Sunday, September 10, 2017

Broken Down on the Hard Shoulder of Love

Season 22, Episode 2
First aired 7 September 2017

So did you notice this season’s new opening credits? It’s nice to see more of the cast included (Fia! Adam! Dee!), but did you notice that Katy is there, but Jason isn’t? Hmm.

We open in the hospital, where David still has giant hoses coming out of his mouth that make it look like he’s being vacuumed out. Caitríona has arrived, and we worry it’s to fire Gráinne for non-attendance, but she’s actually here to be comforting. I know, I’m as surprised as you are. She says that her mother lost a baby once, too, but she got over it with time. They hug, and Gráinne walks her out. This will be the first of several times we see Caitríona caring about someone other than herself this episode, which I’m pretty sure is one of the biblical signs of the apocalypse.

A car pulls up in front of the B&B, and inside we find Imelda, who’s looking grim, and Eric, who’s acting like a big sulky baby. So, business as usual. He’s playing the martyr, and she tells him to knock it off because, sure, she pushed him down the stairs, but it was an accident, and it wouldn’t have happened if he hadn’t followed her up them in the first place. This is not exactly how it appeared to happen, since it looked more like he aggressively grabbed her shoulder and then lost his balance when she shrugged him off, but OK. They squabble for a bit, and finally she tells him the official story is going to remain that she discovered him at the bottom of the stairs, and if he doesn’t play along, she’ll tell the girls the truth about his Troubled Past. I like how we keep hearing about “the girls,” but Niamh’s sister is staying far, far away from this mess.

At the café, we have our first Bobbi-Lee sighting of the year, which means the season has officially begun! She’s flicking through a magazine and looking bored, so it’s unclear whether she’s working or not. “Working” and “not working” look quite similar with her. Anyway, Tadhg makes a nuisance of himself for a while before losing interest and wandering away, and then Caitríona arrives. I’m not sure whether that’s a trade up or a trade down on the annoyance scale. Anyway, she’s here with an offer of help in the Berni/Kit situation, by which I mean she’s worked out a way to insert herself into the Berni/Kit story and remind us all that she’s a writer who writes things. Surely all the local newspapers, magazines, and adverts pasted to bus shelters must have restraining orders against her and her “writing” by now. Berni snots that she’s had quite enough of being written about by Caitríona for one lifetime and stomps away, and when Caitríona gripes about what a wagon she’s being, Bobbi-Lee slams shut the latest issue of Fringe Jackets Today and points out that they’re all a bit on edge today because it’s the anniversary of Lee’s death, which must be the only local event Caitríona hasn’t written a book about. Hey, wouldn’t it be crazy and meta if it turns out this blog is actually being written by Caitríona? I think I just blew my mind. She cranks up her Saint Caitríona, Crusader for Justice routine, and they bicker for a bit, and eventually she tells everybody to go to hell and says that if Lee were alive, she’d want Caitríona to write an article about what a slimeball Kit is. Somehow I don’t think that would be Lee’s top priority, but it certainly seems to give Bobbi-Lee something to think about, which is always dangerous.

Colm oozes up to Mo at the shop and acts like butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth, but she’s having none of it and tells him to buzz off. He apologizes and asks—well, commands her not to throw away everything they’ve got together, by which I guess he means their shared history of kidnapping and shooting. Also, lying. She gives him the silent treatment until he slinks away, but she gives him an ambiguous look as he goes, which gives us a sinking feeling she is not visualizing herself feeding him into the spinning blades of a windmill any more. Oh, Mo.

Out in the desolate Siberian tundra, Tadhg’s car breaks down. I never imagined him as the owner of a Suzuki Vitara. He seems like he’d drive something grimmer, like a Ford Armageddon or a Vauxhall Vesuvius. Anyway, he tries to will it back to life with the force of his hatred, but it doesn’t work, because his anger is diesel and the car runs on unleaded. He looks for his mobile to ring John Joe, burp into the phone, and hang up, or possibly to call a tow truck for help, but discovers it’s missing, because we saw him leave it on the counter of the café earlier. Well, I guess this is the end of Tadhg.

In the street, Niamh runs into her dad, whom she didn’t know had been released from the hospital. She’d know more about his life if she hadn’t unfollowed him on Twitter just because he posted all those pics of himself flexing shirtless in fast-food bathroom mirrors. He’s evasive when she asks him a bunch of medical questions, so she starts threatening to sue the hospital for negligence. A little law school is a dangerous thing. She’s upset when she finds out he’s decided to stay at the B&B, because she thinks he should be staying with her and her mother in a nice familiar house that’s even got a cozy imprint of his face in the living-room floor.

