From the DUP in turmoil to MLAs needing Yoda's wisdom, Andrew Madden and Gareth Cross take a closer look at some of the more unusual things in the Assembly and further afield this week.
Monday: Outgoing First Minister Arlene Foster forgot her worries on Monday, with a trip to the cinema in east Belfast with deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill.
The pair were snapped with large boxes of popcorn as they joined pensioners at the Strand Arts Centre, as coronavirus restrictions lifted, for a showing of classic short films.
During the visit Mrs Foster questioned the existence of a letter of no-confidence against her signed by DUP MLAs and MPs that led to her downfall. "It's now been nearly four weeks since I heard about it and I still haven't seen it," she said.
In the Assembly, Justice Minister Naomi Long told MLAs she saw "no substantive reason" for a judge-led review into the Bobby Storey funeral. Ms O'Neill said it was time to "get on with rebuilding our economy" rather than continuing to focus on the funeral of the former IRA member.
New UUP leader Doug Beattie said issues around the funeral could affect the future of Stormont itself if not addressed, warning of "terminal decline”.
A busy week for Edwin Poots began with him answering a question from Jim Allister about compensation for slaughtered animals. Mr Poots, in his written answer, revealed that in 2020/21 his department paid £22,489,334 in compensation for animals slaughtered for disease control purposes. Of this, £22,271,501 related to bovine Tuberculosis; £231,833 related to avian influenza; and £4,000 for Caprine Arthritis Encephalitis.
Tuesday: The Assembly debated Finance Minister Conor Murphy's budget with MLAs highly critical.
Finance Committee chair Steve Aiken said it was hard to scrutinise the budget given its "limited granularity, occasional evasions and obfuscations from departments".
SDLP MLA Matthew O'Toole criticised NHS waiting lists, saying "we should be ashamed" and the budget contained no plans to address his concerns.
The DUP's Paul Frew responded, saying it was "refreshing to hear Luke Skywalker in the corner, although he did sound more like Chewbacca at times, he looks to a truth that we all need the wisdom of Yoda in times of stress like this”.
Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon was also critical of new DUP leader's Edwin Poots' refusal to attend meetings of north-south bodies saying it was "hugely frustrating" the meetings had been "deliberately obstructed".
TUV leader Jim Allister said he hoped Mr Poots would refuse to engage until the Northern Ireland Protocol was dismantled, saying it had "trashed east-west relations". Later the new DUP leader said he remained committed to all his obligations, but north-south relations had "never been worse".
Arlene Foster continued to throw herself into events to forget her troubles during her final days as First Minister.
During a visit to Brooklands Primary School in Dundonald she said: “Regardless of what’s happening elsewhere, a visit to a school never fails to lift my spirits. Meeting young people is always a humbling, but invigorating experience."
Wednesday: Unionists were sacrificed for the Northern Ireland Protocol, Westminster's NI Affairs Committee heard.
PUP Belfast councillor Dr John Kyle said nationalists and unionists had not been treated equally during the Brexit process.
"The identity and ethos of the unionist community, as equal citizens with everyone else in the United Kingdom, was sacrificed," he said.
Dr Kyle did accept the protocol may have some economic benefits, but added "for many unionists being British is more important than being prosperous".
In the Assembly the Education Committee heard evidence from the General Teaching Council for Northern Ireland (GTCNI).
Chair Brendan Morgan revealed that in nine months’ time organisations in Northern Ireland would no longer have access to the EU safeguarding database which is used to for background checks on applicants as a result of Brexit.
“Is Brexit is actually exposing our children to potential risk?," Sinn Fein's Pat Sheehan asked.
“As of September 2021, we will no longer have access to that database which screens professional teachers,” Mr Morgan explained.
Thursday: What was supposed to be a formal ratification process for his leadership of the DUP turned into a nightmare for Edwin Poots.
As new UUP leader Doug Beattie contentedly sipped a whiskey after being unanimously elected to lead his party, a DUP rubber stamping exercise laid the party's divisions bare for the world to see.
While an attempt to hold a secret ballot to confirm Mr Poots' leadership was rejected, senior party figures including Sir Jeffrey Donaldson, Gavin Robinson, Gregory Campbell and Diane Dodds walked out while he was making his acceptance speech.
Outgoing leader Arlene Foster also left early, and as a waiting media asked her for information on what was happening inside, a cheerful Mrs Foster quipped "you'll soon find out" and flashed a peace sign.
Paul Bell, a member of the Fermanagh and South Tyrone DUP for over 20 years, emotionally quit and said the party would haemorrhage votes as a result of Mrs Foster's treatment.
The issue of nurses’ pay was back of the agenda. Alex Easton asked Health Minister Robin Swann, in an Assembly question, about plans for a pay rise in the coming year.
Mr Swann responded: “The pay round for 2021/22 for NHS and HSC staff has not yet been finalised. Any decision on a pay award for nurses and other NI health workers, will be taken after the pay review bodies make their recommendations..
Mr Swann said he was “committed to a fair pay settlement for all our healthcare staff going forward”
Friday: The fallout from the DUP's leadership fiasco continued into Friday. After reports that Sir Jeffrey Donaldson told Thursday's meeting that his campaign team had been subjected to threats and intimidation from the UDA, there were calls for a police investigation.
Sinn Fein's North Belfast MP John Finucane called the claims "deeply disturbing".
"If true, this is a very worrying development that an armed, illegal organisation was involved in influencing the outcome of the leadership contest of the largest party in unionism and a party of government," he said.
"It represents an attempt to subvert the democratic process and that is totally unacceptable."
Arlene Foster announced she would stand down from the role on Tuesday if her replacement Edwin Poots proceeds with an Executive reshuffle.
She also had some advice for her successor: "There are very many good people who vote for us, who support us but he needs to recognise there is a lot of work to do in terms of healing divisions that are quite obviously there in the party."