Monday, September 24, 2018

The House That Mack Built

Season 23, Episode 6
First aired 20 September 2018

The last scene of the new opening credits, where someone is sneakily handing someone else a €50 note, is supposed to be a drug deal, right? Anyway, we open with a possible hostage situation in which Mack has covered Dee’s eyes with the world’s most fashionable blindfold and led her to a remote part of the countryside where no one can hear her scream. Well, we all knew this marriage was going to end with one of them under a pile of rocks somewhere along the R336, but I think we all thought it was going to be the other way around. He removes the blindfold and, unimpressed, she notes that this is his dumb old field, and she has no idea why he’s wasting her time with this when she could be at home comparing various family members’ hair under her electron microscope. He brightly explains that he’s decided they should build a cottage on this site using plans he’s acquired from someone named Micilín Jimmy, which is Irish for “Jimmy Hovel-Collapse.” He asks, hopefully rhetorically unless he’s prepared to get a response he doesn’t like, “Isn’t it a lovely spot to raise a family?”, which of course causes Dee to swallow hard and make a face like he’s just asked her, “Isn’t it a lovely spot to raise 22 children and have dysentery all the time?”

In town, it seems to be morning, and Micheál is trying to sneak Laoise out the front door. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to do a quiet walk of shame in Ros na Rún, where Máire is doing round-the-clock surveillance of the entire town in an elaborate crisscross pattern learned during her time in Afghanistan. She starts carrying on about how “thank God, you’re safe!” and “thank God, I was up all night worrying!” and “thank God, I was only about two-thirds of the way through planning your funeral!”, which is also known as “Máire Morning Greeting #3.” Laoise explains that she didn’t come home last night because she was, erm, staying with a friend who lives, uhh, two towns over and is named, errr, Fionnuala O’Shacking Up. Máire questions this story, especially since she’s almost positive she attended Fionnuala O’Shacking Up’s funeral, but Laoise explains that, err, that was Fionnuala’s mother who was also named Fionnuala, and that furthermore she and Fionnuala fell asleep on the sofa during Fair City because, uhh, Fionnuala has a lot of gas leaks at her house, and also because Fair City is boring, especially now that Emmet isn’t there fighting with everybody all the time. Furthermore, she explains unnecessarily, she hasn’t been sleeping well lately, which is certainly a good reason to watch Fair City, and then she and Micheál flee in opposite directions. Well, I’m sure Máire is satisfied with this explanation and will meddle no further.

(I kid, I kid, Fair City fans. Please don't send me angry letters. I get enough of those from the Berni fans.)

At the pub, Tadhg is harassing Frances about her torrid non-affair with Cóilí Jackie, which you may  recall consisted of his ruining her trip to see the new calf by offering to show her his udders. She, however, does not have time for his seafóid today because she’s been examining the bank statements and notices that earnings have been way down the past two months, and also that there have been a lot of checks made out to “Chernobyl Quarry” and “Upstairs Heat Vent & Sons.” He says this is because he had to order a lot of stock in July and August, such as 50,000 bags of crisps, and denies her request to see the books because he’s sent them to his accountant, Fernando Mac Money Laundering. She gives him a “Bitch, PLEASE!” look and then walks out, and it’s clear he’s nervous because he only mildly insults her as she walks out the door.

Back in the Icelandic Gaeltacht, Mack is walking Dee through the various parts of the plan, such as where the stove will go and where he’ll play Xbox. After telling us more about his back door than we really wanted to know, he starts carrying on about where the hordes of children will do their various activities, such as running away and getting Internet-kidnapped, but Dee is unimpressed, by which I mean she is throwing up in her mouth a lot. She sputters that it seems a bit isolated to her, what with it being on Saturn and all, but he counters that Mo and Peatsaí are just down the road, gesturing vaguely at the ocean with his crutch. Apparently Mo and Peatsaí live in a pineapple under the sea. Dee says she was really thinking that they’d be moving to Galway, with its bright lights and abundant Burger Kings, but he says they can’t afford a place in Galway, and besides, there’s no way he’d be able to get around on his crutches there with all those cobblestones. She says she’s making good money, but he sighs that she won’t be for long since any day know she’ll be having the first of their four-to-six children and will thus be on perma-maternity leave for the next 20 years. It’s clear he’s given this a lot of thought. She changes tactics, fretting that she doesn’t want to build the same house as Jimmy Entire-Family-Killed-in-Mysterious-House-Collapse, and that she’d like to find an architect who will design them something more modern, such as Frank Gehry or whoever designed Epcot Center. Eventually she wears him down, possibly because standing on a 45-degree slope on crutches is very tiring, and he agrees that they can look into it.