Mo stops by the hospital to visit Gráinne and quickly admits that she’s broken up with Colm. Gráinne thinks that whatever Colm’s done, surely it’s not worth falling out over, so Mo tests that theory by telling her that Colm is the entire reason Anto was in town shooting and kidnapping everyone. Gráinne is stunned, but a doctor arrives and pulls her out to have a word in the corridor before the two of them can start duking it out or whatever, leaving Mo alone and sad with David, who selfishly is not being very good company at all right now.

On the plains of Kansas, where it looks like there’s a tornado a-brewin’, Tadhg flags down a passing motorist, who turns out to be Maggie. We will keep the Wizard of Oz theme going later when Frances finds out about this and drops a house on them both.

Gráinne returns to David’s hospital room and reports to Mo that the doctor says they tried to bring him out of his induced coma today, but he won’t wake up. They’re not sure how long he’ll be like this, or if he’ll ever come out of it. The writers are really making it difficult to have fun with this storyline. Mo is sympathetic, and asks if there’s anything she can do to help, such as get a cup of coffee or build a time machine and push Colm off a cliff as a teenager, but Gráinne resists the urge to tell her she’s done quite enough already, thank you, and just kind of glares at her. Mo offers to go, and Gráinne doesn’t stop her, and what we need right now is a good dose of Bobbi-Lee, or some of Caitríona’s patented nonsense, because this is getting grim.

Tadhg and Maggie are milling around awkwardly, waiting for a mechanic to arrive. It’s convenient that she’s worn a fur coat that’s the same color as the savanna she’s standing in front of, although she does look a bit camouflaged. They bicker, and she threatens to leave, so he chooses this moment to remind her that he’s got a wife and a little girl, so he can’t get involved in any shenanigans with her. It seems unclear whether she’s really up for that either, but she tells him it’s a moot point: she’s decided to go back to America, because she was foolish to think she could ever return to Ros na Rún, and besides, she’s totally into gun violence and fascism right now.

After the break, during which half the audience realized they can’t figure out how to turn on the subtitles and therefore have no idea what’s happening, we’re in the hospital corridor, where Colm has turned up like a bad smell. I’ll let you imagine the bad hospital smell of your choice. Mo defiantly juts out her chin and grinds her teeth so hard sparks fly out, and when he offers to explain himself for the thousandth time, she interrupts and reminds him she told him to stay the hell away from her. He keeps pleading with her until Gráinne appears on the horizon and is all like, “Did you not hear the lady tell you to feck off?” He leaps up and tells Gráinne he’s sorry for what’s happened, and she retorts that she’s sorry she ever helped get him and Mo together. She’s not often wrong about people, she continues, but she certainly was about him. Because I love Gráinne, I’m not going to say “I told you so,” but, you know, I told her so, all last season. The two women shoot daggers at him, and eventually he takes the hint and leaves. Gráinne apologizes to Mo for blanking her earlier, and they hug. Aww.

Back on the Martian surface, Tadhg is agitated, even by his standards, and asks Maggie when she’s going back to America. She’s booked on the United Airlines flight to Boston tomorrow at noon, which means she’ll be departing a week from Thursday at 3 a.m., connecting in Newark twice, and never seeing her luggage again. He tells her it’s probably for the best, because even though she went to America under unhappy circumstances, i.e., ones that involved him, she must’ve been happy there in the end, because she stayed a really long time. Well, mostly she signed a gym contract she couldn’t get out of. She starts to walk off wordlessly, so he asks her why she never returned, and she snaps that, as he keeps helpfully reminding her, there was nothing here for her anymore.

At the pub, Bobbi-Lee is trying to find yucky Kit on a dating site we’ll assume is called It’s the same place Berni found Tommy the sleazy plumber last year. Caitríona isn’t sure about this plan, but also can’t help noting that Bobbi-Lee, who has never shown any computer aptitude whatsoever before, somehow seems extremely familiar with this website. Snerk. Bobbi-Lee guarantees her that they’ll find Kit on Shaggr or whatever, because there’s no way he’d get a date otherwise, and besides, it’s free, and he’s a cheapskate. She’s absolutely right: I met my husband on a free dating website, and we’re both cheap, and kind of sleazy. Sure enough, there Kit is, using the screen name “Nightrider,” which is hilariously yucky, and less on-the-nose than “TinyPenisKitchenScammer.”

