Thursday, April 20, 2017

I Fought The Law, And The Law Won

Season 21, Episode 65
First aired 18 April 2017

We open with Jason semi-apologizing to Mack for missing Easter at his place, and Mack replies that it ended up being just him, Dee, and her burning hatred for him after all. Well, seething resentment is what Easter is all about, anyway. Niamh enters with her mother in tow, and is very excited indeed because she’s starting her new long-term career as Dee’s legal assistant, and today is the first day of the rest of her life, and she’s going to make it after all, like Mary Tyler Moore. If she had a hat like Mary, she would twirl around and throw it into the air, but hopefully she kept the receipt, because as we will see later, she’ll need to get her money back.

The postman delivers the mail to Áine, who at first is disappointed that her new issue of Petty Larceny Weekly hasn’t arrived, but she brightens when she sees there’s a letter addressed to her tuismitheoirí that’s not from her probation officer for a change. She asks her nearby mother when Tadhg will be home, because she’s got an exciting letter for them, and Frances completely ignores her, which means this is going to be one of those episodes where Áine is jealous of everyone and everything, and might also kidnap herself again. If she’d managed to find a way to earn frequent flyer miles every time she runs away from home without actually leaving the building, she could’ve had a free ticket to Orlando by now.

Gráinne and David are having one of their usual “I’m paying the bills!”/“No, I’m paying the bills!” arguments, but for variety’s sake, this time they’re doing it in the middle of the street. Love means never having to say “I’m sick of you.” His phone rings, and Gráinne is annoyed when she sees it’s Annette, and starts up with her patented “Does she ever leave you alone?” routine, which she honed to perfection back during the Fidelma era. David lectures her that Annette is going through A Really Tough Time Right Now, so they should all be nice to her, so Gráinne rolls her eyes and reminds him that he’s supposed to go with her to the dentist today and is therefore only allowed to care about Annette until 12:45 and no later.

New career woman Niamh has begun her first day of work in Dee’s kitchen, the counter of which is covered with adorable tea kettles, scales, and toasters that look like the supporting cast of Beauty & the Beast. Be a pest, be a pest, put Dee’s patience to the test. Niamh’s first job as a hotshot legal researcher at Blame The Victim & Sons is to demonstrate that a builder who fell off the roof of a building and broke all his DNA is at fault because he negligently obeyed the law of gravity and also, like, probably shouldn’t have been up there in the first place. At first Dee takes the time to explain difficult legal terms such as “precedent” and “shattered pelvis” and “grieving soon-to-be-widow,” but Niamh tests her patience when she assumes the goal is for the victim to be fairly compensated. Clearly ace law student Niamh stopped going to class before the day they learned the difference between “prosecution” and “defense.” Dee explains that they are the defense attorneys, and therefore their job is to drag their feet and postpone the case until the victim dies, and also impugn his character by suggesting he is gay, probably. Eventually Niamh gets it, which she demonstrates by saying “Cinnte!” and “OK, cool!” a lot, which saves Dee having to get out the hand puppets she uses when explaining difficult concepts to Mack, such as “above” versus “below.”

Back at the pub, Frances tells Áine that she can take a break from sitting at the bar folding napkins now, because it’s time to go upstairs and take her carpal tunnel medicine. Because she’s the smartest person on this show, Áine realizes it’s because Frances wants to have scandalous adult talk with town sexpot Laoise, so she does the thing where she pretends to go upstairs and then hides at the end of the bar, where there must be an Áine-sized divot in the floor by now. Frances asks if today’s hot date is with the same guy Laoise indignantly threw out last episode, but Laoise insists that she’s FINISHED with online dating, apart from today’s date, whom she also met online. I don’t know, either. Anyway, there is discussion about kissing frogs and polytunnel bondage and so on, and then Laoise concludes that men are all terrible and also idiots. She wanders away, leaving her phone on the counter, so Eric picks it up and acts suspiciously with it. I’m looking forward to the inevitable scene later this episode where Laoise discovers there are now somehow a bunch of blurry photos of Eric’s penis on her phone.

