Monday, September 21, 2020

Trial and Error

Season 24, Episode 82
First aired June 11, 2020


Haigh, a chairde! Aon scéal? No, nothing here, either. 2020 sure has been unremarkable!


Anyway! The season 25 premiere is this week, and if you—like me—have forgotten what was going on when we last saw our much-loved friends in Ros na Rún, and also Emma and Rory, let’s journey back together and remind ourselves where we left things so we will know what we will be screaming about later this week.


The season 24 finale opens at Berni’s, where everyone is leaving for court in their most somber attire. You can tell things are serious because Bobbi Lee, rhinestone- and fringe-free, looks less like she’s on her way to do shots off a mechanical bull at Willie Nelson’s house and more like she’s Judge Judy. Berni grimly notes that the verdict in Andy’s trial will be today, and I believe this is what we call dramatic irony because we the viewers know something she doesn’t know: that this is the season finale, and therefore he will of course be acquitted. Oops, spoilers! Although, really, given that the prosecutor apparently got his law degree by mailing in three Nutty Pops box tops and a self-addressed stamped envelope, they shouldn’t be too surprised.

Anyway, Briain has a stank attitude about everything, as usual, so Berni sends him to go fetch coffee and maybe do some crunches and lunges somewhere so she can have a quiet word with Bobbi Lee, who is worried that she will never see Nathan again after today. We vaguely recall that Nathan told Bobbi Lee and Berni that Sorcha confessed that she and Briain were the ones who ran over Jude, but then recanted when faced with Berni’s intense fringe, and also Briain in the background writing “Sorcha” on a piece of paper and then balling it up and eating it while glaring at her menacingly. Berni advises Bobbi Lee that Nathan is just as bad as Andy, and that they’ll be lucky to see the back of him, but Bobbi Lee is sad because no matter how troubled he may be, he’s still her son.


Speaking of Nathan, he’s trying to enjoy a breakfast of paella on toast over at Gaudi, but his appetite is spoiled by Sorcha’s arrival, and also by the fact that the food there is bad. She tries to apologize for dropping him in it with his entire family by taking back her confession, lamely explaining that she had no other choice because her mother is sick (?), but Nathan gives her the silent treatment and storms out. On the way out the door he pushes past a just-arrived Briain, who then demands Sorcha tell him what she was talking to Nathan about. She hisses defiantly that it’s none of his business and flounces out, leaving him furrowing his brow angrily. Briain transformed into Thanos so gradually that we didn’t even notice it was happening.


At the shop, Malachaí corners Máire on the shampoo, tinned beans, and industrial insulation aisle to pry into Frances’ business, asking if Tadhg is spending a lot of time at the B&B these days and, if so, what percentage of that time he is naked. Máire sees right through him and says he doesn’t have to worry about Frances and Tadhg getting back together because it’s not going to happen, and then launches into a soliloquy about how if you marry someone THEY BELONG TO YOU FOREVER, waving her ring around as a demonstration. Appropriately, we then pan over to Vince and Caitríona, a perfect example of wedded bliss. He mentions that one of the many employees at Loinnir was over looking for Caitríona earlier because she forgot to leave money for a delivery, and then asks why she’s paying for stock with cash anyway. She gives a non-answer and then he wanders away, so she pulls the community center’s credit card out of her wallet and looks at it meaningfully to remind us she still has it.

At the café, Briain and Sorcha argue for a while about Nathan, and he threatens her vaguely, but then Berni shows up and tells him to either a) leave Sorcha alone or b) hurry up and murder her, because they have places to be. I’m paraphrasing. Then we’re suddenly in the lobby of the courthouse, where O’Shea emerges from somewhere and tells the assembled crowd that there’s a delay because the jury wants more time to deliberate. Everyone knows this is not good news, but before Bobbi Lee can present into evidence this film she saw one time in which the jury asked for more time and then a giant gorilla carried a woman up the Empire State Building—it’s possible she is conflating two different movies here—Tadhg announces loudly his intentions to kill Andy, which is of course always a smart thing to say right in front of the police superintendent. 


