Sunday, September 17, 2017

Bobbi-Lee Ní Neachtain: Undercover Secretary

Season 22, Episode 3
First aired 12 September 2017

We open in the café, where Mo is on the phone with Gráinne, who says there’s no change in David’s condition. At this point David’s treatment regime consists of someone asking him once an hour, “Are you still in a coma?”, because with him it can be hard to tell sometimes. Mo spies a nearby newspaper and is alarmed by a headline saying that Anto is still in the hospital, because she was hoping he would be in the morgue by now, so she storms out, ignoring a hopeful Colm along the way. He sits down with John Joe and grimly admits he’s ruined everything and is leaving for greener pastures, i.e., someplace where he hasn’t kidnapped, robbed, or slept with every single person. John Joe tells him he can’t go without explaining the whole Eric/Anto/Ross Kemp drama to Mo, but Colm sadly replies that Mo doesn’t want to hear about it. Maybe the problem is that she can’t understand his accent without the subtitles.

Tadhg is polishing the outside of the pub when Maggie sidles up coquettishly in her fur coat and bats her eyes at him so hard his shirt almost flies off. They flirt for a bit, and he says he assumed she’d be on a plane back to Boston by now. Well, actually her ticket was on Ryanair, which flies you into Guatemala but calls it Boston. There’s some wistful staring into the middle distance, and then they muse about how much things have changed around here. For example, now there are two gays. She points out that she and Tadhg were “the best of friends” once upon a time, and that now all they can do is “try and get to know each other again.” Another option would be for them to stay the hell away from each other so Frances doesn’t have to run over them at high speed in her car. Eventually Tadhg gets overstimulated and remembers that he needs to go inside to vacuum the microwave and mop the Bobbi-Lee right now, so Maggie sashays away like Gina Lollobrigida in a wool scarf and he shoots his eyes out on stalks and grasps his broom handle firmly.

In the shop, Máire announces that the anniversary of Peadar’s death is approaching, which Janice declares must be, like, kind of a bummer. (I actually like Janice very much, but for some reason when I write about her she turns into Sorcha O’Carroll-Kelly.) Mo wanders past and Máire helpfully points out that she looks awful, which is of course the nicest compliment Mo’s gotten since that time Tony told her she was only the second most annoying person he’d ever met. Máire wants to talk about how traumatic being kidnapped must have been, but Mo isn’t interested in reliving the whole thing for her titillation for some reason and just wants to pay for the latest issue of Today’s Kidnapping Hairstyles magazine and get home to Uncle Pest. We assume he still exists, though we haven’t heard from him in ages. Meanwhile, John Joe floats in to tell Mo what a hard time his BFF Colm is having. He explains that Colm and Eric had an airtight plan to get rid of Anto once and for all, which involved trapping him in a cardboard box, driving him into the forest, and then releasing him, but then Eric spoiled it by doing a backflip down Imelda’s stairs, so Colm isn’t to blame at all. I think we’re leaving out the part where it was Colm’s shadiness that brought Anto here in the first place, but this all comes as news to Mo, and seems to give her something to really chew on, like the steak at Gaudi.

At the B&B, Laoise has arrived to visit Eric, so I guess they’re friends or something again in spite of what a complete dickhole he’s been to her. I like Laoise, but have given up on trying to understand any of her motivations. Eric is feeling sorry for himself, banging on about how he always tried to do his best for his family but it was just never good enough, such as that time Imelda got all bent out of shape just because he tried to smoke the Christmas tree while strung out on heroin. Laoise tells him to knock it off and stop feeling sorry for himself, because she knows all the sleazy things he got up to over the years, but that was then and this is now, and que será será, and what’s love got to do with it, and so on. She tells him to let the past stay in the past, and instead to concentrate on what a pain in the ass Niamh is now what a wonderful relationship he has with Niamh now.

