Sunday, February 4, 2018

Sons and Lovers

Season 22, Episode 44
First aired 1 February 2018

We open in the café with Berni desperately trying to get Evan on the phone, but he’s not answering FOR SOME REASON. She’s beside herself with worry, but Briain helpfully volunteers that he’s probably just passed out in the gutter with alcohol poisoning somewhere, as one does after one finds out one’s mother is having sex with one’s best friend. He assures her that Evan will get used to the two of them being together, and if he doesn’t, he can suck it. Berni, however, is not sure she would be comfortable with Evan sucking it, and for some reason Briain is surprised that she might not be willing to sever all ties with her son just so the two of them can keep playing hide-the-pickle. He exits and Bobbi-Lee arrives, which definitely constitutes trading up, and she tells Berni she’s just spotted Evan, and he appeared to be at least 40 percent alive. Berni’s relief turns to diarrhea, however, when she finds out that Evan was last seen coming out of the B&B, which means there’s a chance he told Máire about last night’s goings-on. Everybody run! Save yourselves! Leave the children!

In the pub kitchen, Tadhg has just screwed the knob that fell off the cabinet door last time back on, and when Frances arrives and asks what he’s doing, he explains that he wanted to “fix this door so that it closes properly,” which he demonstrates by opening and closing the door repeatedly. We will ignore the fact that the repair he has just performed has absolutely nothing to do with the proper operation of the hinges, although Frances makes it difficult by pointing out that she’s been asking him to fix that for years. She asks what’s come over him, and he eventually stammers that he’s doing it because he’s giving her half the pub, which clearly comes as a huge shock to her. If her brain were operating normally she would immediately realize that you fix up the place before putting it on the market, not before declaring that you’re now giving someone half of it in an abstract sense. She smiles, and he goes off to repair some skirting board, which, given how DIY cause-and-effect seems to work in this house, will presumably fix some problem with the dishwasher.

Meanwhile, Mo is sitting at her kitchen table clutching her stomach in pain as Colm enters the room carrying a small gym bag and announcing, “Well, that’s everything!” Apparently he travels very lightly. He tells her he’s booked a room at the Comfort Lodge Inn Hotel Lodge in Galway, which he points out is right by that restaurant she likes, so if she ever wants to come into town sometime for dot dot dot…. She informs him that this will not be happening, so he asks her what the hell is going on here, because things between them have been good and now all of a sudden she’s breaking up with him. She non-answers, “We tried, now we’ll leave it at that,” and then asks him to keep it a secret until after David and Gráinne’s wedding so as not to distract them in the run-up to their big day. He agrees and then leaves in a moderate huff, and she looks pained in a variety of physical and emotional ways.

At the café, Dee tells Frances that Tadhg’s being quite generous in giving her half the pub because if it went to court, she’d probably only get a quarter of it since it’s property he brought with him into the marriage. It’ll seem less generous when they find out he’s giving her the bad half, which includes the broken toilet, the store room, and Annette. Frances says that his recent good behavior—fixing things, giving her half the pub, not farting as he walks past her chair—leads her to only one conclusion: he wants to get back together with her. Dee asks her if she’d take him back after all he’s done, and she’s like, “Well, he is Áine’s father, and she’s heartbroken without him”—which of course means, “yes, in a heartbeat!”—and for some reason it does not occur to legal whiz Dee that he’s obviously doing repairs to put it on the market, or at least to value the place so he can buy Frances out. In her defense, Dee is less of a real estate and divorce attorney than she is a human trafficking attorney, so I guess she can’t be expected to know everything.

Mo is at home going through the post when she discovers an official-looking letter from the hospital. You can tell it’s important because the postmark is from four months ago. Anyway, before she can open it, Gráinne comes bounding in and starts carrying on about St Brigid’s Day, which is apparently the day St Brigid rides through the streets on a raft and gives seaweed to all the good little boys and girls. It’s possible I’m only semi-paying attention to this. Eventually she gets to the point of her visit, which is that she wants Mo to go down to the shore with her to collect seaweed for the wedding, because everything can always be traced back to seaweed with her. Mo replies that this does not sound like something she would be interested in, kindly implying she means “right now” as opposed to “ever,” but Gráinne wears her down and she finally gives in. I’m sure Labhrás would declare it a St Brigid’s Day miracle that Mo is able to decipher what the hell Gráinne is saying given her atrocious grammar.

Berni is chasing Bobbi-Lee down the street begging her to visit and possibly murder Máire with her, but Bobbi-Lee doesn’t understand what the big deal is if Máire tells everyone in town, because it would be better if the news got out anyway. As they say with vomiting, “Better out than in.” Right on cue, Máire materializes, at which point Bobbi-Lee makes a quick exit, although I would’ve guessed she’d want to watch this trainwreck and possibly also film it and put in on YouTube. There’s a brief farcical misunderstanding in which Berni thinks Máire knows about her and Briain but it turns out Máire is actually talking about…actually I have no idea what the hell Máire is talking about, but it seems to have something to do with her wetting her pants at a furniture store. I don’t know. Eventually it comes out that Evan spent the night at the B&B because he claimed he’d lost his keys, but Berni’s relief is once again short-lived as a commotion reveals that Evan and Briain are punching and choking each other in the street. There is a lot of running around and screaming, and when Máire demands to know what this is about, Evan spits that she should ask Berni before storming off with her on his heels.

