Sunday, November 19, 2017

All Right, Frances Has Officially Had Enough of Your Nonsense

Season 22, Episode 22
First aired 16 November 2017

It’s the 22nd episode of the 22nd season, which probably means you are supposed to send me a gift, but I’m too busy being terrified by the robot elf in the eir commercial that screams “IT’S CHRISTMAS!” and then threatens to kill everyone that I can’t think about it right now. We open at Berni’s, where she and Briain share some light awkwardness before Evan swings through to tell Briain about some dumb friend of theirs who couldn’t get into a sex club because he looked too young or something. I think the point of this is to remind us that Evan and Briain are young and stupid, whereas Berni is a vine-ripened lemon. Evan leaves, and then Briain grabs her hand and informs her that she may not know it, but she enjoyed it when he kissed her last night. She seems aroused by washing the dishes, and he is 24 so he is aroused by everything, but finally she tells him nothing can ever happen between them and it’s best if he moves out. He can’t believe what he’s hearing, I guess because no one has ever been able to resist his hunkitude before, and it’s also worth noting that he looks so much better today in a shirt that actually fits him than in all the child’s football jerseys they’ve been squeezing him into lately. Oh, also he seems sad about whatever is happening here.

At Maggie’s, Gráinne has dropped by to deliver some coupons for 20% off face removals at the salon, which she’s the new manager of since Caitríona is now off staring into space and Googling her own name all day at the radio station. Of course Tadhg is there and stands very still in hopes Gráinne won’t be able to see him, but because she is not a mountain lion, she spots him immediately. Fortunately for him, though, she has no curiosity about what he’s doing there because she could not possibly be less interested in him and his antics. She’s more interested in the fact that Maggie has just had a load of turf delivered, and warns her to be careful who she buys it from, because apparently someone’s been stealing it from her good friend Coílí Jackie, who I always think is called Coinín Jackie. You may recall that he’s the town lunatic who gave Gráinne the gun everybody got shot with at the end of last season, and whose dog Pól poisoned, and who kept getting into fistfights with Uncle Pest. Now that we’ve run through Coinín Jackie’s CV, which is much more impressive than Fia’s that we heard about every day for 3 weeks, Tadhg decides he’s had enough pleasantries and puts on his jacket to go, so Gráinne volunteers him to give her a lift back to town, and you can tell he’s trying to impress Maggie with his charm because he agrees to do so rather than calling Gráinne a bloody hippie and pointing out that she’s got feckin’ legs as he normally would.

As soon as Tadhg and Gráinne exit through the front door, Pól sneaks in through the back one, and Maggie asks him to remind her again where he got the turf he delivered the other day. He makes up some nonsense about getting it from the turf department at Brown Thomas, so she sweetly tells him she’ll keep quiet about this if he promises not to steal from Coinín Jackie again. Well, that’s this week’s episode of Crimewatch Connemara sorted then.

At the radio station, new media mogul Caitríona is working hard, by which I mean she is walking around carrying a piece of paper. Muireann stops by to kiss her ass, which Caitríona allows for about three seconds before telling her to cram a ham in it and knock off her shenanigans. She explains that unlike famous old dunce Labhrás, she’s onto Muireann, and that she can go pull her capers somewhere else. Heh. It seems there’s only room for one Natasha in this story, and her name rhymes with “Baitríona.”

Over at the pub, someone who looks like Bobbi-Lee is sweeping, but she’s using the correct end of the broom so it must be someone else. Pádraig stomps in and angrily tells her that she and her big mouth have ruined his friendship with Adam, and she’s surprised because she expected the two of them to be planning a wedding by now. The theme will be, “That Time Pádraig Punched Adam For Calling Him A Gayboy.” She does her usual “I was only trying to help” routine, which—unlike, say, Berni’s—is usually genuine, and she gets back the usual “I don’t need your help!” as Pádraig storms out.

Maggie then breezes into the pub with Pól in tow, which annoys everyone who’s ever met him, but she promises that he won’t cause any trouble. Frances can’t believe all the lecturing she’s been giving Maggie about Pól has been for naught, so she and Tadhg march over to their table to give them a piece of their collective mind. They threaten to murder Pól for a while and he promises to be good, which means the next time we see him the pub will be on fire and he’ll have a lighter in his hand and go ten minutes without blinking.

