Season 22, Episode 43
First aired 30 January 2018
We open at DavidCare, where Máire has dropped by to measure Gráinne for her wedding dress, which we imagine will be crocheted and cover her entire face and half of David’s, too. Gráinne’s out somewhere not working, however, which means Máire has to content herself with meeting Sam, who introduces himself as having just used all the toilet paper, and whom Pádraig introduces as the son of a friend from two towns over. Oh, good, children love it when their fathers deny their existence, especially while they’re standing right there and there is a history of parental abandonment. Pádraig hurries Máire out the door, declaring this press conference over with no follow-up questions allowed, and Sam gives him another heaping helping of his now-famous side-eye, because this is some stone cold BS that he will make Pádraig pay for shortly.
We have a quick scene of domestic non-bliss between Mo and Colm and then return briefly to Pádraig, who seems to have misplaced Sam. We then check back in on Colm, who’s busy doing the worst job of emptying a bin in the history of the world. His first mistake was thinking the first step of emptying an overflowing bin is to try to shove two additional giant bags of trash into it, and his second was ensuring that none of the bags were tied shut. After the bin finishes doing its inevitable impression of Mt Vesuvius, he starts digging through the rubble and finds the positive pregnancy test. I’m sure my first thought is supposed to be, “Oh my God, he’s going to think Mo is pregnant!”, but that is in fact my second thought, my first one being, “They should take out their trash more often.” I mean, come on, she peed on that stick like three weeks ago.
Frances finds Tadhg at the café, where he’s having his breakfast while looking at houses for rent in the paper. The radio station should have a show in which somebody reads the local real estate listings out loud and then talks shit about how tacky all the properties are. It could be called, Holy Crap, You Will Not Believe How Ugly These Houses Are, and I nominate Adam as the host. Anyway, Frances tells Tadhg he can stay in the pub with her and Áine as long as he wants, because of course every minute they spend together is not brain-scorchingly awkward, but he tells her he’ll be leaving soon, so “Áine” better get used to it rather than continuing to hope things will go back to the way they were. The dripping malice in his voice coupled with the pained look on Frances’ face suggest to me we are not actually talking about Áine here, who has already developed a new life plan, which is to spend every night at a friend’s house or Tayto Park until she turns 18 and then move to Las Vegas.
Pádraig is silently walking through his living room looking confused and stunned, like the entire world that day we all discovered Milli Vanilli were lip-syncing. We can either blame it on the rain, or the fact that Sam has run away.
Over at the café, we get the first indication of the fallout from Bobbi-Lee’s discovery last episode that Berni is boinking Briain, which basically consists of Bobbi-Lee telling her, “I can’t believe you’re the one who scored the toyboy with the abs you can grate cheese on when I’m the hot one here.” Berni begs her to keep her mouth shut, which I’m pretty sure is not one of the songs in her repertoire, and then Briain wanders up and starts calling out orders from various tables, which are now numbered all of a sudden. I wonder if there was any discussion of this, or if he just suddenly numbered them in his own head to fend off the overwhelming Kafkaesque boredom of his existence. Evan arrives to tell Berni that he’ll be spending the night in town with some girl named Charlene he’s trying to shag, which I’m pretty sure is a lie, because nobody has been named Charlene since 1977. Maybe he likes much, much older women, too. Anyway, Berni looks disgusted at the thought of Evan having sex, and Bobbi-Lee volunteers that she seems to be the only one in town not getting any action these days, which then makes Evan look disgusted. There’s a lot of nausea going around this family today, and like flu season and the Trump presidency, I have a feeling it’s going to get a lot worse before it gets better.
David and a frantic Pádraig literally run into each other in the street, and when David asks him what’s wrong, he starts in mid-story by shouting, “I thought he was in the room!” David initially looks unsurprised, because this is how many of Pádraig’s dates end, but then he realizes he needs to care about this instance because it’s Sam who’s done a runner this time. Now would’ve been the time to take advantage of having bedroom doors that lock from the outside.
Frances wanders into Gaudi to get sandwiches for the community center, but then the sounds of girlish laughter from across the restaurant alert us that Maggie is holding court in the corner like she owns the place. Frances makes a quick exit, deciding that the scroungers at the community center can buy their own damn sandwiches today, and once again Maggie is the reason we can’t have nice things. Elsewhere, Colm has tracked Mo down and says they need to talk, but she flees after remembering that she has somewhere else to be, such as North Korea.
