Monday, May 8, 2017

A Kiss Is Just A Miss

Season 21, Episode 69
First aired 2 May 2017

We open this episode, which I am recapping from an IKEA café in suburban Philadelphia, with Adam and Pádraig struggling to assemble a confusing Flůrjnøřp bookcase and eventually realizing that they are missing a screw. No, wait, we open with Adam and Pádraig in the community center, struggling to process Adam’s confusing feelings and eventually realizing that at least one of them is missing a screw. Adam has just bought a bouquet from the community center’s mobile florist, which is apparently a thing now, and tries to flee when he spots Pádraig, but as usual Pádraig is quick and will not be denied, and corners him to apologize for cornering him in the last episode. He tells him he only wants to help him, but Adam is still working through some things and angrily forces Pádraig to admit he was wrong, and that Adam is totally super-straight, like Rock Hudson or Cary Grant. As he goes off in a snit, Adam hisses to Pádraig that he better stay away from him and Fia, because they don’t want anything to do with his kind. Well, given the confusing feelings floating around these three, I am pretty sure that all of them appreciate this “kind” in one way or another.

In the café, Máire is, as usual, scolding Laoise for jeopardizing everyone’s safety with her irresponsible behavior, but this time the topic is Laoise’s going house-hunting without a man there to supervise rather than her extreme sluttiness. Fortunately for the sake of humankind, Micheál is hanging around doing nothing, and offers to go with her, since he’s free this morning. Presumably the Pokemon factory or wherever he works is closed today. There is some light awkwardness, and eventually they realize they don’t care about this storyline and agree to head off together, or not. Also, apparently the café is called Cúl Chaint, which I think is Irish for “Not Responsible for Hair Found In Your Food.”

At the Dalys’, John Joe is telling Katy she overreacted by banning her mother from the christening just because she had a little cold. Then Noreen arrives and the two mothers gang up on him, insisting that Katy actually underreacted, and that she would’ve been totally justified if she’d shot Noreen and buried her germy corpse in a building site in Bulgaria, because that is what good mothers do. We can tell the Tenerife secret is weighing heavily on Katy’s mind, though, because she only half-heartedly encourages her parents to fight, which is usually her favorite hobby. Well, apart from feeding her Dee voodoo dolls into various types of industrial shredders and chippers. Noreen, who is still suffering from a bad case of pretending-to-sneeze-itis, says she thinks she’ll just go back to Donegal since she’s not going to be allowed to see Jay, and besides, she has just remembered that she’s got a husband and should probably go make sure he’s still alive. Katy is alarmed and encourages her to stay a bit longer, not because she gives two shits about spending any time with her, but because she was really hoping to delay telling everyone they’re moving to Tenerife a bit longer, such as on Jay’s 18th birthday, when Noreen notices that he only speaks Spanish and is also a matador.

At the B&B, Fia is delighted by the flowers, which are the nicest thing Adam has given her since that cold sore that time. She asks what’s the occasion, and he sleazes, “Do I have to have a reason to do nice things for you?” You can understand why she doesn’t know the answer to this question. She giggles that it’s just that no one has ever treated her like this before. It’s true, gay men are the most thoughtful boyfriends. She points out that she’s got some free time without the baby, and after a moment of panic in which we—and Adam—are afraid she’s going to suggest they retire together to their kinky boudoir, which is even kinkier than she realizes, she suggests that they go to Gaudi for brunch. This causes his gay-panic circuits to overload, and he finally delivers an error message stating he would prefer to keep his distance from Pádraig, because erm, umm, something happened between them, but if he tells her about it, she’s got to promise to keep it to herself. OH MY GOD, THIS TRIFLING HO IS GOING TO MAKE UP A STORY ABOUT HOW PÁDRAIG TRIED TO MOLEST HIM AND I AM GOING TO BE PISSED.

And speaking of storylines that are piss-inducing, Gráinne, who apparently hates Mo now, is over at the shop still trying to fix her and Colm up. Because, you know, he seems like such a great catch, what with his beady eyes and extensive criminal background. My theory is that Gráinne really wants to get involved in a kidnapping storyline, but only indirectly, and figures fixing her BFF up with a womanizing ex-con is the best way to do it. Colm shows up, which is Mo’s cue to flee the scene, reassuring us that she is not a complete fool these days. More like 60 percent fool. Gráinne has a confusing plan to get Colm and Mo together that involves telling him what a creep Mo thinks he is, so he oozes away, and Vince, who today is playing the voice of reason, points out to her that Mo is right to stay away from this sleazeball. You know it’s bad when, in this town full of yuckos, you can refer to someone as “that sleazeball” and everyone immediately knows whom you’re talking about.

