Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Love Among the Ruins

Season 21, Episode 35
First aired 2 January 2017

One of the many things I like about Ros na Rún is that it often goes in the opposite direction from the one you’d expect, as with this episode. Most soaps would’ve picked up last episode’s explosive Mack-based cliffhanger right where we left off, which probably would’ve included Dee either inserting Katy into the wedding cake or inserting the wedding cake into Katy. Instead, we pick up The Morning After with an episode that, apart from some (not unjustified) screaming from Noreen, is surprisingly low-key and thoughtful, and it gives a nice non-OTT realism to this gigantic storyline that’s been building for six months. That said, we wouldn’t want it all the time, so I do hope that next episode we pick up with, say, a screaming mascara-streaked Bobbi-Lee crashing an ice-cream truck into Vince’s house. Or Vince’s face.

Anyway! It’s a gorgeous sunny morning in Ros na Rún, or at least they have CGI’ed sunshine over top of the rain and street flooding. You never know anymore. Chez Daly, Katy hands Noreen what appears to be a giant flamingo-pink frilly hoop and says “You left this behind,” but sadly it turns out to be mother-of-the-bride wedding headgear and not a mother-of-the-bride ballet recital tutu. Noreen shoots her an icy glare and silently marches out of the room, and Katy knows this is going to be a long and difficult mother-daughter day, much like every day of her life from age six until, well, now.

Speaking of ice-cold Dalys, Dee is packing her bags in the bridal suite with as much hostility and resentment as she can muster, which it turns out is quite a lot. Mack looks like a stubbly puppy that’s gotten in trouble for pooing on the new carpet, which I suppose is metaphorically exactly what he did, and also possibly literally what he did. If so, cleaning that up is probably not included in the price of the hotel’s wedding package. He asks Dee if she wants to just cancel their flight, but she frostily says she doesn’t know about him, but she needs a break. We assume she means of one or more of Mack’s vertebrae. Up until now the worst honeymoon I ever heard of was my sister’s, when she and my brother-in-law spent their entire Caribbean cruise in the cabin throwing up, but it seems Dee and Mack are set to steal that particular title from them, with or without the help of food poisoning.

Jason, who has spent the night in a parked car we hope to God is his, is awakened by a phone call from Katy, accompanied by a really annoying ringtone that makes us lose a little respect for him. He rejects the call and then passes out again, and between the unshavenness, blotchy wooziness, and general appearance of smelliness and stickiness, his transformation into Phil Mitchell really is complete. Gráinne’s face appears in the window and she starts pounding on the window to wake him up, but he’s not sure which to ignore first, her or yet another call from Katy.

Back at the Dalys’, Noreen returns from destroying Galway Godzilla-style and is now angrily folding the hell out of some laundry, so Katy gives up on trying to reach Jason and tells her she senses she’s upset about something. Mothers and daughters really do have an almost-psychic bond. Noreen spits that she knows that Katy slept with Mack, and the battle is on! She reports that Mack told Dee about his infidelity but not whom it was with, and if Katy knows what’s good for her, she’ll keep it that way. She continues that she’ll never understand why Mack chose their wedding day of all days to let the Katy out of the bag, and Katy points out that it might have something to do with that being the day she chose to tell Jason about it. This really sets Noreen off, and there is some quality soap-opera screaming as she calls Katy a selfish madam who just had to ruin her sister’s big day. She’s put up with Katy’s antics for years, but this is really “one for the books,” as the English subtitles sadly and oddly mistranslate from the original “one to go on your CV,” which is a much better line. They should really let me do the translations, although there would be a lot of me having no idea what’s going on and defaulting to extensive discussions of what color things are and whether various shops are open or closed. (Viewers: “I have no idea why Noreen is so upset that the hardware store is closed, but she’s really letting Katy have it!”) Anyway, Katy can’t believe her mother thinks so little of her, and Noreen replies by screaming so loudly windows shatter across Ireland, so Katy storms out.

Bobbi-Lee arrives at the pub to brag to Tadhg and Frances about how spectacular the wedding was, with unlimited food and drink and the Rolling Stones asking her to come onstage and sing “Start Me Up” and so on. Tadhg is as interested in this as you would expect, and tells her to go away and stop annoying him, so she decides this is a good time to ask for her job back. One thing about Bobbi-Lee, she can really read a room. He barely even dignifies this with an answer, instead showing Frances the brochure he’s looking at for second-hand bunkbeds to put in An Teaghlach. Bobbi-Lee is confused, presumably having forgotten that An Teaghlach was even a thing, so he explains that he’s buying it and turning it into a hostel. I’m imagining he will call it the No, You Can’t Have More Towels And Also Go Frig Yourself Inn. You can earn Best Western points there. He notes that it will attract Germans and Spaniards, which I’m not sure is a promise or a threat, but of course Bobbi-Lee starts licking her lips and so on at the mention of Spaniards, I’M SURE only because she likes paella. After she goes home to take a cold shower, Frances tells Tadhg she’s not sure they should buy An Teaghlach, because it’ll look very suspicious after Pól’s accusations that Tadhg was involved in the fire, but he informs her that if people start talking, he’ll take them to court. I love it when Tadhg gets litigious.

