In town, on-again-off-again frenemies Imelda and Laoise seem to be on for the moment, although Laoise is doing her best to stir up trouble and make everyone around her miserable. She asks how noted patient John Joe is doing, and Imelda has to admit she doesn’t really know since nobody from the hospital will tell her anything and Noreen is guarding the place like it’s the end of a Super Mario Bros. level. It’s OK, the princess is in another castle anyway. Laoise helpfully reminds her that Katy and Dee are a couple of bitches, and when Imelda reasonably replies that she doesn’t want to go someplace where she’s not welcome, Laoise retorts that if it were Micheál down at the hospital set, she’d be down there marking her territory posthaste, no matter how much of a wagon Réailtín is. That last part is implied.
At the community center, Berni, who looks like a hot mess, is toweling herself off from her gangsta rappercise class when…Briain appears! He’s carrying around a clipboard with a picture of a shirtless hunk on it, which at first makes us think that Grindr has gotten really low-tech lately, but we soon realize means he is the new fitness consultant “the Muscle Machine,” which of course we all knew as soon as Frances started talking about said machine last week. Berni chokes on her yoga pants for a while, which is made easier by the fact that he is seriously undressing her with his eyes, but before he can turn the conversation to which wall he is going to do her up against, Frances interrupts. She responds to his businesslike clipboard by holding a Very Important Folder, so they go off to have a meeting, but not before he leers at Berni some more and tells her breasts he’s glad they’ve kept up the exercise. We’re going to have to turn the fire hose on him if he keeps this up.
Back at the community center, Frances has made Briain do 3000 sit-ups and then lift a file cabinet over his head using only his glutes and is therefore satisfied that he is indeed qualified to teach aerobics to oldies. Unfortunately, however, he now tells her this has all been pointless because there just isn’t time in his busy schedule for him to come out to Ros na Rún and teach Máire and Peatsaí to twerk, what with EastEnders being on 14 times per week now and Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 having just come out. Of course there’s nothing Frances enjoys more than someone wasting her time, but before she can grab him by the ear and sling him through the wall, Berni appears. She’s dressed to the nines, or at least the six-and-a-halfs, and is here under the pretense of buying panto tickets for the four to six Dickensian waifs belonging to someone called Ursula, who can’t take them herself because she has to work and is also dead. Briain once again gives her a pap smear with his eyes, and then smirks that it’s very good of her to do something so nice for the kids, so she blushes and says she’s always enjoyed doing things
Outside, Vanessa tells Niall that she’s off in Australia being alone and sad while he’s gallivanting around her town with her friends like he owns the place and so on. Furthermore, she points out, he’s having happy family time with his son, while meanwhile her daughter is off in Dubai, which is his fault somehow. We realize Vanessa has had a difficult time, but she is working our last nerve with this. Fortunately Niall is a nice guy and doesn’t call her on any of this, but instead speaks in calm, soothing tones of the sort you use while you’re trying to keep the jumper on the ledge until the police arrive.
Back at the community center, Briain tells Frances he has magically rearranged his busy schedule and will now be able to Muscle Machine the town after all, which she declares is íontach, mostly because she is grateful to be speaking to someone other than Tadhg for a change. We quickly return to 3Arena, where people are starting to panic because Niall is nowhere to be found and the show just won’t be the same without someone to play Back Half Of Horse. Bobbi Lee, of course, is mostly concerned with whether she will be reimbursed for all the calls she’s made while trying to track him down, because as we have already established, her credit history qualifies her only for mobiles in which you have to keep inserting coins. Gráinne starts banging helpfully on about how she had bad vibes when she woke up today, and her marimbas weren’t great, either. (The musicians out there are loving that gag, trust me.) We are distracted, though, because in the background we notice the return of that effing Indian costume that was last seen on David at Halloween, and which needs to go in the garbage immediately, because it’s super-offensive and this show should know better. Meanwhile, Briain and Berni are sending each other flirty texts, which we hope will culminate in a jealous Tony arresting Adam and/or shooting David in the season finale.
Over at Gaudi, Imelda is trying to have a meaningful conversation with her alleged friend Laoise about how difficult it was to see John Joe all weak and de-hearted in the hospital, but of course Laoise is more interested in calling her an ice queen and being obnoxious for no reason. Well, I did say I wished they’d make up their mind whether Laoise is supposed to be a plucky heroine we root for or a rude super-bitch. Eventually Laoise accidentally stumbles into some semi-good advice, which is 50 percent “follow your heart” and 50 percent “mark your territory.” Sisterhood!
Tony runs into Berni at the community center and excitedly tells her that the Muscle Machine will be coming to Ros na Rún, and he’s looking forward to the intense workout he’ll get from him. Yes, he’s not the only one! They agree to meet for a drink later, and she looks about as enthusiastic as someone who’s…well, someone who’s just made plans to have drinks with Tony later.
Back at 3Arena, the crowd is applauding rapturously because they get to go home soon, and also because it seems Caitríona is seriously injured. Sometimes an audience really does luck out! Everyone takes their bows, and Bobbi Lee and Niall share a romantic hug and kiss as Vanessa looks on sadly. This would be a good time for to Fia to show up pregnant again!