Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly Once More - Review:- Friday 19.06.2015

I wondered why such an ordinary episode could have been so good, and then I saw who wrote it: Mr Little is in the building again. The only thing spoiling the episode was the brief appearance of Tina the Loon and Sonia, arguably the vilest character ever to appear on the programme and played by one of the worst actresses. 

Get these people off my television screen, please.

On the other hand, this was an episode whih was really well-enacted, one of those minimalist episodes with few characters, but which offers much.

Lindsey Coulson owned that episode. And Karl Howman, and - if I may say so - Richard Blackwood. Kudos, for his understated performance, to James Bye, who really came into his own tonight.

The Importance of Being Honest. Look, I don't like the Kush-Stacey association anymore than anyone else, but tonight saw the love triangle become a love square, with the duplitious inclusion of Martin into the mix.

Like everyone else, I'm befuddled at how this mutual attraction has simply come out of the blue, especially since, in the early days, Stacey did everything in her power to encourage Shabnam with Kush,with no attraction on either part at all. There wasn't even a hint that Stacey was atracted to Kush. Then we had the drunken kiss of a man, presumed to have been dumped by his girlfriend, a man on the rebound, preying on a young woman, a single mother, alone, isolated, lonely and very vulnerable.

Then there was the silly dance rehearsal, where Kush reckoned that Stacey made a move that reminded him of his dead wife, and since then, she's been hard put to hide her jealousy from the woman who's supposed to be her best friend - so much so, that she's sulky, cold and rude to her at the flat, where Shabnam has sought refuge from the intolerable situation in her home. Shabnam isn't that stupid. She's even noticed this behaviour.

Stacey's regressed into a recalcitrant adolescent, complete with a face like a smacked arse, petulant because she can't have - as she describes him - "the man that shewants. Note that Stacey doesn't use the word "love." Kush is a bit of beefcake she wants to experience in bed. Kush is equally in lust.

At least, for the moment, Kush is attempting to make sacrifices for the woman he loves, and he does love Shabnam. He's fasting for Ramadan, for the first time, finding it hard, and enduring it. For Shabnam. He was even put off by Masood's hypocritical offer to Kush only, to break bread the following week with him and Tamwar. Shabnam excluded.

The character, however, who came into his own tonight was James Bye's Martin Fowler. I totally get it that people had a hard time adjusting to a role which James Alexandriou essentially made his own. We've seen this Martin, on the one hand, as a socially gauche and awkward bore, a failure who's lost his home and business, whose arrival was preceded by atrocious publicity in the form of extreme trash-talking by his vile and pukeworthy wife, Sonia.

We've watched him awkwardly try to become involved romantically with Stacey by awkward come ons. To me, he reminded me of Bradley, who was geeky to Martin's inarticulace, but tonight, we got to see Martin let down his guard. I thought Stacey was rude to him when he invited her to accompany him to the allotments, where he was looking after Patrick's patch. Martin admitted that he liked gardening, he found it cleared his head. But Stacey's head doesn't need clearing - well, not at that time. However, she found listening to Shabnam's and Kush's easygoing antics in the kitchen too much and, surprisingly, she shows up at the allotment.

The scene between her and Martin was one of the most poignant scenes this year on the programme. For the first time, we heard Martin speak about his emotional attachment to the allotments, how much they meant to Arhur and how Arthur had brought him to his allotment ever since he was a young child. He remembered eating strawberries, reckoning no one grew strawberries to match Arthur's.

Martin's offering of a strawberry to Stacey is sorta kinda symbolic of a take on the offer of the apple in the Garden of Eden, but i a skewed way. Even offered Adam the apple of temptation in the Garden of Eden. Here, a smitten Martin offered Stacey fruit, in the way that he's saying he's open to be tempted, wants to be tempted, but he's not succeeding in tempting Stacey. 

