Frances exits the shop reading the latest issue of Soldiering On Bravely In The Face Of Adversity & Also Ten-Minute Weeknight Dinners magazine when she sees Tadhg wander out of the pub looking pensive down the street. She swallows hard and starts fixing her hair, but before she can go over there, Maggie emerges from the pub and starts swanning around like she owns the place, with her snooty face and smug purse. Tadhg touches her arm lovingly, and Frances turns away, fighting back the tears. Well, I sure hope this is the saddest thing that happens this episode.
Mo returns home from her run and sighs to Colm that her time is seven minutes slower than usual. I assume she’s not including the time she spent being harassed by Caitríona and listening to Frances mope. Just then she gets a call from the doctor’s office asking her to come in regarding the results of the scope she went for on Friday. OH, GOD. She says she’ll be right over, and the two of them hypothesize that it must be good news, which either demonstrates that they’re very naïve or that things work very differently in Ireland, because in the U.S. the doctor’s office will leave good news on your voicemail or on a scrap of paper under your windshield wiper, but if they want you to come in, it’s ALWAYS terrible, terrible news. She declares that she’ll be running that half marathon that’s on her bucket list in no time, and she’s very happy about it and about life in general, which of course means something awful must be about to happen to her.
Back at the pub, Áine is on her knees taking all her little magnets off the fridge. Frances is surprised and asks her what she’s doing, because she’s supposed to be collecting some vests and socks and other essentials, but Áine says she’s packing all her favorite things since she won’t be living here anymore, which is very sad and poignant until Áine turns on her and spits that this is all Frances’ fault because she must’ve done something awful to make Tadhg not want to be her friend anymore. She adds a spiteful “You ruin everything!” for good measure, and poor Frances looks like she’s been stabbed in the gut at this turn of events. Apparently nobody’s told Áine you’re not supposed to hate your mother until you’re a teenager.
Downstairs, Mo grimly sits down at the bar and softly orders a cup of tea, but Bobbi-Lee is more interested in excitedly spreading gossip and speculating on the holy war that’s sure to break out around here at any moment. Hopefully a baby will be taken hostage with a flare gun like on Fair City, which is my new minimum standard for soap-opera excitement. She starts telling her about what foul moods Tadhg and Frances are in, which to be fair has been their default for the entire three years I’ve been watching this show, but then Tadhg interrupts by plopping a parcel down on the bar in front of Mo and informing her that this isn’t a post office. I have no idea why Bobbi-Lee and Mo keep having their mail delivered to the pub, but I suppose it does make things more convenient for storytelling purposes. Berni flounces up and pulls Tadhg aside to have a word, which of course we know is all about this soccer-bus situation she has inserted herself into for no reason, but it certainly pours gas on the fire of Bobbi-Lee’s theory that the two of them are having an affair. In her defense, they are acting strangely flirty and spraying out ambiguous body language all over the place, so if I were in her shoes, I’d think something was going on between them as well.
A small mobile Boots makeup counter has been installed in Gráinne’s kitchen, and like the staff at regular Boots, Caitríona is unhappy about being there and wants to make sure everyone knows it. Among her many complaints is the fact that Mo is a no-show, and just then Gráinne gets a text from her saying she’s sick and isn’t going to make it. Caitríona declares this seafóid since she saw Mo out running earlier today, which is of course proof that she can’t possibly be sick since “earlier today” and “now” are the same thing. She talks a little more shit about Mo and then starts applying foundation to Gráinne’s forehead with a trowel. I hope this turns out like that time Caitríona was doing a photo shoot for the Loinnir brochure and dipped her head in a vat of makeup until she looked like Krusty the Clown.
Back at the hospital, Pádraig is trying to convince Helen that Sonia probably wouldn’t want Sam to be put in foster care no matter how much Helen wants to go on her ski weekend to Brighton. She says she has no choice because there’s absolutely nobody else. Errr, did I miss the part where she was declared Sam’s legal guardian? I don’t think the mother’s friend gets to send the child to an orphanage when there’s a perfectly
Tadhg and Frances appear behind the bar and start having a custody battle over Áine two feet away from Bobbi-Lee and then act surprised when she leans towards them like a houseplant leaning towards the light. He snaps his fingers and sends her away, and then Frances accuses him of trying to take Áine away from her the same way he’s taken the house away from her. He says he’d never do that, but she spits that she doesn’t know what he’s capable of anymore since she also thought he’d never throw her over for another woman or insult her in front of Áine. Of course Bobbi-Lee is eavesdropping on all this, but in her defense, this seems like a conversation they could’ve had someplace more private, such as the middle of the community center.
Over at Gaudi, David is moaning about the fact that they allowed Helen to believe that he’s still a social worker, which explains why he’s been wearing something other than his postman’s uniform today for the first time in two months. It’s hard to maintain the “social worker” charade when your jacket says “An Post” and you’ve got a bunch of boxes from Amazon under your arm. Pádraig basically tells him to shut up and stop being such a goody two-shoes, and besides, if they find they’re unable to take care of Sam, they can always sneak him into Annette’s house and convince her he’s one of her four to six children and has always been there.
Mo arrives home sadly carrying her symbolic running shoes, and when Colm asks her what the doctor said, she’s evasive for a while and eventually tells him it’s an ulcer. Oh, Mo. We understand he’s trying to be supportive, but when he dismissively says that lots of people have things much worse than ulcers and then jokes about how upset she’s been over something so insignificant, it’s hard not to cringe. He goes off in search of chicken soup for her, which may or may not be the best thing for an ulcer, and after he leaves, she looks stricken and shocked.
At the café, Frances tells Dee that Áine is blaming her for everything that’s going on in spite of the fact that she’s done nothing but try to protect her from it. Well, that’s motherhood, I suppose. Dee tells her she’s got to tell Áine exactly what’s going on, because she spent decades being angry at John Joe for breaking up their family and only found out when she was an adult that it was actually all Noreen’s fault. She continues that her relationship with her dad would’ve been very different if it had been built on the truth, and that Frances and Áine deserve the same opportunity. Dee’s eyes widen when Frances seems to finally wake up from the trance she’s been in for weeks, announcing that she’s not going to have her entire life ruined just so Tadhg can play happy families with some hag. There’s fire in her eyes as she announces that Tadhg has picked the wrong woman to mess with and will live to regret it. Finally, this is the Frances I’ve been waiting to see, and I suspect that somewhere in town Tadhg is wetting his pants right now and doesn’t know why.
Mo is tidying up her living room alone when she trips over the running shoes, still in the package. She picks them up, looks meaningfully at them for a second, and then dashes into the kitchen and throws them in the bin. At this everything that’s happening finally hits her, and she puts her hand over her mouth and tries to stifle the sobs. It’s a heartbreaking scene. I’ve always said that Mo is the emotional center of the show, so it will be fascinating to see what happens to the planets in the Ros na Rún solar system when the sun that’s been keeping them in their orbits all this time breaks down.