Saturday, April 29, 2017

You Don't Bring Me Flowers

Season 21, Episode 67
First aired 25 April 2017

We open this meandering episode with Máire snooping through a bouquet of flowers that has arrived for Laoise. Given they are all shades of purple, my guess is that her mystery suitor is Prince. Laoise arrives, and Máire immediately starts up with the internet dating nonsense again, complaining that she can’t believe Laoise would put all their lives in jeopardy by giving their address to some computer predator who is clearly feigning interest in her just to get information that will allow him to murder Máire. To be fair, murdering Máire is something we’ve all imagined doing a time or two. Laoise swears she hasn’t given any internet creeps her address, but Máire is unrelenting. Right, because it’s such a state secret where everyone in this town of 12 people lives. Laoise opens the card and it says, “Can we start again?”, and when Máire asks apprehensively, “Well?”, as if it’s the results of a pregnancy test, Laoise smirks and reminds her that she’ll be moving out to her own place soon, so Máire will have to find someone else to help get her killed by an internet predator. Or by The Predator, from that Arnold Schwarzenegger film, which would officially be the BEST SEASON FINALE EVER.

At the shop, O’Shea is nagging Niamh about how everything she does is wrong, which we just can’t get enough of. It seems Niamh has her meeting with the dean today, which we thought had already happened but apparently not, so O’Shea helpfully advises her to enter a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity. I swear I am not making this up.

At the community center, Gráinne asks Dee and Mack, who are dressed as if they’ve just finished their space yoga class, what time baby Jay was born, because she is working up his astrology chart as a christening gift and wants to make sure it is as thorough and detailed as possible when Katy and Jason throw it away. Of course, they don’t know, because Mack hasn’t learned to tell time yet and Dee hates the baby, so she’s like, “Gee, Gráinne, I would love to continue engaging with you about this topic, but I am extremely busy and have to go stand over here now, so, slán!” She and Mack walk about three feet away and then Dee hisses at him that she’s tired of hearing about this bloody christening and doesn’t want to go, but Mack points out that people will gossip if they don’t show up, so it will be easier if they just go and try to blend into the crowd at Westminster Abbey. Dee glumly says she supposes so, and walks off sighing. A better approach would’ve been for Mack to remind her that it will be much easier for her to grab Katy by the hair and shove her face-first into the cake if she is actually at the christening. That’s called “knowing your audience.”

Over at the B&B, a fascinating and apparently very lengthy conversation about icing color has broken out between Máire and Pádraig, and Adam is rolling his eyes so violently in disgusted boredom that pictures are falling off the walls and plaster is dropping from the ceiling. Because all conversations in Adam’s vicinity these days must have a gender-identity component, the discussion shifts to whether you can put yellow icing on a boy’s cake, and when Pádraig asks Adam’s opinion on this scintillating topic, he snots that blue is for boys and pink is for girls, duh, and also that cervixes and ovaries and whatnot are totally hot and he is really into them. The Icing Color Discussion Forum resumes, which gives Adam even more time to sit sadly and think about the series of terrible life choices that has led him to this physical and metaphorical place.

Over at the African hair-braiding salon where Micheál works, there is a lot of botanical talk that I will spare you, but which may be cross-promotion for that other TG4 show, Connacht’s Next Top Farmer. The important thing is that last episode, when David needed emergency flowers to apologize to Gráinne for running lips-first into Annette’s mouth, you will recall that flowers and plants were not a thing Micheál sold, whereas today, the place is so full of flowers they are literally spilling out into the street and the place has been declared a Unesco World Gardening Site. Eventually Micheál asks Laoise nonchalantly, which by his standards means in a manner that suggests he is only 50% sure he is about to have diarrhea, if she likes flowers, and she informs him that they’re OK, but that she prefers plants, because they last longer and are also not stupid, which causes him to look vaguely pained. I will leave it up to you to imagine how that is any different from how he normally looks.