Sadly, rather than cutting to the seaweed harvest we all want to know more about, we follow Evan and Berni down the street, and there is more running and screaming. She starts to tell him, “I realize there’s a bit of an age difference, but…”, but sadly we never get to hear the inevitably hilarious end of that sentence because he interrupts her to say this is all gross, and he’s going to be the laughingstock of the football team when this gets out. Well, last week we discovered that there are only four people on the team, two of whom are Evan and Briain, so it could be a lot worse. Berni, typically, is more concerned about ensuring that Evan won’t tell anyone about this than she is about his feelings, and when he finds out that they think they’re in love with each other rather than just shagging, he storms off in disgust and disbelief. I sense that there’s a giant ultimatum on the horizon, and we’re headed straight for it.

Tadhg arrives at the pub with a woman who UNBELIEVABLY turns out to be a real estate agent, and Frances, who seems to have caught that brain-eating parasite that’s been going around, eventually realizes what’s going on with the help of some diagrams and a role-playing puppet exercise. She says that when Tadhg said he was giving her half the place she didn’t realize he meant money, because she thought he was going to put a piece of tape down the middle of the entire building and declare one side his and the other hers. She’s even more galled when she realizes he’s planning on moving Maggie in as soon as she and Áine hit the bricks, and doesn’t seem to feel any better when he points out that with the money she’ll get from her half of the pub, she’ll be able to buy anyplace in town. I hear the Squat Formerly Known As Suzanne’s Holiday House Of Horrors is available. She furiously shouts that she and Áine aren’t going anywhere, and vows that this entire place is going to be hers, even if she has to burn the whole thing to the ground with the entire town inside. That last part is implied.

After the break, during which those two women trapped in the elevator are still beating each other senseless over a Chicken McNugget, Adam arrives at Gaudi and hilariously asks Pádraig, “So, is there anything you’d like to tell me?” Pádraig makes a bunch of excuses, causing Adam to roll his eyes so far back in his head he can see his brain, and then Pádraig explains that his advice to Adam about Fia and Liam Óg last year was based on his own experience, and his not wanting Adam to make the same mistake he did. Of course Sam has wandered up and hears this last part, and after Pádraig tries to convince him he misheard and/or misunderstood the part where he called him a mistake, Sam angrily announces that he wants to go see his mother and stomps off. This is why you should always put a little bell around children’s necks, so you can hear them coming.

Berni seems to have followed Evan home, presumably running and screaming the whole way, and as he packs his things, he spits at her that she’s old enough to be Briain’s mother, and that this is all nasty and ridiculous. Nastdiculous. Her response is basically, “But I like it!”, which does not change his mind for some reason, and then she actually asks him for his blessing. After we all finish laughing, Evan delivers the ultimatum we’ve all been waiting for: it’s either him or me! By “me” I mean Evan, not “me” as in me, although it would also be interesting if Evan were forcing Berni to choose between Briain and the recapper. He vows that Berni will never see him again if she doesn’t dump Briain, and she looks stricken, because she has never met Evan and therefore had no way of knowing this would be his response.

Tadhg arrives at Maggie’s, where she is beating her laundry on a rock by the river and churning her own butter. He tells her that he offered Frances half the pub as they’d discussed, but that instead of the gratitude they were both expecting, her response was more of a “Feck you, you fecker, I’m taking the whole damn place!” Maggie suggests that if that’s what Frances wants, maybe they should just give it to her, which goes over about as well as you’d expect it to. She says she’s got plenty of money to support them for the rest of their lives, especially since Frances will be murdering them any day now, but he says his name is over that door and will remain there, at least until the place mysteriously explodes in the season finale.

The kelp harvest is over, and it seems Gráinne and Mo have collected enough to tide them over until spring, especially if they do some quick canning. Mo’s patience with all this ran out about 15 minutes before it started and she just wants to go home, but then Gráinne insists that she needs to show her all the pretty ribbons she’s going to use to tie the seaweed to the ocean or whatever during the ceremony. Then she starts carrying on about how the Great Pumpkin rises up out of the seaweed patch on St Brigid’s Eve and makes a bed out of the most sincere ribbons, at which point Mo shouts that she can’t take any more of this, hissing that lichen and pinecones don’t have any healing powers and this is all a big load. Fortunately she backpedals and blames a headache for her mood before Gráinne’s feelings get too hurt, but then while Gráinne goes off and makes her a Brigid’s cross sandwich to take home with her, she crumples over the table in pain.

