Tuesday, February 21, 2017

You Can't Spell "Seaweed" Without "Sewage"

Season 21, Episode 47
First aired 16 Februrary 2017

W e open today in Dee and Mack’s kitchen, where a strange smiling woman has broken into the house and OH MY GOD IT’S DEE! We didn’t recognize her with a smile on her face. She is joyfully ironing while cartoon bluebirds lift her skirt and bunnies frolic in the flowers, like in that movie, The Crying Game. Mack arrives, and they happily discuss their happiness, and how it will last forever, and then Dee gets a text from her boss Frosty Diane, who wants a meeting with her this afternoon. They look uneasy about her being called into the headmaster’s office, which I mean literally, because I am pretty sure the law office set is actually a school.

Next we have Tadhg, Frances, and Mo in an oddly slow-paced scene at the pub with extended discussions of mopping and floor tile, and a lot of long pauses between slowly delivered lines. You can practically see the director offstage making the “stretch” gesture. The important part is that Tadhg seems to be having slow second thoughts about turning the building across the street into a hostel, which may or may not have anything to do with the story Colm told him last episode about someone he knew who opened a hostel that went bankrupt and was then incinerated by a UFO, which I did not recap because it was boring. Frances wishes he’d thought of this before they bought the place, but Tadhg tells her the important thing is that his name will be over the door, no matter what they turn it into. Ooh, I hope he turns it into a salon, just to stick it to Caitríona.

There is discussion of Gráinne’s seaweed business and the mentoring thing, and how David has a meeting with Fidelma, the woman or possibly bank we heard about a few weeks ago. And now, Tadhg has popped by the shop to annoy Vince, and also theoretically to buy a bunch of wine for a funeral he’s doing. They argue for a while, because the off-license part of the shop isn’t open yet, and also because Tadhg doesn’t want to pay full price, and furthermore, because he is a dick. You know, all the usual reasons. This whole time there’s a poor woman standing at the register just trying to pay for her Pampers or whatever and leave, but Vince is completely ignoring her, yet another example of the sterling service provided by all the local businesses. Meanwhile, her poor baby is at home pooping and pooping, alone and pantsless. They argue for about ten more minutes and finally Tadhg says he’ll go buy his wine somewhere else, but Vince replies that he’ll have to go a long way to find as good a selection, and the light bulb goes on over Tadhg’s head. It’s one of those energy- and anger-efficient ones.

Gráinne arrives at the community center in an excited tizzy, ready to be mentored by Mr Monopoly, who she’s just found out has done business in China, a market she’s very excited to break into. I think the closest she’ll come to that is breaking into a Chinese takeaway and stealing the till, but OK. Frances breaks the news to her that Mr Monopoly will not be able to mentor her after all, because something has come up, and that something is his not wanting to. She promises they’ll find someone else, but Gráinne is disappointed, which she demonstrates by being cranky and rude. She needs to be careful with this, because Frances took the last person who annoyed her out into the forest and ran over him at high speed with her car.

At the office, Frosty Diane tells Dee they need to work on the Whoever v Whomever case, which she’s taken Turlough off of, because she doesn’t need two junior counsels on it. Dee is so relieved you can see about six inches of white all around her enormous eyes, and then Diane casually asks her what she thinks of Turlough’s work. She hems and haws for a bit, saying she doesn’t want to pass judgment on her colleague, and then immediately says that he rides on his family’s reputation in the law business and doesn’t do any work. Well, I’m sure this won’t immediately come back to bite her in the arse.

Tadhg returns to the pub carrying many wines, one of which the picture on the box suggests is made of seahorses. Vince and Caitríona are passive-aggressive, and Tadhg tells him that he’s decided that instead of a hostel, he’s going to turn the vacant building into … an off-license! Of course Vince and Caitríona look stricken by this, and while I like Vince very much, I am willing to consider him collateral damage in anything that pisses off Caitríona.

Katy is back at work at Gaudi, where she gives Máire a box of bread to take to today’s wake, which is for a popular local schoolteacher. It seems the baby is breathing on his own now, so he should be home soon, and will presumably be put to work in the kitchen. Dee breezes in, exchanges awkward looks with Katy, and triumphantly tells Mack that she’ll be the only junior counsel on Ulster v Brexit, because Turlough is off the case. They celebrate, unaware that they are gloating on the deck of the Titanic.

