Sunday, February 18, 2018

Do You Want to Know a Secret?

Season 22, Episode 48
First aired 15 February 2018

We open upstairs at the pub, where it seems a garbage truck has overturned and spilled its contents onto the kitchen table. Frances enters and looks horrified by the carnage, and her mood isn’t improved when Tadhg drinks the last drop of milk directly from the carton and then burps in her face. What a lucky woman Maggie is! Frances tells him this can’t continue, although he is of the opinion that it absolutely can, and when she tries to say all the noise and mess are unfair on Áine, he counters that Áine could sleep through a 747 landing in her bedroom and couldn’t care less about a mess as long as she can crawl over the half-eaten tacos and dead caribou to get to the TV. He notes that if Frances has a problem with it, she can always clean up after him, and then flounces off to go take a dump in the hall or whatever. Given that the detritus on the table suggests he’s eaten a couple of pizzas and half a lasagna since last night, there’s not going to be enough bleach in the world to clean that carpet up.

Pádraig stops by the hospital to drop off Sam’s belongings, which include a pristine soccer ball that’s never touched the ground and a backpack that’s never been used. Sonia seems muted somehow, in that she only half-heartedly tries to start a big fight with him for no reason, but then as he’s turning to leave, she asks him to wait a second, presumably so she can stagger gingerly over to him and stab him in the face with some bandage scissors.

At the café, a man and a woman who turn out to be Briain and Berni are giving each other frosty looks and trying to avoid each other. We didn’t recognize them at first because we’re used to seeing them dry humping on the counter or bumping and grinding on table 3. Máire is there, still trying to get Briain to tell her why he and Evan were fighting in the street the other day, and if he were smart he’d just tell her it was something to do with “computers” and she’d give up on trying to understand it. She eventually wanders away, leaving Caitríona and Mack, who are sitting at the counter watching and commenting on all this like those two old geezers from The Muppet Show, speculating about what’s going on. Well, mostly Caitríona is speculating about what’s going on and Mack is trying to figure out how to get his crisps out of the packet. She makes some comment about how the last time Evan was so upset about something was when he found out Berni tricked his dad into marrying her, a storyline I only vaguely remember, and of course Briain, who is eavesdropping from behind a coatrack, frowns ambiguously.

Back at the hospital, Sonia—who is not screaming for the first time ever—gravely tells Pádraig that she’s been thinking, which is never a good sign with her. She says that if anything happened to her, such as dying or being summoned back to her home planet, Sam would go into state care. Rather than waiting to see where this is going, Pádraig immediately asks whether this means he can play more of a role in Sam’s life, and she replies that this is all very difficult for her and that she’s not used to trusting people, so he’ll have to give her time and stop pressuring her. She also bangs on for a while about how downtrodden and victimized she is, and it’s unclear whether we’re supposed to believe any of this seafóid is genuine, but of course because it’s Sonia we don’t care and are more interested in whether any of the complicated medical equipment in her vicinity has frayed wires and therefore poses an electrocution hazard.

In the café kitchen, Berni ladles two teaspoons of soup or dishwater into what appears to be a Great Dane’s food dish while Briain asks her what the scéal is with this dude she tricked into marrying her. She’s evasive, so he says that everyone has secrets and offers to show her his if she shows him hers, but because she is confused by this pileup of pronouns, she short-circuits and resets to her original factory settings, which are “snotty.” He drops a bunch of leading hints about the scandalous circumstances that led to his departure from Australia, which hasn’t been mentioned since September and which we’d forgotten we were supposed to be dying of curiosity about, but she waves all this off and tells him that rather than dwelling on the past, such as whose boyfriend tried to kill whom and whose brother strangled Bobbi-Lee and so on, they should focus on the future, which right now involves him taking this bowl of bilge water to table 26. He points out that honesty is the best policy and that, now that Evan knows, they might as well go public with their relationship, but she’s reluctant, and we had forgotten that this was even theoretically a secret anymore after their months of blatant carrying on and running up and down the street screaming about it.

