Monday, January 2, 2017

Everyone Cries at Weddings, Especially This One

Season 21, Episode 34
First aired 29 December 2016

It’s the last episode of 2016, and the show is making sure the old year goes out with a bang, and possibly mass casualties. But I’m getting ahead of myself! We begin in the street outside the former Love Shack, where a frantic Katy, in comedy hair curlers, runs into a seething Jason, with a comedy brown bag of alcohol. Clearly they’ve both had a big evening. She says hello, asks if he’s spoken to Mack, and begs him not to tell Dee about last episode’s revelations, but he just glares at her and slams the door in her face. If all those curlers she’s wearing actually take, she’s going to arrive at this wedding looking like Scary Spice.

We cut to the bachelor pad, which today has been transformed into a smaller, satellite branch of Wedding Headquarters, like those M&S stores where you go in to buy underwear and discover they only sell food, hopefully before you’ve dropped your pants and started trying things on. Anyway, Mo is strangling Mack with a necktie, clearly with a bit more glee than is strictly called for by the situation, and Gráinne and Pádraig are also there, and everybody seems to have a glass of champagne in each hand. John Joe arrives and hands Mack a flask full of antifreeze or something, and Mack stupidly drinks it without waiting to see if John Joe drinks some first, or at least passing it to Pádraig to make sure it’s not poison. I expect by the end of this episode, a number of characters will benefit from hiring food tasters.

Katy arrives at Dee’s bridal suite and sadly informs her that Jason will be unable to attend today due to illness, and Dee replies that if Jason doesn’t get his act together and get down there within the next ten minutes, he will be unable to attend anything ever again due to death. Katy suggests that John Joe can fill in for Jason as best man, and Dee dramatically and rhetorically asks, “What else will go wrong today?”, which is a lot less rhetorical than she thinks it is.

Mack is banging on Jason’s front door trying to figure out where his best man is, and eventually Jason, who at this point looks like five miles of bad road, answers the door, exchanges a few unpleasantries, and then furiously smashes the watch Mack gave him last episode into bits on the ground, which we totally did not predict at all in the last recap. Alas, poor wristwatch: we hardly knew ye. Jason hisses at Mack to go back to his lover, “whichever one of the Dalys you choose,” and by the time Mack puts 2 and 2 together and comes up with “Katy’s uterus,” Jason has disappeared back inside and slammed the door.

At the hotel ballroom, all the tables and chairs are covered with yards of white cloth, so either there is a fancy wedding happening or they’re about to paint the ceiling. Noreen is nervously polishing some cutlery when John Joe arrives and proudly tells her that he’s now the best man and therefore has many new responsibilities, including getting drunk, clearly. Noreen produces something from her purse that she wore at her own wedding and says she’s giving it to Dee as her “something old,” and because we can’t see what it is because the subtitles are blocking it, I am hoping it's a pair of novelty Elton John glasses. Sadly it turns out to be a hair accessory of some kind, which John Joe takes from her and casually sticks on the side of her head, as if it’s a magnet and her head is a refrigerator. I do not understand how women’s hair accessories work. There’s light flirting and an exchange of goo-goo eyes between them, but then Ferdia arrives to remind Noreen that he exists, and that she’s married to him, for the moment at least.

Jason arrives at the bachelor pad in search of Mack, but the only one who’s there is Gráinne, in a retro-y blue and white summery frock which does not appear to be seasonally appropriate, but is lovely anyway. Like half the people in this episode, Jason is drunk, and he makes increasingly angry demands for more drink, which concerns Gráinne, because she’s running late as it is and really does not have time to be part of a hostage situation right now.

Back at the hotel, a woman I’ve never seen before arrives, and turns out to be Mack’s sister Úna. She finds him in the ballroom and tries to deliver a lot of dialogue, but he cuts her off because he’s been trying to reach Katy on the phone after the Jason incident but can’t find her. He tells Úna he’s made a terrible mess of everything and starts to cry, and you can tell that this is more than she bargained for when she decided to attend the wedding rather than staying home and watching it on TV.

Back at the bachelor pad, Jason is working his way through the stages of drunkenness, having left Anger and moved into Moroseness, possibly with a stop at Throwing Up along the way. He tells Gráinne he’s lucky to have her as a friend because every other woman in his life has caused him nothing but heartache, but she appears to be scanning the room for the location of the nearest emergency exit, keeping in mind it might be behind her. Because she has places to be, she starts asking him what’s happened, and eventually he tells her that Katy slept with someone else. Ooh, for Gráinne’s sake, I hope it’s David.

