Season 22, Episode 57
First aired 20 March 2018
We open with Mack and John Joe leaning against a wall complaining that Tigh Thaidhg was mysteriously closed on St Patrick’s Day and therefore they had nowhere to have fun. I’m not sure which I find more unbelievable, the fact that these two couldn’t find any open pub within a day’s drive or the fact that Mack doesn’t consider hanging out at home with Dee great craic. Gráinne wanders by, freshly returned from a yoga retreat she also dragged David to for some reason and which is now, coincidentally, going to have to be torn down and a memorial garden erected in its place. Máire, drawn here by the sound of misery and complaining, explains to her that the pub has been closed for days and also that she heard that Tadhg and Maggie broke up. I have no idea where Máire would’ve heard this unless one of them quickly changed their Facebook status to “It’s Complicated,” but OK. Mack reiterates that the worst part of all this is that he had to spend St Patrick’s Day at home with Dee, whereas Gráinne and John Joe are worried that Maggie, who seems to straddle the line between this world and the next even at the best of times, is frozen in a block of ice up at her igloo. Máire volunteers that another thing they could all worry about is the possibility that Tadhg is lying dead at the bottom of the pub stairs, but nobody else seems very concerned about this, although their interest is vaguely piqued when she adds that Frances is away in Dublin and doesn’t know about any of this because both Tadhg and Maggie have blocked her from their Instagram.
At Berni’s, Bobbi-Lee is leisurely painting her nails and dressed so snazzily it appears she was misled about the dress code of this dump. In contrast, Berni frumps in wearing her sad fleece robe and hessian pajamas that look like they’d be worn by Debbie from Finance who nobody in the office likes even though she often brings cake. Berni complains that she has an upset stomach, which of course means she is pregnant, and also a sore throat, which means Bobbi-Lee has replaced her toothpaste with hemorrhoid cream to entertain herself again. As usual, Bobbi-Lee is unsure she gives a crap about any of Berni’s problems, so she asks about the only thing she’s interested in, which is whether Briain and his parts are coming back. Berni deflects by asking if she’s going to work today, but she replies that today is Day 5 of the pub being closed and that this is the easiest money she’s ever made, apart from all those fake slips-and-falls at Dunnes. Berni tells her she’s an idiot if she thinks Tadhg is going to pay her for not working, although as someone who’s seen what Bobbi-Lee calls “work,” you’d think Berni would understand that some days it’s worth it to pay her just to stay away.
Over at the house where everybody lives, Pádraig leaves Helen yet another frantic voicemail asking her to call him back and screaming that it’s cruel for Sonia to do things such as keep Sam from him and exist. We all think Helen is totally Sonia’s lover, right? David arrives and Pádraig immediately starts screaming in his general direction about how Sonia is crazy and Sam probably fell in a volcano and Helen seems overly involved in all this for unknown reasons, but just then Sam strolls through the door, having been picked up off the side of the road by David while walking from some bus stop or another. The Ros na Rún folks are very generous about picking you up off the side of the road after you’ve gotten off the bus at the wrong stop. David, who seems completely over this storyline already, explains that Sam and Sonia have been living with Helen as they prepare to move to London, which causes Sam to whine that he doesn’t want to go there. The grown-ups, such as they are, say they’ll have to call Sonia to tell her where Sam is, but he is vehemently opposed to this idea, what with having met her and all. It seems Sonia has changed her number, which we’re sure is unrelated to the fact that Pádraig called her 850 times in 3 days, but Sam refuses to give him her new number on the basis that if he did, he’d probably just use it to call her. Sam has the best understanding of cause and effect of anyone on this show. Pádraig’s response is that they have to tell Sonia where he is, but Sam stands firm in his “I said NO!” position, causing Pádraig and David to grimace at each other worriedly, once again outwitted by a small child.
Out in the street, there’s a leisurely conversation between Colm and Úna filled with lengthy pauses that are either Extremely Meaningful or Stretching For Time. The gist of it is that Úna has decided she’s not going to tell Mo that she and Yucky Aidan have broken up because she’s got enough on her plate already, such as cancer and also having to deal with her and Colm. The interesting tidbit of information here is that it turns out Aidan is Úna’s boss, which I’m not sure we knew before, and which makes this whole situation even yuckier than it was before, and also makes us roll our eyes even harder at the way she’s been all judgey-pants about Mo’s choice in men all this time.