And speaking of terrible Turlough, we cut to the law office, where he is furious at Frosty Diane. She tells him he can’t always have his way, and besides, he told her there was tension between him and Dee, so she separated them. Take that, Turlough. He’s still sulky, so she tells him that this case will be over soon, and then there’ll be another big one, which he’ll be on, not Dee. She frosts out the door, but not before asking him to send her regards to his father, which causes Turlough to look pleased with himself and sleazy. I mean even more than usual.

At the pub, Tadhg is giving Mo, and us, a lesson in local licensing laws, as it turns out that if you have a publican’s license, you can sell from your storeroom, too. It seems he’s considering the building across the street his storeroom, and then trots off pushing boxes of wine stacked high in a shopping trolley. Tesco is going to be very cross when they discover he’s nicked that.

David arrives at the shop looking for paper towels, which Vince points out happen to be exactly where he is standing. The layout of this shop really is magical. Whatever you are looking for will be right in front of you and all side by side on the same shelf, even if you’re looking for 11 unrelated items. Vince hisses to Caitríona that he bets Tadhg never had any intention of opening a hostel, and that this off-license was his plan all along. David overhears and gets indignant that An Teaghlach is being replaced by an offy, and Vince makes some vague threats about how Tadhg will be sorry and so on.

Entrepreneur Gráinne has commandeered the community center to set up a free seaweed bar, where people can come soak their parts in bowls of slimy, disgusting seaweed. I really thought this business was going to be about, like creams and lotions and scrubs with seaweed as the active ingredient, not giant tubs of raw seaweed with, like, twigs and barnacles and bottle caps floating in it. Three women with matching ponytails show up for yoga class, and Gráinne kidnaps them and forces them to stick their hands in the disgusting muck. Frances appears and starts scolding Gráinne that she can’t be flogging her gunk here, but Gráinne replies that the women look happy to her. I would say “confused and vaguely nauseated” is more accurate, but OK.

Vince confronts Tadhg coming out of An Teaghlach with his empty trolley and tells him there’s no way he’ll be able to get a license, and because the building isn’t connected to the pub, he can’t get an extension by considering it his storeroom. They argue about the rules for a bit, and then Vince threatens to sue, and also to call the Gardaí. I really wish they would cite the applicable laws and ordinances by number and date so the audience can make more informed decisions about who is in the right here. Oh, wait, no I don’t.

After the break, Gráinne is still holding the community center hostage with her reign of terror and seaweed, and Fidelma, who it turns out is a person, is griping to Frances that she’d reserved the place for table tennis. Well, I for one don’t know anyone who would rather play table tennis than soak their hands in bowls of what appears to be whale diarrhea. Frances and Gráinne argue for a while, but then Bobbi-Lee arrives, presumably because she is a huge table tennis aficionado, and Gráinne grabs her and shoves her into the muck. Bobbi-Lee’s confused “why are you touching me?” face always makes me laugh. Micheál chooses this moment to yell at Frances about turning An Teaghlach into an off-license instead of a hostel. Of course, this is the first she’s heard of this, but she must present a united front with Tadhg, so she tells Micheál to mind his own business and storms off, leaving Fidelma standing there like a fool squawking about how the ping-pong kids are out on the bus scared and confused and so on. Knowing these kids, they have hotwired the bus for a night of fun and are tearing down the motorway, puzzled why Google Maps won’t give them a driving route to New York.

Caitríona is holding court at Gaudi, banging on about the grave injustice that has befallen the land and so on. Her audience consists of John Joe, who agrees that this is terrible because he hates Tadhg, and Colm, who is excited because offies have the best prices. Heh. Frances arrives to get tea for the angry, seaweed-choked masses at the community center, so Caitríona starts arguing with her. We are all hoping Frances will mop the floor with her, because Caitríona going up against Frances is like a yippy chihuahua going up against a Tyrannosaurus Rex with anger issues, but instead Frances comes up with an idea we do not entirely understand right now involving the salon and sending some business Caitríona’s way. Boo.

