Sunday, September 24, 2017

If I Only Had a Briain

Season 22, Episode 5
First aired 19 September 2017

We open with some product placement we will hear more about later, and then cut to David’s return home from the hospital, which sadly does not involve pushing his injured groin in front of him in a wheelbarrow with yellow “CAUTION” tape around it. He notices that they have a new couch since the last time he was home, and Gráinne notes brightly it’s a hand-me-down from some customer at Loinnir, who wanted to get rid of it because it was full of bedbugs and plutonium. David seems peeved, as would be anyone who got home from the hospital and discovered his partner had replaced the sofa without discussing it with him, but she says they can get rid of it when he’s back to his old self. I’m not sure where Gráinne is getting this endless parade of sofas, but I suspect there’s money laundering involved. Things are awkward, which is the new status quo between these two, and just as he’s about to break the news about his debilitating groinquake, the Ros na Rún Mobile Party Unit arrives, which consists of Pádraig (of course), Mo (?), and Bobbi-Lee (obviously, honey). Neither Gráinne nor David seems in the mood for any of this right now, so right on cue yet another person appears, whom we do not seem to have seen before, but is Kinda Hunky. David appears to know this person, whose name is Briain, which Microsoft Word is freaking out over because it can’t decide whether I am trying to type “Brian” or “Brain.” Either way, it’s sure I am wrong. Anyway, Briain has arrived with a duffel bag and a smirk in tow, and if you imagine a young Chris Isaak and a young Colin Farrell smashed together, you would be in the approximate neighborhood.

Tadhg has arrived at the café to order breakfast, harass Berni, and complain, not necessarily in that order. He’s annoyed that the shop is boarded up, and she happily explains that it’s being turned into an XL, which is a brand of store where you can go buy things in real life. In fact, there’s probably one near you right now! Remember, when you think of spending money, think of XL, serving Ireland with a smile since 742 B.C. I think Asterix burned down an XL in Asterix in Hibernia. Anyway, Berni seems to think the arrival of XL is just about the most exciting thing that’s happened in her entire life, but Máire and especially Fia give hilarious looks that make it clear they could not give less of a shit about any of this. Máire sadly says to no one, i.e., to terrible mother Berni, that it’s a shame that Evan couldn’t make it to Peadar’s mass the other day. Berni rolls her eyes and explains, clearly not for the first time, that Evan was on his way home for it, but then remembered he didn’t want to go found out someone named Josie Ó Lochlainn had died. Máire makes it clear that she doesn’t think the death of Jojo Feckin’ O’Leary or whatever his bloody name is trumps the death of Peadar, but Berni explains that Evan didn’t have the heart to leave Josie’s family in their time of need, what with his being a certified grief counselor and all. Máire, whose dialogue is apparently now written by my mother, says, “It’s a shame he didn’t think of me and how upset I was.” From personal experience I can say that this is hilarious when you hear it on TV, but less so when someone says it to you over Christmas dinner, or at your own wedding. Fia volunteers that Evan would’ve been there if he’d known, and I’m unclear whether she’s saying Evan didn’t know that it was his grandfather’s mass or didn’t know that Máire would be upset, but either way, he totally knew.

Tadhg’s breakfast, which consists of deep-fried bacon with a side of lard, arrives at the same time Frances does, and we’re not sure which of these two things is worse for his health. It seems he’s supposed to be on a diet, so Frances nags him about it for a while, and eventually tells him that if he doesn’t care about himself, he should at least think of little Áine, who needs her daddy to stay alive. I suspect if Tadhg’s poor eating habits lead to his needing a heart transplant, Áine could go out with her Barbie scissors and procure one in less time than it would take the surgical team to get scrubbed in to operate.

