Derry is welcoming the ‘Children of Chernobyl’ – teenagers, affected by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, who have been sent from their contaminated homeland for a few weeks of fresh air to “give their wee lungs a clearout”. (NB – this was a real thing!)
The Quinns are hosts to one of these children – Katya. And Erin couldn’t be more excited, completely carried away with the idea of herself as a benevolent Mother Theresa figure and looking forward to educating this poor Ukranian charity case. Katya, however, turns out to be sophisticated, confident, sexy and a lot less grateful to be in Derry than Erin had expected.
The rest of the gang (and indeed Erin’s family) are very taken with her. Clare is keen to discuss the parallels between the Chernobyl disaster and the Troubles, Orla is convinced that the radiation means Katya will glow in the dark, Michelle is desperate for her to put in a word with Jenny’s Joyce’s exchange student Artem (“a ride”) so she can lose the rest of her virginity. And James is as startled as the rest of the gang to find that Katya fancies him.
When Jenny Joyce hosts a party for all the Chernobyl teenagers and their hosts, Erin, on finding out David Donnelly is going, hastily accepts the invitation. But, while there, she is outraged to discover Katya is planning on having sex with James. Her determination to put a stop to that and to show the world Katya is not what she seems backfires in spectacular fashion.
Back at home Ma Mary and Sarah are outraged to discover that their widower father has a new lady friend. (“How could he? How could he bring her into our mother’s home?” “Your mother never lived here Mary.”) Da Gerry is on Joe’s side on this one – but even this support isn’t accepted by Joe (“piss off Gerry”). And it’s Katya’s defence of Joe’s new relationship that means Ma Mary finally comes round to Erin’s point of view.