Sunday, July 1, 2018
Ob-La-Dee, Ob-La-Don't (Season Finale)
Season 22, Episode 82
First aired 14 June 2018
It’s the season finale, and there’s some serious craziness ahead, so let’s get right to it! We open, as we often do with Very Special Episodes, with a montage set to some sad minor-key piano music that suggests Adele is about to show up and wish her ex-boyfriend well even though he’s a complete bastard and she wants him to die. Instead, however, we get a close-up of Peatsaí’s pores looking rather lifeless and Mo sitting beside his hospital bed saying she’s sorry for ignoring him when he was carrying about “not feeling well” and “being on the brink of death” yesterday, although we all know it’s mostly Colm’s fault. We then montage over to a shot of Mack and Katy making awkward eye contact as she sits in the pub doing her geography homework, and then we’re at Micheál’s, where Laoise is shoving all her clothes into a black bin bag, which is where most of them belong. Hopefully this is the first step toward her getting a new wardrobe next year, preferably with more saturated colors like the lovely blue floral thing she’s wearing today. We complete our funereal montage by returning to Peatsaí’s bedside, where Mo reminisces about the good times they’ve had with him watching her rolling out the bins while having cancer and getting his ponytail caught in a mousetrap and so on.
Back at the pub, Mack asks Katy if Jay’s imaginary bed was returned to the shop in time to get a refund, and in return she snots that she knows what he’s up to and she’s not falling for it. Of course Mack is one of the great devious schemers of our times, as evidenced by the utterly blank look he gives her in response to this accusation. Before it can turn into an argument over nothing like all Katy’s conversations do, Tadhg interrupts to ask Mack if Peatsaí’s dead yet, presumably because he’s wondering if he should gas up the hearse. Mack grimly reports that Peatsaí was completely unresponsive this morning, even by his standards, although it’s also possible Mack got confused and was trying to talk to a mannequin in the underwear department at Dunnes, which would also explain the plastic headlessness. Tadhg reports that he’s got to head over to the hospital later today to pick up a corpse anyway, adding that it sure would be convenient if Peatsaí died before then so he wouldn’t have to make two trips. Tadhg Ó Direáin: always thinking about his carbon footprint.
A cheerful Dee shows up, which is Katy’s cue to flee upstairs, but not before she asks if she can do her a favor and pick Jay up from the crÀeche, which will hopefully get its character encoding fixed over the summer, and drive him to his breakdancing lesson or whatever, but Dee says she can’t because she’s got a facial scheduled followed by a trip into town. Doesn’t she work anymore? Before Katy can inevitably attack Dee for being a selfish bitch, Mack volunteers that he could go pick Jay up, causing Katy to choke on her gristle sandwich and sputter that no, she’ll just put him up for adoption or burn down the town or something. She leaves, and Tadhg and Mack get into another spat about whether it’s funny that Peatsaí might die, and if so, how funny on a scale of 10 to 0, with 10 being “pants-wettingly hilarious” and 0 being“Mrs Brown’s Boys.” Dee, who you may recall has suddenly reached Adam levels of saintliness lately, starts berating herself for being thoughtless and swanning off to get a facial while poor, harried single mother Katy barely has enough time to make out with Mack in various locations around the greater Europe area. Yeah, Dee, you’re the problem here.
Back at the hospital, Mo is inspirationally telling Peatsaí that she will always love him and that she wants to dance with somebody who loves her and so on, but he doesn’t seem to be doing very well, possibly because the ventilator is hooked up backwards and is actually vacuuming the air out of his lungs. But wait! A close-up of his hand reveals that one of his non-gangrenous fingers is twitching! I was going to say that Peatsaí’s nails are much cleaner and more carefully manicured than I would’ve expected, but I suppose the nurses ran him through the autoclave as soon as he arrived to keep him from starting an outbreak of some kind, like when that hospital in Galway sent all the patients home before Leo Varadkar visited so he wouldn’t get the impression it was a place where sickos and other undesirables hang out.
