Friday, September 21, 2018

Putting the "Dee" in "DNA"

Season 23, Episode 5
First aired 18 September 2018

We begin this episode in which everyone suddenly has new hairdos Chez Daly, where Katy has rung Jason in order to wish Cuán a happy birthday. As usual, Jason’s default response is to hang up on her, which on one hand seems a little crappy given that Katy was effectively Cuán’s mother for an extended period of time, but on the other hand, I suppose he’s decided she’s not going to be part of Cuán’s life moving forward so he might as well cut the cord, and is also kind of a jerk. The least he could do is let Cuán go on a fun birthday drive to the seashore with Auntie Dee! And speaking of our favorite temporary kidnapper, just then she and Mack arrive. Mack is on crutches, which Dee dismisses in passing as a football injury but which we suspect involves her hitting him in the spine with a blunt object, such as a bat or a refrigerator. They explain that they stopped by the pub to see Katy but that Tadhg told them to get lost, plus it doesn’t have a ramp or elevator, so Mack couldn’t go in anyway. They stand there and watch while she spins a yarn about how Tadhg is difficult and John Joe needs round-the-clock nursing care and Jay is allergic to pubs, leaving out the part about how Tadhg caught her stealing money from him. It’s hard to tell how much of this Dee believes, whereas Mack is waiting for Katy to get to the part with the cow in the road and/or time-traveling robots, which in his mind are an integral part of any lie. They then give Katy a giant gift to take to Cuán when she visits him in Dublin later this week, so she has to explain that, erm, she’s not going this week because, umm, Jason was kidnapped by the Terminator. No, two Terminators! Also Dublin fell in a volcano.

Across town, Laoise, whose sudden new hairdo features a lot of highlights and looks completely fab, is looking at a photo of herself with Peadar. Micheál and his same old haircut wander in and comment that they can’t believe it’s been two years since he died. That does seem hard to fathom! As they reminisce about his passing they start making out, as one does, and we get our first Réailtín sighting of the year (hurrah!) when she strolls in and starts rolling her eyes and making barfy faces like Mr. Yuk, whom those of us who were American children in the 1970s remember warning us that poison tastes bad and therefore we should hold our noses while drinking it. Anyway, Micheál advises her to shut up and eat her breakfast, which gives her an opportunity to point out that he wouldn’t have to feed her or watch her being sullen all over the place all the time if he’d send her to boarding school like she wants. Hmm, if that’s the upside maybe he should send Laoise to boarding school, too. He ignores her and heads off to the lipstick factory or wherever he works, at which point Laoise tells Réailtín she’ll be moving back in soon, but that it’s a secret so she can’t tell anyone. Réailtín’s response is basically, “Don’t worry, I don’t have anyone to tell because I don’t have any friends here and am miserable, unlike at boarding school, where I would be popular and happy.” I tend to think of being sent to boarding school as punishment, which is why when my coworkers complain about their annoying, out-of-control children, I always suggest they send them to an out-of-state military boarding school. Because she is The New Girlfriend trying to win brownie points, Laoise agrees to have a word with Micheál on Réailtín’s behalf instead of telling her to knock it off and go to school like she would’ve last season, or telling her to go jump off a bridge as she was always telling her nemesis Fia.

Over at the community center, Caitríona and Adam are discussing their new hairdos the fact that pig diarrhea medicine is 25 cents off at Keane’s this week, which is radio-worthy apparently. John Joe appears and conversation turns to the fact that Caitríona has been on the phone with some construction company that has something to do with the quarry, and I have no idea why she’s so involved in John Joe’s business, but the important thing is that it seems Amy has been fired by the radio board and fled town under cover of darkness. Well, sayonara, Amy. John Joe pronounces that she got what she deserved, whereas Adam flip-flops on how he feels about all this approximately eleven times during this conversation because he is so bored with his life that he is desperate to feel anything.