Fia is frantically cleaning up the party mess at the B&B, which you may recall Adam promised her he’d take care of. It’s surprising, because he’s always seemed so trustworthy in the past. Máire enters just as Fia stuffs the last unconscious stripper under the sink and starts raving in extreme detail about how wonderful the wedding was. (In case you were wondering, the entrée choices were fish or roast beef. I’m glad that’s settled.) She finally notices how tidy the kitchen is and starts praising Fia’s maturity and non-partying skills, although she does note that her vase got broken, and Fia explains that Liam Óg knocked it over. Máire ignores the fact that Liam Óg is an infant who could not possibly reach the vase on the kitchen counter and toddles off to see him, leaving Fia to breathe a sigh of relief, which probably smells like tequila.

Outside the pub, Tadhg runs into David and Mo, who have just finished speaking with a philanthropist from Galway I am going to call Mr O’Rockefeller, who David reports is going to buy An Teaghlach and turn it into, well, exactly the same thing it was before. It seems Mr O’Rockefeller grew up in a youth home and wants to give something back to the community by reopening it and putting David in charge of it, and furthermore, the damage to the building is only minor after all. David smugly walks off, and Tadhg is furious, because the only things he hates more than losing out on a moneymaking scheme are philanthropy and David.

Katy has returned to the loving embrace of the family home to scream at her mother some more, having remembered while she was away that Noreen is a total cheating skank and terrible mother herself. This starts them up again, with Noreen asking if Katy even knows who the father of this baby is, and just as she insists that it’s Jason, duh, a clueless John Joe arrives home, lugging armfuls of wedding gifts from the hotel. He notes that Dee and Mack seemed to be in a mood when he left them this morning, barely speaking to each other and Dee stabbing him in the neck and so on, and then observes that Katy and Noreen look cheesed off as well, but Noreen passive-aggressively smirks that everything is dandy and that Katy is certainly not a complete slapper who deserves a good smack for ruining everyone’s lives all the time. I’m paraphrasing.

Gráinne has extricated Jason from his car, CPR’ed him back to life, and brought him back to the bachelor pad to sober up with some coffee and probably some essence of elderflower and eye of newt. Jason is surly, and Pádraig seems less than thrilled to have him there, having always been more of a Grant Mitchell fan, so Gráinne sends Jason off to sleep it off in David’s bed. Make sure you pass out face down, Jason! Gráinne plays things down by telling Pádraig that Jason and Katy just had a wee little disagreement, but he homosexually senses drama and is determined to get to the bottom of it.

Peatsaí runs into Mo lugging boxes of poitín from the hearse into the pub, and starts to warn her of the dangers of selling it, but then Berni interrupts to give them the full report of her experience at the wedding, which of course involves her having more fun than everyone else, but also being wise enough to switch to water just in time to avoid a hangover, because she is awesome. You can imagine yourself. They endure the onslaught, and then the instant she bogs off they hilariously pick up their conversation exactly where they left off, as if she’d never been there. Hee. Peatsaí warns Mo that she’ll be the one who’s fined if she’s caught selling the poitín at the bar, and she frowns.

Inside, Frances tells Tadhg they can’t possibly compete with a philanthropist, which she says as if it’s “superhero” or “magical space bunny,” but he says they can, and that she’s got to help him with his plan to outwit Mo. Just then, Mo herself comes through the door with a box of poitín, shoots him a nasty look, and informs him that she’s not going along with his insane plan to sell it behind the bar. He tells her the poitín is for funerals, not the pub, and punctuates that by calling her a fool, and then completes this positive interaction by sending her off to clean the toilets, which “an old drunk” has just done unspeakable things to. Now, Tadhg, that’s no way to talk about Bobbi-Lee. As Mo carries the box through the doorway, he and Frances have a loud, fake discussion for her benefit about how he just heard from a reliable and not-made-up source that An Teaghlach is full of asbestos, and that anyone who buys it is a fool, especially if that person is a philanthropist from Galway. Poor eavesdropping Mo falls for this nonsense and looks worried, and I have to say, there are few things I enjoy more on this show than Frances and Tadhg scheming, especially when it involves them having a loud fake discussion for someone else’s benefit. Áine Máire Ní Óráin really is a riot when they let her be.

After the break, which features adverts for someone yummy called Johnny Brady and also laxatives, Máire ambushes Fia in the kitchen with empty cans and bottles she’s found down the back of the couch, in Liam Óg’s nappy, etc, and is not happy. Fia starts making excuses and semi-apologizing, but Máire’s having none of it, and lectures her until Fia is saved by the bell, or, in this case, a knock at the door from a priest. Hopefully he’s come to exorcize Fia’s outfit, which appears to consist of layers of terrible carpet with hideous prints from various airport terminals. And here I was in the very last recap praising her improved style this season.