At Mo’s undersea pineapple, we have our first sighting of Postman David not working of the season. He’s standing in her kitchen complaining that John Joe is unreasonably angry with him just because he chained himself to a lagoon and caused the quarry to go out of business. God, get a sense of humor, John Joe! Mo is only vaguely interested in this because she’s busy arguing with Peatsaí about whether he’s strong enough to go for a walk on his septic finger yet. David suggests that perhaps he could write John Joe a letter, which is a waste of time since no letter has been correctly delivered in this town since he became the postman, and Mo snaps that she could not possibly give less of a shit about this, especially once we see her having some kind of ominous problem with her hand. OH, GOD, I DON’T THINK I CAN TAKE ANOTHER SEASON OF LOVELY MO BEING SICK AIEEE

Tadhg and John Joe are at the pub arguing about the quarry again. John Joe complains that no one wants to work with him because they think the quarry is/was Chernobyl-ing the river, so Tadhg tells him he just has to find out who’s actually doing the polluting and have them executed in the town square. John Joe replies that he’s asked Caitríona, but she won’t tell him. Tadhg’s helpful response is that he should ask her again, and then he throws him out, ordering him to take the Gaudi takeaway that Katy brought him and has apparently been sitting on the kitchen counter for several days with him. That seems wasteful—you’d think he’d slop it between two slices of bread and sell it to the customers. There’s nothing barflies enjoy more than a nice paella sandwich. After John Joe leaves, Tadhg gets a phone call from his accountant Fernando Mac Money-Laundering, who’s terrified because Frances is at his office and looks, you know, murderous. Tadhg nervously advises him to hide under his desk and have the receptionist tell Frances he’s on vacation and/or dead, which will of course slow her down for all of three seconds, but I suppose will give Fernando the chance to text a goodbye to his family telling them that he loved them.

At the Brazilian embassy or wherever Micheál works, he tells Laoise that they can’t keep their relationship a secret forever, but she protests that she’s not ready to make it public because she doesn’t want to hurt Eric’s feelings. This would be admirable if Eric weren’t so yucky. Micheál is annoyed but agrees, though he warns Laoise that she’s not going to be able to keep this news from DI Máire for long. My advice is that someone should do a DNA test.

And speaking of Máire and Eric, she’s summoned him from Dublin to tell him that Laoise isn’t sleeping well because she’s still in love with him. Oh, lord. Eric is surprised because he thought Laoise’s final words to him, “I hate you and if I ever see you again I will murder your entire family,” were fairly unambiguous, but Máire dismisses these unimportant details and says she knows when a woman is heartbroken and pining. The fact that Eric actually believes Máire gives us some insight into why his law-enforcement career has had a lot of ups and downs, but mostly downs.

Back at their place, Mack is telling Dee about various meals they might eat at different times today, such as lunch and dinner, and also that they should look into finding an architect. Wait, wasn’t Eoin an architect? BRING BACK EOIN. Dee says she already knows a great architect, by which she means whoever built The Gherkin, and that she’ll be able to hire him at a good price because she just represented him in a human-trafficking trial. That last part is implied. Unfortunately, he’s in Bangkok or Ukraine or somewhere non-suspicious like that at the moment, but she’ll call him as soon as he gets back on the 12th of never. She shoos him off, and just then she hears an email notification. She walks over to her laptop, which has browser tabs open to many sites but for some reason not, DISCRIMINATION, and sees that there’s a new message from DNA Ireland with confidential results! Well, that was fast. When I’ve run DNA tests on myself and my friends it has always taken weeks.