At their place, Mack informs Dee that a big box has arrived for her in the post, which is obviously going to turn out to be a DNA test, but which she claims is a box of vitamins. He’s satisfied with this explanation because vitamins are a thing he has heard of, so he shrugs and goes back to drinking a cup of tea or whiskey or chocolate milk or whatever he drinks. This seems like a lot of charade for nothing since Mack would shrug and go back to watching Top Gear even if the box said “SECRET DNA TEST” in big letters on the side, but OK. Dee conveniently notices that he’s left his toothbrush on the kitchen counter again, because brushing his teeth in the kitchen is apparently a thing Mack does with some regularity, so he offers to return it to the bathroom, where he presumably washes dishes. She says she’ll do it herself and sends him hobbling off to wherever he goes during the day, and once the coast is clear, she grabs his toothbrush and the SECRET DNA TEST, stopping to pop her birth-control pill along the way.

Back at the radio station, Gráinne and Caitríona are arguing over which of them is the most unprofessional. Ladies, ladies, let’s just agree that in real life neither of you would be able to hold down a job. Colm arrives and the discussion again turns to Amy’s unceremonious off-camera departure, which presumably involved a stop on her way out of town to collect estranged pharmacist Janice. He stands by and watches them bicker for a while, and then Caitríona announces that she’s convinced the board, which consists of herself and a yellow-yarn-haired sock puppet called Little Caitríona, to advertise Amy’s now-vacant position with an “appealing” salary. In Ros na Rún, that means €4 per hour and all the tea you can drink. Colm muses that they’ll have a big-shot journalist here in no time, to which Caitríona snots that she can’t wait to have another professional like herself around here instead of all these amateurs. We’ll let that go and instead comment that we hope this means we will get a new character who is here to sex Pádraig up, unlike last season’s new character Briain, who was shirtless a lot and intermittently fake-gay but as far as we know did not participate in any sexing-up of Pádraig.

New hairdos abound at the shop, where Frances’ is poofy and windswept, as if she’s just wandered in from a Beyoncé video, and Tadhg’s is hard to describe, so we are going to call it “geometric.” (Actually they both look fine, especially Frances.) He mocks her budding romance with Cóilí Jackie, which fizzled amidst a lot of awkward gulping (her) and threatening to disrobe (him) last week while I was unable to recap due to being hurricaned. She tells him to stick it in his ear, and he snickers with glee like the delightful little pixie he is.

At the B&B, there is discussion and recapping of Peadar’s Mass, which is a lot like my recaps only with less talk of diarrhea. Máire and Berni, who have swapped hair colors this season, agree that it was a good crowd, and Bobbi Lee, who is wearing Mass-appropriate skintight leather pants like Olivia Newton-John at the end of Grease, thinks someone should tell her about it, stud. Right on cue, a stud appears at the door in the form of Niall, which causes Bobbi Lee to swoon and Berni to reveal that she hates him for some reason. Did we know that already, or is this a new irrational hatred from Berni? As he saunters in, she snots about how careless he is, clearly having forgotten that today was Peadar’s Mass because he is such a bad guy. Can we take a moment to note that Niall has no reason to have the date of Peadar’s death memorized given that, as far as we know, the two of them never laid eyes on each other? Anyway, he wanders over to Máire and apologizes for missing Mass, explaining that he had a lot of work to do and a deadline to meet. Do we have any idea what he does for a living? This scene raises many questions. Máire replies that the important thing is that he’s here now, and Bobbi Lee gropes his bicep and breathes that his presence is EXTREMELY MEANINGFUL to her too, but Berni sneers that at least Evan had a good reason for missing the Mass. She doesn’t bother telling us what that reason is, and can we also point out that EVAN WAS PEADAR’S GRANDSON WHEREAS NIALL IS NO RELATION TO PEADAR AND NEVER MET HIM. There’s a nice moment where a photo on the mantle prompts Niall to tell Bobbi Lee that Lee was beautiful and the spitting image of her mother, which may or may not constitute flirting on his part, and then she asks him to stay for dinner, which causes Berni to sigh heavily and roll her eyes dramatically like a snotty teenager who’s just been told that no, she can’t wear a bikini to school. We’re sure Berni’s sudden hate for Niall is building up to the two of them Doing It, but hopefully we will at least get some Bobbi Lee-induced love-triangle hilarity out of it along the way.