At their place, Réailtín hugs Laoise and says she’ll miss her, especially because her dad probably won’t let her watch something on TV anymore that I’ve never heard of, but which I am going to say is Naked Dating. Laoise replies that Réailtín has just got to stand firm and convince her dad that she’s required to watch Naked Dating for a school assignment on foreskin, and furthermore that she’s sad about going, too, because she won’t be able to borrow from Réailtín’s extensive collection of Nicki Minaj wigs anymore. It’s actually a sweet scene because the two of them are very good together, but then Micheál spoils it by showing up. Réailtín runs away sobbing, as do most people faced with yet another scene of this repressed Merchant Ivory Micheál/Laoise saga. What this situation needs is some of Bobbi Lee’s patented meddling, I say.
At the salon, which we had sort of forgotten existed, Dee emerges from the facial-extrusion lab and exclaims to Gráinne that it was very ar dóigh, or, as Gráinne would say, iontach. You can tell I’ve been paying too much attention to this show because I know everyone’s preferred exclamations of approval. In fact, she’s so pleased with her new face that she’d like to buy Katy a gift certificate for one of her own, although Gráinne has to tell her she can’t have the seaweed scrub because Caitríona and the UN Convention on Human Rights have jointly banned Áine na Sauna or whatever after all those people, you know, exploded. Instead Dee decides to treat Katy to one of Gráinne’s famous massages, which she thinks is a nice gift, but in about half an hour she will be glad to know has in the past involved Gráinne pushing down hard on Pádraig’s head while turning it clockwise, like opening a child-proof bottle of aspirin.
After a quick conversation between Dee and Frances about how reasonable Tadhg is being these days, what with his agreeing that Frances deserves her fair share of the pub money and all, we cut to the pub, where he’s continuing to stash huge stacks of cash in the air vents while grinning maniacally. At this point the vent is about 80 percent blocked, which means he better find someplace else to hide it before winter comes or else the place is going to burn down the first time the furnace kicks on. “CAUSE OF FIRE: Too much money.” Katy appears in the doorway and sees what he’s doing, but she slips away before he notices her, which is convenient because that duct is so full of money there’s no way he could fit her body in there right now, even if he folded it in half.
Back at Michael’s, Eric has shown up to help Laoise move, which consists of him standing around complaining about how all her stuff is junk and bitches be crazy and so on. He tells her he’s decided to renovate the garden when she moves in and maybe also build a shed, because she doesn’t get enough of that working at the polytunnel all day. He exclaims that this is a new start for both of them and it seems to be the most sincere thing we’ve ever seen Eric say, but as he gives her a big hug, we see her giving ambivalent looks into the middle distance, because no one told her life was going to be this way: her job’s a joke, she’s broke, and her love life’s D.O.A., although much less D. than Eric appeared to be this time last year when he was on his face in a pool of blood at the bottom of Imelda’s stairs.
Over at the pub, Annette is complaining to Micheál that she really hates cleaning toilets, as opposed to the rest of us, who love it. He agrees that life sucks, what with Laoise cluttering up the house with her box and Réailtín moping around like Melania Trump, but he’s cheered up slightly by the thought of beating Seán up, just because. Tadhg butts in to agree that Seán needs a good thrashing, although it’s unclear whether he even knows who Seán is or if he just likes watching people fight. Annette is all, “Gabh mo leithscéal, Seán is a very kind and generous man,” which is of course the complete opposite of everything we’ve ever heard her say about him, but if this sudden change of heart results in her buzzing off and leaving Micheál alone, we’ll allow it. Micheál points out that she’s changed her tune, and she replies that Seán may be a total idiot, even by this town’s standards, but that he’s got a big heart, by which she may or may not mean he has a life-threatening cardiac inflammation. She continues this fairy tale by telling us that Seán is also a great father, which makes us think she must be talking about some other Seán we’ve never met, and eventually she announces that she thinks she and Micheál would be better as friends. Micheál readily agrees, so it seems the romance of the century is over, leaving us only with Prince Harry and What’s-Her-Name and Tom Daley and What’s-His-Face to care about. It’s just as well, because Annette thrives on a steady diet of almost going to jail for stealing money from various charities, and we think Seán is better able to provide that than Micheál could ever be.