Meanwhile, at a table, Mo is telling Mack not to worry about her, because after her surgery next week she’ll be back to her old self in no time. Since this is Mo, she is one of the few people in town for whom being back to their old selves is actually a good thing. He smirks knowingly as he watches Úna walk through the door, and when she surprises Mo and Colm by appearing, it’s clear that he’s reported Mo’s news to her and asked her to come visit. The look on Mo’s face suggests that she has ambivalent feelings about Úna’s arrival in the sense that on one hand, she wants to choke Mack for bringing her here, but on the other hand, she also wants to punch him.

You may recall that last time Laoise, whom we used to like but who has been severely trying our patience lately, asked John Joe to do her a favor and fix her car and then spent the rest of the episode hurling abuse at him for no reason. Well, if you liked that, you’ll love this. She’s following him down the street badgering him about when her car’s going to be ready, continuing to insult him personally in various ways, and just as we hope he’s about to toss her keys back to her and tell her to fix it herself, and also that if she doesn’t get her old clunker off his property in the next five minutes he’s going to have it towed, O’Shea shows up. She’s looking grim, even by her standards, and is here to tell Laoise that she’s got bad news: she’s just heard that an old friend from their days as young police officers or go-go dancers or whatever has died, and she’s on her way to the funeral right now (?) and wants Laoise to go with her. Laoise is reluctant at first, because as you may have forgotten she hates O’Shea now, but eventually she decides it’s not their old go-go-dancing police friend’s fault, so she sighs and agrees to go, which we’re sure will make for an incredibly awkward car ride that hopefully we won’t have to see any of.

Helen and Sam have arrived at the hospital on their community-service-mandated visit to Sonia, but Pádraig explains that she’s off being photographed by the Guinness Book of Records people as “Worst Person in the World” and will be back soon. Sam asks why his things are there, and Pádraig explains that he’ll be going back to Helen’s and staying there until Sonia is strong enough to move her reign of terror back to whichever borough of hell she lives in. Sam asks why he can’t keep staying at Pádraig’s, which he likes because the big clown who’s married to Gráinne does funny things like getting his hair caught in the dishwasher and getting run over by his own car in the driveway because he forgot to put it in Park when he got out. Pádraig gives the usual “it’s complicated” response you give kids when you don’t have the emotional energy to deal with them right now, but promises that Sam can still come visit, and that he’ll install those new goalposts he’s promised him so they can tie David to them and kick soccer balls at him. Helen tries to distract him with some nonsense about “show Pádraig the lovely fuzzy slippers you bought Mummy!”, but Sam recognizes a big load when he sees one and is having none of it. Pádraig writes his phone number on a piece of paper and gives it to him, telling him to call him any time he wants to talk, at which Helen makes an “Oh, hell, Sonia’s really going to lose it now” face. Why is she friends with Sonia again? Anyway, Pádraig gives Sam a hug and then leaves, and when Helen tries to give Sam a hug he shrugs her off and looks sad and annoyed. I bet she wishes she’d never come back from her scuba holiday in Brighton.

The happy family reunion continues at the café, where Úna tells Mo that she’s bought her a special new blender and will be making her lots of yummy vegetable smoothies during her recovery. My God, hasn’t Mo suffered enough already? She replies that she’s not really one for vegetables, being more of a burrito-and-beer girl, but Úna tells her that’s all going to have to change now that she’s sick, and that she’ll feel like a whole new woman after a few days of Úna’s special prune-and-celery smoothies. Yes, a woman who can’t get off the toilet. Mo agrees to humor her by going along with this for a day or two, but Úna brightly volunteers that she’s taken two whole weeks off work so they can spend every minute drinking cabbage juice and having diarrhea together. Colm tries to change the subject by asking whether Úna will be staying at Mack’s, at the B&B, or at one of the many fine hotels in Shannon that he would be happy to drop her off at, and when she starts to say she’d assumed she’d be staying with them, Mo makes up some nonsense about how they’d love to have her as their guest but it’s just not possible because there’s, err, a tornado in the spare room. No, wait, a Frankenstein. Úna sadly says she guesses she’ll have to stay at Mack’s then, and he says she’s welcome there and that Dee will be delighted, which is not a word I commonly associate with Dee, but OK. Mo then hilariously says it’s the least he can do since he’s the one who invited Úna here. Snerk. He’s all smiles until Úna goes to pay the bill, at which point he clenches his teeth and spits that Mo should be grateful, but she says the last thing she needs right now on top of everything else is Úna underfoot fussing over her and making her parsnip milkshakes.

