At the pub, which I can now tell you is not an actual pub but rather an elaborately crafted CGI hologram, Amy arrives to complain to Evan that he let her make a fool out of herself with Briain. He has no idea what she’s talking about, of course, but assures her that whatever it is, it’s not his fault. She rolls her eyes a lot and asks him how it’s not his fault that he didn’t bother telling her she was about to waste her feminine charms on a gay guy, which you may recall is a thing that happened during our absence. He scoffs and assures her that Briain is not gay, because he has never once caught him singing “I Will Survive” into his hairbrush in front of the mirror, but she counters that she was given this information by noted homosexuality expert Bobbi-Lee, who seemed quite sure about it. Remember, whenever there is mass confusion, particularly of a sexual nature, all roads lead to Bobbi-Lee. Taking a page from our favorite blonde’s book of tricks, Amy presents into evidence the fact that as far as she knows, Briain has not been spotted having sex in public WITH A WOMAN the whole time he’s been in Ros na Rún. Of course, Amy had never seen or heard of Briain until last week, but that’s beside the point. Evan agrees that it’s very strange, though I would argue that since they haven’t seen him having sex in public with a man either, it’s just as likely he’s a eunuch. Anyway, Amy stirs the pot a bit more by suggesting that perhaps Briain is in love with Evan, what with their living together and playing football together and having dinners in which their mouths get closer and closer until they realize they’re eating opposite ends of the same strand of spaghetti and then turn away bashfully. Evan looks stricken, and it seems a big iceberg of gay panic is on the horizon and we are headed straight for it.
Fia finds Vanessa in the shop and says she’s been trying to call her all day, but Vanessa responds with the same enthusiasm she’d have if Fia said she’d spent all day trying to see how many golf balls she can fit in her mouth. (Answer: six.) Fia hands her the Important Legal Envelope, and after some weak protesting from Vanessa that she’s far too busy for this today, as evidenced by the fact that we found her standing in the shop staring into space and covered with cobwebs, she grudgingly opens it. They look at it together, and Fia says she can’t believe Niall is doing this after the way she’s treated him. Vanessa and her side-ponytail add that this manner of thing is the reason they fell in love with Niall in the first place. So I guess we’re meant to assume it’s an envelope full of notarized dick pics? Vanessa looks stunned for a while, and then Fia says she can tell she’s still in love with Niall, and frets that if it weren’t for her and her teenage homewrecking, they’d still be together. Vanessa suddenly remembers she has to be somewhere else, for example someplace Fia is not, and flees the jurisdiction.
In the café kitchen, Berni is stirring a pot of thick grey soup or wallpaper paste when Briain sashays up behind her and starts waving his ladle around. Instead of her usual flirty “Oh, stop, you!” giggly nonsense, she hisses at him to knock it off and pushes him off her. Well, the industrial tribunal will certainly be hearing about this. He tries to make small talk with her but she’s peevish and aloof, I mean even more than usual, so finally he’s like, “I can’t help but notice you’re a complete wagon today and was wondering if there’s a reason.” There’s the usual “I’m not going to tell you because you should already know” malarkey, which is only ever trotted out by people whose goal is to escalate the fight but pretend they’re the reasonable one. She drags it out to just this side of the point where Briain might give up on this car crash and declare this vehicle a total loss, and then transforms into her Berni The Spitting Cobra persona, hissing that she heard he had a great time last night with Amy. She says “Amy” as if she’s saying “the town slut,” who of course we all know from Máire’s constant harping is actually Laoise. Briain smirks that Berni is jealous, which just pisses her off more, and then he and his luxurious chest hair tell her that as soon as he realized Amy was interested in his various parts, he left. He assures her that he’s crazy about her, although I might have ended that sentence with the word “crazy,” and that he’d never do anything to jeopardize their sexationship. They lean in to kiss, but just then Evan appears, so Briain overcompensates by running over to him and rubbing his chest and back while exclaiming that he’s been thinking about him all morning. Oh, dear. There’s a lot of homoerotic whatnot and discussion of how they should have a men-only night on the town with no dames, because dames is trouble, and they could also maybe watch a film, like Brokeback Mountain or Saving Ryan’s Privates. Evan makes his gay panic face again, and while we will be annoyed if Briain ends up riding Evan instead of Pádraig, as we intended all season, it will create such drama and insanity that we will allow it.
At the shop, Caitríona and Vince are doing the thing where they’re each having half of two different conversations that are in no way related to each other. He’s whining that he can’t do without Adam in the shop this busy time of year, because a lot of people do all their Christmas shopping there apparently (“Happy Christmas, Dee! It’s a bottle of salad dressing! Wait, where are you going?”), whereas Caitríona is talking about the time James Joyce called her the five best Irish authors of her generation. She manages to focus on what Vince is saying long enough to ask if he’s sure his accusations are true, and after he recaps the list of Adam’s alleged offenses, ending with the missing case of wine, Caitríona goes off on a tangent about some nonsense with Gráinne at Loinnir for about 27 minutes and then remembers that, oh yeah, she totally knows what happened to the wine.
At the shop, Amy is teasing Evan about Briain, and smirks that Briain has probably planned tonight’s “lads only” night out as a way to tell Evan how he really feels about him and also possibly get his lad out. Evan tells her to give it a rest, but she reminds him that not only did Briain give him a huge handsy hug and tell him he can’t stop thinking about him, but he’s also constantly walking around the flat naked when Evan is there. I’m not sure how that would’ve come up in the course of a normal conversation between these two, but OK. Evan uncomfortably clarifies that Briain only walks around naked in the bedroom, which was obvious or else Bobbi-Lee would’ve been hospitalized by now, but he doesn’t feel any better when Amy reminds him that it’s the bedroom the two of them share.