Gráinne has time-travelled to the 19th century, where she finds Maggie’s cottage in disarray because, as she explains between coughs, she’s going back to Springfield tomorrow. We’ve already established that she’s talking about the one in Massachusetts, but every time she says “Springfield,” I picture the much more famous one where the Simpsons live. I suppose the Simpsons equivalent of Tadhg is Moe the bartender, who I’m sure will make as tragically unsuitable a partner for her as Tadhg did, but on the plus side, is probably not her brother. Gráinne, who is Maggie’s BFF all of a sudden, tries to talk her out of leaving, and even pleads with her to give Tadhg another chance. Well, at least now when Frances murders Gráinne, we will know why. Gráinne, who’s under the impression that Maggie is the one who broke up with Tadhg, starts helpfully recounting the story of how they met at the beach as teenagers, her a sweet Australian exchange student and him a greaser in a leather jacket, and then were reunited at Rydell High with their friends Kenickie, Patootie, and Sha-Na-Na. It’s possible I am thinking of a different couple. At this point Maggie decides to tell her more, tell her more, like how Tadhg broke up with her, which then leads to a 14-minute-long coughing fit. Gráinne announces that if Tadhg knew she was so sick he’d come over right away, but she insists she doesn’t want to see him and pleads with Gráinne to stay away from him, cough cough. Staying away from Tadhg is good advice in general, and if Gráinne hasn’t figured that out by now, I think she’s beyond help.
Back at their place, things are still at a stalemate between David/Pádraig and Sam, who outwits them at every turn by replying “No!” to whatever they say to him. There’s an odd discussion about how Helen is an educational psychologist who may work for the government which goes nowhere, and then the phone rings, and when putrid green smoke belches out of it, we know it’s Sonia calling. Pádraig confirms that yes, there is a juvenile white male here who matches Sam’s description, and who appears to be alive, so Sonia informs him that she’s on her way over, which I’m pretty sure would be considered communicating a threat and is illegal in every jurisdiction. Sam gets angry and first looks like he’s going to climb into the washing machine, but then it turns out he’s grabbing his soccer ball and runs outside to, we assume, kick it at the gas tank of Sonia’s car when she drives up in hopes it will explode. After he goes, Pádraig starts ranting about what a nightmare Sonia is and how tired he is of her coming between him and his son, and vows that he’s putting a stop to her reign of terror, which causes David to look alarmed and warn him not to do anything stupid, such as marrying her eight years ago.
Elsewhere, it appears a tornado has hit a beer can factory and dumped the debris on Tadhg’s kitchen table. He’s a drunken mess and has clearly been clawing at his hair again, which is soap-opera shorthand for “man who’s gone crazy.” It’s gender-specific, as you hardly ever see Sharon Watts or any of the 500 Slater sisters pulling wildly at their hair to indicate they’ve gone around the bend. Bobbi-Lee arrives under the pretense of asking if she should cancel tomorrow’s delivery, and when he tells her to beat it without even looking up, she hilariously says, “It’s the least I could do when you’re still paying me. Bye!” and then dashes for the door. Clearly she is under the impression that if she says something and then runs out of the room before the other person can respond, it becomes a legally binding contract. Unfortunately for her, Tadhg thwarts her foolproof plan by muttering that he’s not paying her while the pub is closed and then ignores her when she asks when it’ll be open again because she needs her wages. In response he turns the volume on the TV up to jet-engine levels, so Bobbi-Lee, who appears to be wearing a leather ostrich, announces that she’ll just have to open the pub herself. She’s pretty sure she can figure out the basics because she has stood around watching Mo work many times. Just as he’s screaming that he doesn’t care whether she opens the pub, closes it, or burns it to the ground, Gráinne wanders in, which we’re sure is going to help this situation immensely. Security has gotten very lax at the pub now that Áine isn’t there to set up Home Alone-style booby traps at every entrance. He tells her to buzz off, but she replies that Maggie is very sick, and also he should go say goodbye before she bogs off to Springfield, where we assume her first act will be to break up Homer and Marge Simpson’s marriage. He says it’s got nothing to do with him, but she keeps pushing him until he throws both of them out. Well, I’m glad that’s settled.
