Modern Love – S02E03 – Strangers on a (Dublin) Train [Transcript]

Two strangers meet on a train from Galway to Dublin in March 2020 and decide to go old school: no numbers exchanged, only a promise that they will meet up on the train two weeks later. And then a worldwide pandemic shuts down all of Ireland.
Modern Love - S02E03 - Strangers on a (Dublin) Train

Original release date: August 13, 2021

“We met on a train. A perfect, flirtatious, six hours. The beginning of our love story? Trusting in the power of the universe, we hadn’t exchanged mobile numbers. Sometimes, a romantic plan isn’t enough.”

* * *

♪ We face the music together ♪

♪ And throw our hats in the ring ♪

♪ Facing all kinds of weather ♪

♪ And not afraid of anything ♪

♪ Hey ♪

♪ When the sun comes up, we’ll be on our way ♪

♪ And we don’t care where we land ♪

♪ And the waves are high, but we won’t turn round ♪

♪ ‘Cause your hand is in my hand ♪

♪ And, oh-oh ♪

♪ You make me feel invincible ♪

♪ ‘Cause it’s you and me ♪

♪ Through the wind and hail ♪

♪ Setting sail into the world ♪

[woman over P.A.] This is the final boarding announcement for the 10:00 a.m. train from Céannt Station Galway

to Dublin Hueston.

[indistinct chatter]

[woman speaking over P.A. in distance]

…as the train will be leaving in five minutes.

[Paula] Jesus. Look at all these numties.

Every single one of them on a device.

Glued to a screen, giving all their data away for free.

[ringtone playing]

Not a single book between them.

Sad what we’ve become.

Hey, Mum.

Yeah, we’re just leaving Galway.

So will you pick me up in, like, two hours?

Mum, I’ve got, like, half my flat with me, and you want me to hail down a cab?

Come pick me up.

Aren’t you excited to have your girl coming home for a few days?



[man speaking indistinctly over P.A.]

[Paula] Ooh, we’ve got a talker, we’ve got a talker.

Please don’t sit here, buddy, please don’t sit here.

Thank you.

[objects clanging]

Oh, God, John Candy in Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

Keep walking, buddy.

Just keep walking.


Thank you.

Oh, no. Oh, Irish Greta Thunberg.

No, thank you, please.

Oh, God.

Keep walking, pal. Keep walking, pal.

Definitely got his mum’s head in that bag.

[cats meowing]


You allergic to Tiddles and Cocoa?


Oh, it’s okay.


[cat meows]



♪ ♪

Yeah, it’s free.

Got it. Go for the Angelina Jolie type over the bookish, interesting individual with something to actually say.

Because maybe you’d be afraid to hear it.


♪ ♪

[man over P.A.] Can we have your attention, please?

We are now arriving into Athenry Station, Athenry.

Would all passengers for Athenry please disembark now.

Thank you very much.

[Paula] Aha.

Back in the game.

So long, Jolie.

♪ ♪

Hello. This is Paula.

Hi. Thanks so much for getting back to me.

Yeah, I’m expecting two packages, um, but can you send it to the Dublin address, not the Galway one?

They’re both on the account; I just checked the wrong one.

Yeah, the Oxmantown Road one.

Thanks. Thanks a million.

Anyone for any tea or coffee?

Tea or coffee? Anyone?


Uh, coffee? Tea?

No? Nobody for tea or coffee?

That’s grand, no coffee, no tea.


This is crazy, right?


They’re talking about closing down public transport now, too.

Yeah, I just heard that.

I’m sure things will return to normal in a few days.


You coming from NUI?

Yeah. How’d you guess?

The, uh, the huge pile of academic-looking books gave it away.

Right. Correct, yeah.

College shut down yesterday morning, so…

How about you?

I work in tech just outside of Galway.

They’ve, uh, furloughed everyone for two weeks.

Jesus. So, where are you going?

My brother’s flat in Dublin.

All of my flatmates have moved home, so I didn’t really want to be stuck in Galway if things really shut down.

Me, neither.

What’s a party town without people?


Mind you, my brother’s a complete pain in the ass, so I don’t which is better.

But he’s company.

[Paula] Invite him to your mother’s house, it’s perfect.

Shut up. You just met him, like, two minutes ago.