Gráinne has come to visit Caitríona at the radio station for some reason, and finds her complaining that if she’d known this job would involve accounting and paperwork she never would’ve taken it. I’m not sure what she thought a radio station manager did all day, but trying to understand how Caitríona’s mind works is always a dangerous and potentially insanity-inducing endeavor. She announces dramatically that she’s up to her eyeballs in work, by which she means these Farmville crops are not going to harvest themselves, and she looks harried because she’s been there for 45 whole minutes and thinks it’s about time to call it a day.

Maggie and Pól are still at the pub discussing the works of John Donne and also the fact that Davood Ghadami gives them funny feelings when they’re watching Strictly. Just then Coinín Jackie comes down from the hills, which is always a sign that good times are about to ensue, and starts ranting about how Pól killed his dog and stole his turf. Pól responds by giving him a bunch of lip, at which point Jackie grabs him by the collar and starts choking him. Of course everyone in the pub is in favor of this except Maggie and Pól, so she starts screaming for them to stop, and Mo goes to have a panic attack in the corner. I guess that storyline is ongoing despite the magical healing powers of Mack’s hugging and Dee’s talking about herself all the time. Because Tadhg does not want to deal with the paperwork generated when an ex-convict is murdered in one’s pub, he eventually pulls them apart, so Pól as usual tells everybody to go frig themselves and storms out while Maggie screams for him to come back like a fool. Áine has materialized behind the bar, as she is wont to do, to complain that she’s scared of the bad man, as she is also wont to do, but Frances assures her that she and Tadhg won’t let anything happen to her. Áine explains that she’s also afraid that Pól will hurt Maggie, and Frances thinks it’s time for her to have a word with Maggie about Pól again. If things go the way they seem to be going, Maggie needs to be much more afraid of Frances than she is of Pól, because he may burn your house down, but she will reduce you to a pile of broken DNA strands.

At the radio station, Muireann has decided to up the ante in the high-stakes poker game she’s playing with Caitríona by informing her she’s just been named a regular guest on the station’s Sunday-morning current affairs program. It’s also being renamed Total Crap With Muireann Uí Gharbháin. Caitríona smilingly responds that this will be happening over her dead body, because she knows Muireann is just trying to use the station as a political soapbox. She represents the Screaming Gorgon Party, which is somewhere between Fine Gael and the Coalition of Christian Pirates (CCP) on the political spectrum. Caitríona says the current-affairs program was part of the old schedule, and that it probably won’t be on the new schedule, so she should shut up and go away. The station has been on the air for a week and a half and they’re already totally revamping the schedule? At this rate she’ll have turned it into a shoe store by Christmas. Anyway, Muireann threatens to have the advertisers she recruited pull their sponsorship if she doesn’t get her own program and then disappears in her characteristic cloud of green smoke. A nervous Caitríona wonders whether she can actually do this, and Amy replies that she doesn’t know, but she’s going to find out, so she picks up the phone and starts making calls. Clearly Amy is the only one in this storyline who has any idea what’s going on.

Frances has taken Maggie aside at the pub for a frank, sensitive discussion about what an ass-biscuit Pól is. She can’t believe Maggie would bring him around after the warnings she’s been getting, and by doing so, she’s upset poor little Áine, who was only able to steal the hubcaps off three cars tonight before realizing her heart wasn’t in it and coming home to bed. Maggie apologizes, sort of, but explains that she thinks everyone deserves a second chance, and she’s not giving up on Pól. I’d say he’s up to his eleventh or twelfth chance, but to be sure I’d need Amy to make me a PowerPoint presentation with some charts and bar graphs. Frances thinks this is a load of old bollocks and tells Maggie she’s a fool if she thinks Pól will ever change, and you can see her blood start to boil when Maggie replies that Pól is being picked on and ostracized for no reason, just like poor Tadhg was when he was a lad. Frances’ lips disappear and she asks for clarification of what the hell Tadhg has to do with any of this, so Maggie bangs on for a while about how people like Pól and Tadhg are given no chances because people expect the worst of them, and that when everyone thinks you’re bad news, eventually you start to act that way. It’s one of those self-fulfilling prophylactic things. She pauses for breath after about 14 minutes of this amateur psychology and Frances takes the opportunity to request in a calm, I-think-I-may-be-killing-you-before-long voice that Maggie stop comparing Tadhg to Pól if she wants to remain in one piece. She snaps that the two of them are nothing alike, and Maggie passive aggressively replies, “If that’s what you think,” and wanders away making an “Oops! Have I said too much?” face that you can tell she thinks is rull cute. Frances’ eyes narrow, and if you love her as much as I do, you will know that this face means she’s calculating the exact speed at which her car needs to be going when it hits Maggie to send her flying the optimal distance and height.