Back at the café, Briain and Berni have gotten quite bold in front of Bobbi-Lee, discussing the various herbs, spices, and dipping sauces they’re going to apply to each other later. There’s talk of how he’s going to rub Nutella or similar on her sore shoulder, which we’re sure is due to a sex injury, because one or the other of them has had a sex-related injury for the past two months. Next week he’ll end up in the hospital after falling out of a sling onto her glass coffee table. Bobbi-Lee shows a great deal of maturity by smirking at their nonsense rather than throwing up like the rest of us are doing, and when Berni notices she’s listening to all this she tries to change the subject by asking Briain to take this bacon butty to table 247, but he of course responds by saying he’s going to bacon her butty all night long and so on, because that’s how these two talk. She finally shoos him away to go do some work or have some alone time in the bathroom or whatever, and Bobbi-Lee notes that he’s crazy about Berni. She waves this off, countering that it’s just a píosa craic, but Bobbi-Lee informs her that Briain is in love with her and she’s going to have to accept it sooner or later. Well, Valentine’s Day is coming up, which is always a good time to break up with someone.
Pádraig returns home in a panic, having looked everywhere for Sam: the men’s department at M&S, the gay bars, Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop…maybe next time they should send David looking for him. Anyway, Sam does not seem to have been in any of those places, and Pádraig is alarmed to hear that David has called the school, who report that Sam isn’t there, either, which is making the bullies restless, and they’re starting to stare menacingly at old Mr O’Connell, the music teacher. School is a complex ecosystem that can be thrown into chaos when a single piece of the food chain disappears.
Maggie, who seems to be buddies with everyone all of a sudden, has moved her goodwill tour out in the street, where she’s banging on to Máire and Vince about how she’s making a Brigid’s cross and she used to date Mick Fleetwood and she bin ein Berliner and so on. Fortunately for everyone, Frances puts an abrupt stop to this little tête-à-tête-à-tête by walking up and joining them, asking Vince if he can go help her inside the shop. Maggie freezes in her tracks, paralyzed by the awkwardness and probably also worried that Frances is about to cram those rushes she’s carrying around up her arse, but Frances sweeps past her into the shop so icily that you can see everyone’s breath.
Back at DavidCare, Pádraig is drumming his fingers on the counter and having a slow-burn nervous breakdown when there’s a knock at the door. It turns out it’s unlikely rescue party Bobbi-Lee, who’s got Sam with her. She truly is a magnet for the gays and their offspring! Pádraig fusses over him as Bobbi-Lee explains that she found him at the bus stop, upset because he didn’t have enough money to go to Galway to see his mom in the hospital. It’s a good thing no bus has ever stopped there in the history of ever. Pádraig exclaims that he checked the bus stop, but Sam says he hid when he saw him coming, because he just CAN. NOT. DEAL. with Pádraig’s drama today. David takes Sam to the sitting room for a nice cup of cold nettle soup and an educational board game, and Bobbi-Lee pulls Pádraig into the kitchen and asks quietly if it’s true that he’s Sam’s father. He nods, leading to a hilarious “Oh Lord!” from Bobbi-Lee, but then he tells her he doesn’t want anyone to find out yet. Of course, last year’s Bobbi-Lee would have already told 26 people in the ten seconds since she found out, but this year’s Bobbi-Lee actually seems to be semi-able to keep a secret sometimes, and I’m not sure whether that’s to demonstrate character growth or just because it’s funnier to watch her improvise wildly to try to cover up a secret. She also seems to have lost the hyphen in her name somewhere along the way, at least in the subtitles, but I’ve typed “Bobbi-Lee” so many times over the years I’m not sure I can get used to “Bobbi Lee.”
After the break, during which we learn that two desperate women trapped in an elevator will resort to Hunger Games-style combat to the death over a Chicken McNugget, we’re at Maggie’s, where she’s throwing a hissy fit over coal or peat or something stupid. Tadhg walks in and asks her what the problem is, and after some hemming and hawing, she eventually says she’s been thinking and has decided that he should give Frances half the pub. Well, this is going to be a test of Tadhg’s eternal love for ol’ Maggie here.
Pádraig is theoretically helping Sam with his math homework at the kitchen table, which consists of him rolling his eyes and sighing, “I just explained that to you!” a lot. Look, Pádraig, you may have known how to add and subtract since your mid-twenties, but it’s new to Sam here, so give him a break. After Pádraig badgers him for a while longer, Sam announces that he wants to go to Helen’s house. Pádraig reminds him that Helen is in Bristol, which is the reason this whole trainwreck is occurring in the first place, and then when he won’t let him go to the hospital to stay with his comatose mother either, Sam spits that he hates being there and hates Pádraig, too, more evidence supporting my theory that Math Ruins Everything.