Yeah, and it’s going so well.

God, you’re lonely.


Where are you staying?


Sorry. Uh, you go ahead.

What does “in tech” actually mean?

I mean, it’s something I hear a lot, but I just kind of nod along, but…

So, I work for a company that targets advertising for produce companies.

Oh, cool.

So you work in advertising.

No. I-I work in tech.

I handle six or seven companies’ accounts and work with them finding target consumers for their brands, so they don’t waste their time advertising to people who are never gonna buy their products.

Uh, we run algorithms based on tracking consumer preferences, try to forecast and model their actions.

What about you?

I’m a medievalist.


They didn’t do so much of that back then.

Well, their, uh, their processors were just too slow.

[laughs softly]

Sorry, uh, do you mind, I’m just getting a crick in my neck at this angle.

Is it okay if I, uh…

Yeah. Sorry.

Go ahead.

[exhales] Ah. That’s better.

What were you saying?

Can’t remember. Sorry.

Can I ask you a funny question?


When you first got on, how come you sat over there with her, when you had the option of the two tables?

I just prefer to sit facing the direction we’re going in.

That’s all.

Now you’re sitting the opposite way.

Yeah, but I’m facing you.

So my neurosis can take a back seat for a bit.

It’s not a big thing. Just a little quirk.

It’s not like it dominates my life or anything.

Do you want to swap seats?


♪ ♪


Uh, so, where are you staying till college reopens?

Uh, my mum’s house.


You say that with a hint of anxiety.

Yeah, I’ve just loved being away for the last few years, so the idea of going back for a couple of weeks…

I love her, but she’s one of those people you have to physically ask to stop talking.

Plus, she doesn’t have a TV.

What? Really?

Yeah. No Wi-Fi, either.

You’re gonna kill yourself.


Yup. She just… paints, writes poetry and listens to the radio and tends to her indoor plants.

She sounds brilliant.

She kind of is.

Plus, she smokes grass.

No way.


She sounds a little like my brother.

Without all the painting, poetry or… any of the creativity at all.

Really? Bit of a stoner?

He’s like Snoop Dogg and all of Seth Rogen’s performances in all of his movies rolled into one… big joint.

I’d definitely like to meet him.

I don’t know if you’d get along.

Your mum might, though.

♪ ♪

So, how long do you think this thing is liable to last?

I think seminars are going back on the 28th, so couple of weeks.

So, you’re a big reader?


Tell me about medievalism.

Like, in one sentence?


God, you’d know you work in advertising.

I don’t. I work in tech.

I don’t think I can even begin to explain what medievalism is in one train ride, let alone one sentence.

That’s okay.

It doesn’t want to be described.

I get it.

You like things that fit in neatly, right?

I guess I do. Big Tetris fan.

Mm. Well, I like things that can’t be explained, that just go on and on, like an onion.

Yeah, but onions end.

Like a really big onion, then.

One that would take my whole life just to write the prologue to.

I like that.

I don’t like getting to the ends of things.

I’m the exact opposite.

Show me how it works, what it’s called, how it fits in, and I don’t… I don’t need to know anything else. I don’t have a scholarly mind.

I fall asleep at anything deeper than Malcolm Gladwell.

Well, still, I’m glad you sat here.


Yeah. You’re way better than the serial killer.


[strings play horror movie sting]

No, Paula.

I’m the serial killer.


It’s me.

This is a horror, not a romance.

You should have sat next to someone else.

Okay, you’re way too good at that.


How do you know my name?

You mentioned it on the phone.

Didn’t realize you were paying attention.

And who said anything about a romance?

[gentle guitar music playing]

Sorry, is this bothering you?


Go ahead.

♪ You look so happy ♪

♪ Upon that train ♪

♪ Strangers two minutes ago ♪

♪ Loudly laughing and sharing a joke ♪

♪ There’s nothing about each other ♪

♪ That they don’t know ♪

[fingers snap rhythmically]

♪ They’re so good-looking ♪

♪ And they’re both young, too ♪

♪ Looks like we’ve got ourselves ♪

♪ A meet cute ♪

♪ It’s impossibly cute ♪

♪ Aren’t you up for them? ♪

♪ Don’t you wish you were them? ♪

♪ A meet cute ♪


♪ It’s disgustingly cute ♪

♪ Let’s hope that nothing gets in their way ♪

♪ They’re just strangers on a train ♪

♪ Yeah ♪

♪ They’re just strangers on a train ♪

♪ Life leads them along ♪

♪ Yeah ♪

♪ They’re just strangers ♪

♪ On a train ♪

[quietly] That was weird.