In a waiting room somewhere, Andy is pacing back and forth ranting like a crazy person while poor Nathan stands there wondering if he’s chosen the wrong side in this fight. Nathan says Berni and Bobbi Lee have turned on him, to which Andy responds helpfully that they’re a couple of bitches and this is SOOOO like them, and then Nathan says weakly that he’s still on Andy’s side, and that he personally is going to go find Hugh Reynolds and bring him to justice. Andy is all, “Who?” and has to be reminded that Hugh Reynolds is the possibly imaginary person that he built his entire defense around by claiming he’s the one who murdered Suzanne, and then Andy is all like, “Oh yeah, him. Whatevs! So, back to how bitches be crazy....” Nathan asks, “You still think Hugh Reynolds is the one who killed Suzanne, right?”, and Andy responds, “Oh, sure, sure, Stu Richards TOTALLY did it!”, which gives Nathan a sudden case of diarrhea face.


Back in town, John Joe runs into Katy in the street and is surprised to discover she’s moving away to her new place in Knocknacarra today rather than waiting a bit. Now, when Katy agreed to Leave Town Forever so as to stop causing trouble with, well, everyone, we thought she was at least moving away to somewhere in remotest Donegal, but it turns out she is only going twenty minutes away, which is much less dramatic. Although Google Maps does think you have to take two different buses to get there, so there’s that. Anyway, John Joe wanders off and is replaced by Fiach, who asks what Katy’s departure means for them as a couple. Katy kisses his cheek grimly and then sadly/brightly says they’ll always be friends before getting in her car, and he looks stricken. She’s moving twenty minutes away! And not even in the opposite direction! It’s on the way to Galway, which everyone on this show goes to at least twice a week!


Bobbi Lee and company have returned from the courthouse to hang out in the pub until the jury comes to a verdict. The one time I was on a jury, ten of us spent all afternoon trying not to strangle the two holdouts, one of whom “didn’t want to believe that a woman could commit a crime” (even though said woman was already a convicted felon) and the other was just happy to get out of the house and was trying to stretch out the proceedings for as long as possible. Caitríona asks how it’s going, but then Frances gets a phone call from Labhrás, who’s complaining about something stupid, as usual. She says she’ll just pay for whatever it is with the Ionaid Pobail credit card, which she quickly discovers is not in her wallet, because of course it is 18 inches away in Caitríona’s wallet. Drama! Sorcha then shows up and tells Bobbi Lee she’s been trying to call her because she’s got something she needs to tell her and Berni about Nathan, but not here. Well, this is Ros na Rún, so I’m going to guess the place to do it is in the middle of the community center in very loud voices.


Back in the courthouse waiting room from hell, Nathan is apologizing to Andy for being such a disappointment, which is sad in about 600 different ways we won’t go into right now. He says ever since he found out he was adopted, all he wanted to do was meet his mother, and Andy interrupts to rant some more about how terrible Bobbi Lee is, and reminds Nathan that she gave him up as an infant so she could go “sing on those cruise ships” (OH HELL NO) and then calls Nathan an idiot for good measure. Now that’s parenting! Nathan appears to be buying into the “bitches be crazy” rhetoric from earlier, and then points out to Andy that when he grilled Bobbi Lee on the stand she sure “got what was coming to her”…just like Suzanne did. Andy agrees—and then realizes that Nathan has just gotten him to confess! Sort of! He grabs Nathan by the collar and starts shaking him violently as Nathan says, “You killed her!” A bailiff busts in, pulls Andy off him and hauls him away, leaving Nathan in shock.


Berni and Bobbi Lee arrive at their place with Sorcha in tow, and Berni is stroppy and annoyed, even by her standards. Bobbi Lee, who is somewhat more charitable, asks Sorcha to say what she’s got to say, and she spits it out: Nathan was telling the truth about the night Jude got run over!