Colm is following Tony down the street harassing him for details of the investigation into Anto, but Tony tells him to mind his own business, and points out how rich it is that Colm can’t get enough of the Gardaí now considering he avoided them like the plague back when they could’ve actually done something to prevent this mess. We are enjoying Tony more for some reason this year. Colm makes a bunch of weak excuses about how he’s new to this country and also the dog ate his homework and so on, and then Niamh shoos him away so she can talk to Tony privately about something stupid. She asks him to confirm her understanding that anyone can report a criminal offense to the Gardaí, not just the victim, which she learned from one of those law school exams she bought the answers to last year right before she got kicked out of school for some reason. He’s like, well, yeah, but it helps if it’s testimony from an actual witness, and not just some hearsay nonsense someone’s pulled out of their arse. She seems disappointed, which demonstrates once again that her failing out of law school really was for the best for everyone, especially society, and wanders off.

We cut to an office we’ve never seen before, where Operation: Destroy Kit has begun. Bobbi-Lee is demonstrating her top administrative skills by using a hole-punch as a hammer to smash together a desktop mail tray. Sadly, before she can stand on the desk and start hammering the light bulbs with a stapler, Caitríona bursts in and tells her to stop it, because she promised the alleged friend whose office she’s borrowed that they’d leave it exactly the way they found it, i.e., not destroyed. Bobbi-Lee hilariously replies, “Sorry, but we want Kit to think that we’re a big energy company, so it has to look right,” which does not explain anything she’s doing, but does explain why Woolworths, Tower Records, and East Germany all went out of business immediately after hiring her as a consultant. Anyway, their plan seems to involve luring Kit here under the pretense that he’s applying for a big contract, and somehow leverage that into getting Berni’s money back. If that doesn’t work, Bobbi-Lee will hit him over the head with the hole-punch and steal his wallet. A discussion breaks out between John Joe and Bobbi-Lee about how foxy she looks, and eventually Caitríona has to throw cold water over them both and remind them to stick to the plan, to which Bobbi-Lee replies, “Don’t worry, I’ll get Berni’s money, one way or another.” She should have that printed on a T-shirt.

We have a scene with Máire looking sad and alone at Peadar’s grave, and then we return to Energy Farce, Inc., where Caitríona is fretting that Kit should’ve been here by now, so he must’ve found out about their plan. Yes, I’m sure he read about it on John Joe’s Twitter. Caitríona is wearing some kind of power suit with an enormous peach bow on the front, and I’m not sure what decade it’s from, but it does not seem to be this one. Anyway, there’s movement outside, so Bobbi-Lee, who’s clearly taken charge of this operation, shoos Caitríona and John Joe into the inner office and proclaims to herself that it’s show time. Heh. Kit oozes in and immediately starts hitting on her, and while it’s true that she’s looking absolutely stunning these days—and as a gay man I say that in a completely admiring, non-lecherous way—it’s still yucky because it’s, you know, Kit. He winks at her and humps the desk and so on, but to her credit, she smiles and flutters her eyelashes while he’s facing her and then throws up in the bin as soon as he turns his back. Bobbi-Lee is better at undercover work than we might’ve expected.

Poor Gráinne has fallen asleep at David’s bedside from exhaustion and boredom. We may not have universal healthcare in the U.S., but to our credit, our hospitals have TVs in every direction to keep you entertained while you struggle to figure out how you’re going to pay for all this. Meanwhile, O’Shea and another cop are escorting Anto down the corridor for what appears to be a surprisingly casual stroll considering he’s not cuffed or shackled or being tased or anything. He’s smug because he’s enjoying his little holiday in the hospital, but O’Shea shoves a potato in his tailpipe by informing him that he’s being released today, and by the way, he’s under arrest. Snerk. As the officer cuffs him, he starts ranting and screaming and thrashing around like an idiot, and while I’m not sure the hallway outside the intensive care unit is the best place to do this, it’s wiping the smirk off his face, so I will allow it. Of course just then Mo arrives to visit, and he practically knocks her down as the guards wrestle him down the hall, and the alarmed look on her face tells us this is not the super-boring trip to the hospital full of clearing her throat and watching Gráinne do a Sudoku that she was expecting.