After the break, Vanessa is at the café telling Berni how much she misses Niall, but even though he’s only a couple of hours away, she doesn’t feel like she can get away because she’s got to be here helping Fia with her new business. Yes, I’m sure Fia couldn’t possibly sew together a top without you hanging around watching her and carrying on about the time Niall saw a dingo. Bobbi-Lee hilariously interjects that what Vanessa really needs to do is knock some manners into Fia’s little blonde head, but because Berni’s not in the mood to clean blood and hair off the counter today, she quickly changes the subject to how dreamy Niall sounds. Vanessa is only too happy to point out that he’s significantly younger than she is and that he can’t get enough of her womanly curves and the way she spends hours summarizing old Duran Duran videos and episodes of Eldorado for him. Oh, and because everyone in Ireland knows everyone else, it turns out he’s an old friend of Mack’s, which will probably serve a purpose at some point in the future, but not right now. Bobbi-Lee storms off in a huff after she and Vanessa get into an argument over absolutely nothing, which gives Berni a chance to casually and totally hypothetically ask her about what it’s like to be in a May-December relationship, or in Berni and Briain’s case, mid-February–December. Vanessa tells her it started out as just a bit of fun, but then turned into something more, and eventually they got married and couldn’t be happier now. Well, give Fia and Niall five minutes together and I’m sure they could put an end to that. Vanessa concludes that there’s nothing wrong with it as long as the young lad has good sense and maturity, and Berni looks dreamily into the distance, wondering if the fact that Briain can burp the entire alphabet counts as good sense and maturity.

Caitríona has summoned Muireann to the radio station, and as usual she arrives with an air of smugness and brimstone. Amy explains that she’s been speaking to a laywer, actually, and that what Muireann is trying to do would break several laws, including one about politicians having their own programs on public radio and another about the evil spirits of dead vampires exerting undue influence over the media. It’s unclear whether this comes as news to Muireann or whether she already knew it and was just hoping they wouldn’t find out, so she sleazes that she’s sure if they work together they can come to a mutually satisfactory arrangement, to which Caitríona replies that what would really give her and Amy satisfaction would be to watch Muireann go back to whichever crypt she crawled out of. I’m paraphrasing, but not by much. She oozes out, defeated, and Caitríona and Amy smile at each other in a very “Sisters Are Doing It For Themselves” way. We should remember this a few weeks from now when Caitríona is trying to sack her and Amy is out in the parking lot cutting Caitríona’s brake lines.

Behind the bar, Áine asks Tadhg in front of Frances if Maggie can move in with them, which gives him palpitations and causes Frances to send her to her room. When it’s just the two of them, she tells Tadhg she’s getting sick of Maggie’s nonsense, first bringing Pól into the pub when she knows he’s not welcome and then having the nerve to compare him to Tadhg, whom she carries on about as if they’re best friends. She asks him how well he and Maggie know each other, and he evasively talks about the gang of kids they were both a part of, and how they’d all go to the cinema and the sweet shop and the Easter Uprising together, as kids do. She crosses her arms and glares at him silently with what is my absolute favorite Frances expression, the one that would give Batman himself instant diarrhea, and he breaks out into a cold sweat and starts nervously adding too many details to his story, which by this point has basically turned into a montage of scenes from The Little Rascals. She remains stone-faced and silent until he finally concludes, “Nothing happened between us!” and runs upstairs, and it seems the house of cards he and Maggie have spent all this time assembling is about to be knocked down and shoved up their asses.

On the awkwardness, regret, and magazine aisle at the shop, Pádraig apologizes to Adam for hurting his feelings, and Adam replies that he’s the one who’s sorry for putting Pádraig in an uncomfortable situation. Pádraig tells him he’s got nothing to be sorry about, because he knows the role Bobbi-Lee played in all this, and I love how her name is used in the village as shorthand for “Don’t worry, I know this wasn’t actually your fault.” They agree to be friends again and to forget this entire thing happened, at least until they start fighting over the same guy or get anonymously set up with each other on Grindr.