In someone’s living room, Dee has conjured Jay into existence and is apologizing ominously for what she’s about to do as she puts on some surgical gloves that were apparently designed for a giant. Wait, is she about to produce a needle and draw blood or something? What kind of SECRET DNA TEST is this??

After the break, the dramatic placement of which supports our feeling that Dee is doing something more medically intrusive than swabbing poor Jay’s mouth, we’re at the shop, where a buoyant John Joe is explaining to a feather-haired Vince that Caitríona is intimately involved in the quarry’s business for some reason now and that it seems they’ll be back to work soon. Vince thinks this is iontach, but David, who now has the haircut of one of the Housemartins circa 1986, has been blatantly eavesdropping while slinking around the shop nervously. Oh, God, please let David’s storyline this year be that he has developed kleptomania!!! Sadly, it seems he’s just been looking for an opportunity to insert himself in this conversation and tell John Joe he’s happy things have worked out in spite of all that half-hearted protesting he did last week, chaining himself to the front of Apache Pizza and so on. John Joe hisses that he’s not going to forgive David that easily for what he did, so then there is a debate between those two great life philosophies, “let bygones be bygones” and “kiss my ass, jerk.” Just then John Joe gets a phone call from Tom the foreman, whose full name may or may not be Tom Foreman, stating that he and “the lads” have decided they’re not going to do any work until they get a load of back pay, and when John Joe whispers into the phone that he doesn’t have that kind of money right now, Tom Foreman hangs up on him. Well, time for Katy to go spelunking in the heat vent again.

Back at the world’s most uncomfortable dinner party, Máire has just gotten a phone call from Fia, who you may recall was last spotted wandering around Europe, influencing trends and robbing German backpackers. It seems she has now reached the part of Europe that Dubai is in and has found a great job there screaming “Stay fierce!” in Arabic at random people on the street, but she won’t be home until Christmas because she wants to save up money for Liam Óg. Well, hopefully she’s hanging out with other Ros na Rún characters who have been exiled to Dubai, such as Eoin, whatever Eoin’s wife’s name was, Maggie’s ghost, and possibly now Amy. Berni rolls her eyes and tut-tuts in the background a lot and then sashays over, literally sticks her nose in the air, and announces that she thinks Fia is being very selfish, hmph! Well, thank God she’s been heard from since no topic on this show can be considered closed until we’ve gotten Effing Berni’s perspective on it. She explains that Fia is living the high life on the other side of the world, sharing a one-bedroom cardboard box with 76 people from South Asia like all the other foreign workers in Dubai, while wearing a T-shirt that says, “Let Me Tell You About How I Abandoned My Child” in glittery swirly writing on the front. She and Niall bicker for a while before she flounces off, her hair swinging in mad angles like Jan Brady in The Brady Bunch Movie, content as always that she is right and everyone else is wrong.

Across town, Katy saunters into Tadhg’s kitchen defiantly and then acts aggrieved when he tells her to beat it. She’s brought him some takeaway from Gaudi as either a peace offering or as a way of finishing him off once and for all, but he tells her where she can shove it and tries to throw her out again. She says that they need to sit down and sort this out once and for all, as if there are factors to this other than the fact that she stole a lot of money from him. In the course of the bickering, she mentions that John Joe’s builders are demanding back pay before they’ll go back to work and then strides off, causing Tadhg to look dyspeptic into the middle distance as she goes.

Laoise arrives at the Korean taco truck or wherever Micheál works to deliver cups of tea or bourbon. She launches into a soliloquy about how mature Réailtín is, not at all like the girl in the miniskirt we saw throwing up vodka and Red Bull on the side of the school last year, and then casually mentions that the poor lass really misses someone named Sinéad we have never heard of, but who is apparently her BFF and now attends Father Dougal’s School For Precociously Wayward Or Waywardly Precocious Girls in Bray or wherever. Micheál’s response—as with all of Réailtín’s problems—is that she’ll get over it, adding that she should try concentrating on her studies and also being less stupid all the time. The sad thing is that Micheál is actually one of the better parents on this show. Laoise eventually admits that she’s been sent here as a secret agent of international spy agency R.É.A.I.L.T.Í.N., but now that her cover has been blown, she’ll have to bite down on her cyanide molar to evade capture. I’m paraphrasing.