Chez Daly, John Joe is yelling at Katy for going to see Tadhg and blabbing about the lads and their backsides or whatever. Her defense, which she’s time-savingly created a macro to trigger, is that It’s Dee’s Fault. Surprise! In this case, Dee is to blame because she kept asking Katy unreasonable questions such as “Why did you suddenly move out?” and “Like, are you and Jason still together?” That MONSTER!!! In fact, Dee even threatened to call Jason to try to patch things up between him and Katy, and God only knows what he would tell her. John Joe’s response is that Katy and Jason need to talk agree on a story about why they broke up, perhaps something far-fetched such as, “Like 50 percent of all couples, we decided we don’t want to be married to each other anymore.” Katy says she’s not ready to take this dramatic step yet because, well, she and Jason broke up before and got back together, so maybe they’ll do it again. She’s leaving out the part where the last time they broke up for 15 minutes, she went out and got pregnant by Mack. John Joe screams that there’s no way they’re getting back together this time, and that the longer Katy waits to cut Jason out of the narrative of her life, the better the odds Dee will find out about Jay’s parentage, and also fá dtaobh de a lot.

Back at the crime lab, Dee is on the phone with DNA Inc., desperately asking if it’s possible she did the SECRET DNA TEST incorrectly, such as cross-contaminating it with her hopes and dreams. They tell her no, and that there’s no point in doing another test, and that if she keeps calling they’re going to get a restraining order. She hangs up and looks in disbelief at the screen, which tells her that if you switch to Vodaphone Bill Pay now, you can get a free iPhone 8! Oh, also that Mack is definitely Jay’s father.

After the break, Gráinne is hilariously hosting her terrible radio show, the topic of which today is a missing chihuahua. Next she promises/threatens she’ll be reading the death notices, but first, a little music, hopefully “Another One Bites the Dust.” This is what they’re reduced to when Keane’s isn’t having a 2-for-1 sale on manure for them to talk about. John Joe arrives to scream about rabble-rouser Gráinne being on the radio just days after Amy was fired from the station for raising rabble, but Caitríona explains she’s only here temporarily and Gráinne adds that she’s here against her will anyway, like most of the people in Caitríona’s life. He demands to know who the actual polluter is, so she replies that she can’t tell him yet, but what she can tell him is that the station will be officially apologizing to him and offering him free advertising during their popular 3-4 a.m. timeslot. John Joe, however, hisses that this isn’t going to help him since he’s already well into planning his suicide, or possibly a murder-suicide if he gets ambitious, and then storms out.

Dee is walking around town looking stricken when she sees Katy and Mack, who has just driven up in his van, chatting very familiarly and, you know doing-it-ly. This does not make her feel any better for some reason, proving once again that Dee is NEVER SATISFIED.

Elsewhere, Eric has strolled up the folding card table where Laoise sells vegetables and tells her he knows he misses her because Máire said so, but that he’s willing to get back together and even take it slow this time. I’m not sure how much slower they can take it than last time, but OK. She rolls her eyes a lot and finally tells him that it’s over because she’s with Micheál now, and after some light but not unreasonable snotting from him, he basically admits he knows when he’s beaten and wanders off. Well, thank heavens that’s over.

At the pub, Mo and her mysteriously dodgy hands drop the newspaper she’s reading on the floor, causing Tadhg to huff that she’s very clumsy today. OH GOD. Frances strides menacingly up to the bar and tells Tadhg she went to see the accountant but was told that he’s on vacation and/or dead, which she thinks seems awfully convenient. Come on, Frances, this is 21st century or similar and everyone is teleworking from Tenerife or the grave these days. Geez. She asks Tadhg where he’s hiding the money, and he asks if she’s calling him a thief, and the ominously tells him that whatever he’s up to, he’s not going to get away with it this time, unlike all the other times for the past 23 years. Oh, and then Gráinne comes in for a pint and she and Tadhg get into a big fight about the quarry for no reason, so he pours her drink out and throws her out. Guh? One of these days the show is going to have the budget to build a competing pub set and then Tadhg will be sorry for how he treated all his customers.