Still, they do bond in a far more meaningful way, with Martin opening up about Arthur's death and how much he missed him. He lost his father at ten, Stacey lost hers at eleven, and both wished that for a moment their dads could come back. Stacey and Martin have both lost fathers, and they've both killed Mitchells. I would say that this is the first time Martin has opened up about his feelings to anyone. Sonia's head was too far up her own arse to notice or care about Martin's feelings.

He finds Stacey easy and natural, she only wants a mate. And here's the rub. When Stacey returns to the flat, she can't bear to see Shabnam and Kush together and approaches Martin in his room. It's Stacey with the come-on here, much to Martin's surprise.

Line (and lie) of the night:-

I ain't messing you about.

But you are, Stacey. Once again, Martin will be used, and in the cruelest of ways. So now we have our victims established in this cruel game of lies and deceit - Shabnam and Martin, and I'm betting that Martin will end up picking up the pieces that Stacey leaves behind ... because he loves her.

The Miracle Known as Carol. If I never liked Carol at all, I'd bloody love her from tonight onward simply because of the Class A way she handed the vile Sonia her pukeworthy arse.

I can't ever remember a character as vile as Sonia. Her self-righteousness is worse than Jane's, her sense of superiority is atrocious and together,she and Tina are the worst characters in the programme. I'd rather watch wall-to-wall Les Coker than ten minutes of the awful Sonia and Tina. Tonight, it's all about food going missing, and Sonia's determined that Liam's got some sort of eating disorder.

I'm a nurse, I'm trained to notice these things.

Sonia's good at interfering. To her credit, even Tina doesn't intefere that much. When Carol was forced to tell her that her black eye was down to Shirley, Tina offered to have a word, but backed down when Carol demurred. But Carol was at her absolute best when she put her shitty daughter in her place.

You'd be better off paying more attention to Rebecca and leave Liam to me. He's my responsibility.

Yes! That was an air-punch moment. Because we all know that Sonia is a hateful and abusive parent, who finds Rebecca an inconvenience, and who puts her own wants and desires before her daughter and her girlfriend before her child.

Oh, and the brilliant put-down scene between Carol and Sonia, when she confronted her in the front room, as Sonia lolled in front of the television, clad only in her dressing gown.

Oi! I was watching that! she whined when Carol turned the television off. She rightly ticked her off because Sonia had presumed to speak to Liam, suspecting he had some sort of eating disorder or was being bullied, in a butt-clenchingly awful scene. You could tell Liam thought she was bonkers and just wanted her out of there. Carol had also noticed Sonia harping at Liam to get a job, where Carol wanted to let him relax until the end of the month (only a week to go) before trying to find a job.

Carol rightly accused Sonia of interfering when she'd pointedly asked her to leave Liam alone, and Sonia disregarded her request, callously so, in her arrogant belief that she knew more than Carol. To Carol goes the absolute line of the night:-

You made him feel uncomfortable. In his own home. A home he's lived in long before you decided to spice up your life!

And there's that look again. The same look of dark mutiny in Sonia's face that Tina had when Whitney told her to start pulling her weight around the house.

Of course the twist in the tale was Liam's behaviour, his locking his bedroom door - funny, I thought there was a lock on it when he was in the Gangabanga storyline, but most of us guessed that Liam was hiding Cindy, even though Carol was more than surprised to see her emerge from under his bed. The mind boggles how her presence wasn't made known as there seems to be always someone in that house.

Daddy Issues. At the moment, the two most positive male characters are Patrick and Buster. Buster still wants to continue his friendship with Carol, but without Shirley's knowledge, and Shirley is all caught up in getting a child for Dean, or rather, getting Dean's child back. If this were the morning after the day before, those DNA tests were quick.

Buster is a decent man. He's upset that Shirley "door-stepped" Jade's foster father for a snip of her hair to prove paternity, and Shirley points out how "vile" the man was to accept her two hundred quid so easily. Really, Shirley? That makes you better than he? Yes, you get paid for fostering children, but not enough to make a fortune, and it was wrong for Vincent to presume that this man is a toerag because he accepted money in the middle of the night for the reason he did. Claudette may have filled her foster home with love, but I daresay she would have accepted a quick two hundred quid for providing parents showing up in the middle of the night, wanting to prove a DNA link with one of her charges - if only for the inconvenience of waking her up. Besides, Claudette's taken money and gifts in a far more immoral fashion than the foster father, but let's condemn him all around without knowing the facts.