We return to Maggie’s, which between the bundles of rushes, the JFK portrait, the antique radios and oil lamps, and the coal strewn across the floor really is only one senile old lady in a rocking chair away from being the set of the worst Irish period drama ever. Tadhg tells her there’s no way in hell he’s giving Frances half his pub, but she tries to reason that if Frances and Áine aren’t happy, he’s not going to be happy either. It’s unclear whether she means that his conscience won’t allow him to be happy if he knows his ex-wife and daughter are suffering or that Frances and Áine will be in his face making sure he knows how pissed off they are every moment of the rest of his natural life. I vote for Door #2. He says that Frances may be upset right now, but she’ll get over it. Yes, when I think of people who don’t hold grudges, Frances is the first one who pops into my head. Maggie finally admits she’s rattled by the awkward encounter she had with Frances today, and when he counters that that’s no reason for him to give Frances half his pub, she counters that the two of them have ruined Frances’ life, and if they’re not careful, she’s going to leave town forever and take Áine with her. Tadhg doesn’t like this idea, but he likes the idea of giving Frances one square inch of his pub even less, and after he’s stubborn and ornery for a while, Maggie tells him he’s more like his father than she realized, which of course is one of his few weak spots. That and his irrational fear of being trapped in a coffin inside a burning building.
It seems to be evening, and Bobbi-Lee is at home painting her toenails and yelling at Briain and Berni down the hall to keep it down with their laughing and giggling. I’m sure there are sounds they could be making that would be even less appetizing, so she should be grateful. She’s shocked when the front door opens and Evan appears, because of course he’s supposed to be handcuffed to Charlene’s radiator in Galway right now. He tells her he’s here because he forgot his charger, and she hilariously yells at the top of her lungs over her shoulder, “EVAN! YOU’RE HOME!” He looks at her like she’s insane, and then she shouts, “YOUR CHARGER! IT’S HERE! LOOK!” and gestures wildly, like that time her Cré na Cille audition turned into an audition to be one of Tina Turner’s backup dancers. She tries to hustle him back out the door, but instead he heads down the hall to use the toilet, so she advises him to go use the one at Gaudi instead because of the pong she’s left in this one. Evan is understandably grossed out by the turn this conversation has taken, although not as grossed out as he’s going to be about ten minutes from now. Just then Briain appears in the hallway wearing only a towel, because it’s in his contract that he must take his shirt off at least once a week. A stunned Evan asks him what he and his abs, pecs, and nipples are doing here, so Bobbi-Lee does the only thing she can think of, which is to make the situation worse by grabbing Briain’s various parts and announcing that the two of them are having an affair.
Down the street, Pádraig is trying to make Sam put his pajamas on and go to bed, but Sam informs him that he will not be sleeping in this house and that if Pádraig doesn’t like it he can go play in traffic. Pádraig tries reasoning with him a bit more, but when Sam responds by throwing his pajamas across the room and turning the volume on the TV up to 700, Pádraig snatches the remote from his hand, turns it off, and is basically like, “I realize you hate me and this house, but you have no place else to go and I’m your father, so frankly I don’t care whether you like it or not. You will do what I say, and right now I’m saying ‘Get your little behind in those pajamas and go to bed!’” Sam looks stunned by the sudden emergence of Dark Pádraig, but he also jumps up and runs off to bed, so it seems reason will only get you so far with him and then you have to switch to Plan B, which is screaming. Go, Pádraig!
Back at Sex HQ, Bobbi-Lee has dragged Evan into the kitchen and tells him she realizes all this must be a shock, but that she and Briain tried to resist the all-consuming lust burning between them but it could not be contained, like a forest fire or bedbugs. Evan can’t decide which he’s more disgusted by: the fact that his so-called best friend would sleep with his aunt, or the fact that Bobbi-Lee is old enough to Briain’s mother—nay, grandmother! Of course, this elicits exactly the response from her that you’d expect, and then Evan storms out. Berni emerges from the bedroom in her robe, and Briain, who has poured himself into one of his trademark children’s T-shirts, is furious, snapping that he was going to tell Evan he came over to take a shower because there’s no water at his place, but then Salome here was so anxious to claim the two of them are sleeping together that she ruined it all. He storms off, and Bobbi-Lee apologizes to Berni, who tells her she doesn’t care because she’s got bigger problems right now. Bobbi-Lee asks her if this is all worth it, and points out that she’s risking a lot for a bit of fun, and Berni looks stricken.
