Monday, September 18, 2017

Of Graves and Groins

Season 22, Episode 4
First aired 14 September 2017

I’m running behind, and a lot of this episode is fairly grim, so I’m going to condense into one paragraph the tiresome Niamh-induced drama that’s sprinkled throughout the episode. Imelda tries to make Eric feel bad by talking about how hard it was for her to raise Niamh and her sister, whose name I can’t remember and therefore I am going to call Fuinneog, as a single mother. To ramp up the guilt, she produces an old photo of Niamh and Fuinneog as tiny children standing around wearing shirts that say “Cá bhfuil Daidí?” and “I hope Daddy isn’t doing drugs” and so on. It seems she’s making some progress until Niamh shows up and makes everything worse again, obviously, but eventually Eric tells Imelda it’s time Niamh knew the whole truth. Because the community center is apparently not available, they decide this is a conversation that’s best held in the middle of Graffiti Park, which you may recall we last saw when Pól jumped out of a recycle pod and beat up David. Imelda clinches her status as the winner of this conflict when she tells the story of the time she walked in on Eric shooting up right in front of little Niamh, and decided that was the last straw. She loaded the children into the car and set off for America, but when she got to the ocean, she had to turn around and settle for Galway instead. Eric apologizes, and then amazingly so does Niamh, who adds that she didn’t even try to understand her mother’s side of the story. Imelda explains that she didn’t tell Niamh and Fuinneog the whole story because she didn’t want them to hate their father, so they ended up hating her instead. It seems that all is well here for now, at least until Niamh files a report with Child Protective Services when Imelda tries to make her eat her vegetables.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about the rest of the episode. Colm visits the hospital, awkwardly, but David seems happier to see him than Gráinne is for some unimaginable reason. David seems cheerful but dazed—I mean even more than usual—so we’re going to assume there’s probably still some morphine action going on, or that he finished today’s junior word search all by himself and is feeling proud. It soon becomes clear that Gráinne hasn’t told David about losing the baby, though, which seriously unnerves Colm, who’s already been involved in enough psychodrama recently and seems reluctant to get sucked into any more.

It’s the day of Peadar’s anniversary mass, headstone unveiling, or some other ritual I’m not familiar with, but which involves Bobbi-Lee putting her hair in a ponytail and Berni wearing her formal tea-cozy hat. A downpour has put a crimp in the festivities, however, driving everyone inside to the sticky tables and burnt-toast smell of the café. Berni offers them the warming, healing powers of soup, but they’re disappointed when they realize she means her soup, not the good stuff from a tin. Still, it’s probably better than the pub’s carrot soup, which we learned last season does not have any actual carrots in it and may actually be boiling water that’s had an orange crayon dipped in it.

Bobbi-Lee seems on the verge of telling Berni she is not in fact single-handedly responsible for Operation: Kit Money Give Back until Berni reveals that as a thank-you gift, she’s ordered the cowboy boots Bobbi-Lee was looking at online last night. Berni needs to be careful how she goes snooping around Bobbi-Lee’s browser history. At this point Bobbi-Lee remembers that honesty is not always the best policy and tries to cover her tracks, which are in the shape of hot pink rhinestone-covered cowboy boots, by privately telling John Joe that Kit hasn’t shown his face around here yet, and advises him to keep quiet about it just to be on the safe side. This is a great example of Bobbi-Lee’s Olympic-caliber technique of Delaying The Inevitable. John Joe agrees, but he’ll be cross when he discovers he might’ve gotten a free pair of boots out of it, or perhaps a nice red handkerchief to wear in his back pocket like the, err, cowboys do.

