Monday, September 25, 2017

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

Season 22, Episode 6
First aired 21 September 2017

We open with the return of Mack and Dee (yay!), who are just back from their holidays and look tan and relaxed. It seems they were not on one of those cruises where everyone gets norovirus and then the ship turns over. As Dee unloads the car, Mack wastes no time putting his foot in his mouth for the first time this season, asking a passing Gráinne how David’s doing what with his being “on death’s door” and all. To make things even more awkward, Gráinne is on her way to Recycle Pod Park with the tiny baby outfit from last episode, so Mack’s well-intentioned but cringe-inducing onslaught sends her fleeing back home and leads to his first “confused puppy” face of the year. I really do adore Mack.

Sad David is sitting lumpily at the kitchen table when Pádraig arrives home after a late night out, which is apparently a thing he does now. He groans that this is the last time, though, and that he never wants to see Bobbi-Lee, Adam, or a nightclub again. I’ve been wondering how newly out Adam spent his summer, and it makes me very happy to find out he’s been hitting the clubs with Bobbi-Lee and Pádraig. Really, if there’s a more fun night out than going to a gay club with those two, I don’t know what it would be. David is grimly bemused by this, which is the best we can hope for with him these days, but then he becomes furious when he sees that Pádraig has brought home today’s newspaper, which has a big article about Anto in it. He snatches it from him and throws it in the bin, which is a shame, because Pádraig has not even read Andy Capp or done the junior crossword yet. 

There’s a brief discussion of the bag of David’s blood-soaked clothes the Gardaí have returned to him, but then Pádraig, ever primed to be annoyed by Briain’s existence, hears the shower running and complains to David for the 3000th time that it’s not suitable for Smirky McBlow-In to be staying there. David agrees tepidly, adding that Gráinne doesn’t need visitors now either considering what she’s been through. Pádraig wonders what he’s talking about, but David hastily changes the subject back to Briain when they hear the water cut off. We’re quite sure we’re about to have a scene of a towel-clad Briain sauntering in to elicit a reaction from Pádraig, but we don’t, and it’s a shame that this is one of those times the show doesn’t do what we think it will.

Elsewhere, Máire and Maggie are admiring the newly rebranded XL shop, which looks a lot like the old shop, but also kind of like the one on Fair City. I just hope they haven’t gotten rid of the spacetime-rupturing shop layout I love so much, in which the baby food, bug spray, and sushi are side-by-side and people can do their entire week’s shopping just by walking down a single aisle and grabbing stuff off the top shelf. We then have an odd public service announcement in which Máire explains the importance of having a carbon monoxide detector, and then Frances appears, sees the sad single-person frozen mush and Staring at the Walls Until Bedtime magazine in Maggie’s basket, and invites her to dinner. Maggie is taken aback, given that she’s been trying to steal Frances’ husband ever since a windmill blew her back into town, but Frances insists it’s no trouble and adds that Áine’s been banging on about Maggie’s hilarious tales of Li’l Tadhg for days. They settle on 5:00 today, and after Frances walks off, Máire notes that she didn’t ask if she wanted to come. Yes, I’m sure the only thing Tadhg would find more delightful than Maggie showing up at his dinner table is Maggie and Máire showing up there.

Out in the street, Bobbi-Lee and Dee are comparing notes about their holidays, during which Dee read the new Marian Keyes by the pool and Bobbi-Lee got banned from Sardinia for life. Mack is fiddling with his phone and paying no attention, which Dee hmphs is a microcosm of their entire vacation, with him glued to his phone trying to keep up with what was going on back home. He points out that he was distracted for a good reason given all the mayhem, but she assures him that David and Mo are both OK now, so he can relax and unclench. Bobbi-Lee, helpfully, is basically like, “Mo’s OK, me hole!” which gives Mack an opportunity to snap an “I told you so!” at Dee and then glare at her like he hates her. It’s possible these two need another holiday.

Micheál, who you will recall looks fantastic this year, runs into Evan, who looks the same, and says he’s sorry to hear that half the football team Evan has just inherited have emigrated and/or died. Evan, who’s clearly irritated, adds that some others have quit playing football on religious grounds and the rest have changed their phone numbers mysteriously. It seems the Coach Evan era is off to a rousing start. This leads to a discussion about how all the young people are leaving Ros na Rún, and that at this rate, there’ll be no one left to play on the team soon.

At a table, Mo insists to Mack that she’s perfectly fine and that Bobbi-Lee is running her mouth about things she has no knowledge of, as usual. Mack is skeptical, but she points out that not only is she totally over the kidnapping, but she’s also not bovvered that Colm left town. She goes to the counter to fetch some milk, but the expression on her face and her body language tell us she is not OK at all, and that, as usual, Bobbi-Lee veers between being the most observant person on the show and living in the clouds of planet Zerpzax.