Mack arrives at the hospital looking rugged and strapping, and he and Colm think Mo should go home and get some rest, what with her having bonded with the waiting-room sofa at a molecular level, but she says she’s not going anywhere, especially because it seems Peatsaí is getting better. She presents as evidence of this the fact that the odour has come back a bit in his face, which seems odd but within the realm of possibility for Peatsaí, but then it turns out that I’m still adjusting to this new bifocal contact lens I’m trying out and the subtitles actually say the colour has come back a bit in his face. Mack demonstrates the technique that won him the Foot-in-Mouth gold medal at the last three Olympics by helpfully pointing out that Peatsaí is probably just doing that thing where sickos perk up a bit just before they croak, which surprisingly does not seem to make Mo feel any better. She is too grief-stricken by this prospect to punch him through the wall like she usually would, so she just threatens him vaguely and looks sad. Well, on the plus side, if Peatsaí needs a life-saving finger transplant, Dee will be discovering a previously unknown family member later this episode who might be a match.
Micheál interrupts Laoise’s packing again so they can reminisce about good times they’ve had taking out the bins, much like Mo and Peatsaí earlier in the episode. The fact that the social life of this town is so garbage-based makes me think they need a movie theater or sex club or something. Eric shows up just as Micheál tells Laoise that he and Annette have broken up, which none of them seem to care about, and then they continue their stroll down memory lane by discussing the happy times they’ve spent watching their favorite TG4 shows, such as Irial the weather guy’s beard and old episodes of The Weakest Link. What’s the Irish word for “cross-promotion?” They then discuss taking out the garbage again, and Eric clearly feels excluded by their casual intimacy and shared history of fish bones and coffee grounds.
Dee bumps into Tadhg in the street and asks him to run the massage gift certificate upstairs to Katy, which goes over exactly as well as you’d expect. Máire then arrives and starts discussing Peatsaí’s condition with the smoldering heap of ash that used to be Dee, so Tadhg announces that if he’s not dead yet he soon will be and then hops in his hearse to go pick him up before one of the other funeral homes in town or the Tesco meat department beat him to it. Máire then starts asking for reports on how each individual member of the family feels about Peatsaí’s condition specifically, as if Dee’s going to say, “Well, Mo is upset, but Mack keeps getting confused and thinking Peatsaí is a character on Fair City.” Máire then sets out on a mission to waste as much of Dee’s time as humanly possible, which includes dumping out her purse in the street in search of a Fruit Gum she found that looks exactly like Ryan Tubridy, and it seems this is testing even the saintly new Dee’s patience.
Over at the radio station, which is oddly soft-focus and dreamlike today, Caitríona is standing around not working as usual. She’s telling Ros na Rún’s other star non-worker Bobbi Lee about how her probation officer is making her scrub graffiti off the community center’s toilet walls, which is very hard on her because most of it is a) about her and b) not very flattering. Of course this is the best thing that’s happened to Bobbi Lee since the time Berni got her hair caught in the dishwasher, but Micheál arrives to put a damper on her festivities by running Caitríona off and then warning Bobbi Lee that there better not be any discussion of his personal life on her show. She’s going to have to scramble for new material because she had the “Micheál’s Love Life Discussion Forum” scheduled for hours 2-4 of today’s show. Bobbi Lee protests, at which point he starts spilling his guts about his love life in great detail, which of course is her cue to casually lean over and turn the microphone on. It seems she’s actually been on the air all this time, and I’m unclear what she was broadcasting the during that entire conversation about Caitríona’s toilets. Maybe when she doesn’t feel like working she just plays the ten-minute version of “American Pie” over and over.