After a Less than Zero interlude with the O’Sheas, the sun comes out, so Bobbi-Lee suggests they all go up to the gravesite. Máire, however, doesn’t feel up for it and thinks they should all just go home. Just then Kit arrives at the café looking confused, so Bobbi-Lee has to shift back into Miss Moneypenny mode and run interference. He tells her he went back to the pretend office but found it’s not an office at all, but is in fact a Nando’s chicken restaurant. After about three seconds of half-hearted delay tactics, Bobbi-Lee loses patience with this charade and tells him the whole thing was a set-up to get Berni’s money back and that he fell for it like a chump, and also that the least he could’ve done was bring back some spicy chicken wings and a side of garlic bread. Berni arrives just as Bobbi-Lee is throwing Kit out, and he announces, “You three haven’t heard the rest of this!” as he storms out. Berni wonders what he means by this, so Bobbi-Lee tries to convince her that two and three are the same thing now, but even in the remote Amazonian Islands where Berni is from, they learn how to count. Fortunately she wanders off instead of pursuing this further, which saves Bobbi-Lee the trouble of having to create yet another diversion by dumping hot soup in Máire’s lap or backing her car through the front wall of the building. Well, this scheme seems totally airtight to me.

Out in the hospital corridor, Colm tells Gráinne she’s going to have to tell David the truth about the baby eventually, but she says he’s not strong enough to hear that upsetting news yet. He protests, so she adds that Mo didn’t have any right to tell him about it either, and that this is none of his business, so he needs to just bugger off back to wherever he came from. That last part is implied. Colm actually acts like a decent guy here, which we always find confusing, and tells her gently that she can’t go through this alone, and also that it’s unfair to let David keep believing there’s a baby on the way.

Back at the café, everybody has left apart from Máire, Bobbi-Lee, and a couple of extras we’ve never seen before, and Bobbi-Lee suggests they all go over to Tigh Thaidhg to have a drink in Peadar’s honor. Máire is completely over all this at this point and tells the extras to go home, and asks Bobbi-Lee to knock it off, because while she knows her heart is in the right place, folks are just too busy and wrapped up in their own problems to spend the entire day thinking about dead people. Bobbi-Lee, who’s being incredibly sweet here, tells her that she and Berni aren’t too busy to spend time with her, but Máire announces she’s just going to go home and bake a cake, which is funny and random until she explains that it’s the special cake she and Peadar always had together after mass, which makes us feel bad for laughing. The only way to salvage this is if it’s one of those penis-shaped cakes you see at novelty bakeries, but somehow I doubt that’s where this is going.

David is alone in his hospital room, presumably hallucinating that the place is full of animated forest animals doing housework like in Snow White, when the doctor arrives to check on him. He asks when he can go home, but she says it’ll be a while yet, because he’s still very weak, and also flying high on the enormous variety of drugs he’s on. He’s on the Popeye strength-regaining diet, which means they’re pumping pure liquid spinach into him. He replies that he needs to get back home, because his partner is pregnant and there’s lots to do, such as buying a crib from IKEA and then beginning the ten-month process of ordering all the missing pieces. The doctor says she’s glad to hear that Gráinne is expecting, because it’s unlikely he’ll ever be able to father children again due to, and I quote, “the damage to the structure of your groin.” Well, that explains all those balloons in the room with sad bunnies saying “SORRY ABOUT YOUR GROIN” and grumpy squirrels saying “NUTS TO THIS!”

After the break, Bobbi-Lee is still trying to organize a group to go up to the cemetery. The best part is that she keeps encouraging everyone to bring as many “flasks” as possible, because in America a flask is the small curved container you conceal your booze in rather than an insulated cylinder that keeps hot beverages hot, which we call a Thermos. The entire town surprising Máire by showing up at Peadar’s grave getting drunk out of their hip flasks would be a very different, and more unexpected, scene indeed. Caitríona shows up and asks Berni if Kit has returned her money yet, and Berni snots at her to mind her own business and stop looking for things to write stupid articles about. Bobbi-Lee hops up to try to interrupt this, but it’s too late, as an indignant Caitríona announces that this is the last time the three of them will ever do Berni a favor, hmph! John Joe arrives to add to the confusion, and eventually Berni figures out what’s going on. Bobbi-Lee starts to apologize, but then wisely dashes off to the cemetery before Berni can murder her.