Back at Sue ‘Em & Screw ‘Em Associates, Dee is getting annoyed with how useless Niamh is, and really snaps when she keeps suggesting they, like, pay the guy who fell off the roof? Because it was, you know, not his fault? Dee’s enormous eyes shoot flames for a while, and then Niamh apologizes and says she’ll do some more Googling in hopes of finding legal precedent to support their position, such as a case where the widow of someone who fell into an industrial wood-chipper had to pay its owner for emotional stress, and also to have the blades cleaned. We had forgotten what a complete pill Dee is when she’s in legal mode, like that time in court she blamed Mack for the sinking of the Lusitania. She angrily reminds Niamh that they need to postpone this case for at least three months somehow, and then huffs off to pick up lunch, at which point Niamh looks through the documents and discovers that Mr Roof Faller-Offer has a) a gaggle of children and b) only three months to live from terminal cancer. This is where it’s a shame there’s no money in the TG4 budget for a dramatic “dunh-dunh-DUNH!” musical sting.

Over at Gaudi, Eric makes a big production out of shaking hands and thanking an extra who appears to be a contest winner of some sort, and when O’Shea arrives, the two of them discuss how Niamh burned down her college or whatever. He offers to buy O’Shea lunch at the pub later, and she says yes, even after he calls it a date, which makes her smiley and giggly. You may recall that last week she hated him. Apparently when you’re on a superintendent’s budget, you take a free meal however you can get it.

And next, speaking of hatred on a budget, we have a scene with Colm and Annette. He stops her in the street and introduces himself, and she’s snotty and rude, even by her standards. She hisses that she knows he’s one of scumbag Seán’s prison buddies, which he takes as an invitation to give her parenting and relationship advice. He reports that Seán is sad because she’s keeping the children from him, and she’s basically like, “Well, he knew I was awful when he married me, so that’s on him.” I’m paraphrasing. She starts to storm off and he grabs her arm to stop her, so she screams, and it’s a shame she’s burned her bridges at the salon, because otherwise she’d be on her way over there to have them paint a bruise on her arm for lawsuit purposes.

Annette flies into the pub on her broom, and when she sees David sitting there consuming oxygen, she exclaims, “David! Thank God you’re here!” David is taken aback, because no one has ever said this to him before. She starts banging on about her run-in with Colm, and David is sympathetic, but also nervously looking at his watch, because he’s supposed to be at the dentist listening to Gráinne scream right now. My nephew threw up on the dentist when he was a child, which would be another option.

Over at the bar, Frances and Máire are wondering what kind of misfortune Annette has been hit with now, apart from the obvious one, which is having a cup of tea with David. Meanwhile, Áine, who apparently doesn’t go to school anymore, is sitting there spelling words from the conversation out loud, which suggests that either we have a spelling bee plotline coming up or she has suffered a head injury of some kind. Katy appears with a basket of laundry, as one does at a pub, which reminds Máire that she’s just been to Knock and brought back a holy spit-up cloth or something for the baby. I’m getting the impression Máire is single-handedly keeping the local economy of Knock afloat. They start talking about the baby, which causes Áine, whom everyone is ignoring as usual, to make barfy faces and roll her eyes a lot, and then Máire helpfully informs Katy that the baby should be christened soon, just in case it, you know, dies. Lovely. Katy is evasive, because she’s hoping to postpone the christening long enough to meet some fun new godparents in Tenerife, and then she bogs off. There is more spelling, and then some C-H-I-L-D L-A-B-O-R as Frances puts little Áine to work serving tea and pulling pints and so on. Máire asks Áine what she’s been writing down all this time, and instead of telling the truth and saying it’s a ransom note, Áine explains that she’s been writing down words such as “kissing frogs” and “diaphragm” and “handcuffs” from the earlier conversation with Laoise. Frances sees where this is going and shoos Áine away, but unfortunately for everyone, not before Áine informs Máire that Laoise met a man on the internet, which causes her to swoon and fall off the stool in shock and do about two-thirds of a Chernobyl.