Rest assured that the foster father looking after Jade isn't a drunk; he doesn't have a police record; and he hasn't been accused of rape. The kid is far better off in that household than she would be living with a drunk who regularly absconds when the going gets tough, who's shot someone, who's tried to drown her oldest child and who abandoned her other three, a father who's an accused sex offender, and not real home of their own, although Dean is wittering on about getting something with three bedrooms.

In the meantime, Dean's being summoned for sexual activity with Roxy - why do I have the feeling that another pregnancy is on its way, or that maybe Dean the sociopath might try something with Ronnie the psychopath.

Here's a helpful definition of Ronnie and Dean:-

Psychopath vs Sociopath

Buster, however, is more concerned with Dean, and whilst he can't open up to Shirley, he finds a willing ear in Vincent. Take Vincent away from the appalling "blue eyes" gangsta character or someone egging Kim on, and you've got a decent character, and Richard Blackwood wasn't bad tonight. Over a game of chess, Buster confesses that Dean had a strange look in his eyes during their conversation at Blades the other night, and he'd only seen that look in the face of a fellow prisoner during one of his stints inside, and it didn't end pretty.

We all know from Thursday's episode that Buster now believes Dean raped Linda. He knows better than anyone else that a replacement child isn't going to change Dean, and we wonder what Shirley's reaction is going to be when she twigs that Dean is duffing Roxy Mitchell. I was intrigued by Buster's analogy of Dean to the man he knew in prison. Was he a rapist also? As bad as it is to say it, it's heartening to hear Buster's foreshadowing of Dean's messy end, although I daresay, TPTB don't know, themselves, what that end will be.

Buster's got the DNA results, after having talked to Shirley about Dean, in a conversation we weren't allowed to see (too much happening off-screen), and now he's got the DNA results, which he promptly destroys.

I'm betting Dean is Jade's father. More's the pity.

Sympathy for the Devils - Review:- Thursday 18.06.2015

This was a good, character-led episode, fronted by a rapist and a murderer, both of whom TPTB seem to be intent on having the viewing public feel deep sympathy for them. Never have characters who have committed such foul, cold-hearted deeds been offered up as such poor lost souls for whom various people apologise profusely.

I'm sure their victims are equally as generous. So whilst it was a good episode, it was skewed in its depiction of such people; however, its saving grace was the depiction of a couple of other characters who have latched onto the mojo of the rapist and the murderer.

But there was something else that was far, far more subtle and sinister that's threaded its way throughout EastEnders for most of DTC's tenure - and that's the displacement of the adoptive/foster or legal parent with the sperm donor or incubator who gave them life. It's just as jarring hearing Dean refer to his legal father, the man who loved him and brought him up as his son, as Kevin as it is hearing Sharon refer to her parents as Den and Ange, especially now that her coolboy birth Daddy-o is hanging out in Notting Hill with pretensions of returning to Walford to claim his daughter.

The Closest You'll Ever Come to Learning Why Shirley Abandoned Her Kids. Actually, if anything, this episode belonged to Linda Henry, Karl Howman and, briefly, Diane Parish. The episode was rife with mentions of previous characters and also opened up a bit more about Shirley's backstory.

I have to say this, at the risk of riling the plethora of Shirley-haters about the place, and I'm certainly no fan of Shirley's; but Linda Henry is the single biggest asset in the way of acting talent in the show at the moment. You don't have to like Shirley to feel for her in this dilemma. In point of fact, if she thought about it, she and Shabnam actually have a lot in common. They are women riddled with guilt at having turned their back on their children, and they've convinced themselves that they're bad people in the bargain. They hate themselves so much that the idea of someone loving them is totally alien to them.