Back at David’s, his cousin or nephew Briain is explaining that he’s been back home from Funkytown or wherever for six months now, and incidentally, his mother Martina always thought very highly of David, especially when David was giving Briain a free place to live and also money. Briain may be Bobbi-Lee in disguise. Pádraig wanders over batting his pecs and flexing his eyelids and so on until Briain announces he needs a place to stay, at which point he does a complete 180 for some reason and starts explaining that there’s very little space for Briain there, in spite of the fact that Gráinne has apparently added an entire sofa storage wing over the summer. Briain’s all, “Ahh, sure and I don’t take up much space,” but Pádraig is basically like, “You could sleep out in the street, or alternatively go back where you came from.” Gráinne says she’ll fix up the box room for him, because no matter what Pádraig says, the alley behind the porno theatre is no place for David’s favorite nephew, cousin, or uncle to sleep. Gráinne takes Briain and his stubble, which is an alarming 6.8 on the Mack Scale, off to the box room, and Pádraig starts fretting to David that he’s just home from the hospital and that he and his groin are far too feeble for houseguests. There is clearly something fishy going on here, given that Pádraig likes everyone he has ever met and is also a known homosexual, but I am not sure what his problem is.

Back at the café, Máire gathers up her stuff to leave and asks Berni to have Evan call her if he can ever be arsed, especially since she’s a grieving widow who’s probably going to die soon and her last wish is to speak to her grandson. She wanders off, and when Fia tries to smooth things over and make Berni feel better, what she gets back is Berni being a snot about the fact that Fia’s mother didn’t bother showing up for the mass, either. Keep in mind that Fia’s mother lives in Australia, whereas Evan lives 20 minutes away. Fia gives Berni a great look that says “Don’t start something unless you think you can finish it, bitch,” and they glare at each other, and this is the most serious shade I’ve seen since the last season of RuPaul’s Drag Race ended.

We return to the house formerly known as the bachelor pad, where I didn’t think David and Gráinne lived anymore anyway, having moved into Micheál’s old place. I suppose it doesn’t matter, since as far as Pádraig is concerned, it’s already turned into Briain’s Place and he does not like it. Anyway, Gráinne and Mo, who have coordinated their outfits with the wallpaper, are each trying to avoid dealing with their own feelings by talking about how traumatized the other must be. Bobbi-Lee, who looks like she’s stopped by on the way to her headlining show at the Atlantic City Horseshoe Hotel & Casino, comes over to clarify that Gráinne and Mo are both total messes with a lot of crap to work through. At this point Gráinne decides it’s time for everyone to get the hell out, so they all leave, but surprisingly David gets up and decides to go with them. He claims that he needs some fresh air, but looks more like he wants to get away from Gráinne. Oh, dear.

Berni takes her stank attitude over to Gaudi and runs into Evan, who it seems does remember how to get to Ros na Rún after all. We quickly cut to the shore, where Tadhg is walking moodily along the beach and glaring at the Atlantic or Pacific Ocean. Of course he runs into Maggie there, who’s sitting pertly on a rock staring at the sea like she’s the Little Mermaid in Copenhagen harbor. She’s probably been sitting there for three days waiting for him to happen by. There’s flirty discussion about America of the type you hear from people who have never actually been there, and then they reminisce about happy days of their youth spent picking winkles off Thin Lizzy and so on. Eventually she walks away down the beach and then pretends to be surprised when she “realizes” he’s following her. This is all getting to be a bit much. She’s all, “Did you need something else?”, and he’s like, “Well, I might as well walk with you since we’re going in the same direction.” Yes, and that direction is, “towards the hospital in an ambulance when Frances finds out about this.”

At Gaudi, which Pádraig seems to have managed to keep from burning down all summer, David is telling Father Éamonn about Gráinne’s miscarriage. They never even knew if the baby was a boy or a girl, he says, but he wanted to call her Róisín. Fr. Éamonn volunteers that the baby is with God now, because it was His will, which of course leads David to ask, “What kind of God would take a baby from us while allowing the Kardashians to exist?” I’m paraphrasing. David says he has to protect Gráinne from any more heartache, but Fr. Éamonn says he’s going to have to tell her he can’t father any more children eventually. David and his groin seem unconvinced about this, which they symbolize by furrowing their whatevers and looking into the middle distance.