Dee returns home, where Niamh is waiting for her, ready to spring her trap, such as it is. She hisses that she knows Mr Dislocated Skull has terminal cancer, and that the only reason Dee wants to postpone the case is so he’ll die before they have to pay him a penny. Dee looks shocked, because she thought it would take thick Niamh a lot longer than this to figure out what defense lawyering is all about.

After the break, it’s now 1:10 and David is still at the pub listening to Annette carry on about the time she found an onion ring in her french fries or whatever. Gráinne shows up, annoyed because she and David were supposed to leave for the dentist 25 minutes ago, and now that they’re extremely late, he decides that a good idea would be to drive Annette and her various children to various places on the way. Gráinne, however, does not seem to think this would be a very good idea for some reason, and they argue for a bit before she finally tells him to forget it, she’ll go to the dentist without him, and he actually says this is great, because it’ll make it a lot easier for him to drive Annette and her family around all over the place if Gráinne isn’t there. Then he gives her a thumbs-up as she storms off, and I swear I am not making any of this up.

Meanwhile, Annette, who you will recall is in a tremendous hurry to go pick up her daughter from her bassoon lesson or whatever, has stopped at the bar to have a long conversation with Frances, who is busy scolding Áine for telling Máire that the internet is a thing, when the entire village has spent years trying to keep her from finding out, for everyone’s sakes. Annette notes that mean old Mommy shouldn’t be angry with Áine given that she’s just won the honor of representing Earth in the Miss Spelling Universe Pageant. Frances asks if that’s why Áine has been going around saying all those consonants and vowels and whatnot all day, and Áine reaches into her pocket and pulls out the letter from the school from earlier, which of course is now all folded and tear-stained and therapy-requiring. Frances looks stricken and guilty, so Áine twists the knife by saying she’d been waiting for Daddy to get home so she could tell him her exciting news, but that he’s probably out with Jay, and also, nobody remembered to feed her today. That last part is implied.

Back at Dee & Associates, Niamh is angrily asking her if she’s even got a conscience, which suggests that she missed those episodes where Dee was defending sex-trafficking monster Mucus. In response, Dee actually says that the only reason Mr Roof Faller even found out he has cancer is that, like, the tumor popped out when he fell off the building, so really, her client is a hero, as is she, by association. Even better, when Niamh hisses that Mr Roof Faller’s family will be left penniless if they defer the case until it’s too late, Dee informs her, and I quote, “They have insurance, they won’t be left short.” So, really, it’s a plus for everyone that he fell off that building and landed in that big pile of cancer. Niamh tells her she’s being immoral and unethical and other words Dee is not familiar with, and then says she’s going to go to the media with this, and that Dee will never work again. Presumably by "the media" she means Tadhg's friends, the TG4 weather girls. Dee insists that she’s not doing anything illegal, but Niamh doesn’t care, and rides out on her high horse. So much for Dee’s youth employment scheme.

In the street, Katy and Jason are discussing how heartbroken everyone will be when they leave, and also whether they should get an oceanfront house in Tenerife, or if ocean view would be sufficient. They run into John Joe and Pádraig and tell them the christening is coming soon, which makes them happy, which makes Katy sad. She’ll cheer up when she finds out Dee’s life is being ruined over on the other set.

O’Shea arrives at the pub for her sexy lunch with Eric, who asks if she’d rather get food poisoning here at Tigh Thaidhg or go someplace nicer, such as the Hot Dog Palace. On a side note, if you’re trying to remember how to spell the name of the pub by Googling it and leave out one of the H’s in “Thaidhg,” Google thinks you are interested in “tight thighs.” Just then, Laoise saunters in carrying what appears to be the same box of cornhusks Jason was carrying around in the previous scene. Eric notices that she seems to be in a bad mood, I mean even more than usual, so he brightly invites her to join him and O’Shea at their sexy lunch. Of course O’Shea looks shaken and staggers over to the bar to ask them what kind of soup they have today, and also whether they can put some poison in Laoise’s. While she’s gone, Eric tells Laoise that he’s run a background check on today’s internet date Alan Cullen, whose name he got off her phone earlier. She’s annoyed until he reports that Alan has no criminal record and has a job, two things that none of her previous flames can boast. I say “flames” intentionally because several of them have gone to prison for arson. She’s very happy about this, and of course O’Shea looks over at them from the bar just in time to see Laoise giggling and tossing her hair over his biceps and so on. The bizarre love triangles are really starting to pile up.