Back on the set of The Great Sexually Confused Irish Bake-Off, Máire announces that she’s glad to have finished baking that cake, while Pádraig giggles at everything and Adam heterosexually reads a magazine and yawns. Pádraig tries to wipe flour off Adam’s sleeve, which causes him to jump four feet into the air like those cats on the internet that see a cucumber (Google it), and then he yells at Pádraig to get away from him. Fia arrives and she and Adam leave, which gives Pádraig another opportunity to furrow his brow, purse his lips, and squint ambiguously, which he has been doing a lot lately.

At the pub, there is a mixup about Laoise’s flowers, which is very difficult to explain without a pileup of confusing pronouns. Laoise thinks Eric sent them and that O’Shea encouraged him to do it, whereas O’Shea knows that Micheál sent them, because she is trying to patch things up between those two. If this keeps up we will have Micheál and Eric sending each other flowers and Pádraig will have to go squint at them, too. Eventually Laoise figures out what’s going on and goes off in search of Micheál, just as Niamh arrives and tells her mom that she confessed everything to the dean, and that he’s agreed to let her repeat the year. O’Shea is thrilled, but Niamh isn’t, because she’s decided she hates law and was hoping to be expelled. Well, we’ve learned that kissing your tutor against his will is one way to achieve that. She explains that working on that case with Dee has made her rethink her plans for the future. She’s overlooking the possibility that the problem is not that she’s not suited to be a lawyer, but rather that Dee is terrible. O’Shea suggests she get a summer job to earn some money while she’s figuring out what she wants to do, and Niamh helpfully volunteers that a bunch of kids from college are going to bum around Amsterdam all summer, and that she’ll go if O’Shea will give her a tremendous amount of money to pay for it. I am not sure Niamh entirely understands the concept of a summer job. Of course O’Shea tells her she’s out of her effing mind, so Niamh stomps off in a huff.

Over at the community center, Dee and some guy we’ve never seen before are renting a room for a few hours for no apparent reason. Frances brightly tells her about a stroller she’s just bought Jay, to which Dee responds as if she’s just been handed an ice-cream cone full of bees. Niamh arrives and she and Dee squabble for a bit, during which we learn that Mr Roof Faller-Offer got paid before he died, so, happy endings! She suggests Niamh give law school one more chance, but Niamh tells her no way, that she’s not going to spend one more second of her life trying to please other people, which causes Dee to blink meaningfully a lot.

Back at the skating rink where Micheál works, Gráinne is once again demonstrating her inability to read a room by banging on to Laoise about the baby’s astrological chart. Yes, if I were going to choose anyone on this show who I think would enjoy hearing about astrology in great detail, it would be Laoise. David wanders past and Gráinne volunteers him to work her shift today at the polytunnel, which leads to his usual petulant griping and complaining about how inconsiderate everyone is of his extremely valuable time. For example, today he was planning to spend the afternoon writing down the names of as many EastEnders characters as he can remember, because he spent a lovely six hours yesterday doing the same thing with Emmerdale. Laoise leaves them to bicker in peace and goes over to thank Micheál for the flowers, which he points out she wasn’t so enthusiastic about earlier. She says she likes them better now that she knows they’re from him, and then he tells her he’s just trying to make things right between the two of them again. She apologizes for what happened with Réailtín, and he is very careful not to apologize for being a complete dick about it every day for the past 3 months, and then they make plans to meet in the pub for a drink later.

Over at the pub, Niamh’s Give Me Money So I Can Drop Out Of College And Go Smoke Pot In Amsterdam World Tour is continuing. Her dad thinks it’s a stupid idea, but she helpfully explains that a lot of people take a gap year. I am not sure those usually happen in the middle of your degree after you have been practically expelled, but we’ll go with it. She continues that spending the summer in Amsterdam would totally give her exposure to, like, a whole different culture, because she’s pretty sure she heard that they just got one of those in Holland, and a new language, because we are all totally sure she is going over there with the intent of learning to speak Dutch. Pull the other one, Niamh, it’s got wooden shoes on. Anyway, Tadhg sticks his nose in to leer at them and make creepy comments about Daddy and Mommy, and then Niamh asks Eric for the money, and he stares at her for a while without answering.