Tonight Buster, who's turned out to be one of the nicest and most positive depictions of a male character in recent years, actually got to learn a little bit about Shirley, a woman he clearly loves, but about whose character he knows very little. He was right, however, in accusing Shirley of being so jealous at the sight of him and Carol chatting about a motorbike that Shirley assaulted (his words) Carol. Shirley even admits it- first the chat-up, then the cup of tea and then the ubiquitous sight in Shirley's mind of the breastless Carol swinging from the chandelier by her knickers.

There was also a lot of reference about age in tonight's episode, so now's a good time to address seventy year-old Paul Nicholas playing Gavin Sullivan, Sharon's father who's only supposed to be in his early sixties. Karl Howman is sixty-three, a good eleven years older than Linda Henry, yet he's playing Buster, who's only in his early fifties.

What's troubling Buster the most is the state of Shirley - disappearing over the weekend and returning drunk. It gives Buster a sense of deja-vu about a time in his youth, when he'd only been seeing Shirley about a month and he found out that she'd got drunk on cidre and put out for the local fat kid and sought to keep that from Buster. That backstory was interesting, because in an earlier episode in a scene Shirley shared with Sylvie, when it was revealed that Shirley, apparently, didn't know that you could get pregnant from having sex with a boy, and was as surprised as anyone to find she was having a baby; but tonight, we found out that Shirley had not only been drinking since she was thirteen (her liver must be mush by now), but she was also skanking about.

Buster still can't understand the reason behind Shirley's reticence to open up to him, and her rationale is astounding.

When you live with an alcoholic, you learn to keep your mouth shut.

Really, Shirley? I'd love to know when your alcohol issues are going to be addressed. Masood's labelled you a drunk, and you haven't denied it; yet he thinks the child Jade would be better off with a violent alcoholic who's blood kin than in a foster whom with people who are kind to her and love her.

When Shirley finally admits her absence was due to her having seen Dean's daughter and having found out that the child had cystic fibrosis, we came as close as we're ever going to come to finding out why Shirley abandoned her children. The sight of the child with the oxygen mask brought Jimbo back before her eyes. As much as she blames herself for his condition, Buster told her that the disease had its basis in genetics, and that wasn't her fault; but Shirley reminisced about the difficulty in caring for Jimbo - every day was a trial, but a trial for whom? The child? For Shirley? Certainly not for Kevin. He stayed and dealt with the situation.

This situation, until tonight, was all about Shirley. She confessed to Buster about having tried to drown Mick when he was a baby, and it was karma(that word again) that Jimbo had CF and now her granddaughter had it. Her children and grandchildren were trying to drown themselves. So every day that Jimbo suffered was less about Jimbo suffering and more about punishment for Shirley.That's a massive dose of self-hatred, so much so that when Buster decides to forgive all and ask her to marry him, she refuses. Simply because she fears he'll tell Dean what she's told him tonight.

Basically, Shirley doesn't want to tell Dean about Jade because she's afraid Dean will do the same thing she did and bolt on the child. In the end, it took Dean and sharing an old video with Denise to reveal why Shirley left her children. When Dean, who slinks everyplace like a snake ready to coil and strike, overhears Buster and Shirley discussing whether or not he should be told about his daughter, his learning that she had CF was a chance to level some home truths at Shirley. She left because Jimbo had CF, because she couldn't cope? Dean accuses her of not being able to see beyond the disease. She never knew Jimbo- how funny and how bright he could be. Kevin - and it was jarring to hear Dean refer to his father as Kevin- saw all of that and more in Jimbo.

Later, we had that beautifully poignant scene of Shirley watching the family video of the kids when they were young and Denise coming in to share some time. Hearing Kevin's voiceover, Denise realises how much she misses that voice. Shirley then tells her the story about how she and Kevin reacted to Jimbo's diagnosis. Shirley was in bits, but Kevin only went back to the hospital room, picked Jimbo up and smiled broadly at Shirley. She was angry that he could accept the situation so readily. This still doesn't explain her repeated infidelities however.