Pádraig is still ranting, and because David has turned into a cobweb-covered skeleton, we get the impression it’s been going on for some time. Sonia busts in screaming and demanding to know where Sam is, as if this is an effing hostage situation and she’s the SWAT team. SHE IS THE WORST. Pádraig brilliantly responds to her nonsense by brightly saying, “Hi, Sonia, it’s nice to see you.” Snerk. We then discover that she’s brought with her O’Shea and the hunkier of the two hunky policemen whom we last saw telling us that Sonia had crashed her Moped into the side of that Pizza Hut. Pádraig explains confusedly that Sam is outside kicking the football around, which you’d think they would’ve seen or heard when they came to the door, but then we’ve already established that Sonia is an idiot and O’Shea is a terrible detective. We’ve yet to establish much about this other guy other than the fact that he looks like Jason Statham and looks great in a plastic neon yellow vest, but since he’s travelling around with O’Shea, we’ll assume he’s not much cop, either. (Get it? Cop? If you want to stop reading after that, I won’t blame you.) O’Shea sends David out to fetch Sam and then informs Pádraig that he’s been accused of kidnapping. Oh, FFS.
After the break, during which we learn an angry tattooed baby on a motorcycle will come murder you if you wash your dishes with anything other than Fairy liquid, Gráinne has returned to interrupt Maggie’s ongoing asthma attack by telling her Mr Tadhg regrets he’s unable to lunch today. Maggie says “I told you so” and coughs in her face a lot, taking a puff from her inhaler now and then, and swears she’s got things under control in spite of the fact that she keeps throwing up and fainting. Well, slán, Maggie. Gráinne offers to take her to the doctor, but Maggie poo-poos this idea, explaining that she turns blue and dies all the time and that she’ll make an appointment to see Dr Hibbert as soon as she gets home to Springfield. Gráinne harasses her for a while longer and also points out that she looks very pale today, as opposed to her usual sun-kissed golden radiance, and eventually Maggie basically throws her out because she’s getting in the way of all the asphyxiating she needs to do. With today’s increased security measures, most airports advise you to die at least 24 hours before departure time.
Back on the set of Kramer vs. Kramer, Pádraig tries to explain to O’Shea that Sam came here of his own accord while Sonia and her aggressive French braid scream a lot. She accuses him once again of kidnapping Sam, and just as Jason Statham is probably about to give Pádraig a slow, lingering pat-down, Sam returns with David in tow and then acts annoyed when his mother make a big fuss and tries to act like she’s not the ABSOLUTE WORST PERSON IN THE ENTIRE WORLD. There is a lot of back-and-forthing, and David helps confuse things by doing his Father Dougal routine. Sonia keeps trying to get Sam to incriminate Pádraig, promising she won’t be mad if he tells her “the truth,” which we all recognize as a complete load because we have never, ever seen Sonia be anything other than mad, even when she was in a coma. Sam sticks to his story, which is that he doesn’t want to go to London despite its many Nando’ses and the promise of visiting the construction work at Tottenham Court Road Tube station, now entering its fifth decade. O’Shea sticks her oar in for a while, doing double-duty as World’s Most Bumbling Police Officer and Mother of the Decade, and then she lets Sonia and Pádraig shriek at each other until Sam puts his hands over his ears and starts banging his head against the counter, something that usually only happens in this house when David is talking. Now O’Shea, who was basically encouraging them to fight ten seconds ago, puts on her stern teapot face and lectures everybody a lot before exiting the premises with Officer Oo-Er, and looks nauseated when Sonia vows she’ll be back in touch soon. I’m pretty sure threatening to torture a police officer is a crime.
O’Shea arrives at the pub, having dropped Jason Statham off at the hen night he’s booked to strip at, and she and John Joe flirt a lot. We imagine we will care about this later, but not right now.
