Wednesday, October 11, 2017

London Calling

Season 22, Episode 10
First aired 5 October 2017

We open at Berni’s, where Fia is awakened by her cellphone ringing. She sees that it’s from Máire and puts the phone back down, and it’s obvious she has a terrible hangover, like in that movie, Toy Story 2 The Hangover.

At Stately Gráinne Manor, she’s just received an invitation in the mail to attend a christening for her friend Emily’s baby or cactus or whatever. It’s in London, however, and only two weeks away. David tells her she should go if she wants to, but Gráinne protests that she doesn’t feel up for such a thing at the moment, and besides, they don’t have the money for her to bop off to London anyway. This is why I keep sending letters to Transport For London demanding they extend the Northern Line to Ros na Rún immediately. In related news, I am no longer allowed on the Underground. David agrees that they need to be saving money since they’ve got their own special day to think of, but at the mention of a wedding Gráinne freezes in her tracks, like they say you should do if you’re being attacked by a mugger, because they can only see you when you’re moving. It’s possible I may be thinking of a Tyrannosaurus Rex, not a mugger. Anyway, Gráinne freezes in her tracks, but unfortunately for her David is not a mugger or a Tyrannosaurus Rex, because he can still see her. She abruptly says that this isn’t the time to discuss a wedding because everything feels like a mess right now, so he makes comforting sounds and gives her a hug, but we can see in her eyes she’s not sure she believes his promises that he’s here to stay this time.

Back at Berni’s, she’s gotten out her extra-loud industrial vacuum cleaner, which sounds like it’s made from a souped-up 747 engine, and is hoovering Fia’s face. Fia sputters to life and groans about the noise, which is of course Berni’s cue to start up the “Oh, Sleeping Beauty awakes!” routine she’s been practicing in the mirror for the past 3 hours. She snots that when she arose from her crypt at the stroke of midnight last night, she found Fia passed out on her sofa, and then starts carrying on about how nice it must be to stay out partying all night with no cares about whether your baby is falling off a cliff somewhere. When she adds that Fia is also a bad influence on Evan, Fia responds that he’s perfectly capable of going out drinking without her assistance, and that Berni might try having a drink herself to see if it makes her less of a wagon. At this Berni says “gabh mo leathscéil?!?” in offended disbelief, which is of course her trademark line. It’s her “Whatchu talkin’ ‘bout, Willis?” Fia says she has nothing more to say, which is no problem for Berni, who proclaims that she herself has plenty to say. Berni is a lot like Máire in that she can talk nonstop for 30 minutes before stopping for breath and realizing the person she was talking to left 29 minutes ago.

Mo is having her breakfast at Gaudi when Mack flies in and hisses that she can’t tell Dee the thing he told her the other day about his suicide attempt. Mo reminds him that she’s capable of keeping her mouth shut because she is neither stupid nor Pádraig, and besides, it’s impossible to get a word in edgewise when Dee is around anyway. Mack pretends to be vaguely insulted by this allegation, as he is required to do per Clause 39 of the contract Dee made him sign at their wedding. Mo tells him she wants to ditch Dee and go back to jogging with him, because she started running to help sort out her head after everything that’s happened to her recently, and it’s hard to do that with Dee constantly yammering about how the hotel room in Italy had a tea kettle and a coffee maker and how you could get, like, as many towels as you wanted at the pool. You will recall that Dee got hit on the head by a coconut during her holidays and came back 400 percent worse than she ever was before. Just then Dee enters the restaurant, and fortunately her fringe seems more under control today, because you can actually see her face now. She starts banging on to Mo about how great their run was and how—oh my God!—the sea air is like, so invigorating, but that she’d also like to run up a mountain sometime? Because she heard that’s what Katy Perry does and her skin is, like, flawless? She suggests to Mack they form, like, a jogging club, because running in big groups is really good exercise and it’s good for the environment? You will also recall that Dee went away on holiday and came back Sorcha O’Carroll-Kelly, at least in these recaps. Mo and Mack suddenly remember they have to be anywhere other than here right now and flee, leaving Dee sitting there wondering what’s going on.