Over at the pub, Pádraig has taken it upon himself to throw Briain out of David’s house, explaining that David’s too nice to say Briain isn’t wanted there, but he himself is not. Briain squirms and chews on his various fingers for a bit and then says it’ll be all right, because he’s got a friend nearby he can stay with. Pádraig seems ambiguously surprised that this news isn’t sending Briain packing back to Moldova or wherever he came from, but Briain explains that he intends to stay for a while, because he likes this place and it would be nice to be around family for a while. David seems like a thin reed to lean on, but OK. With this, Pádraig does what seems to be yet another 180 and is like, “Well, until David gets better, the rest of us will keep you company!” They exchange grins, and I hope to god this storyline leads to Pádraig finally getting the car out of the garage and taking it out for a spin, so to speak. He grabs a passing Evan and asks if he’d be interested in joining him and Briain for drinks later, but Evan is a stressed-out dick about it, leading to a great “Oooo! What’s her problem?” reaction shot from Pádraig. Briain volunteers his services as a player, but Evan’s in such a mood we can’t tell whether this offer makes him happy or gassy.

Behind the bar, Frances is trying to plan the menu for Our Dinner With Maggie, but Bobbi-Lee shoots down her steak idea on the basis that “America is full of steakhouses.” Well, I guess that also means tacos are off the menu. Tadhg appears and does his usual “Is anyone going to do any work around here today?” routine, so Bobbi-Lee flits off and Frances mentions that Maggie is coming over for dinner. And here Tadhg thought his biggest problem today was going to be Bobbi-Lee standing around not working. Frances explains that she knows Tadhg said he didn’t want Maggie coming over, but she couldn’t help herself when she saw her in the shop carrying, and I quote, “a pint of milk and a small tomato.” I don’t know why that strikes me as so funny, but I laughed for about two days over this. Tadhg semi-protests for a while, but Frances finally tells him to knock it off and suck it up, because Maggie’s coming whether he likes it or not.

We now introduce what we expect will be this year’s windmill saga: a community-based storyline involving Micheál entering the town into some contest called “Soul of the West.” He’s telling Labhrás about it at the community center, and of course Labhrás is annoyed, because he’s Labhrás, and thinks it’s a stupid idea, because it might involve him having to do something. Micheál explains that winning this contest would bring tourism and money to the town, and might even stop the young people from fleeing, but Labhrás declares all this is seafóid and says the last thing they want is a bunch of German tourists clogging up the streets demanding comical sausages and speaking German all over everything.

At home, David’s finally decided to go through the police evidence bag full of his things, and is clearly shaken when he pulls out his lovely blue sweater, which now has a bespoke bullet hole stained with artisanal blood. I think that’s what in fashion is called “distressed.” Máire arrives to threaten David with double pneumonia and probably also carbon monoxide, and in the course of their confusing conversation, David responds to Máire’s story about the time Peadar fell off a roof in Boston by telling her Gráinne had a miscarriage. Snerk. Gráinne walks in just as Máire is bellowing, “Don’t tell me poor Gráinne had a miscarriage!” in that “I’m about to faint, so everyone clear the area!” way of hers, and he clearly realizes he’s really stepped in it now.

After the break, during which we decide we’re going to call our memoirs A Pint of Milk and a Small Tomato, Briain hunks into the pub and asks Tadhg if he knows where he can find his good friend John Joe Daly. Of course the only person Tadhg would help find John Joe is the Grim Reaper, so he snots that John Joe is off in Tenerife visiting his stupid daughter and chasing after floozies. We can hear the gears in Briain’s head grind to life, and apparently they hit on something, because we see him smirk. I predict he and Mack will get in a fistfight over something or other by Christmas.

Back at their place, David shoves Máire out the front door as she screams to a livid Gráinne that it’s not David’s fault he spilled the beans, it’s just that he’s very, very stupid. I’m paraphrasing. Once she’s been disposed of, David starts trying to calm Gráinne down by telling her he thought Máire already knew based on the way she was talking, which, in his defense, actually was an easy mistake to make. Gráinne does not think she feels like calming down at this particular time, however, so she screams that she can’t believe he told her secret to Máire, the village gossiper. It’s true, he could’ve at least told Caitríona, whom nobody listens to. He tries to get her to look on the bright side, because he’s been thinking they needed to talk about this, and maybe even have a ceremony, but she shouts that there’s no ceremony for this situation, and continues that when there’s nothing to bury, there’s nothing to cry over. She storms out, and it’s clear there is actually very much to cry over, and we feel so bad for them both.

We cut to the pub kitchen, where Frances is busily cooking, and Tadhg asks her, “What’s that slop?” If this were any other character you’d assume I was joking, but since this is Tadhg, you know I’m quoting him verbatim, and can even imagine the exact tone in which he says it. She’s going all out, with ratatouille and solid gold spaghetti hoops and so on, and has also put out their wedding china (!!!), so Tadhg not unreasonably wonders why she’s rolling out the red carpet so much. Well, you know we Americans are accustomed to eating only off the finest china, or alternatively out of a paper bag handed to us in our cars via a hole cut in the side of a McDonald’s. Tadhg is pacing and looking like he’s trying to decide whether he should climb out the window or push Frances out it, and then Maggie arrives carrying a loaf of homemade bread. Her secret ingredients are turmeric and doom. Frances goes to fetch Áine, who’s off melting down some gold she found in her mother’s jewelry box, and meanwhile Tadhg and Maggie exchange meaningful glances.