Laoise and Micheál are in some shack we assume is her future home, but it turns out to be the toolshed at the polytunnel. They are really pushing out the boat with all these new sets lately. Eric shows up and there is more of their usual love-triangling with no forward motion, so I will tell you that the most exciting thing about this scene is noticing that for some reason there is one of those bamboo tiki torches propped up in the corner. Now I understand why everyone wants to hang out at the polytunnel all the time. If they need some poorly built Swedish furniture for the place, I can pick some up while I’m here at IKEA.

In the street, Colm is leaving Mo a voicemail in which he apologizes for his loutish, gross behavior last night, as if it was any different from his usual behavior. He explains that he wasn’t as drunk as he looked, and I am unclear why he wants her to think that was how he acts when he’s sober, but OK. Seán arrives and tells him he needs his help making €9000 vanish for a while, and then Caitríona wanders past and says the two of them need to keep their jail-cell-sharing arses away from each other if they care about their reputations at all. Evidently her new book has come and gone, since we had all that endless buildup around the release date and then just as was about to happen she disappeared for a month. Maybe Colm can write a book so he’ll disappear for a while, too.

Fia has summoned Pádraig to the B&B and wants some honesty, because, as she says, “I heard something today that I find hard to believe.” Finally, someone told her to limit herself to three clashing patterns per outfit! Between her gay BFF and her gay boyfriend, you’d think somebody would’ve told her this a long time ago. There’s a moment in which a confused Pádraig thinks Adam has admitted his extreme gayness, but before he can say anything that spills those particular beans, Fia tells him that Adam has claimed Pádraig made a pass at him. If this were any other soap, this would’ve led to a month-long plotline in which everyone in town ostracizes and beats up Pádraig for being an insatiable gay predator before discovering the truth, possibly at his funeral. Because this show is not stupid, however, Fia matter-of-factly says she knows this accusation is completely ludicrous, so she’s hoping Pádraig can tell her what the hell is going on. I was going to suggest Fia go rent that Linus Roache movie Priest, but then remembered that it came out before she was born, and that her takeaway would probably be “Adam wants to join the clergy?” anyway. Pádraig is livid, because the only time he’s ever tried to kiss a man against his will was Simon LeBon that one time, and he tells Fia he’ll take care of it.

In the front seat of Colm’s car, where an amateur production of The Krays: The Musical has broken out, Seán tells him he needs him to do some more “investing” for him. It seems that a few weeks ago when Colm was NOT AT ALL SUSPICIOUSLY an independent stock-broker all of a sudden, it was actually a trial run for some money-laundering, and now he needs him to disappear another €9000 from the pharmacy heist. Now that we know it was Anto and Seán behind the pharmacy robbery, can I tell you I originally hoped it would be Adam, just to see how much of a hot mess he would make of it? Colm flips out for a while and proclaims dramatically that he’s not going back to prison ever, which I would say is up for debate, and Seán tells him that he got dragged into this against his will too, and sometimes that’s just how the hostage-taking cookie crumbles. He explains that he needs money to cater to Annette’s expensive tastes. For example, we’ve seen what happens when she uses harsh own-brand shampoo and conditioner, and none of us want to relieve that. There is back-and-forthing, and eventually Colm reluctantly agrees to “invest” the money, though he fumes that he’ll have to spread it out over time to avoid calling attention to the large sum of cash. This is why the local criminals should start campaigning for Ros na Rún to become part of the Cayman Islands, whose nonexistent banking laws are much more amenable to the busy lifestyle of today’s petty money-launderer.

Pádraig has arrived at the pub to confront Adam, who is about halfway to Drunktown, after a lengthy layover in Closetville. Adam asks him what part of “Stay away from me” he doesn’t understand. My guess would be all of it, but he seems to be having particular trouble with “away.” Adam is surprised to find out that Fia went to Pádraig with his accusation, because apparently he has never met her, and Pádraig hisses that if he ever pulls another stunt like this, he’ll out him faster than you can say, “I wonder what Tom Daley is doing right now?”

After the break, during which we learn that Celtic bodies like mine were not designed to digest Swedish lingonberries, John Joe takes a break from looking back and forth confusedly between a cooking pot and a whole chicken to take a phone call from Ferdia. The first thing we learn is that “Ferdia” sounds funny in the vocative case, and the second thing is that Noreen did not tell him she’s been staying at John Joe’s all this time. She rushes in and tries to stop him just as he’s inadvertently throwing her under the bus, and then an annoyed Ferdia hangs up on him. If Noreen’s marriage to John Joe was built on half the honesty and trust that her marriage to Ferdia is, I can’t imagine why they ever broke up.

