Tuesday, December 26, 2017

And the Bells Are Ringing Out for Christmas Gay

Season 22, Episode 32
First aired December 21, 2017

Aaand we’re back! As you may or may not have noticed, depending on how invested you are in my nonsense, Ros na Recaps has been on vacation for a few weeks, during which I actually went to Ros na Rún! No, seriously, I went to Spiddal and visited the studio/set in real life, not in a dream sequence resulting from mixing Ambien and Bailey’s. I’ll be posting a report on my day in Ros na Rún in a bit, but for now, things have gone completely mental while I’ve been away, so let’s get right to it!

We open at the front door of the B&B, where Niall, about whom we have been having ambivalent feelings lately, has come to hand-deliver a document to Fia. We know it’s important because it’s in a plain brown envelope, like your dad’s Playboy magazine circa 1983. She asks him what it is, but he only tells her she’s got his number if she has any questions about it and then goes away. She opens it and then makes a face that indicates vague surprise, or perhaps wind, and it looks like she, like us, wishes the show would hurry up and make it clear how we’re supposed to feel about Niall already so we can get on with feeling it.

At the shop, Adam is complaining to Vince that the life of a liberated gay twenty-something is an exhausting one, what with being up until 5am every morning dancing to the Game of Thrones theme tune or whatever the gays are dancing to these days. Anyway, the all-night dance party is the reason he’s dragging his ass this morning, but Vince is more interested in the fact that one of the cases of wine that was delivered yesterday seems to have disappeared. When quizzed on whether he might know anything about this, Adam is evasive in a way that actually looks pretty guilty, although because we find ourselves rooting for him these days, we would prefer to imagine that Annette, who is an infamous thieving thief who thieves, stole the wine for her six to eight children. Adam wanders off noncommittally, and Vince looks sternly at the greeting card rack, wondering if there’s one that says “Sorry for Firing You at Christmas” in, like, a manly way.

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.

Across the shop, Vince snottily asks Adam if he paid for the cup of coffee he’s walking around drinking, and the response is basically, “Not yet, but I haven’t finished drinking it yet either, so keep your hair on.” This leads to Vince banging on about the missing wine some more until it’s clear he’s accusing Adam of taking it, and also throws in The Case of Amy’s Missing Money for good measure, because Amy is suddenly someone everybody cares about. Adam storms into the back to get his coat, and spits on his way out the front door that if Vince doesn’t trust him, there’s no point in his working there anymore. Well, all the free coffee is a nice perk.

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.

There’s a quick cut to the café, where Fia asks Niall if she can have a word, and he emotionlessly and very professionally asks her to sit, as if she’s applying for a car loan. We then return to the store, where Vince is yelling at Caitríona, because it seems she took the case of wine and forgot to tell him, as one does. He can’t believe he lost a semi-competent employee two days before Christmas because of her seafóid, and she coos that he should just call Adam and apologize, because when he explains what happened, Adam will be so delighted to hear that the world-famous Caitríona is involved in this story that he’ll be star-struck and probably even agree to a pay cut in exchange for her autograph. She smiles a lot and talks in her patented soothing, honeyed tones, which may be able to confuse the likes of Áine and Labhrás, but Vince gawks at her in disbelief and bugs his eyes out angrily in the general direction of her antics.

An Adoration of the Magi scene has broken out wherever Niall is staying now, consisting of him and Fia cooing over Liam Óg in his stroller by a Christmas tree. There does not seem to be any gold, frankincense, or myrrh, but Niall apparently stopped to put on his plastic necklace on the way here, so at least he made an effort. He has the sort of conversation one has with a child aged 2 or 5 or however old Liam Óg is, which mostly consists of Liam Óg waving his cup around and looking up at the boom, but then Niall says, “I’m your dad.” He’s clearly deeply moved—Niall, I mean, not Liam Óg—and he thanks Fia, asking her if he can keep Liam Óg for an hour. She agrees, and then adds that she’s been talking to Vanessa and knows she’s still in love with him, so he should try to talk to her again. He sadly tells her he’s already tried that, but as they both know, Vanessa is kind of an unreasonable wagon. Fia begs him to try again, because this needs to be fixed before whichever combination of them that’s going back to Australia goes.

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.