Back at the abandoned quarry, John Joe is leaving voicemails for Dee, who as you may recall is a world-famous quarry lawyer, but of course she’s busy spinning Jay in a centrifuge to isolate his DNA and can’t come to the phone right now. Tadhg appears from behind a puddle and then there is a lot of discussion about the intricacies of this year’s rock harvest in various EU regions and so on. Tadhg offers to give the lads their back pay so they’ll get back to work, and then produces a folded packet of paper with a list of names of people who need large quantities of rocks at low, low prices. They pass the paper back and forth, slapping each other in the chest with it a lot, and they agree to go out for a nice dinner and a film and then see where things go. It’s possible I’m only semi-paying attention to this.

Katy arrives somewhere that statistically speaking is probably inhabited by some Daly or another and finds Dee looking blankly at Jay, who is semi-deflated due to all the DNA she’s extracted. Katy helpfully explains for us that the reason he looks six months older than he did last week is that he got a new haircut, and when she asks Dee to stay for a cup of tea, she protests that she can’t because she’s extremely busy at work, as evidenced by the fact that she’s been sitting on the sofa staring at the wall for the past three hours. As Dee is about to leave, Katy notices that Jay’s dummy is missing, but sadly it seems she’s talking about a pacifier and not, like, a full-size ventriloquist’s dummy he’s been using to work up his new act. Dee nervously explains that she doesn’t know anything about any dummy, but that one thing we can all be certain of is that he didn’t have one when she picked him up from the crÁeche, THAT’S FOR SURE. Katy shrugs and leaves, and Dee looks pained.

Réailtín comes home and asks Laoise how things went with Operation: Boarding School Go To, but her star secret agent admits that her mission was a failure. Meanwhile, across town in one of the many mauve-ish rooms I can’t tell apart, John Joe complains to Katy that the business deal that Caitríona is somehow involved in fell through, so now he’s going to have to go with Plan B, which is to turn the quarry into a discount children’s soft-play area. Katy tries to give him a pep talk about how we all have to do things sometimes we don’t want to do, such as marry Jason, but John Joe is too busy whingeing about how his whole world is falling apart to pay attention to her. Well, the one thing he can always count on is the rock-solid relationship between his two daughters.

Back at Berni’s, everyone is having a lovely conversation about what a good man Peadar was, which gives Berni an opportunity to call Fia a bitch again. Niall points out that Berni is one to talk, and she asks him what that’s supposed to mean, and they bicker across the table for a while. Ordinarily Bobbi Lee would eat this squabbling up and somehow broadcast it on the radio, or at least put it on speakerphone so Pádraig and Adam can listen in, but because it’s Peadar’s Mass Day thing, she tries to create a distraction by offering to pour everyone a nice cup of tea or take her top off. That last part is implied. When Niall argues that he’s just trying to make a good life for his son, Berni deals the lowest low blow by pointing out that it’s too bad he didn’t try to make a good life for his stepdaughter rather than jumping into bed with her. Those of us who are old enough to remember the “Mortal Kombat” videogame are all screaming at Niall to FINISH HER, but Máire interrupts and threatens to have various heart attacks and whatnot if they don’t knock it off, thus putting a momentary stop to the hostilities, like when the Bloods and the Crips call temporary ceasefires to have Thanksgiving dinner together.

John Joe has come to visit Tadhg, which lets him lament the fact that he can’t have a minute’s peace without some Donegal idiot parading through his kitchen. There is quarry talk, and John Joe accepts Tadhg’s offer to pay David to eat a rock and let Caitríona film it or something. We will probably have to care about the details of all this at some point, but not right now.

Back at her place, Dee has set up an entire CSI crime lab in her living room, and it’s kind of hilarious. On the counter are Jay’s dummy, Mack’s toothbrush, and one of Katy’s toes, which Dee’s collected just for fun, and she’s shoving things into various Ziploc bags all science-like. I’m not sure why they had to mail her this SECRET DNA TEST in a big box considering all they seem to have sent her is a bunch of plastic bags, but the important thing is that she packages it all up in a big envelope addressed to DNA Inc., c/o Ireland. The Daly family: keeping the Irish DNA industry afloat since 2018.

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