At the B&B, Adam is yelling at Fia for taking the word of “that gay” over his. Well, Adam, the problem is that your word was “RuPaul.” Fia is not sure which she appreciates less, his lying to her about her friend or the delightful gay slurs he’s using. Fia, I know you’ve set the bar low by having a baby by your mother’s yucky boyfriend, but you can really do better than Adam, and not just because of the whole secret-gay thing. He decides to up the ante by acting like even more of an asshole, a key change none of us were hoping for, but just as Fia tells him he reeks of alcohol and tries to throw him out, Máire shows up and starts burbling about how wonderful he is. As you may recall, she instantly switched from thinking Adam is the worst person in the world to thinking that he is a poor wee dote when he trotted out the stories about the dead sister and the Easter egg. You can tell Fia cannot even believe this effed-up ess swirling around her, in that the one time she wouldn’t mind if her grandmother flew all up in Adam’s face, she instead comes in cooing at him like he’s the adorable infant in the town Christmas pageant. Adam leaves, to go kiss and then punch Graham Norton or whatever, and Máire, sensing that there’s been an argument, shifts into wise, deluded teapot mode and basically tells Fia that whatever’s happened, she should apologize to Adam, because he’s such a nice boy. Snerk.

At Gaudi, the papers have been signed to make Pádraig a partner, and he tells Jason that he sure hopes he does a better job with the restaurant than he did with the cakes yesterday. If there’s a way to drop the restaurant on the floor and break it, Pádraig will find it. Jason tells him not to worry about it, because yesterday was all Áine’s fault, but she can’t help it because her father is an asshole. Jason knows of what he speaks. Katy arrives pushing the pram and has great news from their hospital visit du jour: Jay’s immune system is going from “strength to strength,” which I for one assume means he is cleared to eat strawberry yogurt immediately, and also that the hospital has agreed to send his medical records to Tenerife. I’m picturing a  nurse in Tenerife pulling a bunch of paper out of a fax machine, realizing it’s all in English or possibly Irish, shrugging, and throwing it in the bin. Pádraig bogs off to drink away his ART (Adam-Related Troubles) at the pub, and after some discussion of shoving paprika and a chicken up Noreen’s sinuses to finish off her cold one way or another, there is a recap of Katy’s second thoughts about moving to Tenerife. She just found out that she can’t plug her hair-dryer into the hilariously shaped outlets there, and she’s not sure she can get past that. Besides, it will be harder to look longingly at Mack’s sexy stubble and glare angrily at the back of Dee’s head from all the way across whatever ocean is between Ireland and Spain.

Chez John Joe, Noreen is packing her suitcase on the coffee table in the middle of the sitting room, as one does, while whingeing to John Joe that he’s ruined everything now with Ferdia. Yes, it’s John Joe’s fault that Noreen a) lied to her husband and b) wasn’t smart enough to tell the appropriate people to cover for her. It seems that for some reason Ferdia did not react well when she told him she and John Joe kissed, and now she’s desperately trying to save her marriage. Of course, John Joe’s suggestion is that she could’ve avoided all this hubbub by being less stupid and not telling Ferdia about the kiss, and then they touch each other’s faces and look longingly at each other for a while until Mack arrives to hackney Noreen away. Katy trails in behind him, because she’s unable to resist his beefy gravitational pull these days, and when she finds out that Noreen is on her way back to Donegal, she panics and blurts out to everyone that they’re moving to Tenerife. Everyone reacts exactly the way you’d expect, with Noreen on the verge of blubbing, John Joe snotting that it was nice of Katy to bother telling them before they left, and Mack looking confused because he thought Tenerife was the name of a Polish bird he shagged on the top deck of a bus one Christmas.

Over at Gaudi, O’Shea and Laoise are having another boring discussion about how they are both in love with Eric, although of course O’Shea thinks Laoise is talking about Micheál, and Laoise doesn’t bother correcting this misapprehension because she doesn’t want to be police-brutalized with a baton today. The best part of this scene is that Caitríona is sitting alone on a barstool in the background drinking a glass of wine and throwing her head back laughing and making ecstasy faces at ABSOLUTELY NO ONE. I have no idea what the hell is going on here, but I encourage you to go back and watch it online, because this entire scene she looks like she is making love to the barstool, or being ridden by an invisible but well-endowed ghost.