After the break, Tadhg and Maggie roll into the pub all smiles and giggles like they’ve just taken Ecstasy at Disneyland. Áine happens to wander in about this time shoveling candy into her mouth, which annoys Tadhg, who points out that she just had a filling yesterday, and now here she is eating candy. Of course it turns out he doesn’t care about whether all her teeth fall out, he’s just annoyed because her filling cost him €65 and now he’s probably going to have to buy her a full set of false teeth. Tadhg’s heart is always in the right place, and that place is his wallet. Áine points out that the sweeties aren’t even hers, and that in fact she stole them out of Tadhg’s coat pocket, so there, which gives Maggie the opportunity to start reminiscing about the time she and Tadhg ate a piece of candy with Brendan Behan, and also the time they won a trip to that chocolate factory where Maggie turned into a giant blueberry and Tadhg prevented the Oompa-Loompas from unionizing and in fact cut their pay by 45% over three years. Áine is intrigued to learn that her father was once a small, evil child and wants to hear more, so she sticks her hand out to Maggie and is basically like, “Hi, I’m Áine. Who the eff are you?”

We return to Gaudi, where Fr. Éamonn tells David in soothing tones that God will help him and Gráinne get through these difficult times. David points out that this might be difficult considering Gráinne doesn’t even believe in God, so Fr. Éamonn tells him that his own faith will have to be enough to get both of them through this, reminding David of all the times he gave people solace through his pastoral karate and blank-faced grunting. For example, all those kids at An Teaghlach who were desperate and suicidal until, thanks to David’s help, they found the strength to steal his wallet, empty his bank account, and move to Spain.

Back at the pub, Áine is doing some pastoral counseling of her own, which she thinks means taking someone out to a pasture and robbing them at knifepoint. In this case she’s explaining to Tadhg that he doesn’t need to be embarrassed that Maggie is his best friend. He nervously asks her if that’s what Maggie said, but she’s basically like, “Nah, you can just tell by the way you two look at each other.” Uh-oh. If Áine figured this out after being around them for three minutes, they’re in trouble, because it’ll take the rest of the people on this show only slightly longer to work it out, such as by mid-April.

Máire arrives at Gaudi just as Berni and Evan are finishing up their meal, and Berni’s worried that Máire’s going to start carrying on about how she had to spend the night tranquilized in an iron lung recovering from Evan’s absence, but when he apologizes for not being at the mass, Máire blows it off and tells him it was no problem. So basically Máire was just trying to be a pain in Berni’s ass. We knew we liked Máire. Sadly, before the slapping and hair-pulling can start, an attractive silver-haired gentleman arrives and OH MY GOD IT’S MICHEÁL. I don’t know if he lost weight, or got a new haircut, or had plastic surgery, but he looks fabulous. Anyway, he’s here to ask Evan if he’ll replace the late, great Josie Ó Wotsit as the coach of the local football team, or possibly rugby or hurling. Evan pretends to be reluctant, but of course Máire and Berni are his greatest fans, so it seems he’s going to agree. Well, this will give him a storyline to keep him busy until he has to go back to uni next month. I guess we didn’t have enough time for Fia to get scandalously pregnant again.

Frances is upstairs at the pub making butter sandwiches, and Tadhg appears so they can have a product-placement discussion about how amazing the new XL shop is going to be. XL: Working Together To Put Food In Your Family. There’s discussion of the major kitchen renovation they did over the summer, which looks exactly the same to me, and then Frances says, “Áine wouldn’t stop talking about that woman earlier.” Tadhg is alarmed, especially when Frances starts waving a giant knife in his face, but before he can start making excuses or even fully evacuate his bowels, she continues that Áine says Maggie is very nice, and that they should invite her over for dinner. Snerk. She adds that poor Maggie is all by herself up in that house in Dingle or Iceland or wherever and must get terribly lonely, but Tadhg insists that Maggie can look after herself and forbids Frances to invite her over. She agrees, which of course means she’s already having invitations printed as we speak.