Úna takes her parade of awkwardness over to the counter, where she asks Berni, who’s horsing around with Briain, if this is Evan. “He’s so grown up!”, she exclaims. I personally think this behavior would be slightly odd between a mother and son, but Úna has a complicated frame of reference when it comes to parent-child relations, so I’ll cut her some slack. Anyway, an embarrassed Berni stammers that, err, no, this is “just an employee,” which understandably pisses Briain off, and then she makes things infinitely worse by adding that he “forgets his place” sometimes. Yes, and right now his “place” should be telling Berni to go eff herself and walking out forever. He says at least he knows where he stands now and grabs his coat and stomps out, and Berni brilliantly tells Úna, “He’s probably taking his break” and looks pained, and Úna watches all this with an expression that says “now I remember why I left this place.”

After the break, during which we wonder how many different skiing competitions there can possibly be at the Olympics, Caitríona is at Gaudi ordering the children’s-size bowl of lettuce with a glass of water on the side for dipping. I’m unclear whether all this diet talk of hers is leading to an eating disorder storyline or if it’s just a new way for her to be annoying. Máire shows up and they slag off Bobbi-Lee in absentia for no reason for a while, and then Tadhg and Maggie appear. There’s an awkward conversation about Lent that concludes with Maggie saying innocently she doesn’t have much self-control and Máire brilliantly looking her and Tadhg up and down and then sniffing, “You can say that again.” Oh, the shade of it all! This is the best thing Máire has been involved in since that time she and Fia spent three episodes slapping each other in the street. Everybody bickers for a while, and once again Maggie gives her patented look where she doesn’t understand how any of this could have POSSIBLY happened. Gurrrl, please.

Berni arrives home to find Briain packing his stuff and threatening to leave yet again. She explains that she didn’t want to tell Úna about them because their relationship is new, as if it is a baby bird and Úna was trying to step on it, and then he starts carrying on about how he hated Ros na Rún when he first came here, but has since then said many times that it’s been worth it because he met Berni. OK, a) if he hated it so much there were plenty of other places he could’ve gone to apart from the fact that he needed to mooch off David, and b) to whom has he been saying this lo these many months since this is all supposed to be a big secret? Bobbi-Lee? Anyway, just as we’ve finished playing and putting away the world’s tiniest violin, we have to get it back out again because Berni starts banging on about how her greatest fear in life, ever since she was a tiny girl growing up on remote Kong Island, was being the center of attention and having people talk about her. What? Her “poor me” speech takes a hilarious turn when she says that if they break up she’ll look like a fool and be left with nothing, but meanwhile having gotten into her bloomers will make him a “hero to all his friends.” Yes, he’s truly the Rosa Parks of our time. Everyone will laugh at her and make fun of her 24/7 for the rest of their lives because she is so interesting and important that nobody has anything other to do than think about her all the time, she says, and just as the shit is getting so deep in here you could grow soybeans in it, Briain tells her she’s going a bit overboard, especially once it becomes clear that by “everyone” she means “Caitríona.” This goes on for a while and eventually he agrees that they can keep their relationship secret, just until she’s comfortable telling everyone about it. It’s unclear what percentage of his feelings is true love and what percentage is Stockholm syndrome, but I’m estimating it’s about 30/70.

Tadhg and Maggie are sitting in his car and she’s telling him he’s got to knock it off with his plan to destroy Frances. His response is basically, “But I like it!,” and she accurately tells him he just likes being angry at Frances and this is all about his pride and desire to keep the pub, plus his general horribleness. That last part is implied. He fumes that he’s not going to let Frances walk all over him, but Maggie replies that there’s no reason for him to be so nasty about it, because she has never met him before.