At the community center, one of Micheál’s patented town meetings has broken out, this time to discuss the Rose of Tweedledee competition, and secondarily to complain about Evan’s scandalous football shorts. No one is paying attention, but we do have our first Adam sighting of the year (hurrah!), as he and Fia are having a lovely conversation and seem to be actual friends. Fia tells him she’d be a better wingwoman than Bobbi-Lee, which Adam doesn’t think would be too difficult considering Bobbi-Lee demands all the attention for herself and, like, elbows Adam out of the way just as he’s about to make out with some dude. They make plans to go out together, which an eavesdropping Evan is not happy about. Adam leaves, and Evan comes over to ask Fia if she really think she’s ready to see Adam involved with a guy, but she tells him to untwist his knickers, because she and Adam are friends, and she needs a night out. Plus she has a fab new Pam Grier afro wig she’s been dying to try out someplace other than the B&B kitchen.

Back at the Haunted Dinner, Maggie’s entertaining Áine with a lengthy and mildly entertaining story of yesteryear involving Tadhg, local nutter Coílí Jackie, and a donkey. We return to the meeting at the community center, and I will spare you the details, except to tell you it includes the phrase “a small village in the West with a huge soul” and Berni is sitting in the front row. The part we care about is that Fia beams when Adam returns, assuming he’s come back to get her for their night out, but instead he grabs his jacket and waves brightly at her as he dashes off. Oh, dear.

Elsewhere, the small village is showing off its huge soul in the form of Briain breaking into John Joe’s house. Well, he’s letting himself and his luggage into John Joe’s house with a spare key he found under a flowerpot. It seems his suspicious hoodie and nefarious leg hair were trying to tell us something after all.

At the pub, Micheál gets off his phone and excitedly tells Bobbi-Lee and Pádraig that the Ireland’s Villagiest Village people have accepted the town’s application. Keep in mind that “excitedly” is a relative term when applied to Micheál, and also that “this contest none of us had heard of until today accepted our application!” means “our check cleared!” Tadhg, Frances, and Maggie emerge from upstairs, and thank-yous are exchanged, and Frances apologizes for the fact that little Áine stole Maggie’s purse and used her credit to open an American Express card in her name. Maggie says she’s off home on her bicycle, but Frances protests that it’s far too dark (notice the daylight through the window) and that Maggie is too drunk (heh) to cycle home alone. She orders Tadhg to go with her, and he protests weakly for about 3 seconds before agreeing to escort her home.

An angry Mo storms up to the bar with a sheepish Mack in tow, and she starts slagging off Bobbi-Lee for being a bigmouth and butting into her business. Bobbi-Lee wisely flees by disappearing into the back, and Mack tells Mo if she’s going to be such a grouch all night, he’ll just go over to David’s and have a drink with him instead. You know things are bad when you lose to David in the battle of “Who’s more fun?” She tells him David and Gráinne’s is no place to have a celebration right now, and when he presses her for an explanation, she folds like a house of cards and tells him about Gráinne’s miscarriage.

Maggie and Tadhg are once again strolling down the beach. They must’ve gotten a good deal on this set, because we’ve seen it a lot this season. Apparently Maggie lives in a sandcastle somewhere on the beach. There is more of their usual flirting, and then we cut to Mack arriving home, where he rants to Dee that Gráinne was pregnant and then lost the baby because of that scumbag Anto. Dee tries to comfort him, but he’s in no mood for it, so he shrugs her off and disappears down the hall to take a shower. Welcome home, Dee and Mack! We’ve missed your loving tenderness.

A worried Gráinne has tracked an apparently-missing David down at Gaudi, saying she’s been looking everywhere for him and was about to call the Gardaí. On the plus side, she wouldn’t need to provide the cops with a description given that David was down at the station turning himself in for various crimes once a week last season. They even have his picture up in the lobby as “Kook of the Month” for January, February, and April. He apologizes for worrying her, but says he can’t stop thinking about what she said: “If there’s nothing to bury, there’s nothing to grieve.” He’s decided they should bury something then, and have a little non-religious ceremony, and make a small memorial at the beach that they can go look at every day. Now, this could go either way, but fortunately for him Gráinne thinks this is a lovely idea, and tells him he doesn’t have to worry about her so much, because as long as she has him, she’ll be fine. He asks hesitantly if she’s sure he’s enough for her—him and only him—and she assures him that he is, and leans across the table and kisses him, but he’s uncertain. Well, David, don’t forget she’s also got her seaweed to bring her comfort and keep her occupied.

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