After the break, during which we learn there is a spray you can carry around in your purse that will make your poo smell nice, Vanessa arrives at Mack’s and is dismayed to find Niall there alone with Liam Óg. Come on, Vanessa, given that Fia’s left Liam Óg in the care of every single person on this show on multiple occasions, including the giant plastic ice cream cone outside the shop, it was only a matter of time before she left him with Niall. That’s just simple math.

Back at the pub, Tadhg is saying goodbye to Frances and Áine, promising them that he won’t be far behind them. When they hear scary pipe-organ music coming out of a hearse with bats belching out of the tailpipe, they’ll know it’s him.

At Mack And Dee’s, Vanessa is carrying on with the melodramatic “Get away from my grandson! Where’s Fia!” nonsense you would expect from her right now. To both their credits, Niall calmly tells her that Fia left him to spend some time with Liam Óg and that she can call her if she doesn’t believe him, and Vanessa peels herself off the ceiling and apologizes for overreacting. He tells her it will be good for Liam Óg to know his father, and she agrees, and then thanks him for the child support agreement he offered to pay Fia. Well, I guess now we know for sure that the contents of the important envelope from earlier weren’t selfies of him giving Fia and Vanessa the middle finger in various locations around town. He says he just wishes he could do more, and that he’s thinking about staying in Ros na Rún instead of returning to Australia because he wants to be a father to Liam Óg, and besides, Fia is incompetent. She tells him he’s a good man, and he says he’ll do anything she wants if she’ll just take him back, including watching that stupid Say Yes to the Dress show that’s on all the damn time.

At home, Berni sits Evan down to have a mother-son talk, and although the conversation she thinks they’re having is not the one he thinks they’re having, they both involve Briain’s junk. She starts talking, but he interrupts her to say there’s only one solution here, and that’s for Briain to move out. She agrees, but is confused because there is no crying, screaming, or karate-chopping the table in two. She asks incredulously if he’s OK with this, and he hems and haws for a while, and she gets increasingly confused as he brings Amy and Bobbi-Lee into the conversation, and eventually he gets to the part where Briain put his arms around him in the café and it made him uncomfortable. Whew, I was afraid we weren’t going to have time for any more of Evan’s gay panic this episode. He explains that he doesn’t have a problem with Briain being gay, OF COURSE, but that he’s just not comfortable sharing a bedroom with him, especially since Briain walks around naked all the time and his swinging schlong keeps knocking Evan out of his chair while he’s trying to study. Berni finally figures out the misunderstanding that’s going on here, and rather than correcting it, she decides to wallow in it, and says she’ll ask Briain to move out because clearly it’s not OK for him to be gaying around all the time where impressionable young Evan might see.

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?

Back at Berni’s, Vanessa is still explaining why she can’t take Niall back, but clarifies that despite her best efforts, she’ll never be able to hate Fia. Well, not with that defeatist attitude you won’t. We return to Maggie’s, where Tadhg bids a fond farewell to Dr. Extra, who’s got to run because she’s due to play Cult Member #6 on Fair City at 4pm. He sits down with the patient, who looks ashenly defiant, or possibly defiantly ashen, and asks her why she lied and told the doctor she won’t be spending Christmas alone in this rundown old shithole. I’m paraphrasing. Maggie complains that she’ll be fine, and that being found dead the day after Christmas never hurt anyone. She tells Tadhg to hop it, because she knows he’s supposed to be speeding down the M6 in his hearse as we speak. He counters that he’s not going to leave her alone at Christmas, especially considering all the time and energy he’s put into this storyline, and it seems we’re at a stalemate here. A freezing-cold stalemate, to be exact, because it seems Maggie has also forgotten until just now that this shack doesn’t have any heat. Oh, for pete’s sake.

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.


  1. Welcome back from your holidays. Nice to have a new recap, and, was darn hilarious to read. Lol. What you wrote basically told my own thoughts about what happened in the episode, but in a lot funnier way. ;D

    1. Ha ha! Thanks, Anon! Glad you enjoyed and thanks for reading! Happy New Year!

  2. I'm so glad you're back.
    Nollaig Shona.
    Great commentary on this episode!

    1. Thanks, Niamh! It was nice to have a bit of a break from recapping as writing them is a lot of work, but by the end of my holiday I was really missing them. And I'm still working on my "recap" of the day I spent in Ros na Rún meeting the cast and crew, touring the sets, and being an extra!


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