Upstairs at the pub, suitcases are packed and Frances tells Tadhg they’d better hit the road if they want to make it to Dublin before it closes for the night. He looks surprised by this, as if he had no idea why they were packing but just went along with it because everyone else was doing it, and then stammers that he’s got a few things he needs to do before they can leave town for Christmas. He suggests that Frances and Áine go in the car and that he’ll follow later in the hearse, because he wants to celebrate an old-fashioned Addams Family-type Christmas. She exasperatedly reminds him that the whole point of Christmas is to spend quality family time together watching EastEnders in silence without making eye contact, but he counters that they’ll be together for a whole week, so she needs to stop being such an insatiable succubus. Besides, he explains, he’s got to get all the valuable heirlooms and important paperwork out of the pub before he leaves Mo and Bobbi-Lee in charge for a week since it will obviously be a big smoldering hole in the ground when he returns. Frances knows a complete load when she sees, hears, and smells one, so she asks Tadhg, “Is there something you’re not telling me?”, which she should really have printed on a T-shirt to save herself time. He does a variation of the no hablo inglés routine Bobbi-Lee pulls when she doesn’t want to answer a question, so eventually Frances gives up and goes away. Well, this won’t involve Maggie in any way, that’s for sure!
Vanessa is sitting on a bench in Recycle Pod Park looking sad, and then we’re in the pharmacy, where Berni is picking up her tongue-sharpening lotion and lip-pursing lubricant. Evan enters and—gasp—tells her he has something very important to discuss with her about…Santa Claus! Also, Briain.
At the pub, Bobbi-Lee is waving mistletoe around like a club and forcing strangers to kiss like a very festive dominatrix. Adam reminds her that he’s been waiting ten minutes for a pint, as if all of a sudden it’s a surprise to him that the service at this place is terrible. Shut up and eat your poisoned mussels, dude. Vince sidles up to the bar and offers to buy Adam’s drink, which results in some hilarious eye-rolling and shade-throwing from Adam. Vince starts apologizing for earlier, and while the gracious thing would be for Adam to accept the olive branch, we don’t come to Adam for graciousness, and we’re glad that he makes Vince grovel a little. It’s nice that Adam is happier and whatnot this year, but I think we all kind of miss moustache-twirling telenovela villain Adam. Since apologizing doesn’t seem to be working, Vince changes tactics and says he’s sure Adam can use the money this time of year for all the Christmas presents he’s got to buy, but he replies that he doesn’t have anyone to buy presents for, and that Christmas is just like any other day to him, except for the bit where he wakes up in the alley behind Lidl at 6am with tinsel in his mouth. He continues to give Vince some serious side-eye for a while, but then accepts his invitation to spend Christmas with him, Caitríona, and Maeve. That sounds like the worst Christmas in the world to me, but I suppose growing up with Cruella DeVil as a mother has set the holiday bar low for our Adam.
Meanwhile, back at the House of a Thousand Residents, Berni is explaining to Briain that it’s actually a good thing that she’s kicking him out, because if he has his own place, they won’t have to sneak around anymore. Yes, they can be free and open in the skip he’ll be living in. Even better, she continues, if everyone thinks he’s gay, they’ll never even suspect the two of them are sleeping together. For some strange reason, Briain seems less enamored of this stupid plan than Berni is, but before the fight between them can really get started, Fia shows up looking for Vanessa. Berni and Briain excuse themselves to go have sex and/or an argument at Tigh Thaidhg so Vanessa and Fia can have the sitting room to themselves, which is convenient since it’s the only room at Berni’s apartment there is a set for. After they leave, Vanessa says she’s packing her bags to go back to Australia tomorrow, and Niall isn’t going with her, because she can’t give him another chance. Okay, bye then!
Tadhg materializes at Maggie’s to find her in her dressing gown having her blood pressure taken by a doctor we’ve never seen before. As you may recall, during our time away Maggie died and came back to life several times as a result of letting herself run completely out of emergency asthma medication repeatedly. Is it forgetfulness, ineptitude, or attention-seeking behavior? Or some combination of the three?
Across town, Vanessa and Fia have come to deliver some good news to Máire, and they’ve chosen to do it in the community center for reasons that, as with all bombshells dropped in the community center on this show, surpass understanding. Máire looks very excited, assuming the news is that they’re all going into Galway to get matching Bible quotes tattooed on their behinds, but her excitement turns into ice-cold Christmas diarrhea when Fia tells her that she and Liam Óg are going back to Australia with Vanessa! Well, that doesn’t seem sudden at all.
Tadhg arrives home to the pub kitchen with a huffing and puffing Maggie in tow. She’d have more energy to breathe if she’d stop squawking that she’s unhappy about this because it’s “not right.” Sure, this entire relationship was “right” until just this moment. It seems along the way Tadhg has stopped to pick up various frozen dinners and Guinness-pies-on-a-stick and so on that will be easy for Maggie to heat up while she’s bunkered down here in the pub over Christmas. She complains some more about how she’s not comfortable with this situation, stopping periodically to cough ominously, but Tadhg assures her that Frances won’t mind, and in fact told him it would be OK to move a floozy or two into the house while she’s away. Maggie responds to this by coughing for about eleven minutes, and then weakly tells Tadhg he should hit the road, and not to worry about her because she’ll be fine, cough cough. Then he announces that he’s staying: Frances and Áine will be fine in Dublin without him, and in fact probably won’t even notice that he’s not there, because families always enjoy it when you go spend Christmas with your secret other family. Well, the important thing is that when Frances comes home in search of her husband and finds this cozy little situation, both Maggie and Tadhg will be hung by the chimney with care.