At the pub, Mo tells David that she heard An Teaghlach is full of asbestos, and that he’d better warn Mr O’Rockefeller before they’re stuck with it. Back at the B&B, Máire is complaining to Father Whatever about how out of control and irresponsible Fia is, so he tells her that everyone is a fool when they’re however old Fia is supposed to be. In fact, he himself was a wild child back in boarding school, and one night he and some of the other lads climbed out the window and snuck down to the beach for some naked swimming, and this story is seeming an awful lot like a scene from that movie Priest with Linus Roache, but it turns out some mischievous girls stole the boys’ clothes, which is much less interesting. Anyway, the moral of the story is that even stupid kids like Fia can grow up to be semi-respectable, and also that we had forgotten how much we like Linus Roache.

At the bachelor pad, Gráinne is chopping vegetables, and they look a right mess, as does her hair, so it seems there was a struggle and everybody lost. Pádraig arrives with Katy in tow just as Jason bedraggles in from the bedroom, and he glares at her, and she looks pregnantly stricken, and the awkwardness is reaching fatal levels. Gráinne wants to give the two of them an opportunity to fight, so she excuses herself and Pádraig to a different room, which he does not look entirely happy about. Katy is sad and guilty but trying to be an adult, reminding Jason that someone needs to go pick up Cuán, but he’s still furious and snide and snaps at her. He tells her that he must be stupid, because he trusted Lee, and Mack, and Katy, and they all betrayed him. This scene, and the ones between the two of them that follow, are leisurely paced with a lot of long silences of the sort soaps are usually afraid of and therefore fill with chatter so the audience won’t get bored, because they think we are stupid. I really appreciate the fact that the show is giving these scenes the space they need and giving the viewers credit for being able to pay attention without going the obvious route of screaming and throwing dishes at the walls and uncontrollable sobbing.

Back at the B&B, Máire says goodbye to Father Eamonn and then apologizes to Fia for losing her patience with her earlier. Fia, who is being more gracious and sensible than her terrible outfit suggests, tells her it’s OK, and promises to be more responsible in the future, at least until Adam arrives next episode on a stolen motorcycle and suggests they go nick the Book of Kells and smoke it.

Jason tells Katy he can’t believe that Mack would go through with the marriage as if nothing had happened, and asks her if Dee even knows she’s the one Mack slept with. She says no, which we know is not in fact the case, and he bitterly snots that this is a really iontach start to a marriage, with lies after lies. There is a long, beautifully poignant silence, and then Katy tells him that whatever decision he makes, he’ll always have a place in this baby’s life. He asks if she genuinely expects him to raise Mack’s child, and then congratulates her on having figured it all out. Oddly, the CC on this show translates all kinds of Irish phrases to “fair play,” but in this case, where Jason actually says “fair play” in English, they translate it as “well done.” Wha?

Over at the pub, Máire arrives with great news for Pádraig: they got the catering contract with the One Direction Fan Club or whatever! They are thrilled, and Berni, who of course is sitting at the table behind them, can’t believe the madness she’s hearing. Máire is all, “Oh, hello, Berni! I didn’t see you there!”, and makes a quite excellent crack to her about the rat being caught in its own trap—which, good job there, Máire—and she and Pádraig give Berni knowing looks. Snerk.

David grabs a passing Mo and tells him that Mr O’Rockefeller, whose name turns out to be Mr Doyle, spoke to his engineer, and it turns out there actually is no asbestos! WHAT?!? They do a synchronized slow-burn turn towards an oblivious Tadhg, who’s laughing and carrying on at the bar, and Mo vows that he won’t be laughing when she’s finished with him. Ooh, this is a side of Mo we don’t see very often, and I like it. And am also a little terrified. And terrified by how much I like it. I’m having a lot of confusing feelings, basically.

There’s been another long silence between Jason, whose jaw is set, and Katy, whose face is streaked with tears, and finally she asks if he’d like her pick up Cuán, but he says no, he’ll do it. She wants him to know that she’s aware of the damage she’s done, and that he has a good heart, and that she knows she’s broken it. She thanks him for the good times they had, and tells him that she’ll never forget how good he was to her, and after another long silence, she heads for the door, telling him sadly that she’ll move her stuff out. He stops her, and says, “Don’t.” It won’t be easy, and he’ll have to be able to trust her, because if he can’t, what’s the point? She looks hopeful, and I wonder if it’s quite as ambiguous in Irish as the English subtitles suggest, but either way, it’s a cracker of an ending to a fantastic episode. I know I usually end these recaps with a joke or an absurdity, but this time I’ll just say: THIS is the reason Ros na Rún is my favorite show. Fair play.

NEXT TIME: It’s a Grand Ole photoshoot at Vince’s, with Bobbi-Lee serving up sexy-cowgirl fabulousness, and also bosoms. He nervously says that Caitríona won’t like it if she finds out about this, and Bobbi-Lee is like, “So don’t tell her!” She purses her lips, smushes her breasts at him and the camera, and proclaims, “Sex sells!” And here I would’ve said that you can’t put a price on revenge, but it turns out it costs exactly the same as Really Rubbing Caitríona’s Face In It.

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