Out in the street, Eric tells Laoise that she left some of her stuff at his place, presumably that sad potted plant from that sad cardboard box we saw her carrying around on moving day, and adds that she can come pick it up any time, because he’s moving back to Dublin. It seems he’s been spending more time there lately, which has reminded him that there are, you know, things to do there. As they hug goodbye, Máire materializes and starts squawking about “the lovebirds,” so Eric gets in his car and drives away. Máire urges Laoise to stop him, by throwing herself under his tires if necessary, but she replies that she doesn’t need Eric anymore because she has a new man: Adam! No, no, as brilliant as that would be, it’s Micheál, of course. Too bad, Adam!

Gráinne storms into the café and orders a glass of wine, but Berni tries to talk her into today’s special, which is a free Heimlich maneuver with any entrée. After her dressing-down by Tadhg, Gráinne is not in the mood for Berni’s nonsense and bites her head off, which causes Berni and Caitríona, who is hanging around not working, to decide that she must be drunk. Because, you know, Gráinne is always hanging around drunk all over the place. A big fight breaks out which of course quickly turns to the subject of the quarry, because all roads lead there these days, especially those that are coated in oil sludge and liquefied cow shit. Caitríona yanks Gráinne aside and tells her to knock if off about the quarry or she’s going to be in big trouble, and meanwhile Frances, who’s been sitting there eating her gristle taco all this time, looks very suspicious about why Tadhg is sticking up for John Joe all of a sudden.

Over at the shop, Mo tells Colm she’s got her cancer support group today, and then they complain about Peatsaí for a while, and then when she starts to leave, she almost falls down and he has to catch her. OH JAYSIS. She claims the floor was wet and the sun was in her eyes and so on, but he looks worried and dubious.

Mack is hobbling around his living room calling for Dee, asking if she’s “up there,” which suggests either their house has a previously unknown upstairs or Dee is also secretly Spider-Woman. Now there’s a plot twist!! She appears in a slinky negligee, which I am told is a word no woman actually uses, but as a gay man I do not know my nighties from my teddies. Trust me, she is in some kind of nightwear from the Va-Va-Voom department at M&S. I mean a real M&S, not those ones that trick you with their signs and then turn out to be just a food hall. She seductively asks him what he was saying earlier about having four bedrooms in the new house to fill, causing his eyes and whatnot bug out on stalks.

At Micheál’s, he and Laoise are making out when the door opens and Máire appears. This is why if you live in Ros na Rún you should always keep your doors locked, because if it’s not Máire bursting in to mind your business, it’s David to deliver somebody else’s mail. A moat full of piranhas might help, too. She’s here to congratulate them and start banging on about getting married, because as soon as any two single people in this town learn each other’s names, Máire starts planning the wedding.

Gráinne, who we’re starting to suspect maybe did become a secret daytime drunk over the summer, is now frantically trying to buy a bottle or case of wine at the shop. If this fails, I’m pretty sure I heard on the radio that turpentine is on sale over at Keane’s. Frances appears and says she thinks she’s figured out why Tadhg got so angry about the quarry earlier, but before she can explain her theory that Tadhg is John Joe’s secret business partner, Gráinne interrupts and says she’s working under the theory that Caitríona is the partner, and also that seaweed is a complete scam. Frances tries presenting her evidence, but Gráinne is on a roll about how Caitríona and John Joe are polluting the environment and Amy got the sack because she got too close to the truth. Frances is pretty sure she doesn’t give a crap about pollution or Amy, but she does decide to trick Gráinne into working as her secret agent to investigate and uncover the truth. Well, there’s no way this is going to go wrong.

Back at their place, Dee is staggering around the kitchen sighing. There’s no sign of Mack, so we’ll assume he’s lying semi-conscious on the bed with his crotch smoldering. She seems restless, and then goes to take her birth control pill, thinks about it for a bit, and then dramatically throws them in the garbage and smiles triumphantly. Another, less wasteful option would’ve been to start sneaking them into Katy’s food JUST IN CASE.

1 comment:

  1. Ta for the SpongeBob reference (which is even better as Gaeilge!)


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