That was really weird.

♪ ♪

I guess we’re here, then.

The end of the line.

[low, indistinct chatter nearby]

Which way you going?

North side. You?


Well, it was really nice to meet you.

Yeah, you, too.

You made the journey a lot shorter than usual.

I guess we should get off now.

Yeah. Right.

Suppose we should.

Yes, you should.

It’s like an evacuation before a coup.

I feel like I’m in a black-and-white war movie.

What the fuck?

[man over P.A.] I repeat, all Irish trains are now cancelled until further notice.

I’m that way.


So long.



No, no. No.

Meet me here on the 28th.

The first train back to college, when this shit is lifted.

Right here.

The 28th.

Two weeks from now.

I’ll be here.

You’re amazing.

I’m so glad you got this train.

You sure you don’t want my number?

I’m sure.

You’ll show up.

Pretty confident, aren’t you?

Not normally, no.

Anyway, I don’t want to spend the next two weeks texting and DMing you like a teenager.

It’s just… it’s just frustrating.

This is old-school.

Like something out of the Middle Ages.

If it’s meant to be, I’ll see you right here, the first Galway train, 28th.

Two weeks isn’t too long.

It’ll fly by.

[whispers] I really want to kiss you now.

We probably shouldn’t.

I know.

♪ ♪

Thanks a million!


Hi, my mum.

Hi, baby.


You’re sweating.


The Uber driver wouldn’t help me with my bags, so…

Wasn’t very Uber then, was he?

Get it? Uber.

Yeah, I know, I got it. It’s lame.

How are you?


I’m cocooning.


Means I don’t have to see any of the neighbors I hate.

It’s wonderful.


Did you bring wine?

Yeah, of course.

[door opens]


I see you were expecting me.

Thought it was tomorrow.

That’s a sentence every visitor loves to hear.

I like the look.

What’s wrong with it?

You look like you should either be diving on a Victorian beach or being shot out of a cannon.

How long you staying for again?

I’m furloughed for two weeks.

What, are you in the army now?

Let’s go to a music hall and find some whores!

Well, at least you’re dressed for it.

All right.

Come on in.

I was gonna give that spare room a deep cleaning anyway.

How are ya, bro?

[Paula] So, what exactly is cocooning?

It’s total lockdown.

You’re not even allowed to go to the shops.

It’s like the blitz.

But surely that’s only if things get really serious.

I mean, they haven’t implemented it yet, have they?

No, but they’re going to.

Rumor has it.


Now… you tell me all about this boy on the train, while I roll a spliff.

Wow. It’s either shrunk or I’ve grown since I was last here.

[Declan] It just looks smaller ’cause of me stuff.

[Michael] What is all this crap?

Just bric-a-brac I find in skips and that.

Stuff this capitalist society deems useless.

So you’re like a Womble.

It’s all good stuff, man.


There’s a bed here somewhere, right?

I’ll have all this cleaned out in a jiffy.

But I do need to get you new sheets.

Come on.

I need breakfast.

And I, lunch.

[Declan] She sounds great.

Do you have a photograph of her?

No. Now, why would I do that?

We were connecting. It was real.

Why would I just take her photograph?

So I could see her. What about her socials?

Has she got a Facebook account?

I don’t know.


I don’t know.

Can you find out?

I don’t know her second name.

Why don’t you text her?

I don’t have her number or her email or her address.

So how are you gonna contact this woman?

I’m not.

We arranged to meet on the Galway train on the 28th

two weeks from now.

That is so fuckin’ romantic.


Strangers on a Train!

Except maybe without the double murders.

So more like Before Sunset, I was thinking.

[exhales] Oh… I fucking love this.

She’s never gonna show.

How do you know?

Because you only met her on the train for, like, two hours.

Of course she is. It was a deep connection.

She’s not gonna show. Trust me. She’s a lady.