Mack and Úna have moved into the hotel’s Brother-Sister-Tough-Love Courtyard, where he’s told her everything. She tells him he can’t keep this a secret, and that he’s got to tell Dee today, because it’s going to come out eventually. Sure, but they’ve already spent all this money on the wedding, so let’s at least wait until after cutting the cake.

Gráinne brightly tells Jason that it doesn’t matter that Katy slept with someone else because they were broken up at the time, and also that she would prefer not to be murdered today, so let’s head to the wedding! She presumes the guilty party was some nobody she met in the sexy streets of Galway, and he doesn’t correct her, so of course she tells him that Mack isn’t to blame for Katy’s shenanigans, so there’s no reason to punish him on his wedding day. Clearly Gráinne’s ESP is on the blink today.

Dee squawks that Mack’s not supposed to see her in her dress when he bursts into the wedding suite, but he’s unconcerned with that superstition, and also with the one that it’s bad luck for the groom to tell the bride on their wedding day that he knocked up her sister. He sits her down on the bed and confesses that he slept with someone else during that 12-hour period in which they were broken up. She’s stunned, and then calmly but firmly tells him to get out. He leaves, and this would be a good time for him to ask her on his way out if she thinks the hotel will validate his parking ticket.

After the break, Gráinne tells Jason she’s got to go, but promises she won’t tell anyone about the news he’s shared. By now he looks like ten miles of bad road plus a car on fire on the hard shoulder, or like Phil Mitchell on a good day. He slurs that he doesn’t give a damn, so she rolls her eyes and does that hilarious thing with her mouth that I can’t describe, but you know what I’m talking about. She leaves him seething, but I’m sure he’ll calm down and come to his senses before the end of the episode and totally not crash a stolen police car into the wedding cake.

Noreen arrives at the bridal suite, where Dee tells her Mack confessed about the sleeping-with-some-random-hoochie-but-surely-it’s-nobody-we-know thing. She says she’s not sure she can live with this news, so Noreen tells her she’s got to walk away from this marriage before it’s too late, and there are tears.

A bunch of college-aged troublemakers arrive at the B&B, led by that guy Adam, who was last seen menacing Niamh over illegal fireworks or Brexit or something. It was a while ago, so I forget. Anyway, they’ve dropped by to get Fia into trouble, but of course she does not need to be led into temptation, for she can find it herself. I have to say, her style is greatly improved this season. It’s very “Twiggy leaving her baby on a swingin’ doorstep on Carnaby Street.” They want to party and drink and twerk and so on, and although she feebly protests that she’s got a baby to look after, Adam eventually gets her to eat a “relaxing” brownie by twisting her arm and putting pressure on her, i.e., holding up a plate of pot brownies in the same room she is in.

Dee has summoned Mack to the bridal holding cell to ask him one question: Will this ever happen again? He swears it won’t, and that he’ll never hurt her again, although there is one more eensy little detail he needs to tell her about. She says she doesn’t want to hear all the sordid details, and she really has no idea just how sordid they are, because if I recall correctly, it happened on the floor of the bachelor pad, and not even someplace classy, such as on a futon in the IKEA showroom. She says she believes him that it’ll never happen again, and then asks him to leave, because she’s got a decision to make. It’s probably not whether she’s having the chicken or the fish.

Back at the B&B, Adam and the no-goodniks are Mean Girl-ing Fia into pounding shots, because all the kids from An Teaghlach have left town and we need a holiday reminder that the Yoof Of Today are nothing but trouble. Then at the church, there is unease because Dee may be a no-show, as evidenced by the fact that Vince is looking at his watch and the giant Christmas bow on Caitríona’s head is starting to wilt. We see Berni turn around to glare at Bobbi-Lee, two rows behind her, and when our favorite country starlet offers an olive branch by smiling and waving, Berni makes it clear that she’s not ready to make nice, and not ready to back down. She’s mad as hell and she don’t have time to go ‘round and ‘round and ‘round! Úna tries to comfort Mack by reminding him that it’s tradition for the bride to be late, especially when she’s considering not showing up, while Noreen gives him evils from across the aisle. She’s wearing a fluffy lavender hat that looks like a Mrs Slocombe wig from Are You Being Served? I’m very sad that American weddings have not adopted the Elaborately Absurd Hat tradition our cousins across the pond have perfected. Just as the priest is about to give up and go home, or wherever priests live, famous wagon Geena Kennedy, frequent wagon Katy, and occasional wagon Dee make their entrance, to everyone’s relief.