Back on the set of 9 to 5, Dolly Parton and Dabney Coleman, today played by Bobbi-Lee and Kit, are still hanging around in reception, because she’s got to lay the groundwork for this scam they’re pulling. Basically Team Revenge is pretending there’s some big job available, delightfully involving windmills, and John Joe is playing Kit’s competitor for the bid, but Bobbi-Lee is flirting and whatnot to make Kit think he’s got the edge. Of course Kit is only semi-paying attention to this because he’s busy asking her out her out, and also trying to develop X-ray vision so he can see through her blouse. Caitríona escorts John Joe out of the inner office, telling him she’ll be in touch, and then he and Kit do some dudeish businessman posturing, which almost falls apart when Kit starts wondering if he knows John Joe from somewhere. Fortunately John Joe manages to keep it together by claiming that he’s just arrived from Planet Donegal, so he couldn’t possibly know anyone here in the big city, and then also pulls a Clark Kent/Superman maneuver by putting on a pair of identity-concealing glasses. Caitríona calls Kit into her office, and John Joe looks very pleased with himself and gives Bobbi-Lee a thumbs-up. In response, she rolls her eyes at him, because as one of Europe’s top schemers and chancers, she hates working with amateurs.

Mo, who appears both shaken and stirred, stops by the shop to have a panic attack over by the coffee machine, as one does. Some guy startles her by bumping into her accidentally, which doesn’t help, and then she slides down the counter onto the floor, gasping for breath. Oh, no!

After the break, during which we wonder why everyone is wearing their heaviest winter parkas and enormous scarves considering it is, as far as we know, September, Kit emerges from Caitríona’s office looking pleased with himself. You can tell this is a serious business enterprise because there’s a flipchart with, like, Post-Its on it. He tries to bully the little ladies into giving him a bunch of money in advance, at which point Bobbi-Lee looks like she’s going to get up from her pretend desk and punch him in the throat, but Caitríona skillfully steers him in a non-punching direction and tells him she’ll see him in Ros na Rún to start work soon. This gives him instant diarrhea face, because he’d assumed the job was here in Spiddal. It seems he’s no longer allowed to go to Ros na Rún FOR SOME REASON, but when Caitríona reminds him this contract is worth hundreds of thousands of euros, he thinks about it a bit and decides he’ll make it work. They shake on it, and he leaves, though not before making sex faces at Bobbi-Lee on his way out, and then the two women wonder what he’s going to do next and have a good laugh about how yucky he is.

Máire arrives at the shop and finds Mo still having a panic attack on the floor on the cranberry juice and self-raising flour aisle. Máire gets down on the floor with her and coaches her through getting control of her breathing, which calms her down, and it’s very sweet. Because of her tendency to make everything about herself, we forget how motherly and loving Máire can be when she wants to.

At the hospital, Gráinne is talking to unconscious David, wondering where Mo’s gone and so on, when she sees his eyelids flutter. She screams down the hall that he’s awake, and besides the fact that I’m glad they’re not going to drag this coma storyline on for months like every other soap would’ve, I’m very pleased with myself that I actually understand the thing she yells. Tá sé ag dúiseacht, indeed.

At the B&B, Eric has relocated his pity party temporarily so Máire can make Mo a cup of tea and pat her hand soothingly. She offers to call Mack, but Mo doesn’t want to interrupt his and Dee’s vacation in Mallorca or the Bermuda Triangle or wherever. I’ll give you a moment to picture Dee being mortified as Mack goes down the kiddie waterslide with a bottle of Heineken in his hand, or her burying him in the sand up to his neck and then leaving him there, or whatever you imagine a Mack/Dee holiday would look like. Mo says she doesn’t understand what happened, because it felt like she lost control of herself and couldn’t breathe, and Máire says she can sympathize, because the same thing happened to her when Andy came back to Ros na Rún, and also that time Daniel Craig came out of the water in the blue swim trunks in Casino Royale. She advises Mo that the only way to get over something like that is to face it head-on, and in unrelated news, she just purchased Casino Royale on Blu-Ray. The great part is that this whole time Máire is spooning sugar into Mo’s teacup—there are literally at least six heaping teaspoons in it now—and when Mo sips the tea, she almost retches. I love this show. Eric arrives, and apologizes to Mo for his role in bollixing up the plan and getting her kidnapped by falling down the stairs at Imelda’s. This seems to be the proof Mo needs that Colm may have been telling the truth for once, and she looks like she’s got a lot to think about. For example, the diabetes she’s just developed from drinking Máire’s tea.