She’s gonna wake up and forget a little bit more about you each day, and meanwhile, you’ll do the opposite.

This is why God invented phone numbers.

To keep reminding her of you again and again.

It’s military.

You needed to close the deal.

You’ve never been a deal closer, Michael.

And sadly, that has always been the difference between me and you.

[Jane] Hmm.

I think he’s actually in advertising, but he calls it “tech.”

You sure about this guy?

I know. On paper, I kind of hate him.

But it doesn’t matter.

Oh, bless.

I feel like there’s so much pressure around compatibility these days, and all we have to have in common, but what about the benefits of incompatibility?

[Declan] If you don’t have her phone number, how are you gonna do some sexting?

I don’t want to do some sexting.

She’s a modern woman.

Isn’t that the whole point of having a mobile phone, though?


That’s the entire reason they were invented: sexting.

This was a complex connection, not some teen hookup on the train.

She’s… she is amazing.

Eh, I’ll be the judge of that.

What’s she studying?

She’s a medievalist.


So, like… Game of Thrones and stuff?

Cool. I’m starting to like this girl.

[Jane] It’s nearly two years that you’ve been at college, and you haven’t met anyone.

I’d slept with the entire faculty within two months.


I’m joking.

It was more like a semester.

Oh, God.

[Paula] Great.

I’m gonna make up my room.

No, already done.

Oh… thank you.

Fresh sheets.

I opened a window.

Thank you.

I wonder if it’ll feel small and reduced now that I haven’t been there in so long.

[both chuckle]

You comfy?

Perfect. Thanks, dude.

Well, glad to have you, amigo.

[toothbrush clinks]

[water turns off]

[takes deep breath] Night night.

Night, dude.

What the fuck?

I’m going out.

It’s 11:00.


We can’t all be prematurely middle-aged and sorted like you, man.

I need to find a woman before we lock down.


In the city, full of women.


And I’m not that sorted, which is why I’m lying here on my own with no one to say good night to, next to a tuba and my bowler hat in the corner.

Yeah, we do worry about that, man.

How come you haven’t found someone in that massive company?

Don’t women actually have half the jobs now?

That’s a lot of women to choose from.

Just haven’t… clicked.

Plus, it’s Galway, where everybody’s drunk all the time.

You would’ve thought someone had at least… kissed you after two years.

I kissed loads of girls.

Well, then what’s the problem?

Just, no one’s stopped me in my tracks.

Well, that’s what I’m about to do.

Grab a girl in the street and give her a long kiss.

You’d swear this is going to last months.

It’ll all be back to normal in a couple of weeks.

Some forecaster you are, man.

Good night.


[door opens in distance]

[door closes]

[sighs] Fucking idiot.

♪ ♪

[electronic dinging]

[takes deep breath]

Hi, my stranger on a train.

I didn’t get your number, so I can’t leave you a message, but if I could, I would say…

…”Thinking of you.

Good night.”

God, you’re such a loser.

[head thumps]




Tiny fucking childhood bedroom.

All right.

♪ Lockdown ♪

♪ Dublin ♪

Let’s do this.

♪ Stayin’ out of trouble ♪

Let’s get to work.

♪ Trying ♪

♪ To keep fit ♪

♪ Making lots of shit ♪

♪ Lockdown ♪

♪ Dublin ♪

♪ Locked in a bubble ♪

♪ Whiskey drinking ♪

♪ I’m thinking that my life depended on it ♪

♪ The less I know of you ♪

♪ The more I love ya ♪

♪ The less I seek from you ♪

I love this.

♪ The more I gain ♪

Get up now, get up. Raise your chin up…

♪ The precious little time we had ♪

♪ Keeps weighing in my head ♪

♪ The less I know of you ♪

♪ The more I want you in my bed ♪

♪ The more I got you in my head ♪

♪ The more I want you in my bed ♪

[imitates explosion]

♪ The more I got you in my head ♪

That was great.

What next?

There’s another two.



♪ ♪

♪ ♪

[both speaking indistinctly]

If we say, what, two to three…

[both stammering]

If we, if we sow now, we can win… we can winter…

♪ I want you in my bed ♪

♪ Want you in my bed… ♪

[newswoman] With the hope of covering all aspects of the Irish economy…

♪ I want you in my bed ♪

♪ The more I got you in my head… ♪

[newswoman] …recommendations to extend them for a further three weeks.