In the Doom Ward, Maggie decides to pick up and move her record player in a way no one would ever attempt, i.e., with the hinged lid standing open and an album on the turntable overhanging the sides. Sadly, before the lid can slam shut, snapping the record in two, or the cord can yank her to the floor as she tries to walk away with it still plugged into the wall, she goes into her worst gasping fit yet, but not before looking symbolically at that old book Tadhg gave her as a gift back in 1868 or 1968, which she stores with her records for some reason. She staggers over for another puff of her emergency inhaler, which given her famously responsible management of her chronic illness we are surprised she doesn’t keep in a box with a cobra in it at the top of a rickety ladder in the neighbor’s attic.
Back at the pub, John Joe and Imelda’s diffuse attempts at flirting have settled on a topic that arouses them both, which is what ingrates their stupid daughters are. They compare notes on the fact that both of them have managed to export 50 percent of their children overseas, but Imelda wins because her other daughter Camembert has fled as far from her as possible without leaving the country, whereas John Joe has only managed to alienate Dee as far as the next street over.
The world’s most awkward dinner has broken out at David’s, where he’s trying to keep the conversation going among the Addams Family by volunteering that he thinks cake is good and asking if anyone has seen any good karate lately. Before he can even ask if they’d like to go outside and watch him kick a butterfly out of mid-air, Sonia starts another fight with Pádraig for no reason. She screams at Sam that it’s time to go home and that he’ll probably never see his father again, so he announces he’ll be spending the night here. David and Pádraig agree to this, but Sonia continues making that face that looks like she’s sucking on a lemon and the dog just farted. Finally she says that if he’s staying, so is she. Sorry, the David Arms hotel has a strict “no assholes” policy.
We return to the pub, where Imelda is demonstrating to John Joe what a laugh riot she is, which is like Mack demonstrating what an expert nuclear physicist he is. There’s more awkward flirting and then she goes home, or to arrest Adam for something he didn’t do, or wherever she goes at night.
Maggie is sitting at her table writing a letter to Tadhg, which amazingly she’s doing with a ballpoint pen and a notepad rather than with a quill on parchment by candlelight. My goodness, she’s gotten modern, hasn’t she? It’s actually quite a sad Dear John letter, telling him she’ll be back in Amerikay by the time he reads this and that he was right: it was seafóid to think there could be anything real between them, because someone as young and spritely as he is would never want an old woman like her. She adds that Frances and Áine are the ones who had to pay dearly for her foolishness and begs him to try to patch things up with Frances, because she’s a good woman who loved him very much. I will resist the urge to editorialize on this since there’s a lot of coughing and wheezing going on and it’s pretty clear where this is going. She closes by wishing him a long life and hoping that if he ever thinks of her, it’s not with hate in his heart. She puts the letter in an envelope addressed to him and sets it on the table, but as she stands up, she makes a horrendous wheezing rattle that sounds more like ripping a bolt of fabric down the middle. She collapses back into her chair gasping for air and clutching her chest. Well, as Chekhov said, if you introduce a case of asthma in the first act, somebody better get shot with it in the second one.
All this has been intercut with scenes at the pub in which a plastered and maudlin Tadhg has staggered down the stairs, poured booze all over the counter, and yelled at everyone. He orders Bobbi-Lee to sing a song, which for the first time ever she says she’s not in the mood to do, so then he roars at her to SING AN EFFING SONG. She reluctantly agrees, and he sings along with her to “The Monster Mash” or whatever for a while before grabbing her by the shoulders and trying to dance with her. She shrugs him off and then Vince, Mack, and John Joe run around the bar to wrestle him upstairs, telling him he’s had enough and that perhaps he should let Bobbi-Lee save her voice for the upcoming Latin Grammys.
We have a quick cut to what appears to be Maggie’s death throes, already in progress, and then we’re upstairs at the pub, where Tadhg is threatening to smash a bottle over the barflies’ heads if they don’t leave him alone. At this point Mack points out that Tadhg seems a bit tired and emotional and suggests they let him get some rest, so they exit and leave him alone in his kitchen, where he falls over the table and then struggles to open the bottle he’s been drinking out of. He takes a long swig and then starts sobbing. It seems the Greek tragedy that’s enveloped us all for the past year is rapidly approaching its inevitable conclusion, and my goodness, it’s been a good one, and devastating, too. Suck on that, Sophocles!
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