Berni joins Bobbi-Lee at the pub and is in a great mood because—guess what?—Kit came into the café today and gave her all her money back! I expect I speak for us all when I say I can’t believe this cockamamie scheme actually worked. Bobbi-Lee smiles knowingly, and then explains to Berni that Kit thinks there’s a big job for him in Ros na Rún, so he had to clear up the mess with the café so he could show his face around here. She doesn’t seem to have any intention of taking credit for the entire thing herself, and in fact starts to tell Berni that she didn’t do it on her own, but then Berni starts splashing money around by buying bottles of champagne and hunky strippers dressed as firemen and so on. She thanks Bobbi-Lee for getting all her money back and assures her she’ll make it up to her while literally waving a handful of cash around. Of course the only thing Bobbi-Lee is better at than managing a multinational energy conglomerate is spending somebody else’s money, so she decides perhaps she’ll let this train start rolling and see where it goes.

Imelda has stopped by the B&B to visit Eric for some reason, and he decides to take this opportunity to attack her for depriving him of all those quality years with his daughters when he was out drugging around with the touring production of Trainspotting: The Musical. She explains that she had no choice, because she was trying to protect them, and he protests that he needed his family when he was having a hard time, but she kept them from him because she is a big meanie. I’m wondering how steep the stairs at the B&B are and whether Imelda could lure Eric to the top of them right about now. Niamh arrives to stir up trouble and is surprised to find her mother there, but then says it’s just as well, because having them both there will save her valuable time by not making her have to say the stupid thing she’s about to say twice. She gets up on her soapbox, which she’s brought with her, and proclaims that she’s decided to go to the Gardaí and tell them Imelda pushed Eric down the stairs and should be arrested. Oh, for god’s sake.

Mo shows up at the pub and finds a grey-looking Colm drinking alone in a booth. She asks him if he heard the good news about David, which I guess means the scene we saw the beginning of a few minutes ago was actually David waking up, and not just passing gas. Once Colm remembers who David is, he’s delighted, and then Mo adds that she spoke to Eric and he told her all about their jacked-up plan that UNBELIEVABLY went wrong somehow. There’s a pause, and then he asks if she’d like a drink, but thankfully she says no, though she hopes they can still be friends. He says he’d like that, which of course he wouldn’t, and then she bogs off home to watch Sandi Toksvig and Chrissie Hynde circa 1982 host the Bake Off.

We now return to Niamh’s nonsense, already in progress. Imelda insists that Eric’s fall was an accident, but Niamh is being a complete pill about it, and starts carrying on about what a mean mother Imelda is and how she deprived her and her possibly-imaginary sister of ten years of their father attending their piano recitals and also selling their toys and school uniforms for drug money. Imelda says no one’s going to take Niamh seriously without a statement from Eric anyway, and so Niamh triumphantly turns to her father and announces that there’s no reason for him not to make a statement, RIGHT, DAD? He gives an ambiguous look, and I can’t even deal with this, because Niamh is being a complete brat. No matter how angry she is with her mother all of a sudden after all these years, there is absolutely no way this is going to help anything, and it makes me think Niamh needs to find some hobbies to occupy her time, such as competitive roller-skating or heroin.

At the hospital, David is awake and talking, and seems quite fresh-faced and neatly groomed for someone who’s just spent a week in a coma. He asks if “the man with the gun” hurt Gráinne, and then asks worriedly about Mo and Colm, and she tells him that they’re all fine, and that he needs to concentrate on getting better. He tells her as long as she’s by his side, he’ll be fine, and with all his doofiness and karate, sometimes I forget how sweet David is. She tells him she’s been there the entire time waiting for him to wake up, and that she was worried she’d lost him. He assures her that he was always coming back because they have so much to look forward to together, and gently puts his hand on her belly. She quietly brushes it away in the guise of holding his hand, and then we see her trying bravely not to burst into tears. This is all incredibly sad, but if it makes you feel any better, I initially mistyped, “He assures her he was always coming back because they have so much to look forward to together, and gently puts her hand on his belly,” which is a much less heartbreaking image.

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