The current two-kilometer lockdown to remain in force.

♪ In my bed… ♪

Good morning.

What’s got you all spruced up?

[Michael] I have an appointment.

It’s the big day.

Oh, yeah, the train girl.

But hang on.

Isn’t the limit two K from home now?

I know, but…

And how far is Hueston?

Like… six.

Well, then.

I just know she’s gonna be there.

This was so right.

I know she feels the same way.

It’s like telepathy.

Let me borrow your car.


You can’t break the two K, dude.

I’m sure you’ll bump into her again.

It’s Ireland. It’s tiny.

Yeah, I can’t rely on that.

I’ve never been so sure of anyone in my life.

Well, you can’t break the lockdown.

That’s totally indefensible.

I get it,

but this is a special situation.

What if I never see her again?

Special? Special how?

It seems like it’s just your situation.

Anyway, she’s not gonna be there.

How do you know?

[Jane] Of course he’ll show up.

I’m not breaking restrictions, Mum, it’s wrong.

Anyway, it’s my own fault for not getting his number.

You didn’t think you’d need to.

It’s totally romantic. It’s wonderful.

You relied on your connection.

It’s sheer poetry.

Sheer poetry?

[Declan] It’s amazing how you tech liberals are always the ones to break the rules.

They start out all disruptive and cool, and then it’s like, “Oh, but we don’t want to pay taxes, and we don’t want to give our workers their rights, ’cause we’re just a scrappy little startup that started over a pizza shop, and the rules don’t apply to us now that we have the wealth of a medium-sized country.”

Thanks for the character assassination.

I’m not a startup guy. I’m a computer genius.

Also, I can’t believe you’re the one who’s all rule-bound suddenly.

Where’s the fuckin’ cornflakes?

Top right of the cupboard.

You’ve never followed a rule in your life.

It’s not just a rule, it’s common sense.

It’s about caring for your neighbor and not just yourself as the lead of some bogus narrative you want to be in.

This is real life, Michael.

Exactly. It’s my life.

You are literally one step away from: “It’s a free country, and I can do what I want.”

But it is.

It’s my life. I only get one.

No, it isn’t.

It’s our life, and we’re all in this together.

And for the first time, the world might actually unite.

But you’re more interested in what happened to some girl who you met on a train for half an hour.

There’s millions of them, man. They’re just girls.

Yeah, not this girl.

If you met her, you’d know what I mean.

You of all people would totally give me your blessing.

Anyway, maybe he wasn’t even that special.

You know?

His facial hair was kind of annoying.

And he works in a business I loathe.

He sounded wonderful.

Lots of people are wonderful.

What if he shows up and you don’t?

You’ll never know.

He’s not gonna show up, Mum.

He’s a really responsible type of guy, and he’s not just gonna flout the rules for someone like me.

But I need to know how this turns out.

I’ve got bets with all the neighbors on whether he’ll show up.


The whole street is on tenterhooks.

[Declan] This isn’t about you!

It’s about the world coming together!

You saw the Gal Gadot video.

Hell, we all saw it and we all cried.

Listen to Gal Gadot and her celebrity mates.

This’ll pass and get back to normal, and I’ll be on my own again.

I’ll be damned if I’m gonna miss this one chance at something real because of some temporary rules.

This woman was incredible.

I haven’t spent a minute not thinking about everything she said.

If she shows up and I don’t, I’ll never forgive myself.

It’ll-it’ll haunt me.

I’ll be like some broken ghost in a Dickens novel haunting the railway station.

I’m not gonna physically stop you, dude, but don’t ask my blessing.

You do what you want.

Anyway, she’s not gonna show.

Wanna bet?


Okay, this is my actual life we’re talking about, not some soap opera or horse race.

I know, and… I truly hope you find happiness.

Do you?

Of course.

You’re my little girl.

But I have a lot of money riding on this.

If she’s not there,

I’ll pay your rent for the next year.

Oh, my God.

You would stoop so low?


What’s in it for you?

Just a loan of your bicycle.

But, like, quickly, ’cause I have to be there in, like… ten minutes.

The whole year?

I promise.