Across town, Adam arrives at Micheál’s with more boxes for Laoise, but the only one there is Eric, who stares at him as if he has no idea who he is and then grunts that they don’t need boxes because he’s started throwing Laoise’s belongings in the incinerator to save time. The world has no idea how much Bay City Rollers memorabilia has just been lost. Just then Adam realizes he hears Micheál’s voice coming out of an unfamiliar antique that Eric explains is a radio—no word on whether this is Laoise’s infamous ghetto blaster from last episode—and they start listening just in time to hear Micheál confess to Bobbi Lee and her tens of listeners that he’s in love with Laoise and it’s breaking his heart that she’s moving out. At this, Eric turns twelve shades of diarrhea, and hilariously Adam is all, “Well, I better be going now!”, trying to be nonchalant, but as a noted homosexual myself I can assure you that his gay drama gene is LIVING. FOR. THIS.
A relentlessly cheery Dee has escaped Máire’s blow-by-blow narration of the first twenty years of EastEnders and bounces into the pub kitchen with Katy’s spa certificate in her hands. When she goes to tack it to the bulletin board, though, Áine’s family drawing flutters to the ground, and when Dee picks it up, she happens to notice that it’s on the back of the DNA test results that prove that Jason is not Jay’s father. Her face falls, and while we are mostly busy screaming, we are also surprised to see that Jay’s legal name is apparently Jay Óg O’Connor. Buh?
After the break, during which we continue screaming a lot, we are in some other kitchen, which may or may not be John Joe’s. Mack is trying to talk to Katy about What Happened, but she doesn’t want to, because of course Katy’s default state re: all human interactions is “I Don’t Want To Talk About It Until I Do, At Which Time I Am Going To Start Yelling About It No Matter How Inappropriate A Time And Place It Is.” Mack points out that their kiss must’ve happened for a reason, and while I might theorize it’s because their faces got too close together, Katy says “No!” a lot and then concludes that they’ll have to pretend nothing ever happened for the sake of family well-being, global economic stability, and Dee not murdering everyone. Mack agrees, and then they immediately go back to flirting with each other, so I’m sure there’s no way this is going to explode, possibly literally, in the six minutes remaining in this season.
In the pub, a notably less cheerful Dee practically knocks Micheál down during her high-speed exit, and then Caitríona congratulates him on being so brave in revealing his unrequited love for Laoise over the radio, as if this is anything he would ever intentionally do. Just as Micheál starts freaking out, Laoise emerges from the ladies’ room. It’s clear that she hasn’t heard anything about this radio confession, and he frantically says he needs to have a private word with her, and that word is: Feck. Before he can say anything, though, Eric appears from nowhere, literally shoves him out of the way, and drops to one knee in front of Laoise and asks her to marry him. OK, I can’t decide if this is more sleazy or brilliant, so I am going to call it “slilliant.” By now everyone in the pub, which consists of David and a bunch of extras we have never seen before, is watching, so she looks around, makes long eye contact with Micheál, and then replies, “I will,” in a completely blasé way as if she’s just told the waiter she’ll have the soup instead of the salad.
Back at the mystery kitchen I think is John Joe’s, Katy and Mack are being flirtatiously domestic and giggling a lot. She relates a story about the time as a young chef she intentionally snuck beef into a vegetarian’s lasagna, causing him to throw up all over his date, the first in a long line of people throwing up after eating Katy’s food. She and Mack are all chuckles, and then Dee, who already looks like a zombie who’s just had a big meal and then ridden a roller coaster, wanders in through the front door and overhears her husband and her sister laughing and talking like a couple on a date. Stunned, she looks into the living room and sees Jay playing, and then there’s an absolutely brilliant wordless moment in which we see her face flicker from stunned to furious to resigned. It’s as subtle and fine a piece of acting as you’ll see this year, and Máirín De Buitléir really is stellar in this entire episode, but particularly in these final minutes. She strides slowly but purposefully into the sitting room where Jay is playing, and as he turns around and gives her a big smile when he sees her, she tightens her lips slightly, almost imperceptibly sets her jaw, and narrows her eyes a tiny bit. It’s remarkable because she hardly moves any of the muscles in her face individually, but when you look at the combined effect of all her movements together you can see that something in Dee has just fundamentally changed. It’s really a master class in subtlety, and also OH MY GOD WHAT IS SHE GOING TO DO?
