Sunday, October 22, 2017

Once Upon A Tadhg

Season 22, Episode 14
First aired 19 October 2017

It’s morning, and Gráinne is in her kitchen doing a tarot card reading on herself. Is that allowed? She’s very excited because she draws The River, which she announces is a good sign and means something about opportunity. David is happy that she’s happy, but is also wary and warns her not to take “those cards” too seriously. Either he’s worried she’ll be disappointed when she does not actually win a cruise down a scenic medieval river as pictured on the card or he thinks tarot cards are sacrilegious graven images and pagan idolatry that will cause Zeus to come smite them. He leaves, and then Pádraig, who is wearing an utterly gorgeous GQ jacket/shirt combo complete with elbow patches and a pocket square so chic it would make Tom Ford weep, asks Gráinne what exactly The River means. I should note that Gráinne is standing beside this vision of sartorial splendor wearing an aqua terrycloth bathrobe and fuchsia character turban, which suggests that one of them drew the High Fashion card this morning, and it wasn’t her. Anyway, she explains that The River means “fruitfulness and abundance, and miracles, of course,” which I am interpreting to mean she will stumble across an all-you-can-eat pineapple buffet even though pineapples are NOT IN SEASON. She sighs happily, looks meaningfully at the Brigid’s cross, and then grabs a bag of cotton balls and heads off to the bathroom. It looks like she’s having a slumber party and Pádraig did not get the memo about the dress code.

At the pub, Breadgate continues, with Bobbi-Lee demonstrating that the new slices can be used to hammer in nails and sand down the bar for varnishing. She asks again about the possibility of Maggie resuming her bread delivery, which is only kind of a euphemism, and Tadhg pretends not to know who Maggie is and then tells her to shut up and set out the feckin’ bread. There’s a bit of confusion in which Tadhg thinks Mo and Bobbi-Lee are talking about how he’s clearly missing Maggie and should go up to see her, when in fact they are of course talking about Frances. It’s important to be able to correctly identify the woman who is about to kill you, especially when she’s your wife. Máire arrives, and of course she’s once again looking after Liam Óg, who at this point spends more time in the pub than Bobbi-Lee does. She sidles up to Micheál and puts in a plug for Fia as the perfect radio employee he’s been looking for. Fia’s qualifications include dancing to the radio with her eyes closed while off her head on mystery pills and also being able to spell “radio” with 70 percent accuracy. He can’t seem to find her CV in the pile of applications FOR SOME REASON, but Máire assures him he’ll be receiving it soon, because Fia stayed “at a friend’s house last night so she could work on it.” Oh, dear. Further down the bar, Mo, who may or may not be working, is playing on her phone and is shocked to discover on Facebook that Katy and Jason just got married! She asks Tadhg why he didn’t tell anyone, and it’s clear from his reaction it’s because they didn’t bother informing him. To be fair, maybe they tried calling him, but there’s no mobile coverage deep in Maggie’s hedges.

Máire and Liam Óg’s world tour continues with a stop at the café, where Briain is busy demonstrating his worth by wiping down the customers and frying the lasagna. Evan happens to be there, which gives him an opportunity to complain some more about what a bad mother Fia is, which we just can’t get enough of. Máire repeats the story about how Fia stayed at a friend’s house last night working on her CV, as one does in Máire’s world apparently, and Evan rolls his eyes and assumes that means Fia was up all night snorting coke off Boy George in a Supermac’s toilet. She reminds him that she has to go work at the pharmacy later, which we had forgotten was a thing, and asks if he could watch Liam Óg in the very remote chance that Fia and her CV haven’t materialized by then. He protests that he’s too busy, as evidenced by the fact that he’s been sitting around the café chatting with his BFF Briain all morning, but says he’ll ring and check on Fia, because he’s also got some advice he’d like to give her about her CV. That advice is “Go jump off a bridge, and also use a nice traditional font like Times New Roman.”

We cut to the Holiday House of Horrors, where Pól is asleep on his face. He’s awakened, more or less, by the ring of Fia’s phone, which he tells to go frig itself. We see that it’s Evan calling just as the battery dies, and then he staggers over to the sofa, where Fia is balled up in some manner of unconsciousness. He looks at her ambiguously, and then looks around the pigsty, and then throws his sleeping bag over her, which I hope is not the first step on the road to showing us Pól is actually human under all the sneering and littering. It’s like when we discovered Frankenstein wasn’t such a bad guy, he just wanted to sit around petting a kitten, or that Adam didn’t actually want to destroy Tokyo, he was just misunderstood.