Taking Dean over to the foster home in the middle of the night with 200 quid in hand in order to "fast-track" Social Services by getting enough biological data (i.e. a strand of hair) in order to have a DNA test, is beyond belief. This may prove Dean's paternity, but Social Services will still have to vet the family before allowing the child to return to them.

The Closest We'll Ever Come to Getting a Confession from Dean. Wow, Dean sure does have rejection issues. It's offensive to me to watch an unrepentant rapist presented clearly as a character for whom we should show great sympathy - more than that, as a victim, himself. I guess poor Dean's a victim of having his mummy reject him and his siblings when he was very young, and even more now, he's a victim of some dodgy gene which gave his daughter cystic fibrosis, thanks to her mother being a carrier of the gene as well.

The rejection issues came right to the fore tonight when the unrepentant rapist was tucked up in bed with the sister of Walford's resident unrepentant murderer. I can't believe Dean was actually thinking of checking on a frightened Amy, who'd had a nightmare. He's a stranger to Amy and would have frightened her even more.

His comeback to Roxy was pretty low (and Roxy was the recipient of a couple of vile insults tonight). Dean's insult was the first.

It wouldn't be the first time that Amy came in and found you in bed with a strange man.

The catalyst for Dean's near-epiphany came when he found out that Jade had cystic fibrosis. After levelling a few home truths as Shirley, about how her motif at life was cutting and running, Buster persuaded him to wait for him at Blades and they'd have a coffee and a chat. The scene where Dean, waiting alone in Blades for Buster, glimpses himself in the mirror was electric with symbolism. Dean left Walford on the heel of Mick's boot and returned hiding behind a full beard. There's symbolism in that. The mirror symbolism was something more. Simply put, you can't hide behind what you are and what you've done, so Dean immediately starts busting up all the mirrors before Buster stops him.

Dean echoed Shirley when she once said that she felt that Jimbo with CF was punishment for her having tried to drown Mick. Now Dean echoes the same thought about himself, but with more resonance. He feels Jade is being punished, but being punished for something that he's done. If he, Dean, has really done something that's bad (and he has, we know that), then God or Mother Nature or anyone should punish him... him. It would be an understatement to say that Buster was knocked for six, as evidenced by his worried walk home alone and his stopping to gaze up at the lighted bedroom window in the Vic. Buster knows Dean is a rapist.

Roxy in Revolution. The creepy situation at The Blisters' house continues, but tonight Roxy came as close as she's ever come to sticking two fingers up at Ronnie because of Ronnie's perceived controlling of her life. I've been long awaiting this, but - oh, my godfathers - she's chosen to give her Declaration of Independence with Dean in hand. Bad judgement much?

The scene in the Blisters' kitchen over ice cream was sorta kinda weird in an uneasy way, and ended with a subtle look of Death by Ronnie in Roxy's direction, over her shoulder. Ronnie's annoyed because Roxy won't tell her who the man was she'd brought home and noisily had sex with. No amount of passive aggressive bullying would do it, not even Ronnie weirdly announcing that she'd managed to make love with her husband, accompanied by a particularly frightening smile.

If anyone was uneasy, it was Charlie during the lovemaking scene. He was clearly distracted by the sounds coming from Roxy's room. At first, he gave an excuse that there were young children in the house, but it was clear that he was jealous of Roxy copping off with someone else. I'll bet Ronnie found his shriveled balls, and put him through the grinder to get it up for her.

But later the sisters sat in the kitchen, ate ice cream and talked about how they used to tell each other everything (except Ronnie never told Roxy about Archie), and now they tell each other nothing. Time was, Roxy would have given Ronnie a blow-by-blow account. Ten years ago, she would have; Roxy counters that ten years ago, Ronnie would have dismissed her as silly. Once again, Ronnie plays the victim - another rotten character who sees themselves as the eternal victim, even to the point where Roxy reminds her that she sounds like Glenda. Ronnie's worried because Roxy won't tell her anything about the man she brought home. Ronnie's control element was based on the fact that she had to know everything about Roxy's movements. That made the control mechanism that much easier when Roxy fucked up. Roxy calls her reticence to tell everything about herself "growing up." Ronnie tries a bit of passive aggressiveness by throwing a guilt factor in and accusing Roxy of growing apart. When that doesn't work, she reminds her that they're sisTAHS.