Back at the pub, Adam is also having an intense experience with a barstool, although in his case it involves struggling to stay upright on it as the world spins around him. It’s basically every gay man’s Jon Hamm fantasy. He barks at Mo to give him another pint, but Frances, who has clearly had it with his nonsense, tells him he’s done. Pádraig shows up, so then Adam yells drunkenly at scapegoat Mo for a while. Clearly she had a very relaxing and rejuvenating time on her holiday, because instead of reaching across the bar and punching him in the mouth as we’d expect, she is patient and kind to him. I know, I’m confused, too. Pádraig finally can’t take it anymore and tells Adam to knock it off, so there is yelling and ordering various homosexuals to mind their own gay business, and then Adam storms off in a huff, which is the only way he knows how to exit a scene these days.

We see Adam staggering aggressively down a dark street taking swigs from a travel flask filled with Cosmopolitan or similar he’s produced from nowhere, and then we see a single young woman we’ve never seen before walking down the street alone in his vicinity. We really hope he is not about to go force himself on her in an alley to prove how straight he is, because this show is better than that. Back at the pub, Noreen is crying and snotting into a Kleenex about what selfish wagons Katy and Jason are. She and John Joe have a bit of a conversation a librarian would categorize as “Ireland—Emigration and immigration—Social aspects”, and then we see Pádraig telling Gráinne he’s calling it a night, because he’s tired and wants to go home to his hot water bottle and the new series of Bear Grylls Kills Some People On An Island. OH, GOD, ADAM IS GOING TO SMASH A BOTTLE OVER PÁDRAIG’S HEAD AND LEAVE HIM BLEEDING IN THE STREET OR SOMETHING. Further down the bar, Tadhg is being a smug bastard to John Joe about nothing in particular, as usual, so John Joe decides to turn the tables on him by being all, “By the way, Katy and Jason are moving to Spain, which I knew before you did, so suck on that, you old fecker.” Having managed to turn his fatherly despair into fun and profit by rubbing it in Tadhg’s smug face, he returns to Noreen, leaving Tadhg and Frances standing there looking stricken. Tadhg needs to look at the bright side, which is that Jay will grow up speaking Irish with a hilarious, effed-up Tenerife accent that he can make fun of.

Back outside, at the dark and lonely intersection of Ambiguous Longing Street and Confusing Erection Boulevard, Adam smashes his bottle against Pádraig’s car, which is sadly not a euphemism. Pádraig comes just as the tire-kicking commences, which is also not a euphemism, and starts yelling at Adam to get away from his car. I guess this means Pádraig finally passed his driving test, after all that trouble he had learning to back around a corner without running over a nun. And now we finally get the brilliant, come-to-Jesus confrontation we’ve all been waiting for, and I will warn you now that I will have to refer to Adam and Pádraig by name a lot to avoid a pileup of confusing he/him/his pronouns, so, in advance, tá brón orm. Pádraig grabs him by the arm and hisses, probably correctly, that Adam’s plan is to keep pushing him until Pádraig outs him, because he’s not man enough to come out himself. Adam replies angrily that Pádraig just wants him to be gay, too, to make himself feel better about his own messed-up life, but Pádraig calmly tells him that he’s perfectly content with who he is, but that Adam never will be until he’s honest with himself. There’s a long pause in which a tortured Adam glares directly into Pádraig’s eyes, and then he reaches up, grabs the back of Pádraig’s head, and pulls him in for an angry, desperate kiss. When Pádraig pushes him away, Adam yells, “That’s what you want, isn’t it?”, and instead of freaking out or running off, Pádraig calmly but firmly tells him, “You can’t continue like this. Get help before you ruin your life, and Fia’s life as well.” Adam looks confused and wild-eyed, like a cornered animal, and then tries to punch him, but Pádraig, brilliantly, just grabs him by the wrists and looks at him. Adam struggles for a while, and then gives Pádraig another furious, terrified, heartbreaking look, and then turns and runs away, screaming in wordless pain and despair as he goes.

There are so many ways this final scene could’ve gone wrong, and it would’ve been so easy for the writing, the acting, and/or the direction to go completely off the rails, but as a piece of drama, it really is absolutely airtight. Everyone knows a Pádraig, whom you love but sometimes you just want to grab by the shoulders and shake, but he has never been better than in this storyline, and particularly this scene. Many LGBT folks’ coming-out experiences go sadly wrong in any number of ways, but this story with Adam has managed to walk the fine line between feeling real and being dramatically satisfying, without tilting towards dry preachiness or OTT ridiculousness, and I cannot wait to see what happens next.

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