Adam and Fia enter the pub, but Adam slams on brakes and tries to make a U-turn when he spots Pádraig at the bar. Adam tries to drag Fia back out the door, but then she and Pádraig spot each other, and he goes over to fume to them about some nonsense Tadhg has just said about how Pádraig will never have kids because he’s gay. There is discussion of Pádraig’s fabulousness, and then he cracks himself up by saying something about needing a sugar daddy and then playfully jabs at Adam’s chest. Adam pulls away and looks stricken, which starts up the whole thing again where Pádraig accuses Adam of being homophobic and Adam nervously explains that, you know, it’s just that he’s so incredibly straight that when he comes into contact with a gay person, it’s like how in sci-fi movies, there is an explosion when matter and antimatter come into contact with each other. Also, boobs! He sticks his foot in it a couple more times, to Fia’s horror, and then he slinks away, leaving her apologizing and Pádraig looking suspiciously into the middle distance, again.

After the break, which we are sure Adam spent looking at the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, Fia is still apologizing to Pádraig, but he rattles off a list of Adam’s recent bad behavior and tells her he’s fed up with it. She blames Adam’s strict, conservative mother, which gives Pádraig something to chew on, because behind every proud gay man there is a strict, conservative mother asking her teenage son for his opinion on her new dress while simultaneously trying to fix him up with the homely girl down the block and also crying into her Bible that she doesn’t know what she did wrong to make him turn out this way.

Over at the bar, Tadhg tells O’Shea about overhearing Niamh trying to scrounge money off Eric earlier, and explains it’s because she knows she’s got her dad wrapped around her little finger, whereas her mam is a complete wagon. I’m paraphrasing. O’Shea looks annoyed and somewhat queasy, which is probably only partially because Tadhg has delivered this entire monologue in that extra-slow, extra-deep, extra-gravelly manner he pulls out when he’s trying to be as annoying as possible that sounds like he is speaking Irish while vomiting. Meanwhile, Adam has fled to the bar, so Fia follows him over and tells him he owes Pádraig an apology. Adam assures her he’s got nothing against gay people, even ones who can really get on your tits like Pádraig, and Fia says she knows, but that he needs to go tell Pádraig that.

Back at the community center, Mack tries to show Dee whatever overpriced baby tat he’s bought for them to give as a christening gift, but she’s not interested, and points out that they’re not giving the baby jack, because she hates him or her or it or whatever it is, and if Mack were a good husband, he would hate the baby, too. That last part is implied. Mack snaps at her to knock it off because he’s tired of this crap, and she tells him for the last time, which will of course not be the last time, that she’s not going to the christening, because she’s sick of doing what other people want her to do. You know things have gotten bad when Niamh is serving as your life coach.

Back at Tigh Thaidhg, Adam brings over a gay pint for Pádraig, a girl pint for Fia, and a manly straight pint for himself, and apologizes for being such a complete idiot all the time earlier. Pádraig forgives him, and since he does not end the scene by squinting ambiguously, we will do it on his behalf. Meanwhile, David arrives at the bar in what appears to be partial blackface, but it turns out he fell face-first into a bag of manure or something at the polytunnel. He starts carrying on blissfully to Gráinne about how there’s nothing like doing an honest day’s work as a farmer, breathing the fresh, clean air while talking to the turnips and occasionally being chased by wolves. It’s very Little David on the Prairie.

Laoise and Eric flirt with each other at Gaudi for about 11 minutes, and then we cut to the pub, where O’Shea hilariously almost jerks Niamh’s arm out of the socket and starts yelling at her. She’s furious that Niamh tried to play her and Eric against each other, and went behind her back and asked for money, so Niamh lets her carry on for a while before finally telling her that if she’d bothered actually talking to Eric about this, she’d know that he’s not giving her a penny, so, nyaah. I’m not sure you are actually the winner in this situation, Niamh, but we will all let you keep thinking that.