Gráinne returns to David’s room with promises of snacks and magazines and thermometer lubricant, but he grimly tells her to sit down, because he’s got something to tell her. He’s probably going to inform her she needs to go back to nursing school and specialize in Groin Repair this time. He says that he’s proud to be with her, and that it’s a miracle from God that they made this baby before he got shot in his equatorial region. She looks pained, and then tells him there is no miracle, because she lost the baby, and you can see his heart break.

Bobbi-Lee arrives at the B&B to kidnap Máire (who complains that she wants to be left alone) and the cake (which doesn’t put up much of a fight, honestly). It’s pretty great the way Bobbi-Lee grabs the entire cake up by one hand and unceremoniously blorps it into a plastic container to take with her. Máire protests, but Bobbi-Lee literally shoves her out the front door while shouting, “Out! Out!” My theory is that she’s going to put Máire in a blonde wig and fringe jacket so Berni will think she’s Bobbi-Lee and murder her instead, leaving Bobbi-Lee to escape to Nashville with the cake.

Laoise, who’s wearing a scarf so big she can barely see over the top of it, arrives at Graffiti Park with a cup of tea or clam chowder or whatever for Eric. She tells him she saw him with Niamh and Imelda earlier and figures he’ll need cheering up, because, well, Niamh and Imelda. She says it looked like Imelda was tearing him a new one earlier, which is not exactly what was going on, and he explains that it was because of the drugaí, to which Laoise says, “Oh,” in a bored-stroke-surprised tone that sounds very much like, “What, we’re still talking about that?” Laoise: once again speaking on behalf of the audience. She gives him a pep talk, and he tells her to go away, but then she makes it clear that she’s still very interested in his various parts, and they hold hands and exchange meaningful glances, and here we go again, I guess.

Back at the hospital, David and Gráinne are hugging, and then he says, in English, “I’m OK,” which is remarkable, because as a complete Ros na Rún trainspotting saddo, I can report that David tosses in random English less than practically anybody. Perhaps the language center of his brain is located in his damaged groinal structure. They both look shattered, emotionally and physically, and David suggests she go home so they can both get a good night’s sleep. Eventually she leaves, and on the way out he gives her a confusing look that totally looks like he’s trying to figure out how to break up with her, and if this is indeed what he’s doing, his groin isn’t going to be the only thing on his anatomy that’s broken.

Bobbi-Lee and Máire arrive at the cemetery, where a group has assembled with their flasks and Frisbees and so on. Caitríona, Berni, John Joe, and Mo are here, and a few extras, and we have our first Fia sighting of the year (yay!). Laoise shows up, and they all admire the beautiful headstone, and then Máire thanks Bobbi-Lee for bringing them all together. She even resists the urge to say, “You’re usually a selfish chancer, but I suppose even you have some redeeming qualities,” so of course Berni steps in and says it for her, but nicely, in a way that’s actually sweet and loving: “Even though you drive me demented now and again, I have to admit that you’re good hearted.” Bobbi-Lee gingerly asks if this means she’s forgiven, and Berni is basically like, “Considering all the other nonsense I’ve forgiven you for over the years, some of which was technically a felony, I suppose I’ll let this one slide, too.” Awww. Then she adds, “PS, forget about the cowboy boots.” Heh. Even though Berni can drive me demented now and again, the relationship between her and Bobbi-Lee really is one of my favorite things about the show, and they are so good and natural together that it’s a joy to watch.

Colm arrives at the hospital for a nice visit, so David yells at him to get out and then knocks his water pitcher across the room. At this point that’s the normal reaction to Colm entering any scene. After a nurse comes in and glares at them, David calms down, and blankly tells Colm that the baby is gone. Colm replies that they can always try again, by which I mean David and Gráinne, not David and Colm, though you have to admit that would be an unexpected plot twist. David grimly tells him that that’s the problem: they can’t try again, because he can no longer father children! Well, Mack the miriaculous infertility-smashing babymaker should be back from his holidays soon, so there’s always that.

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