The line of the night went to Ronnie, when after lecturing Roxy about bringing home an "inappropriate man", Roxy countered with Ronnie sounding not only like their mother but like a teacher, the sad thing being that Roxy still gave a damn about what Ronnie thought. And then the line from Ronnie ...

You didn't when you slept with my husband.

Of course, that line sent Roxy right back into Dean's arms, even having her confess that her unease before had been down to Linda's accusations, but - hey! - what's a rape accusation when you're good in bed and Roxy can use a rapist against her murdering sister.

(I see dead people).

Roxy is being treated like an adolescent in her own home, by Ronnie who's intent on controlling Roxy's every move, and now Charlie, whom Roxy rightly accuses of jealousy because she's moved on and is seeing someone else. Charlie, who should be lolling upstairs in the afterglow with his wife, but is instead half-heartedly watching late night television whilst swigging a beer from a bottle, uses upsetting Ronnie as a stick with which to beat Roxy. Charlie jealous?

He's not ...

I'm embarrassed because a woman approaching middle age feels the need to sleep with someone in order to make herself feel better.

Wow, Roxy's second big insult of the night. Roxy is four years short of forty, and Ronnie is forty. If Roxy is "approaching middle age", what is Ronnie?

Dean is now linked with the creepy-crawly, killing part of the Mitchells. Maybe he and Ronnie will both get their just karma.

Real Walford - Review:- Tuesday 16.06.2015

That was a strange episode. Strange, but good. Coming on the day we found out that Walford's resident rapist has been asked to stay on, and coupled with the fact that watching that episode made me realise how immensel Shabman's betrayal is going to be and how it's going to hit from all sides, this was quite a clever episode, in bringing yet another strand into the fray which now links the Mitchellls to Shabnam's and Dean's situation.

Dean doesn't realise the nest of vipers into which he's fallen, and maybe that will be his comeuppance. Maybe Ronnie will kill him for having slept with Roxy, and then maybe the law will catch Ronnie and karma will bite her scaggy arse, finally.

Gotta love Walford, where rapists and murderers walk the street at will as if they were entitled to do so.


With friends and family like Shabnam has, she doesn't need any enemies. Her fiancé and her best friend are betraying her, and her father also has betrayed her. The poor girl has no one. Even the refuge she thinks she's found in her emotional storm is infested with Stacey's jealousy.

Dean utterly and totally humiliated Shabnam in front of all of the guests at her engagement party - not just the people of Walford, but everyone from her religious community also.

Easily, the line of the night went to Carmel, who came up trumps in defense of Shabnam and her family in front of Bushra's scorn. After listening to Bushra relay the history of Shabnam's family - Zainab's marriage to Mas with its foundations in Bushra's perceived adultery, Tamwar's secret marriage, Syed's two marriages with his last marriage being to a man, Carmel pulled rank.

Carmel: Sorry, but did you say you were a family friend?
Bushra: A close family friend.
Carmel: Well, you see, darlin', pretty soon these people are going to be my family too, and right now,I'm having trouble deciding which one of your two faces to slap.

Well, here's a woman who definitely knew which cheek of Bushra's two faces to slap. Remember this?

I wonder why Bushra keeps skulking about these Masood family occasions. Why do they keep inviting her? Or is she one of these people who think it's their divine right to show up at every party occasion thrown in a particular church, synagogue or mosque. Who knows? Kudos to Carmel for handing her her arse tonight, however.

I do think Kush loves Shabnam. He shows as much in his emotional support for her, clasping her to him tonight in the wake of Dean's departure, spending quiet time alone in Ian's kitchen, listening to Shabnam talk about how and why she'd named the child Roya, how the name meant dream, and how all these years she'd viewed her as a dream, only now she was real again and in her life.