Over at the pub, Vince is pretending to listen while Caitríona tells him in great detail about the Maggie/Tadhg/Máire scene at Gaudi earlier. Whenever Caitríona is talking to Vince I feel like I can see him running through the steps of his elaborate escape plan in his mind, which involve fleeing to Albania, changing his name to Smrdłw, and acquiring an array of blonde wigs. Frances walks up just as Caitríona is saying something about how Maggie has got Tadhg whipped and then tries to pretend she was talking about a different Tadhg Ó Direáin she knows who, err, lives two towns over and is also floozing around with some jezebel named Maggie. Frances wanders away and then Briain, who is angrily drinking alone, butts in and tells Caitríona she should mind her own business and be less of a gossip. She GMLIODs (Gabh mo leithscéals in offended disbelief) and then the two of them start arguing, and John Joe wanders in and tries to break it up, at which point Caitríona decides to insult John Joe and Briain’s mother for good measure. The best part is that Vince is just sitting there watching all this, presumably wondering if Caitríona is distracted enough by this drama for him to climb out a window and run away forever. She accuses Briain of mooching off Berni and then she flounces off, and he’s all indignant and like, “Nuh-UH! I have my own money!” Maybe Air Albania is having a special on one-way tickets right now that both Vince and Briain could take advantage of.

Back at the hospital, Sam is dribbling his soccer ball around Sonia’s bed, but sadly she orders him to stop before he kicks the plug to her life-support machine out of the wall. He starts talking about how Pádraig is going to install some goalposts in David’s karate room or whatever, and that he also gave Sam his phone number when he was here earlier. She goes berserk and takes this opportunity to start poisoning him against his dad AGAIN by telling him what an unreliable, selfish liar “Pat” is, reminding him that he left them when Sam was just a baby and also put poison in his milk and kicked a bunch of puppies, probably. Oh my God, Sonia is such a vile POS.

Over at the pub, Frances is yelling at Mo over the fact that she’s asked for next week off. Mo tries to explain that she asked Tadhg and he said it was OK, which makes Frances gripe some more and then beg her to please reconsider. Mo says she really can’t come in, and that she wouldn’t ask if it weren’t important, so Frances reacts like a complete snot and sneers that she’s suuuure it must be something important, like another little vacation with Colm. Mo’s response is that if that’s how Frances feels, she can take her poxy job and shove it up her arse and then storms out. I guess this makes Bobbi-Lee Senior Vice-President of the pub again.

O’Shea and Laoise have returned from their day at Funeral Park, and O’Shea suggests they go for dinner or drinks together. There’s an extended sequence which boils down to: Laoise still hates O’Shea because she tried to turn her and Eric against each other, which is not exactly what happened, and so she’s never going to be friends with O’Shea again, so nyeaah. She gets out of the car and huffs off, and we’re sure Laoise had some redeeming qualities at some point that would make the thought of not being her friend anymore sad for Imelda, but she’s been such a pill lately that we can’t think of what they are right now.

At Berni’s, Briain reports on his run-in with Caitríona, telling Berni that having people talk about his (i.e., his mother’s) business wasn’t a good feeling, so now he understands how Berni feels and why she doesn’t want everybody to know about them. He agrees to keep their relationship a secret for some indefinite period, which I thought he had already done in their previous scene together, and also tells her he’s falling for her, which makes her swoon in surprise even though we’ve heard him say it at least twice before. I’m not sure “don’t tell anyone about us so they won’t gossip” is a long-term solution given that people are going to gossip about them whenever they find out about it, so they might as well get it over with, but I suppose it buys Berni a bit more time, i.e., until next week when they break up and/or he tries to murder her.

Upstairs at the pub, Slob Tadhg has been temporarily replaced by Maid Tadhg, and he tells a surprised Frances that he’s decided to do a bit of cleaning up. In this case “a bit of cleaning up” involves washing the three dirty plates from earlier as well as the rest of their everyday dishes, their 64-piece set of wedding china, and the entire Decorative Arts wing of the National Museum. It’s almost like they’re setting up something! They bicker for a bit, and then Frances sneers that Maggie has certainly made him genteel and domestic, which is her cue to start picking up the dishes and smashing them on the floor. He grabs her wrist and she glares fire at him, hissing “tssst!” through her teeth as if to say “How pathetic you are!” before stomping off triumphantly, the clear winner of this round. Between the dish throwing, the evil eye, and Frances’ aggressive ponytail, this is the best Greek wedding ever! Opa!

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