Tadhg arrives at the hospital to measure Peatsaí for a coffin. It’s clear he’s really there to check on Mo, but after she leaves to get a cup of coffee, Tadhg immediately starts telling Peatsaí the world would be a better place without him, but since Mo would be sad, it would be OK if he pulls through. It’s a very Tadhg moment. Just then Peatsaí whirs to life and asks if he’s dead, and then they insult each other for a bit until Mo returns and is thrilled to find him back in the land of the living, more or less. As Tadhg leaves, he stops in the doorway and can’t help smiling at Mo’s joy.
Back at John Joe’s (?), Katy emerges from the kitchen and closes the front door, which is slightly ajar. She then walks into the sitting room to check on Jay, but he’s not there. She calls his name, but there’s no response, and then she starts screaming for Mack, accusing him of leaving the door open and letting Jay escape. Mack swears there’s no way he’d leave the front door open, but Katy will not be deterred, and it’s hard to tell whether she’s more angry at Mack for being stupid or upset over the fact that Jay is missing. I guess being annoyed by multiple things at the same time is one of Katy’s strengths.
At the pub, Micheál puts on a brave face and congratulates Eric and Laoise on their engagement, but he looks like he’s just been punched in the stomach repeatedly, or eaten at Gaudi’s. Out in the street, Katy and Mack are running around in circles screaming desperately for Jay, but he’s nowhere to be found.
And now, this. We then cut to a desolate shot of the sea, and the minor-key piano music returns as we see Dee in the driver’s seat of her car, staring coldly at the water and slowly saying, “Mommy will be so worried. She’s so fond of her little pet, isn’t she?” The angle changes and we see that Jay is sitting in the passenger seat, and as Dee’s emotions start to shift, we can see that something inside her has broken. She says that Katy obviously thinks she’s an idiot, and that she and Mack have been laughing and making fun of her this whole time. “Well, they won’t be laughing much longer,” she says ominously as we cut to a silent shot of Mack and Katy running around and screaming in slow motion, and he puts his arm around her and she falls into him. Dee continues her amazing Bette Davis monologue as if she’s in a trance, and turns to Jay as she says, “They’ll pay for what they’ve done … my little pet. You can be sure of that.” The delivery is much subtler and less Wicked Witch of the West than it sounds here, but it’s absolutely chilling, and Dee’s gorgeous anime-princess eyes are simultaneously dead and full of fire. Dee—like Katy—tends to operate in broad brushstrokes, so it’s jarring to see her being so subtle and deliberate, and calmly narrating her descent into darkness. It seems she’s snapped, and then the camera pulls away and we see her getting out of the car before we quickly cut to another shot of the cold, dark sea, and then the credits roll.
And that’s it! What exactly is Dee going to do? We’re going to have to wait till September to find out! This season finale hasn’t been as flashy or “kapow!” as the past two, but the psychodrama with Dee is much more chilling. It would’ve been easy for the final few scenes to go terribly off the rails, but the writing, direction, and especially Máirín De Buitléir’s performance hit exactly the right notes of desperation, surrender, and attack.
Thanks for joining me for another season of Ros na Rún recaps! I love all your comments and tweets. I’ve got a few fun features scheduled for the summer, including a ranking of which characters had the best storylines this year and hopefully a cast Q&A or two, and then I’ll be back in September for season 23!