Upstairs, Áine is proudly demonstrating her spelling abilities to her parents, rattling off words that will be useful in her future, such as “hostage situation” and “plea bargain.” Of course Tadhg rolls his eyes at all this because he thinks spelling is for sissies and girls and therefore a waste of time that Áine could be using to learn offensive names for people from other parts of Ireland. Frances tells her they should throw a party in her honor to celebrate the fact that she’s doing something other than stealing from the till, or Bobbi-Lee’s purse, and after Áine toddles off, Tadhg spits that Frances is coddling her, throwing her a party when she hasn’t even done anything yet. Frances counters that Áine deserves a party because the boys have been getting all the attention since Jay was born, but Tadhg thinks this is nonsense, because today she’ll want attention for learning to spell, and tomorrow she’ll want it for being a premature newborn who almost died and then moves to Spain.

At Gaudi, Dee and Niamh argue for a while, and eventually Niamh says she can’t be bothered to go complain to the media about Dee, presumably because of her already-full schedule of staring into space and texting erotic emojis to Adam. Back at the Ó Díreáins, the proper plural of which may or may not be Ó Díreáinanna, Áine is excitedly telling Jason that she’s having a party, because her previous ones have gone so well, and he counters by telling everyone that they’ve scheduled the christening … for the same day. Of course this sets off another wave of jealousy, which Jason doesn’t help by suggesting she can just share her party with Jay, or, even better, be an afterthought at Jay’s party. She thinks about it and agrees to this plan, which is shocking, because every single other person on this show would’ve responded to this situation by storming out of the room sobbing and then crashing their car into an orphanage.

At the B&B, Máire has been lying in wait so she can spring up and call Laoise a cheap whore as soon as she walks in the door. Even better, not only does she basically call Laoise an internet slut, she also dramatically cries that she is putting all of them at risk by having “strangers coming and going” at all hours of the day and night. This goes over about as well as you’d expect, with Laoise yelling at her to go to hell and storming out, and Máire responding that men who use the internet are nothing but trouble. It’s a good thing she doesn’t know how to check Adam’s browser history.

A dejected-looking O’Shea returns home to find an equally depressed Niamh vegetating on the couch. She tells her mom about her day and says she wants to go tell Mr Roof Faller about Dee’s shenanigans, but O’Shea warns her not to get involved, because the law is complicated, and also Dee knows someone who could have Niamh sex-trafficked in retaliation by the end of the day. Niamh sighs that after seeing the legal system’s seamy underbelly, she’s not sure she wants anything to do with it, and complains that things shouldn’t be so ethically murky all the time, because that is totally not iontach.

Pádraig has set up an intensive-care ward at home for Gráinne, who is on life support because she had to have a filling. David comes home—literally 4½ hours after we saw him leaving to drive Annette to her daughter’s jump-rope recital—with a box of chocolates for the patient. Of course she complains it’s a terrible gift for someone on the brink of death from extreme dental work such as she’s been subjected to. You’d think she had her head amputated the way she’s carrying on. She argues that Annette is a con artist who’s making a fool of him, and he storms out, but sadly we cut away to the next scene before Pádraig has a chance to announce that he can’t stand all the drama while simultaneously filming it with his phone so he can watch it again later.

Back at her place, Niamh makes a serious phone call to her professor, advising him that there’s a cheating scandal going on in the department. She’s positive, she tells him, because…she’s personally involved! First Réailtín, and now this: this is what happens when you give teenagers their own phones. I blame Laoise.

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