Absolute kudos again to Carmel, for not being judgemental at all regarding Shabnam. Her reaction?

We've all made mistakes in our lives.

The real villain of this piece, and absolute arsehole, is Masood. Everyone, from Tamar and Nancy on down, were shocked at his actions, especially Tamwar, when Masood played the concerned father, knocking on the door of Ian's kitchen to see if Shabnam was all right. It didn't take much for either Tamwar or Nancy to find out how Dean knew about this situation.

Shabnam has every right to be totally angry with her father. She asked him to keep quiet about her child, and he went completely against her wishes. Worse than that, he now tries to make himself out to be the noble heart in all of this, making Shabnam out to be the bad egg of the piece.

Why, he did exactly what Shabnam asked of him. She told him to choose between this child or losing his daughter, and he chose Shabnam, but at the same time, he wanted to ensure that his granddaughter got placed with her birth family - in this instance, Shirley Carter and Dean. Then he bangs on and on abouthis granddaughter having the right to know her background and culture. What? Her background and culture is a violent alcoholic, a rapist and religious hypcrites. The kid is better off in care.

Kush has been revealed to be a weak man, but Masood is truly pathetic, screaming in Shabnam's face that this entire situation was all about her, that she was just as bad as her mother in caring only about appearances, that she was selfish.

No, she isn't. It's Masood who's selfish in this instance, and I'm glad Shabnam reminded him of the fact that the child was her daughter and it was her decision to make. This was 2008 when Shabnam fell pregnant. By 2010, Masood and Zainab were physically shunning their gay son. They would have got real practice in by shunning their single parent daughter, pregnant out of wedlock. Hindsight gives Masood 20/20 vision.

Where Shabnam was wrong was in ordering Masood out of his own home. She should have done what she ultimately did and left to live elsewhere, and of course, Kush makes a beeline to Stacey's flat, where Stacey is hard put not to show a sour face to Shabnam even being associated with Kush.

Stacey, cop this: Kush wants to fuck you. He doesn't love you. Wise up. And you only want him as well. In all of this mess, it's going to be the two people, Shabnam and Martin, who've done the least to deserve being shat upon from a great height by two other people - in Shabnam's case, her fiancé and her best friend.

It was interesting to hear Kush say he didn't want to lose Shabnam, when Mas was even going so far as to accuse him of wanting Shabnam's child out of the way so they could start a family of their own. That was pretty rank of Masood as well. What does he honestly expect with this child, that she'll spend most of the time integrated into the new Kush-Shabnam dynamic during the week, whilst spending weekends with Daddy? Kudos to Kush for answering Masood back when he warned him to fear Allah, and Kush said that the only thing he feared was losing Shabnam. Masood is daft to think that through everything that will happen to her, Shabnam would still retain her faith. She may, but then again, she's going to be betrayed on all sides, and I really fear for her.

It's Summer. Must Be Time for Another Love Triangle. How many of these can we sustain? If this were the work of Lorraine Newman, there'd be complaints galore. And just when the writers ensure that Shirley garners a bit of sympathy, they sink her back into vileness again.

She shouldn't have got drunk and told Dean about Jade. Actually, she should have listened to Buster and left the situation alone. Even tonight, the stories she's telling about the child are all over the place and are totally different from what she originally told him in what would have been earlier in the evening, Originally, she said she'd visited a children's home, where she learned that the girl had been adopted. Later, she's telling Dean of the "foster family", with Dean asking if she'd seen pictures of the child or heard stories, and he's determined to visit the family with questions, himself.

When Shirley implores him to walk away from the situation, Dean isn't above reminding her that that's exactly what she did all the time.

Buster, however, has removed himself, physically, from the conflict, in order to enjoy a drink at The Albert, where Sharon's Singles' Bingo is in full force.