At the community center, the Seaweed Liberation Army’s siege has ended, with only 117 casualties. Micheál complains to Berni and Laoise that Gráinne’s antics have caused him to miss the wake for the teacher, but they tell her it’s still going on, and he could even take Réailtín, because there will be lots of kids there. He says funerals and such distress Réailtín, and Laoise says death is a part of life and she’ll have to find out about these things sooner or later. Berni tells her to mind her own business, so she flits off, and then Berni says this, which is so ironically hilarious I have to quote it in its entirety: “It angers me when people give advice and they don’t know what they’re talking about.” Now that we’ve all finished laughing that effing Berni would have the nerve to say this, we can start up again when I report that she next snidely says of Laoise, “She thinks she’s always right. She never takes other people’s opinions on board!” HAHAHAHAHA! Oh, Berni, you do make us laugh. Next complain about how someone drives you crazy because she’s always pursing her lips under her fringe and judging people. She carries on some more about how people should listen to each other and respect each other and be considerate of each other and other things she has never done a single time in her life, and I don’t know how she and Micheál are even keeping a straight face at this.

Tadhg hijacks Vince’s liquor delivery man at the shop, and then we’re back at the community center, where Frances and Caitríona have arrived to give Micheál great news: Caitríona is going to be Gráinne’s new mentor! Good lord, hasn’t Gráinne suffered enough already? This comes as interesting news to Micheál, who was about to tell Frances that … Berni is going to be Gráinne’s mentor! If any of Gráinne’s seaweed is toxic, now would be a good time for her to eat a big bowl of it. Frances takes Micheál aside and tells him he’s got to get rid of Berni, because the only reason she roped Caitríona into this was to get her to slow her roll about Tadhg and the offy, and if she gets cut out now, she’ll really go into a high-pitched, long-lasting strop. Micheál tells her it’s all going to hit the fan for her anyway, because half the town hates her and Tadhg already. Oh, snap!

Back at the pub, Vince is still arguing with Tadhg, who makes a big production out of sampling various delicious wines in front of him and then notes that he just bought a wine license for a mere €1000. Vince is furious, and then, just because he can, Tadhg spits a mouthful of wine all over a passing Bobbi-Lee, claiming it’s bitter. “Uhh, Tadhg, we’ve got an industrial tribunal ringing for you on line one.” Vince storms out, and Frances hisses to Tadhg that she can’t believe she found out about their new business from other people rather than from him. She says they could’ve at least talked about it first, but he’s all like, “Oh, no, you probably would’ve wanted to present facts and then have an informed discussion.” She fumes that Caitríona and half the town are mad at them, and while I might care about half the town, I really feel that if Caitriona is mad at you, you must be doing something right. Tadhg says the town will forgive them when they’re able to buy quality wine at low, low prices, but Frances whispers that after what happened with Andy, they can’t afford to have Vince as an enemy. Well, I’m not sure how Vince is going to turn them in without incriminating himself, but I see her point.

David arrives home and finds Gráinne all aglow, and not just because the seaweed she’s been handling all day is radioactive. She’s thrilled with the way things went at her demonstration today, though she does point out that Frances is upset with her. And Micheál. And Fidelma. And ¾ of U2. She reminds him that he’s supposed to be working on restoring Séamus’ boat tomorrow. You know, if Gráinne and David can’t figure out how to follow a recipe to make poitín, I’m not sure I would trust him to restore a boat to safe seaworthiness, although I can think of a few people I would like to send out on its maiden voyage just in case.

At their house, Micheál asks Réailtín if she’s sure she wants to go to the funeral, and she says she does, but she doesn’t want to see the body, which I totally get. She starts asking questions about her mother’s funeral. He asks if she misses her mother, and she says she does, even though she doesn’t remember her. She asks some more questions about her mother, and then quietly tells Micheál that she wants to meet her stepbrother Mikey, because he can tell her a lot about her mom. Micheál seems unnerved by this idea, but because I know absolutely nothing about this Mikey person, I guess I’ll have to wait to find out why!

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