Back at the café, Berni tells Vanessa her young lad is a total ride and there’s only about a 60 percent chance he’s a psychotic stalker, but that she’s decided to steer clear of him because she doesn’t want people calling her a cougar. As if that’s the worst thing anybody’s ever called Berni. Vanessa’s take on this situation is that “people” can go eff themselves, and if Berni doesn’t give this toyboy a try, she’ll always wonder what might’ve been. I’m going to guess “public humiliation, a yearlong falling-out with Evan, and something that takes 14 days of antibiotics to clear up.” She worries what will happen if the town gossips find out, as if she’s not the vice-president of the Irish Gossip Association’s Galway chapter, but Vanessa reiterates her “fuck ‘em” platform. It clearly gives Berni something to think about, and my guess is that something is Briain’s thighs.

At Radio Money Laundering, Labhrás is asking Muireann, who is still hanging around for some unfathomable reason, why she cancelled their dinner plans last night, and she tells him something urgent came up, such as her not wanting to. Caitríona chooses this moment to breeze in and ask Labhrás if he’d like to do that gardening program he’s been banging on about on Sunday mornings at 8, which is of course the time slot Muireann had been planning to use for her new show You Are All Peasants And I Own You. The co-host was going to be Bono. He excitedly accepts, and when Muireann butts in and offers to assist in any way she can, he icily tells her to buzz off. She does, but only after a lot of smirking and moustache-twirling. Tough luck, Natasha, but there’ll always be a place for you in low-rent Christmas pantos as the one everyone boos. He departs, and Caitríona tells Amy she did a great job today, and if she keeps it up, there’s sure to be a promotion in her future. Amy beams and says she’s always happy to learn new things, so Caitríona responds by handing her the foot-high stack of paperwork she’s been carrying around and saying, “Great, you can start with this!” before buggering off home. Well, it didn’t take long for her to start delegating, did it? Gráinne can fill Amy in on how this works.

Tadhg and Áine are playing cards at the bar, and the stakes are presumably ownership of Bobbi-Lee and Mo’s souls. Maggie shows up and says she’s here to have a word with Frances, but Áine warns her that Frances is being a cranky wagon today and is best avoided. Tadhg confirms said wagonness, so Maggie wanders away and Áine grumbles to Tadhg that it’s not fair that Frances is angry at Maggie, because Maggie is go hálainn. Tadhg agrees, and then tries to explain that sometimes grown-ups have to make difficult decisions, such as whether they want to stay with their mean ol’ wife or the nice lady who keeps almost dying with her head in a jack o’ lantern, but Áine declares in bored tones that this is all bullshit and asks him if he’s here to flap his gums or to play cards.

A quick cut to Berni’s shows her coming home to find Briain packing his stuff, which involves putting the same handful of CDs that’s been passed around from person to person the last few episodes into his duffel bag. We then return to the pub, where Maggie tells Tadhg she didn’t mean to stir up any trouble with Frances earlier. He says he knows, but in the future she’s going to have to be smarter and control her tongue, because if you make Frances angry, she will put you in a rocket ship and launch you into the sun. That last part is implied. He explains that Frances has been asking a lot of questions about how he and Maggie know each other and what the exact nature of their relationship is, so they’re going to have to cool it for a bit. Oh, and then Coinín Jackie wanders through and tells Tadhg he just took a dump on the bathroom floor, because his purpose on this show is to be a randomly generated agent of chaos, mostly of the kind you don’t want to step in.

Back at her place, Berni tells Briain she was hasty in asking him to move out, but he says it’s the right thing to do because if he can’t be with her in the, you know, riding sense, he’d rather be far away from her. He tells her he’s quitting his job, too, and thanks her for everything she’s done for him. He leaves, but then immediately comes back in to return his key, at which point she sticks her tongue down his throat and starts ripping his clothes off. I wish they would build the “Berni’s bedroom” set so these two can stop having sex in the kitchen. Anyway, I can’t decide whether I want Bobbi-Lee or Evan to find out about this first, but either way, they’re going to have to interrupt Labhrás’ gardening show with breaking news of a double homicide before long.

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