Tadhg arrives at Gaudi to have his first fight with John Joe of the season. We’ve missed that; “Pádraig v. Mussels” and “Dee v. Everybody” just aren’t as satisfying somehow. The ostensible topic of this conversation is John Joe’s trip to Spain, but of course Tadhg is actually trying to find out if he knows Katy and Jason got married. Micheál appears, to Tadhg’s delight as always, and there is chitchat, and eventually Tadhg can’t stand it anymore and asks John Joe if he’s heard the news. John Joe is matter-of-factly like, “Yeah, in fact I was one of the witnesses,” and to his credit is actually not a smug prick about it, so instead Micheál fills that role, pointing out that between the fathers, John Joe is clearly the favorite. I’m not sure that was much of a contest. John Joe doesn’t take the bait, though, and instead notes that Katy and Jason had actually been planning to come home for a visit today—another piece of news they haven’t bothered telling anyone, demonstrating that the self-absorption still runs deep in these two—but that they had to cancel the trip because of their work schedules. Katy is probably waiting until Dee’s birthday to come home so she can hijack the day and make it all about herself. There’s talk of how now that both his daughters are married, it’s time for John Joe himself to find a woman, so Micheál volunteers that he heard Maggie is in need of an electrician, wink wink. John Joe offers to go take a look at her switches, a double entendre that I am not making up this time, but then Tadhg interrupts to say Maggie’s current has already been restored, and that she certainly doesn’t need the services of “some cowboy from Donegal.” Someday I hope to visit Donegal, where, based on Tadhg’s descriptions, I imagine cowboys on horseback galloping across the plains as far as the eye can see.

At the B&B, Máire is scrambling to find someone to look after Liam Óg, because she’s got to go to work and of course Fia is nowhere to be seen. Evan shows up, saying he suspected she’d be M.I.A., and that he’s been trying to call her all day, but her phone is switched off. Has he tried sending a registered letter? Máire, ever the optimist, theorizes that the signal must be poor where Fia is. You know, at her friend’s house, where she’s been working on her CV. In this case “CV” stands for “codeine and vodka.” Evan offers to stay with the baby so Máire can go to work, but is annoyed about it, although he needs to remember that Fia is probably just busy working at her new job at the radio station and has lost track of the time.

And speaking of Ros na Rún’s very own Janice Long, we return to the Holiday House of Horrors, where Fia rattles briefly to life and then rolls over and goes back to sleep. This is looking less like sleep and more like hibernation.

Gráinne and Mo are chatting at the pub and Gráinne produces the tarot card out of nowhere and says she pulled it yesterday. I’m not sure when we transitioned from one day to the next, so we can only assume that Fia has been asleep for 36 hours. Anyway, Gráinne explains to Mo that the River means fruity abundance and a cornucopia full of babies and so on. She says she’s seeing signs everywhere she looks, such as the card, the flying Brigid’s cross, and the issue of Miracle Pregnancy magazine that new postman David misdelivered to their house. Mo tries to slow her roll, but Gráinne reminds her that miracles do happen, like when all the Spice Girls got back together for the Olympics, or that time she plugged in a USB cord right-side-up on the first try.

Evan and Liam Óg stop by the café, and Berni harasses them for a while. Well, mostly Evan, but Liam Óg by association. She carries on for a bit about some nonsense errand she wants him to run to the bank, and you can tell it’s serious because she bugs her eyes out on stalks and jabs her finger at the counter so hard sparks shoot out. He offers to go to the bank if she’ll watch Liam Óg while he’s gone, but she barks that she and Briain are too busy working to look after a baby. Briain volunteers to look after the café so Evan can watch the baby and Berni can go to the bank, and she frets for a while that Briain has only worked there for five minutes and as far as she knows is a complete dumbass. Ultimately, however, she decides she has no other choice and grudgingly agrees. Of course, another option would be for Evan to go to the bank and leave Berni there watching the baby while Briain works, and then if something happens that is beyond Briain’s abilities, she will be there to help out, only if it’s to give advice, or to swap places and let Briain go keep the baby alive. But then I’m not a genius titan of industry like Berni, so what do I know?