After the break, Bobbi Lee is holding her face in shock as if she’s been slapped, and Berni is screaming, and Sorcha’s story mutates. She says she did tell Nathan that Briain ran over Jude, but then adds that she only said it because she was angry at Briain for rejecting her sexy advances of a sexual nature. So, she’s trying to pull Nathan out of the shit he’s in with Bobbi Lee, but is still cognizant of, you know, not wanting to be murdered by Briain, who is 31 flavors of crazy at this point. Bobbi Lee announces that she’s got to go find Nathan and flies out of the house, and then Sorcha tries to explain something or another to Berni, who throws her out. Well, at least all that’s resolved!


Bobbi Lee sits down beside Nathan on a bench in the courthouse lobby, and he says blankly, “Andy did it. He choked that woman.” Bobbi Lee assumes this means Andy confessed and goes to tell someone, but Nathan stops her and gingerly (ha!) tells her that Andy was too smart to come right out and say it in a way that could be considered a true confession, but that he could see the hatred in his eyes and knows it’s true. He looks like he’s about to cry and tells Bobbi Lee he let her down, but she tells him no, she let him down, and says Sorcha just told them what happened. Well, a totally imaginary version of what happened, but we will get to that later.


Meanwhile, a completely pointless shell game of “Follow the Credit Card” has been going on for a few scenes, and we end up in the café where Caitríona once again has it. Frances walks in with O’Shea, telling her that she’s reported the card stolen and that the bank says over €2000 of withdrawals have been made, but O’Shea assures her that every ATM has cameras on them now, so finding the culprit will be no problem. HA! Little does O’Shea know that Caitríona concocted a BRILLIANT scheme in which she withdrew the money while wearing a hoodie with the radio station’s logo printed all over it in giant letters. Checkmate!


Briain arrives home talking about how he muscled someone’s machine or whatever, but Berni ignores him and asks why he didn’t tell her about himself and Sorcha. Cue angry diarrhea face!


But before Briain can dismember Berni, scatter the remains around town, and make it look like a suicide, we return to the courthouse, where Nathan is repeating Sorcha’s cockamamie story back to Bobbi Lee to make sure he fully understands the full ridiculousness of it. He declares that this is a crock of crap because Briain is the one who ran over Jude, but she tells him to knock it off with this seafóid. Speaking of giant crocks of crap, let’s take a moment to consider how preposterous it is that Niall would not be here for any of this, writers. FREE NIALL!


Meanwhile, at their place, Berni thinks something must have been going on between Briain and Sorcha for her to get so angry at his rejection that she would fabricate such serious allegations. I think it’s less that Sorcha isn’t spiteful enough to do make up such a story and more that she’s too lazy. We can hear the gears grinding in Briain’s head as he explains that, errr, Sorcha is totally obsessed with him, so when he told her that he’s in love with Berni and they want to have a baby, she snapped. Berni wonders why Sorcha put herself in the car with Briain in the original version of the story since that would incriminate her too, and he unconvincingly explains that Sorcha is stupid and probably didn’t think it through, adding that she’s crazy, just like her mother. QED! Because Briain’s increasingly elaborate story makes no sense and Berni has not suffered a recent head injury, there is back-and-forthing, but then she gets a text instructing her to return to the courthouse. It would be great if, instead of anything to do with Andy’s trial, Berni is actually being summoned for jury duty. Before they can leave, Briain pretends to get a work-related text, explaining to Berni that he’s got to pop by the gym to take care of someone whose lats weren’t adequately blasted or whatever, but that he’ll meet her at the courthouse shortly, and then puts on his psycho killer face.


Meanwhile, Nathan continues to insist that Briain is the one who knocked over Jude, but Bobbi Lee still won’t believe him and instead says in sad disbelief that Andy still has a hold over him. Oh, honey. She explains that this is how Andy operates, whispering in one’s ear and turning one against people. If that doesn’t work, by chasing them through the forest and strangling them up against a tree. Eventually Nathan realizes he’s not going to convince her and sadly says he should’ve never come here, and asks Bobbi Lee if she’ll ever forgive him for spying on her when he first arrived, and she takes him by the shoulders and says, “I’d forgive you for anything.” Which is incredibly sweet, but because we love Bobbi Lee, also makes us nervous that this vow is going to be put to the test sooner rather than later.