Back at Berni’s House of Horrors, she’s still ranting about what an irresponsible young slut Fia is, and given that Fia is now a skeleton covered in cobwebs, we get the feeling this has been going on for some time. Having shifted into full Saint Berni mode, she climbs up on her soapbox and starts carrying on about how when Evan was young, she didn’t eat or sleep for 15 years and she was with him 26 hours per day and held down three full-time jobs and was the ambassador to Ghana and made all her clothes out of her own tears. Fia suddenly remembers that there’s absolutely no reason she has to stay here and listen to this, so she puts on her coat and heads for the door, but is met by Máire pushing Liam Óg in his stroller. Máire starts fretting over how she spent all night worried that Fia was dead in a ditch somewhere and Liam Óg may have eaten a paperclip and there are too many homosexuals on TV now. When she finally stops to cross herself and faint and so on, Fia apologizes and explains that she went out with Evan and was so tired that she fell asleep on Berni’s couch. Berni rolls her eyes and snorts, “Yeah, right! ‘Asleep!’”, which, you know, fair play there, Bern. Berni and Máire continue teaming up against Fia for a while, and eventually Máire produces a letter that arrived for Fia, which looks important, and which she opened BY MISTAKE because the words “Fia” and “Máire” look so much alike. Fia reads it and is thrilled when it turns out to be an acceptance letter to a top fashion course. Máire is vaguely pleased-ish, but at this point Berni is annoyed by anything Fia does that does not involve dying. Fia casually mentions that it looks like she’ll be moving to London after Christmas, and runs off to the other room to ring her friend Emma, leaving Berni and Máire in the kitchen staring at each other while shitting simultaneous bricks.

Out in the street, Dee finds Mo and Mack and brightly tells them she’s decided to throw a party for all their friends, and she’s doing it tonight! Because, you know, trying to organize a party 6 hours in advance is a great idea for anyone over the age of 22. They’re both skeptical, but there’s no stopping Dee when she’s like this, so they reluctantly agree and say they’ll call around and see who’s available. Well, I’m sure this is not going to be a sad, awkward party with a guest list consisting of Mo, Pádraig, and Bobbi-Lee, that’s for sure.

Back at Berni’s, Máire looks sadly at Liam Óg as if he’s a soot-smudged Dickensian orphan and wonders what Fia will do with him if she goes off to London. Berni sneers through gritted teeth that she already knows what Fia’s planning. Any time Berni expresses a thought about Fia, you can assume that “what with her being a little slapper and all” (WWHBALSAA) is implied at the end. Máire is confused, so Berni explains that she’s sure Fia is planning to just deposit Liam Óg here while she’s off in London ag gallivantáil. This is my new favorite Irish word and I am going to attempt to work it into conversation whenever possible. Máire doesn’t think Fia would do such a thing, but Berni says she wouldn’t put it past her, WWHBALSAA. Fia bounces back into the room saying she can’t believe she and Emma will be off in London soon, with its electric streetlights and Oyster cards as far as the eye can see, and Berni asks her what the hell she thinks she’s going to do with Liam Óg. She replies vaguely that she’s not sure yet, but she’s hoping Máire can “help out”, and then she flits off somewhere, forgetting Liam Óg as she goes and leaving Berni pursing her lips so hard she’s sucking the wallpaper off the walls.

A well-dressed stranger enters the pub, and Frances is worried that it must be the health inspector, because the only other person who’s ever come into this place not looking a right mess was Stephen Fry that one time. She runs over to the woman to get the story and also murder her and hide the body if necessary. Meanwhile, Micheál is still annoyed about Operation: Mussel-Spew costing the town the title of Ireland’s Villagiest Village, so he and Tadhg insult each other for a while and eventually Tadhg throws him out. If we had a penny for every time Tadhg has thrown the sheik out of his pub, we could pay for Liam Óg to have a full-time nanny while Fia’s in London, and one from a good Nordic country, too, not one of those suspicious Southern or Eastern European ones. Frances returns breathing a sigh of relief because Unknown Outsider turns out to be a harmless businesswoman looking for a sandwich. She trots off to get one of the plastic-covered ham sandwiches out of the freezer, and then Maggie, who has been sitting here tying cherry stems in knots with her tongue to get Tadhg’s attention, tells him she’s got a plan to make this mussel seafóid go away. She says Tadhg should call the Villagiest Village officials pretending to be a health inspector, and then tell them that there was a recent bad batch of mussels in the area and that Tigh Thaidhg was one of the establishments that got caught in it, but that it was totally not their fault. Tadhg proceeds to do exactly that, using a slightly comical voice, but not the hilarious Biddy Muppet voice he sometimes uses when he’s making a fake phone call. He really pushes the part about how this just happens sometime and there’s no way to avoid it, and it sounds like the IVV guy buys it, because Tadhg seems very pleased with himself when he ends the call, and Maggie grins at him conspiratorially over the top of her gigantic scarf.