We’ve made progress towards bedtime because Sam is now in his pajamas and carrying a toothbrush around. Pádraig sits him down on the couch and explains gently that he doesn’t have much experience in this job, and that he knows Sam is having a really hard time right now, but that he’s really glad Sam is here and they have this chance to get to know each other even though the circumstances that brought him here were unfortunate. I’m talking about the fact that Terrible Sonia crashed her scooter into the side of a Pizza Hut while screaming at Pádraig on her mobile, in case you’ve forgotten. The worst part of all this, of course, is that the poor locals were left pizza-less for two whole days. He says he wants to be a good father, so Sam brings us back to the beginning by—entirely reasonably—asking why he told Máire he’s not Sam’s father then. I have no idea why Pádraig seems so surprised that denying their relationship would upset Sam so much, especially given that Sam has spent his entire life resenting him for abandoning him as a baby, but OK. He basically tells Sam “It’s not you, it’s me,” which of course does not answer Sam’s question at all, but then he nicely says that he loves Sam very, very much and wants to make the most of their time together. A good first step would be keeping Máire away. Sam seems to semi-believe this, but then says that eventually Pádraig will just leave again, because that’s what he does. Well, technically I think you’ll be the one leaving, Sam, since this is Pádraig’s house, but your point is valid. Pádraig swears he’ll never leave again and pulls Sam in for an awkward hug, and you can tell there’s some serious processing going on in that little red-haired brain of his. This kid really is a great, great actor, and even when the script hasn’t entirely held together, he’s so good that you don’t really care.
In the pub kitchen, Tadhg tries to get something out of the cupboard and the knob falls off. I said the knob falls off, not his knob falls off, you perv. He’s frustrated and annoyed, although this is literally a 30-second fix that even I have done successfully, and I am useless. He then looks across the room and sees that the large picture on the wall is insanely crooked—like, at a hilarious 45-degree angle—so he goes over and straightens it and then stops to look at a framed photo of him and Áine that fortunately has had the glass removed so we can see it clearly with no glare. This happy scene seems to give him a lot to think about, because he swallows hard and then lets out a big sigh, and it’s probably a good thing he doesn’t look too closely at the photo or else he might notice that Áine is actually picking his pocket.
Chez Secrets & Lies, Mo arrives home and grimly tells Colm she’s got something to tell him. Before she can sit down, though, she notices the overflowing bin in the kitchen and is livid, and honestly, if you did a study I bet at least 40 percent of household arguments worldwide involve a trashcan. The other 60 percent revolve around whether Mack is the father of someone’s baby. She tries to have a big fight with him over the bin, but he tells her to calm down, which of course has never made any angry person calm down ever. Finally he interrupts her to tell her he knows what she wants to talk to him about: he thinks she’s pregnant, but she thinks he knows she has cancer. This is one of those classic TV misunderstandings that Ros na Rún always nips in the bud before it becomes tiresome as opposed to, say, EastEnders, which would let it run for 6 months and then end with a drunk Phil Mitchell falling through a skylight onto Ian Beale’s Christmas dinner. Anyway, Colm says a lot of things that are semi-generous if you’re talking about an unintended pregnancy but increasingly bizarre if you’re talking about cancer, and eventually Mo figures out what the confusion is and tells him she’s not pregnant. At this point he’s basically like, “Oh, thank God, I was totally making all that supportive stuff up, because our relationship is new and fragile and we are not ready to face anything serious together yet!” Oh, dear.
Over at Berni’s, we’re in the part of the set that we never see, with the second sofa and the fireplace. Briain asks whether she wants to watch Fast & the Furious 1, 2, 3, 5, or 7, but she responds that maybe they should break up. In her defense, that’s a reasonable response to being asked to watch any of the Fast & the Furii except maybe the first one. She’s worried that people are going to start getting hurt if they stay together, especially since her romantic relationships often end in one or more fatalities. She adds that if they keep this up, it might turn into something more serious than a píosa craic, which of course neither of them wants, ha ha. He’s taken aback and tells her that it might’ve started as a bit of fun, but it’s moved beyond that: he’s crazy about her and wants to be with her. He’s very careful not to use the L-word, or I guess the G-word in Irish, but he makes it pretty clear that if he’s not in love with her yet, he’s certainly driving around love’s parking lot looking for a space. He says he thought she felt the same, and then she stands there watching for a while as he grimaces with either a broken heart or searing gas pain. We can’t be sure without knowing what he had for dinner. She waits until he starts walking away and then says she feels the same way, and as you may recall, this is a pattern with them, her only being able to express her feelings for him by telling them to the back of his head. Anyway, this admission seems to make the front of his head happy too, and I’m sure that’s the last we’ll hear about this.
Back at their place, Colm is literally pouring champagne to celebrate the fact that Mo is not pregnant, and she is clearly seriously pissed off about this whole situation. He tries to toast having fun and not facing anything difficult together, and then she tells him she’s sorry, but this isn’t working out and she’s breaking up with him. I’ll admit I didn’t see that coming, and clearly neither did Colm.
Briain and Berni have fallen asleep in each other’s laps on the couch and don’t wake up when Evan bursts through the door apologizing loudly to Charlene on the phone that his car broke down again. Before we can spend too much time wondering if this Charlene personactually exists, he wanders into the living room and finds the lovebirds waking up under the blanket together. He shouts “Mom!” and she shouts “Evan!” and then he flees through the front door, and I think I speak for us all when I say, Oh my God, I wish Fia were here to laugh her ass off at all this.
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