone is running around in circles yelling “Frances!” instead of “Áine!”, and then Tadhg charges into the burning building. I hope they find a way to blame Eoin for this.

Berni and Tommy have moved to the sofa, where they’re sharing drinks and he’s looking at her like he wants to eat her, hopefully figuratively and not literally. Meanwhile, Tadhg leads Frances out of the burning building, and there are tears of joy, and also of smoke inhalation. The crowd starts to disperse, and then Bobbi-Lee spots Vince, who is desperately searching for Caitríona, and she looks crestfallen.

At the pub, Mo is tending to an injured Frances while Tadhg coughs. Frances tells her to go home, so she disappears upstairs to get her coat as Frances tells Tadhg she knows it wasn’t easy for him to run into the burning building, what with his fear of burning buildings and all. He responds that he’d face the devil himself to keep Frances safe, which is a lovely sentiment, particularly from someone we normally see yelling at puppies and telling children to go to hell. Just then Pól bursts into the pub with a lighter in one hand, a petrol bomb in the other, and a whole lot of crazy eyes in between.

Vince and Caitríona are happily reunited at Gaudi, and she tries apologizing to him, but he says it doesn’t matter anymore as long as she’s okay. “Okay” is a relative term when it comes to Caitríona, but it’s a nice thing to say.

Back at the pub, Pól is waving his lighter and bottle of petrol around and screaming at Tadhg to empty the till, while Frances looks like this really would’ve been a good day to be up against a wall making out with Colm instead. I mean, it’s what one does. Pól has completely lost it at this point, screaming like an insane person and not blinking, so after Tadhg puts the cash in a bag, Pól demands their car keys. As Frances searches through her many, many pockets, Pól gets increasingly unhinged, and just them Mo appears behind him and smashes him in the head with a hurley stick or something similarly athletic and head-smashing. He collapses like a ton of angry, annoying bricks, and Mo really is a complete badass, particularly when it comes to knocking out villains in the middle of the pub.

At Gaudi, David spits to Laoise that he’s sure Pól is responsible for the fire, and then storms off in a huff, while Bobbi-Lee sees Vince lovingly helping Caitríona into her coat and skulks out sadly.

At the pub, Pól has sadly regained consciousness, and is screaming and carrying on as the Gardaí lead him out in cuffs. We hear him outside yelling that they should be arresting Tadhg instead, since he’s the one who told him to burn down the place, and after some more screaming, recaps that he was working for Tadhg, and also for “some bitch with a weird accent.” I told you it was Celine Dion! Tadhg stands inside looking nervous, because it really would’ve worked out better for him if the Gardaí hadn’t kindly allowed Pól to finish screaming his lengthy and expository rant before finally shoving him into the car and driving away.

NEXT TIME: There is romantic-yet-moody guitar music as Berni swoons to Bobbi-Lee about how dreamy Tommy is, but Bobbi-Lee is too busy pining over how dreamy Vince is. Berni scolds her that Vince is a rogue, but of course in Bobbi-Lee’s world, that’s what makes him so dreamy. Has Berni not seen Walk the Line? Or Coal Miner’s Daughter? Or Silence of the Lambs?

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