Micheál runs into Evan in the street and there is football talk we’ll skip over, and then we go to the B&B, where Fia and some girl we’ve never seen before are looking at London flats for rent online and acting surprised that they are more expensive than flats in Ros na Rún. Máire arrives and points out that she brought Liam Óg with her, and Fia is like, “Oh, yeah, him!” She acts like she’s under the impression that Liam Óg has gotten a job and moved into his own place now, or that he’s evolved into a butterfly and flown away. She asks Máire if she can leave Liam Óg with her while she goes off to London, reminding her that she’s done it before, as if that’s a point in her favor. Máire notes that the last time she did it Peadar was still alive to help her, and that Berni is right: Fia has responsibilities as a mother and can’t just go off ag gallivantáil. An annoyed Fia rightfully asks what Berni has to do with this, and Máire says that Berni knows of which she speaks, having raised Evan as a single mother from the remote Cape Verde Islands while working nine jobs and finding boyfriends who kept trying to kill her. Fia hisses that she’s nothing like Berni, but Máire says firmly that she’s sorry, but she’s not going to keep Liam Óg so Fia can go off to London, and to really shove it up Fia’s ass, says one more time, “Berni is right.” She puts on her coat and leaves for Evan’s gymnastics meet or whatever, taking Liam Óg with her, and Fia breaks down in fury and anguish, ripping up her acceptance letter and telling her friend Emma that her life is ruined and she’ll be stuck in this dump forever. Well, she can always hope this dump will burn down and she’ll have to go somewhere else.

After the break we’re at the pub, where they have mopped up nearly all of the mussel vomit. Dee invites Pádraig and Bobbi-Lee to tonight’s sad party, and of course neither of them has anything else to do, so they accept. Meanwhile, Frances calls David over and hands him a card she’s been meaning to give him and Gráinne to show she’s been thinking about them during this difficult time. Tadhg materializes to start a fight with David for no reason, and in the process makes a pun about mussels I won’t go into that brings up the fact that David got shot in the junk. Pádraig takes it upon himself to jump into the fray at this point, shouting to Tadhg that he should be more compassionate, because getting shot in the penis and becoming infertile is a very sensitive situation! Everyone gasps, and Tadhg says he didn’t know anything about David’s infertility…UNTIL NOW. David glares at Pádraig, who makes his patented uncomfortable “Oops! I Did It Again!” face. It’s nice to see him keeping up his streak of managing to put himself at the center of every story at all times.

Back at the B&B, Fia is Skyping with her mother again. It seems this season’s sponsors are Skype, XL, and Carbon Monoxide, Inc. Virtual Vanessa says London is an opportunity Fia will just have to pass up, and then tries to get her sleazy boyfriend Niall on the call for no reason. I was under the impression Vanessa had found out Niall was Liam Óg’s father, but I’ve gone back to look at the old recaps and it seems she did not. They’re handy that way. Anyway, Vanessa keeps calling for Niall, and Fia protests and eventually slams the computer shut to avoid seeing him. Muireann Ní Raghallaigh is always great, but she really is fantastic during this sequence.

At their place, Dee is explaining the concept of appetizers to Mack, who is only used to food that comes between two slices of bread or on a stick. He tells her he and his friends only like pizza and beer, and things that are stuffed with cheese and can be defrosted in the microwave in 60 seconds or less. She snaps that maybe it’s time he and his so-called friends broaden their horizons, by which she means food they didn’t find on the floor. She sends him off to fetch anchovies and vol-au-vents, which he assumes must be a couple of girls she went to college with.

Evan and his team arrive at the pub and everyone makes a big to-do because they won the Scrabble tournament or whatever. We learn that Briain is the hero, because as a former semi-professional football player in Latveria, he’s the only one who knows which direction they’re supposed to be running in most of the time. To no one’s surprise, Tadhg is insulting and dismissive, and points out that the only reason they won was that half the opposing players had broken legs and the other half couldn’t play because they were away at their Brownie campout. Micheál, at least, generously points out that Evan is also a person who exists, and that the team couldn’t have won without his brilliant tactics, which consisted of writing “REMIMBER: SKOR MOR GOLES THAN THE OTHR TEEM” on his palm. Fia arrives to share her plight with Evan, by which I mean to complain to him about what a wagon his mother is, but he’s too busy with the team to pay her any mind, and eventually he and all his friends leave while she’s in the toilets. This is not Fia’s day. Meanwhile, Frances calls Tadhg over to explain that she’s been chatting to her BFF Maggie here, and informs him that he’s been assigned to go help Maggie get plowed. Excuse me, to go help Maggie plow her garden. My mistake. Maggie and Tadhg both protest weakly while imagining each other stripped down to their support underwear, as usual, but Frances insists that it’s settled, and that Tadhg will go till Maggie’s field as soon as possible.