We have an exterior shot of a cute yellow house we’ve never seen before, which turns out to be Maggie’s, or possibly a house that Maggie has broken into and is now occupying. She’s sitting by the fire peacefully reading in a cozy cowl top that says, “Hi, I’m reading peacefully by the fire, but am also a possible man-eater.” Tadhg lets himself in, which is why you should always keep your doors locked, and preferably also have a moat full of crocodiles. He nervously announces that he’s come to fix the electricity, and to illustrate his point, holds up what appears to be a can opener. She’s surprised, given that she wasn’t expecting to watch her house go up in flames today, but also intrigued, because she’s got chills, and they’re multiplyin’. There is a conversation about bread that is much more erotically charged than the lesson in my Irish textbook in which we took a trip to a bakery, and then they both swallow hard and give each other looks that suggest their yeast is rising.

After the break, during which we hope Maggie has a recipe for funeral bread, because she’s going to need it when Frances gets back from Dublin, we return to the café, which has not been reduced to a smoking crater yet. Gráinne pops in and orders a half-caff skim soy milk cappuccino with an elderflower shot and an almond-milk half-chai semi-Earl Grey iced caramel latte, and based on the blank look on Briain’s face, we predict she’s going to get two cups of black coffee, one of which has a slice of tomato in it. Evan tells her he’s had to skip his classes at uni today because of Fia being an irresponsible skank and so on, and then Micheál happens to wander in and ask Evan if he knows anything about this CV of Fia’s he keeps hearing about but not seeing. Well, you can’t rush these things, especially given that Fia’s CV consists of two bullet points:

  • Mother (part-time), 2015-present
  • Typing: 6 words per minute
Micheál asks Evan to have Fia get her CV to him as soon as possible, because he wants to give her a chance as payback for how good Máire has been to him over the years. Evan is annoyed, because people keep giving Fia opportunities that she throws away, and meanwhile, he’s been sitting there all day waiting for Briain to notice how nice he looks in his new hoodie and: NOTHING.

Across town, Tadhg is busy electrocuting himself on Maggie’s stove. (Amusingly, he says, “Á a dhiabhail a bhitch,” which the subtitles translate as, “Christ!”) I’m unconvinced that electrical rewiring is the best intro to DIY for someone who clearly has no idea what he’s doing, although I suppose we should be grateful he’s not trying to reroute the gas line. Pretending to be lightly shocked must be much easier than pretending to be lightly exploded, even for an actor of Macdara Ó Fátharta’s caliber. Once his feet are touching the floor again, Maggie suggests that perhaps they call someone who is more knowledgeable about this sort of work, such as anyone. Tadhg says she doesn’t want that slimeball from Donegal hanging around here, because there’s only room for one slimeball in Maggie’s life, and that spot is taken. They exchange meaningful glances over a sexy tea towel, and then Maggie literally asks him if he’d be interested in cleaning out her gutters. They are just making this waaay too easy for me.

We return to the House of Horrors, where Fia tries yet again to wake up, and this attempt she gets both her eyes mostly open at the same time, which is progress. She suddenly notices the seasons have changed and the cobwebs covering her have declared themselves a sovereign nation, so she panics and performs CPR on her phone, which comes back to life just long enough to whisper with its dying breath that it’s 4pm, and she has 10 missed calls from Evan, 15 missed calls from Máire, and 20 new messages. Oops.

Back at Maggie’s, an episode of The Book Show has broken out, and today we’ll be discussing Sex by Madonna. Maggie is reading some old book that Tadhg gave her back in 1968, and says that the only thing that kept her going all those years in America was reading. I am a librarian, and this is a bit much even for me. Anyway, she narrates that books were the only freedom she had, and her two favorites were Cré na Cille and Fifty Shades of Grey. They quote literature at each other for a while, as people on TV do, and there’s a lot of staring into the middle distance.

Gráinne brightly returns home to find the house flooded and a furious Pádraig trying to mop up the muck. It seems he has identified the river of her abundance, and its source is the giant wad of cotton balls she dropped down the sink, which she then left running all day. She blames a tap-turning ghost or very strong, localized wind gust, but then produces the River tarot card she’s been carrying around all day and realizes that perhaps she should’ve turned it over and looked at the other side, which pictures The Blocked Sink. The tarot is very mysterious.