But only if she’s not there, so if you don’t let me go and give me your bicycle, you’ll never find out.

Fuck you, man. You’re such a manipulator.

I know. I’m in advertising.

♪ ♪





[officer] Hi.

Are you well?

Great, yeah.

Uh, I’m just taking some exercise.





Where are you from, please?

Uh, well, I-I live in Galway, but I’m staying at my brother’s in Dublin.

Yeah, I don’t know him personally.

Where are you living?


Okay, you got me.

I’m outside the two-K limit.

I’m just gonna be honest with you, I’m staying in Inchicore.

All right, back you go.


Very really.

Uh… look, can I tell you a story?

You might get this, being a…

Being a what?

I really need to get to that train station.

There’s no trains running.

I know.

I’m not trying to catch a train.

I’m trying to catch a girl. Look…

two weeks ago, I met the love of my life on a train.

She’s a medieval student from NUI.

Really brainy, but-but funny and quirky.

And we promised to meet back here, thinking the lockdown would only last the two weeks.

Why don’t you just ring her?

I didn’t get her number or any of her contact details.

[chuckles] Why the hell not?

Because it seemed like we connected so well that we’d both show up.

Look, we had no idea how serious this was going to get.

But we connected so deeply.

She is amazing.

And if I don’t get to see her now, I can’t think of how I’ll ever get to meet her again.


I’ve heard a lot of excuses today, but that really is quite touching.


No! It’s the most stupid thing I’ve ever heard.

Anyway, she won’t be there.

How do you know?

‘Cause there’s checkpoints all around this area.

And there’s not a guard in Ireland that’ll believe that shit.

Now, go home.

We’re all in this together?

What do you think this is?

Some movie on Netflix? Home.

♪ Imagine all the people ♪

♪ Living in… ♪

Get the fuck home!

Right, yeah, all right.

Okay, okay, gotcha.

Fuckin’ hell.

♪ ♪

So is that it?

Is that the end?



I guess so.

♪ ♪

[whispers] What was it?



[muffled] Yeah, the Oxmantown Road one.


Cowslip Lane?

[muffled] Oxmantown…

Ox… Oxman.

[muffled] Oxmantown…


Yeah, the Oxmantown Road one.

Oxmantown Road.

Oxmantown Road.

I have a street.

Look after that car. It’s vintage.

I will.

Text me later and let me know how you’re getting on.

And if you need provisions, I’ll cycle over.

Thanks, bro. Think I’m all set.

You’re a mad bollocks.

[♪ Aztec Camera: “Walk Out to Winter”]

♪ We met in the summer and walked till the fall ♪

[starts engine]

♪ And breathless we talked, it was tongues ♪

♪ Despite what they’ll say ♪

♪ It wasn’t youth, we’d hit the truth ♪

♪ Faces of Strummer that fell from your wall ♪

♪ And nothing was left where they hung ♪

♪ So sweet and bitter ♪

♪ They’re what we found ♪

♪ So drink them down and ♪

♪ Walk out to winter ♪

♪ Swear I’ll be there ♪

♪ Chill will wake you ♪

♪ High and dry ♪

♪ You’ll wonder why ♪

♪ Walk out to winter ♪

♪ Swear I’ll be there ♪

♪ Chance is buried ♪

♪ Just below the blinding snow ♪

♪ You burn in the breadline ♪

♪ And ribbons and all ♪

♪ So walk to winter ♪

♪ You won’t be late ♪

♪ You’ll always wait ♪

♪ This generation ♪

♪ The walk to the wall ♪

♪ But I’m not angry ♪

♪ Get your gear ♪

♪ Get out of here and ♪

♪ Walk out to winter ♪

♪ Swear I’ll be there ♪

♪ Chill will wake you ♪

♪ High and dry ♪

♪ You’ll wonder why ♪

♪ Walk out to winter ♪

♪ Swear I’ll be there ♪

♪ Chance is buried ♪

♪ Just below ♪

♪ The blinding snow ♪

♪ ♪

♪ Walk out to winter ♪

♪ Swear I’ll be there ♪

♪ Chill will wake you ♪

♪ High and dry ♪

♪ You’ll wonder why ♪

♪ Walk out to winter ♪

♪ Swear I’ll be… ♪


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