We cut to Party Central, where Mack is taking phone call after phone call from people saying they can’t come while Dee stands in the background and frowns. On the plus side, her dress is lovely, and is a shade of purple that only semi-clashes with the pukey off-purple walls. Hideous Puce™ : the official paint color of Ros na Rún. First Mo calls to tell him she and Bobbi-Lee will be late because Tadhg won’t let them leave the pub, and then Gráinne calls to say she and David can’t come because they don’t want to and to please never call them again. That last part is implied. Dee rolls her eyes so far back in her head she can see her brain, and starts complaining to Mack that all their friends suck, and just then Pádraig arrives with a couple of bottles of booze and asks where the party is. You can always count on us homosexuals to show up if there’s a possibility of dancing and/or groping Mack in the kitchen and then claiming it was an accident.

At their place, Gráinne is fuming about the Tadhg/infertility/groin situation that went down in the pub earlier, but David tells her not to worry about it, because it was bound to come out sooner or later. Yes, Amy’s probably putting a diagram of David’s crotch on the new town website as we speak. On the bright side, he tells her they’ve got a lovely card from Frances, which turns out to be a birthday card Áine wrote to one of her little friends that David got by mistake. Well, on the plus side, whenever he’s down, David can look at it and pretend that Áine gives a crap about him.

Back at the pub, Tadhg finally dismisses Mo and Bobbi-Lee, having made them work the 20-hour day he’s told them is allowed by EU law. Frances wanders in and says she’s just gotten a call from her mother asking her to come to Dublin to help take care of her father, who’s sick with Dutch elm disease or similar. Tadhg is worried this means he might have to interact with his in-laws, but is relieved when it turns out it’s just that one of them might die. He encourages Frances to go visit them and, you know, stay as long as she needs to, wink wink. She can take them to see the Guinness Storehouse and National Leprechaun Museum while she’s there, and maybe also book the daylong bus tour of all the branches of Subway. They could even get a shamrock engraved on her dad’s iron lung at Carrolls Irish Gifts. She’s not sure about going away, so he encourages her to think about it, but wisely leaves out the part where he says, “If you need to reach me while you’re away, I’ll be at Maggie’s house.”

Bobbi-Lee and Mo finally arrive at the world’s saddest party and immediately start annoying Dee by complaining that the brie-stuffed acorns are cold and then ignoring her. She tries to join their conversation, but Bobbi-Lee waves her off and tells her that everything she has ever said, done, or thought is boring, so buzz off. I’m paraphrasing, but not by much. Mack and Pádraig enter the conversation, but every time Dee interjects, Mack dismisses her and is basically like, “Can’t you see we’re busy trying to pretend you’re not here?” Dee is crestfallen and pitiful, and this is hard to watch, because even though she’s been a complete pill this season for no apparent reason, we still love Dee.

Fia is drinking alone at Gaudi when Berni strolls in. If it were anyone else, we’d say it was a coincidence, but since it’s Berni, we assume she’s been roaming the town all day looking for Fia so she can bitch her out again. She starts speechifying about what an irresponsible drunk slapper Fia is, and how poor Liam Óg has been passed around all day like a joint at Willie Nelson’s Christmas party. She brings up what a bad influence Fia is on impressionable little Evan, and then asks bitchily how the plans for London are going. She’s really on a roll here, though as we will see, Berni has brought a pea-shooter to this fight and Fia is about to crank up her steamroller. It’s almost a shame, because Berni’s new coat is gorgeous and will be ruined when it’s covered in her blood.

Fia’s been glaring angrily at Berni this whole time, but this is the last straw, so she stands up lays into her. She informs her that she’ll be pleased to know that she won’t be able to go to London after all, thanks to her multiday meddling spree, and that furthermore, now she’ll end up just like Berni: “an old bitter hag who’ll have nothing to do but look after her son for the rest of his life.” BOOM! Berni looks shocked and starts to protest that at least she can respect herself, but Fia’s not done making mincemeat out of her yet. She tells her that Evan doesn’t need her anymore and is in fact embarrassed by her. Berni lets fly her most offended “gabh mo leathscéil?!?” of all time, but Fia decides this conversation is over. She fires the fatal shot on her way out, and it sends Berni reeling: “You hold on to Evan for dear life because without him, you wouldn’t have anything else.” Gaudi has never looked cleaner, because Fia has just mopped the floor with Berni.

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