Back at the Maggie Free Library, Tadhg announces that he’d better go, but she wants him to stay, because as we all know, he is charming and delightful. She offers to read her other favorite book to him, Mr. Men Go to the Zoo, so he takes off his coat and sits down, and this is a very cozy situation-slash-future murder scene indeed.

At the B&B, Evan is in a bad mood because he’s being harassed by Liam Óg’s toys. He steps on a Lego in his bare feet, and then gets scared by a jack-in-the-box, and just as he’s about to get his head stuck in a hand puppet, Fia straggles in. He’s livid and immediately starts laying into her, pointing out that she looks ropey and bet down and musing that working on her CV for 48 consecutive hours has certainly taken its toll on her. Of course she has no idea what he’s talking about, so he reports that Máire has been working her ass off to get her a job at Radio Micheál, which is Fia’s cue to start ranting about how Máire is all up in her bizizzle all the time and she feels like she can’t breathe. They argue for a while, and finally a desperate Fia begs him not to tell Máire she hasn’t been working on her CV, because that will make everything ten times worse. It feels like the house of cards that is Fia’s life is getting run over by a bus in slow-motion.

Berni flies into the café in frantic “Don’t panic! Don’t panic! Mama’s here!” mode, and seems vaguely disappointed to find all is well and Briain has everything under control. You can tell she’s been practicing her “you’re fired!” lecture in the car all the way back from the bank and is now surprised to see that the customers are actually much happier and look less like they’re being held against their will than when she’s there. She’s so pleased with the non-burning-down that’s happening that she offers Briain a permanent job, which saves him a lot of trouble, because he was about to take off his shirt and start doing hanging inverted crunches off the counter, which is his CV. He bounces off brightly to badminton practice or whatever just as Bobbi-Lee arrives, and when Berni announces Briain will be staying around a while longer because she’s just hired him, Bobbi-Lee turns her bombshell-ometer up to 11 and declares that Briain is going to be a great catch for “someone.” Or possibly “everyone,” given that half the town seems to be developing special and confusing feelings for him.

Clean-up operations at Stately Gráinne Manor continue, and Pádraig continues to be bit of a pill about it, though we’ll cut him some slack given that Gráinne somehow crammed half a bag of cotton balls down the sink and then left the water running all day. I’m not sure how you do that accidentally, but then Gráinne is very resourceful. She’s fretting to David that she’s made a mess of everything, and she’s also disappointed because all the signs and omens had gotten her hopes up. He reminds her that tarot cards are rubbish, which is a typically sensitive David move that once again demonstrates his complete inability to read a room. He kisses her, which gets both their motors running all of a sudden, and when Pádraig enters the room with mop and bucket in total charwoman mode, he finds they’re eating each other’s faces off. Gráinne announces that it turns out she was right about the card after all, because it seems there is fruitfulness and abundance in store for her, which they announce is going to take the form of the two of them having sex in the shower. We’ll try not to think about what’s going to be stopping up the drain and causing a flood 10 minutes from now.

It seems storytime is over back at Maggie’s, so Tadhg once again announces that he should be going home. Maggie spends 11 minutes tenderly adjusting his collar, and they exchange a long look that makes us all think they’re about to start snogging the hell out of each other, but then they think better of it and she notices that his wristwatch is missing. She starts looking around the kitchen for it, and he sees that he’s left it on the windowsill over the sink, presumably when he was playing plumber. In unrelated news, now when you plug in Maggie’s toaster, scalding water shoots out of it. Anyway, he quietly hides his watch behind one of the tchotchkes on the windowsill so she’ll find it later and then innocently says, “Well, if you find it, especially over here on this windowsill for example, bring it by the pub, and wear something low-cut.” That last part is implied.

They say their goodbyes, and their eye contact goes on a moment too long, and then he dashes out, leaving her looking longingly at him as he goes. When he gets outside, he leans up against the wall and gives a meaningful look while breathing heavily, and I’m glad they’ve introduced the books-and-reading metaphor to this relationship, because I’d just about run out of gardening double entendres. Come back next week when we will discuss Tadhg inserting his bookmark into Maggie’s pages!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Tell the world what you think! Unless what you think is spam, or porn, or self-promotion, or hateful.