The cast of Beverly Hills 90210 have left the B&B, and Fia admits to Adam that she feels much better now that they’ve gone, and also now that she’s projectile-vomited into Máire’s shoes. He says he’ll finish cleaning up and tells her to go up to bed, because he is either flirting with her or planning to ransack the place looking for any of Peadar’s old prescription drugs, or possibly both. As she heads upstairs, she widens her eyes and rubs the door seductively, or something. Oh, Fia.

We have a montage of Mack and Dee exchanging vows interspersed with shots of Jason sitting at home crying and the guests wondering when dinner will be served, accompanied by minor-key piano music. The bride and groom love each other and so on, and Katy looks sad, and then we see Jason stumble out of the chair, gather up his things, and stagger towards the door, I’m sure to the library or an adult-education center where he is taking evening classes in conflict resolution.

Back at the hotel, a reception has broken out, and Vince is doing that thing everyone hates where the wedding photographer is all up in the couple’s grills taking 11 photos per second and blocking everyone’s views and giving everyone seizures with the flash. Berni looks across the room at Bobbi-Lee, who is alone and sad, yet bravely sparkly. Berni then grabs a napkin and starts gleefully writing something, presumably a suicide note in Bobbi-Lee’s handwriting to throw the Gardaí off the trail later this evening when she mysteriously falls off the roof of the hotel repeatedly. Mack and Dee are dancing, and he whispers in her ear that he was worried she wasn’t going to show up while also shooting daggers across the dance floor at Katy. Multitasking!

Berni struts over and sits down next to Bobbi-Lee, remarking that she’s not behaving like the life of the party as usual. Well, a girl can’t dance on the table all the time, Berni! She continues by pointing out that Bobbi-Lee’s been looking at Vince all night, and Bobbi-Lee denies it, and then hilariously spits that if she has, it’s only because he’s making her want to vomit. Ha! Berni hands her a napkin and tells her to open it, and while I figured something big would happen at this wedding, I didn’t think it would be Berni handing Bobbi-Lee a napkin full of dynamite!

We see a waiter give Mack instant diarrhea-face by whispering something into his ear, which I am praying is, “I think I’m in love with you.” We then cut back to Bobbi-Lee, who realizes that Berni has given her a drawing of a check for €3000, saying it’ll have to do since she doesn’t have her checkbook with her. It’s for the CD, and Bobbi-Lee says in disbelief, “After all the craziness with the rat poison?” I can guarantee you this is not a line you will hear on any other soap’s big Christmas episode. Berni smiles and tells her that even though it was a big insane mess, her heart was in the right place, and they hug, and Bobbi-Lee tells her in English, “Happy New Year, honey!”, and shut up, I have some dust in my eye or something, because I am a manly man and do not cry.

Out in the hallway, Mack angrily tells Jason to get out and go home, but Jason demands to know where Katy is. Mack threatens to break his jaw if he goes near Dee, who is back in the ballroom, but looks up and sees them through the doorway just as they start to struggle. Katy runs up to join the melee, and Mack has a waiter throw Jason out. Mack and Katy start yelling at each other “Why couldn’t you keep your mouth shut?”, “I had to tell him!”, and he says if it had been up to him he would’ve told the truth ages ago, but noooo, she wanted to keep it a secret, etc etc. Of course Dee is standing there watching this from the doorway the whole time, and finally she turns away, stricken, as Mack shouts at Katy to get inside and dance and then storms off.

On the dancefloor, we entertainingly see Mo and Máire go bopping by, and then John Joe and Noreen are falling into each others’ arms and eyeing up each others’ parts and so on. Ferdia appears and splits them up, pointing out that it’s nearly midnight. Mack, who has been running around looking at his watch and searching for Dee, eventually finds her up in the bridal suite, and tells her he wants his first kiss of the New Year to be with his wife. As the crowd downstairs counts down to midnight, Dee blankly tells him that she’s figured it all out, and knows that Katy is carrying Mack’s child. They exchange looks as we hear cheering and the opening notes of “Auld Lang Syne,” which may mean “Times Gone By” in Scots, but in Irish seems to mean, “Oh, Feck, And Here On My Wedding Day And All!”

NEXT TIME: We don’t know, because there’s no preview! But hopefully it will involve a baking contest between Máire and Aunt Sally!

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