The War of Passive-Aggression has broken out over at Tigh Thaidhg, where Frances has switched the radio from the usual Skiddle-Diddle-Dee FM to Radio Ride of the Valkyries. Tadhg orders Bobbi-Lee to switch it back, and she’s caught in the middle for a while until smoke starts coming out of the radio and she tells them both to cram it. Tadhg insists to Frances that this is his pub and they’ll have the music he wants, but she replies that this is her pub, too, and that the classical music is part of her plan to attract a new clientele, which also includes a new color scheme, knocking down the walls, and turning the place into a Nando’s. Finally! Tadhg vows that this place will start serving mouthwatering Peri-Peri chicken with your choice of two delicious sides over his dead body, so Frances says they’ll just have to go to court then, where a judge will almost certainly order them to sell the pub and split the proceeds. Wait, so you’re saying there won’t be sweet potato wedges?

Over at David & Pádraig’s Tiny Tots Daycare, Learning Center, and Kebab Hut, we join a big argument between Pádraig and Sam, already in progress. Pádraig is still trying to convince him that he misunderstood what he heard earlier because he and Adam were speaking, umm, Romanian, which sounds a lot like Irish, except that the word “mistake” actually means “blessing.” Sam tells him to pull the other one and then shove it up his arse, so Pádraig tries to explain that Sam is the best thing that’s ever happened to him, apart from maybe all the new clothes he got this season. There is back-and-forthing, and Pádraig finally says that he never wanted to leave Sam, and that he’s thought about him every single day since he left. There’s discussion of a photo Pádraig has kept of him and baby Sam at the beach, and Sam snots that he doesn’t remember any trip to the beach and therefore Pádraig is a liar, because of course Sam has the superhuman ability to remember everything that ever happened to him since birth.

At home, Berni purses her lips and ignores a call from Briain, and we also discover that she has the most annoying ringtone in the world. We then cut to a pained-looking Tadhg sitting in his car, which is pointed at the front door of Tigh Thaidhg. He pounds on the steering wheel and curses, but sadly does not floor it and drive into the pub at top speed, which would have made this the BEST EPISODE EVER.

Back at Pádraig’s, he’s produced the inevitable box of Sam memorabilia and is showing all the bits and bobs to him, such as the photo of the two of them at the beach, Sam’s baby shoes, his first dirty nappy which Pádraig has had bronzed, etc. Pádraig tells him the story of their day at the beach, with swimming and building a sand castle and riding a porpoise and so on, and it’s a really nice moment between the two of them. It kind of feels like the first time there’s really been a connection between them, although you can see the gears turning furiously in Sam’s head, and when he excuses himself to go to bed, you can tell he’s having seriously ambivalent feelings about all this.

Mo returns home carrying a bag of barnacles and looks nervously at the envelope from the hospital. She finally takes a deep breath, opens it, and discovers the bowel surgery has been scheduled for February 20. She swallows hard, and this is another one of those cultural differences between Ireland in America, because over here you schedule an operation by playing phone tag with the doctor’s receptionist for three days, then discovering that scheduling is actually done by a different office, then calling someone named Carol and waiting on hold for an hour and a half before getting disconnected, calling back, and then getting a recording telling you the office is closed and will reopen on Tuesday.

Upstairs at the pub, Frances is watching the weather forecast, which calls for fliuch with occasional periods of an-fhliuch. Tadhg shocks her by walking in and abruptly announcing that she can have the pub if she wants it. She assumes he must be lying, but he says his lawyer is already drawing up the papers and will be sending them over to her lawyer shortly, and that furthermore, he’ll be closing the pub tonight for the last time, at which point it will be all hers. I think I speak for all of us when I say, “What the fliuch??”

It’s the middle of the night, and a sleepy-eyed Sam strolls into the living room in his pajamas and picks up the box of memorabilia. He takes a long look at a photo of his mother holding him as a newborn, and the photo of him and Pádraig at the beach, and then he gives a tiny smile that suggests he may be rethinking everything he thinks he knows about his dad. It’s funny, Sam seems so grown-up and speaks so thoughtfully and reasonably that you can almost forget he’s still a child until you see him in his little dinosaur pajamas.

Tadhg is standing alone behind the bar in the darkened pub, wiping down the counter and looking pensive. He takes a lot of long, lingering looks at the place and then puts the final two clean glasses away, and after a deep breath he says with finality, “That’s it.” He looks at the photo of Séamus behind the bar, says they’ll have one for the road, and raises a glass to him before gulping down its contents (and then putting it back among the clean glasses). He takes one final look around the place, turns out the lights, and disappears through the door behind the bar. Is it possible to almost feel slightly bad for him at this moment, even after all the things he’s done that got him here?



  1. I cried during that final scene at Tigh Thaidhg. I can't help but feel sorry for Tadhg, and it's truly the end of an era (or possibly not, because I struggle to believe that Frances is so heartless)

    1. I do think Frances has switched into "scorched earth" revenge mode, but I also can't blame her. She wants to destroy or take away everything that's meaningful to him just as she feels he's destroyed her life. And the fact that Maggie has him dancing like a puppet on a string galls Frances even more considering how selectively he did what Frances wanted over the years!


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