Dee is peevishly walking down the street in the world’s largest scarf, and is met by Katy, who is wearing an even larger scarf. Surprisingly, instead of getting into an altercation about who has the biggest scarf, Katy tries to make nice with her, offering her cute anecdotes about the baby and apologizing for missing Dee’s Easter do. In response, Dee is a complete snot, and icily tells her she doesn’t care what she does or how many pennies the baby can eat or anything else. Katy, undeterred, tells her how much she hopes she’ll be at the christening, but before Dee can shove one or both of their giant scarves up Katy’s arse, Máire interrupts them with her usual nonsense, which this time includes telling Dee that she’ll be having a baby soon as well, because she’s never seen a man as baby-crazy and wildly fertile as Mack is. Dee rolls her eyes and makes pukey faces of the sort Katy used to be famous for making, and then Máire burbles that there’s nothing more important than family, and that she doesn’t know what she’d do without hers around her. Yes, Adam must be a tremendous source of comfort. Máire leaves, and it looks like perhaps her words have caused Dee to thaw a bit, but instead she resumes telling Katy what a bitch she is and then literally pushes past her and storms off in a huff.

Over at the bachelor pad, Gráinne is trying to have a romantic dinner, but David is on the phone with the polytunnel’s aphid supplier or dirt consultant or whatever, and then explains to Gráinne, who clearly does not give two shits about any of this, that he’s basically the self-appointed new manager of the polytunnel, even though Laoise doesn’t know it yet. He tells her he’s decided he’s going to transform the polytunnel into a therapy center, which I assume means a place for Pól and Rónán to smoke cigs and punch parsnips, and then starts carrying on about how his life goal is now to be a farmer. Gráinne looks pained, and when he lovingly tells her that none of this would be happening if it weren’t for her, she knocks back a giant glass of wine. Everyone who had “Gráinne develops a drinking problem” in the storyline betting pool, head to the bookies now to collect your winnings.

O’Shea flirts with Eric for a while, and he responds in vague, confusing ways that may or may not suggest his new goal is to win Laoise back. It’s hard to tell whether it’s deliberately ambiguous, or just that we have only been semi-paying attention to this storyline. Eventually he asks O’Shea what she’d think of him hiring Niamh as his new research assistant, and when he explains that he’ll be in town for a while because of some new work he’s taken on, O’Shea thinks this is a very good idea indeed. Laoise arrives and there is love triangling, and while Eric goes to the bar, O’Shea confesses that they’re really getting along these days, and that she hopes their relationship will keep improving, Laoise looks stricken, and then gives Eric longing looks as she goes to have that drink with dull Micheál.

At Gaudi, a delighted Jason shows Katy a photo of the flat in Tenerife he’s just put a deposit on, which appears to be a motel in Palm Springs, California, circa 1960. If you look closely, you can see Don and Betty Draper having a fistfight by the pool. He’s also booked the flights, which causes Katy to stammer nervously that things are happening so fast. He asks if she’s having second thoughts, and she hesitantly says no, in a tone that says, “Listen to how much I am having second thoughts.” She’s probably worried that she won’t be able to wear her collection of enormous scarves in sunny Spain. She sadly tells him she ran into Dee earlier, and that she couldn’t even be civil to her for one minute, and as much as we enjoy it when the Daly sisters are sniping at each other over petty stupidity, the fact that Katy is so deeply sad over her broken relationship with Dee makes us sad, too.

A zombielike Dee is staring into space at the shop when Mack shows up looking for her. She tells him she feels trapped by this baby, because people will expect them to play happy families at his first communion, his first birthday party, the first time he gets his hair caught in a Xerox machine, etc etc, and she just can’t take it. Mack tells her he knows it won’t be easy, but that apart from leaving Ros na Rún, what option do they have? Dee, who has clearly been pondering this, tells him that leaving town is exactly what she’s proposing. He’s surprised and agog, protesting that moving away would be a huge change, but she grimly tells him that she forgave him for what he did (really?), so now he has to do this for her. She widens her eyes until you can see 3 inches of white all the way around and then informs him that they’ll go to the christening, but as soon as it’s over, they’re leaving Ros na Rún … forever! I can’t wait for the scene where Katy and Jason and Dee and Mack arrive at the airport and discover they are all on the same flight to Tenerife.

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