At the B&B, Niamh is still trying to get the truth out of her dad using her amateur detective skills, gained by years of watching Scooby-Doo. This mystery-solving would be going a lot faster if she had a psychedelic van full of beatniks and weirdoes helping her. When that tactic doesn’t work, she adds in her medical expertise, gained that time she watched an episode of Casualty with Adam while they were both tripping balls. Eventually he gives in and tells her that Imelda pushed him down the stairs, not so much because of her supreme detective sills, but because she’s being annoying and he doesn’t want to deal with her anymore.

Maggie drives up in front of the pub and tries to expel Tadhg from the car, but he’s busy giving her a two-star rating on Uber because she wouldn’t let him open a window and also refused to turn down her hardcore gangsta rap so they could talk. He tells her she doesn’t have to leave Ros na Rún just because he’s a complete arsehole, but she doesn’t want to discuss it anymore, so she throws him out and drives away, leaving him standing in the middle of the street looking sad. This would be a good moment for Áine to come screeching around the corner in a stolen car and send him flying. It’s really a shame that I am not a writer for this show.

Back at the B&B, Niamh is still freaking out about how Imelda almost killed her dad and then lied about it, especially after all her boring, hypocritical lectures about “honesty is the best policy” and “never push someone down the stairs unless you finish the job so they can’t testify against you.” Eric makes excuses for Imelda and tells Niamh to drop it, but she doesn’t understand why he’s sticking up for her, so he tells her that Imelda’s had to put up with a lot from him over the years and has therefore probably earned one attempted murder. Niamh wants to know what great sin he committed, guessing an affair, or putting a laxative in Imelda’s coffee, but he sadly tells her no, it’s much worse than that: he was a drug addict. We all assume he was hooked on nasal spray or cough drops, but then he drops the bombshell that it was heroin! Fair play there, Eric.

At the pub, Caitríona explains her grand Kit-destruction scheme to Bobbi-Lee, which involves her writing an article about him and spreading it all over the internet. Bobbi-Lee rolls her eyes, because of course nobody pays any attention to Caitríona’s rubbish anymore, and says if they’re going to get Berni’s money back they’ve got to do something better than talk shit about Kit on the internet, which she’s pretty sure went out of business back in 2007 anyway. I mean, you never hear about it anymore. She says they need to pull a con of some kind, and just then John Joe appears, and she tells him he’s just the man she’s been looking for. I’m not sure John Joe is the first person I’d think of if I needed to pull an elaborate con, but I suppose Áine is at school, so they’ve got to settle for who’s available.

Back at the B&B, where an episode of Law & Order: Junkie Dad Unit has broken out, Eric explains to Niamh that the only reason he ever tried heroin was that he was working undercover and needed to gain the mafia’s trust, so he had to shoot up with them. I’m pretty sure that’s the same way Courtney Love got started. He thought he had it under control, but one thing led to another, and the next thing he knew, he was the bass player in the Doors. Imelda found out, when he told her he wanted to walk down the aisle at their wedding to “Smoke on the Water,” and she threw him out to protect the girls, whom she was trying to raise on a wholesome diet of Samantha Fox. He got clean after a couple of years, but by then the damage was done, and Imelda cut him out of the family. Because her horoscope said “You should be a pain in the ass today,” what Niamh takes from this story is that Imelda is a bitch and therefore wanted her children to grow up in a broken home just to be mean.

Maggie is sitting on a bridge we’ve never seen before, and we wonder if she’s going to jump off it into the river/sea/waterslide below, but then she remembers she’s been added to the opening credits this season, so she has to stick around. Tadhg appears, and they smile at each other. In the background you can see windmills, which I hope have been built on his ancestral land because Frances went behind his back and sold it to Johnny Windmill while Tadhg was out floozing around with Maggie.

Back at the pub, John Joe and Bobbi-Lee are putting the finishing touches on “Operation Destroy Kit,” which we assume involves pushing him out in the street in his underpants and then locking the door. Caitríona isn’t sure it’ll work, and worries that they’ll get in trouble, but Bobbi-Lee thinks it sounds like a great idea because it sounds like something Loretta Lynn would do.

Back at the confluence of the rivers Liffey and Styx, Tadhg apologizes to Maggie for the hard time she’s had over the years, and for the role his dickery has played in it. He reminds her that he’s got a family now, but that there’s no reason they all can’t live peacefully in the same town. He assures her that she’d gradually get to know people and make friends, and in time might even come to hate the same people he hates. She waffles for a while, but eventually seems to promise that she’ll stay instead of returning to America, which is just as well, because a 2000-foot tall wall covered with barbed wire has just been built around the U.S. anyway.

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