This isn’t a story about God, although it features a nun, a priest and an attempted exorcism. It’s a story about fate. At the beginning of the tale, the animals are torturing Jaye by singing throughout the night; by the end, she has accepted that it is her fate to follow their instructions.
We begin the episode by having a little more Jaye and Eric bonding – they both like beer, they both live in strange accommodation (Jaye = trailer, Eric = dry storage) and their lives have both changed recently after one fateful day (Jaye = animals begin giving her messages, Eric = discovering his wife being unfaithful on the first day of their honeymoon). Their relationship develops as they help a runaway nun, Katrina, who is living in an even stranger home: a decorative barrel in the, erm, Barrel pub where Eric works. Jaye is more than usually unwilling to help the homeless woman, preferring instead to steal her coat, but the thought of an adventure with Eric, and the machinations of a toy penguin persuade her.
They go to the train station to try to find Katrina, in a scene that reminded me of Amélie, although Jaye is perhaps the diametric opposite to Adurey Tatou’s character (“I didn't pretend to be your friend; I was forced to be your friend. Those are two very different things”) as she immediately jumps to the conclusion that the runaway is a prostitute and the man in black looking for her is her ‘goth pimp’, rather than a Sister and a Priest, respectively.
Jayes and Eric’s attitudes to Katrina’s problem, which is that God has never spoken to her, differs widely. Jaye wishes that things *wouldn’t* talk to her whereas Eric sees Katrina wishing to leave her convent as an allegory of *his* need to move on following his disastrous marriage. Mind you, Eric sees metaphors everywhere. The transitory nature of motels becomes a reason for he and Jaye to almost have a fleeting intimate moment, as he ponders on the ships passing in the night theme. Meanwhile, Jaye realises that she may be able to help herself at the same time as returning Katrina to the fold by being exorcised of her ‘devils’. But she unwisely involves her family:- Aaron, the atheist theologian, scares Katrina with his anti-religious doctrine and her parents decide that if Jaye is going to “turn to the Lord”, it’s doing to be to *their* [Presbyterian] Lord (“Presbyterian prayers go straight to the source. Right to JC”). Eric, in the meantime, ends up in a confessional toilet with the priest, trying to work through some guilt at not forgiving his wife and coming a little closer to accepting his new life in Niagara.
As usual the animals’ cryptic messages lead to some comedy- suffering for Jaye’s sin of helping: she gets tied up and has holy water flung into her face by the nun, and as usual there is a twist in the tale. The animals’ command to “bring her back to him” refers to the priest’s pre-priestly love-child – he is a father as well as a Father – and he is the one who ends up losing his religion as the nun regains hers. “It’s a miracle”, she says and Jaye realises that the animals move in mysterious ways and that her fate, her life, is now to do their bidding. Jaye of Arc, anyone?