At the bar, there’s a lot of football talk, the highlight of which is Tadhg calling Micheál “the Sheikh” for the first time this season. They argue for a while, and Evan gives them ambiguous looks, and I have no idea what’s happening here.

We cut to Gráinne’s house, where she’s opening a parcel that’s just arrived. Her face crumples when she pulls out a tiny infant outfit with a happy yellow sun on it. We see her starting to completely lose it, and our hearts are broken for her, and it’s really difficult to watch.

Briain and some other sporty-looking guy sidle up to the bar and order a couple of pints, and Pádraig explains to Micheál that this is David’s cousin or grandson who’s visiting from Dublin, though he lived in Australia for a while. Micheál recognizes him as the Briain McDonough, formerly of the Sydney Supremes, which we initially hope is a Diana Ross tribute act, but are disappointed to learn is a football team. They strike up a conversation, and the whole time Pádraig is giving Briain some serious side-eye and has a look on his face like he smells something. He’s running very hot and cold in this episode in a way we find bizarre, but he also has a terrific new haircut, so we will allow it. Briain wanders off just as Evan arrives to ask Micheál if he’ll help out with coaching the local team or squad or whatever it is. Battalion? They squabble for a bit about who wants to do it less, and Berni sticks her oar in, and I’m unclear what Evan’s motives are here, but the important thing is that something’s up with Pádraig and Briain, or soon will be.

David arrives home, carrying his intestines in one hand and his groin in the other, and we notice for the first time that the entire house is covered in things with suns on them, which seems to be Gráinne’s favorite motif. Oh, God, I can’t even take this. David finds the baby outfit as she emerges from the bedroom, and she says sadly that she’d forgotten she’d ordered it the evening before they went out rabbit hunting. She confesses she knew it was too early to buy baby things, but she was just so happy. This is gut-wrenching. He offers to send it back, but she says she’ll put it in the clothes bank, and then says the absolute saddest line that has ever been uttered, ever: “Some other baby can wear it.” At this point she loses it and breaks down, and so do we, and if this didn’t make you teary-eyed, I declare that you are a robot. ROBOT! David chooses this point to try to tell her about his groin—are you effing kidding me with this??—but mercifully Gráinne says she doesn’t want to talk any more and goes for a lie down.

Outside the pub, Mo tells Máire and Bobbi-Lee that she just spoke to the Gardaí, who told her that Anto has been charged and is being held without bail. They’re very happy, and Máire says today really is a day to celebrate, because first that rogue Colm left town forever, and now this. The part about Colm comes as news to Mo, who looks ambivalent. Bobbi-Lee offers that perhaps it’s for the best for everyone, a new start and all that, and Mo agrees weakly, but it’s obvious she’s torn.

Inside, Evan gets everyone to raise their glasses in honor of Josie Ó Pussycats, and says that to keep up the tradition, he’s proclaimed himself the new coach of Ros na Rún FC. Some of the barflies seem excited about this, and some others just seem happy to be drinking, but Máire gets all teary and blubs to Berni that she’s sure Peadar played a part in all this. She makes it sound like Peadar murdered Josie from beyond the grave.

Back at their place, David tells Gráinne they’ve got to talk, but she says she’s not ready. She muses that if they hadn’t gone out after the rabbits that night, the baby would still be here. She continues that they’ll never even know if the baby was a boy or a girl, but that she’d give anything to hold it in her arms. He hugs her close and rubs her hair and tells her they’ll get through this, but she says she’s not sure they will, and as the camera zooms up his nose, we see that there are tears running down his face that suggest he’s not sure about it, either.

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