There’s a scene at the shop between Malachaí and Frances in which we are reminded for the 1000th time that they are unsuited to each other, mostly because he is completely inert as a character, and after she leaves, he pulls a box out of his coat and reveals an engagement ring. Oh, FFS.


Sorcha is alone in the conveniently completely deserted community center when Briain shows up, and there is no way this is going to go well unless she has a really sharp pair of scissors or possibly some kind of samurai sword hidden in her yoga pants. He asks her why she opened her big mouth to Berni and Bobbi Lee, and when she tries to push past him, he grabs her by the arm and drags her back into the room, hissing that she’s not going anywhere.


And now, over at the pub, we suddenly have Mack and Dee. She’s in a bubbly mood, what with Katy being vanquished to a few miles down the road and all, but then Fiach storms in and starts yelling at her, asking if she’s happy now that she’s got what she wanted. I mean, obviously she is, given the happy look on her face and all the laughing. Mack is about to reach over and pull his head off, but instead Dee shoos Fiach away, explaining to Mack that she feels sorry for him, because Katy has filled his head with her usual crazy lies, plus Fiach is not very smart to begin with. That last part is implied. Dee heads over to a table with her glass of wine, and Tadhg, who is behind the bar instead of over at the courthouse with everyone else for some reason, pulls Mack aside and tells him he should trust Fiach because Dee is a monster. Mack defends her by reminding him that she’s the one who told him the truth about Jay’s parentage because she couldn’t stand seeing Tadhg being lied to, but Tadhg replies, “Dee told me out of hatred for Katy.” He adds that Dee’s grand plan was to get Tadhg to force Katy out of Gaudi, and that’s been delighted to see her sister hung out to dry, which seems to give Mack something to think about. I mean, other than that time he saw a cow in the road.


Things have gone from bad to worse at the community center, where Briain now has Sorcha pushed up against the wall. She threatens to tell Berni they slept together—multiple times—if he doesn’t leave her alone, and then he starts strangling her, complete with some very realistic gagging and choking sounds. Just as it seems she’s about to black out, he lets go, and she crumples to the floor clawing at her throat, coughing and gasping for air. He reaches down and pulls her up by her ponytail, angrily telling her to never threaten him again. He lets go and she falls to the floor again before struggling to her feet and running out the door, leaving him standing there looking flintily into the middle distance, and it’s clear that he has totally lost it. But then! We see the security camera up on the wall, and get some shots through its lens that make it clear this has all been captured on film!


Meanwhile, Fiach is shooting daggers across the pub at the table where Dee is sitting with Colm, Mo, and David, who are discussing the trial. Mo says Bobbi Lee will sleep better tonight with Andy behind bars forever, especially after the way he humiliated her on the stand, and Dee points out that he knew exactly which buttons to push, stating confidently that the better you know someone, the easier it is to sabotage them. This gets Mack’s attention, and he turns towards her from his barstool just as she adds—almost boastfully—that it’s easy to cast suspicion on someone if you know what you’re doing, and then concludes that if you’re good enough, you can even make people doubt themselves. Fiach gets Mack’s attention and points out that Dee would know all about that. The sound goes all underwatery, the world telescopes and gets dark around the edges, we get a series of tight close-ups on Mack, and we special-effectily see that all the pieces are falling into place for him. Oh, shizz!


Back in the courtroom, the judge asks the jury if they’ve reached a verdict. On the charge of kidnapping Áine, the foreperson announces that they find Andy…not guilty! Attempted murder of Bobbi Lee: not guilty!! Murder of Suzanne Wotsit: not guilty!!! Andy smiles smugly, and Bobbi Lee stands up and tries to plead with the jury that they can’t do this, and then Tadhg jumps up and shouts that Andy is a monster who attacked his little girl and tied her up with a rope. (Nobody cares about Suzanne because she was awful.) The judge orders them all to sit down and be quiet, and as the scene fades out, we slowly zoom in on Andy, grinning triumphantly.


And that’s it! We’ve certainly had a lot to chew on over the summer, and thank God the show will be back soon, because we need it more than ever during these insane times. Watch for the season 25 premiere Tuesday, September 22, on TG4!!!



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