Buster's evolved into a nice, temperate man, and I'm surprised that I'm liking him. He's been nice to Carol, recently, and they end up sharing a drink together, just chatting about normal things. When Carol discovers Buster's a biker, she shows him Jim's old bike in the Jackson garage. As they're looking at the bike, Shirley drunkenly makes her presence known.

Pot-meet-kettle moment occurred when Buster innocently tried to explain to Shirley that Carol was only showing him the old bike. It prompted Shirley to make an unbecoming remark intimating that Carol was an "old bike." (Really, Shirley? With your track record, you refer to Carol as an "old bike?" What, exactly, are you?)

As if that isn't enough, when Carol objects, Shirley smacks her.

By the way, I liked Buster's chemistry with Carol. Shirley doesn't deserve anyone as nice as he.

The Rapist, the Murderer, Her Husband and Her Sister. Why are Ronnie and Dean still on our screen? More to the point, why are the writers still conjuring up stories where they're blatantly being presented as sympathetic victims, tragic heroines/heroes or simply just two people who think they're entitled to strut the streets of Walford without a thought or with a tissue of lies about the people they've hurt.

It's offensive to me, and, I'm sure, to other viewers, but even more offensive to me are the people who defend these two people's continued presence on this show. Whatever happened to moral fibre, when killers met their just rewards and rapists were imprisoned?

The murderer is going to try to enjoy a "wedding night" (to which she's entitled) with her lying, cheating husband -who lied and cheated even before she robbed him of his balls. To accomplish this, Ronnie cleverly threw herself a pity party in order that Roxy would extricate herself from the situation so Ronnie and Charlie could be alone. Of course, Ronnie can't quite get the suspicion out of her head that dirty scuzzah Charlie is having it off, still, with Roxy, so the "wedding night" doesn't go according to plan. It doesn't help that Sharon has to call, first Ronnie and then Charlie, about Roxy being drunk at The Albert, first flirting with Vincent, then with anybody.

When they try to take their action upstairs, Ronnie demurs and does a good job of playing possum just long enough to see Charlie called out for Roxy Rescue and long enough to hear Roxy return. She whips out her trusty tablet, long enough to watch Roxy and a faceless male cavort in the lounge. 

Awwww diddums, poor widdle Wonnie is cwyin' when Charlie returns, and suddenly, it's ok that Roxy's brought a strange man back to the house where her daughter lives as well.

It's a rapist. Still, could be worse. Coulda been another murderer. 

Everybody's Bad Side - Review:- Monday 15.06.2015

The best thing about this episode was Linda Henry. Everything else was predictable and mediocre.

I thought characters were supposed to progress not regress.

The Ugly Side of Stacey.

The best thing to come out of this vignette tonight was Mas dancing and the legend that is Bushra.

It's official: Kush is a dick. He is as shallow as his mother, who - even though her ex-husband was a secular Muslim - should have gauged the cultural background and religious leanings of Shabnam's family enough to have had respect for their traditions and not go bringing booze to the proceedings. That goes double for Stacey, who is supposed to be Shabnam's best friend, and who acted throughout the entire proceeding like a sulky schoolgirl determined to spoil the fun, had Dean not got there before her with the duff-duff.

Kush is a dick because he's such a shallow self-centred person, who's allowed himself to be caught between a rock and a hard place regarding women. Stacey's upset because - as she puts it - the only man she wants is her best mate's fella. Clock that: "the only man she wants" - that's wants not loves

Stacey has known Kush all of five minutes, and on the strength of a drunken kiss, she wants this man, knowing nothing about him, except that his mother seems to like to knock'em back and party a great deal. What was the most shocking thing of all was the line she levelled at Kush, wondering about him wanting to have a quiet night in on his thirtieth, because it was Ramadan and he was observing it for Shabnam.

So you're going to go all of your life just doing things that make her happy?

It's called "love," Stacey, and it's probably what Bradley would have done for you, had he lived.

No one's told Kush to marry Shabnam, and no one twisted his arm to make him go down on his knees to propose in public. That makes me think either one of two things - either he does, indeed, love her, or he's going through the motions publically in order to convince her and and to convince himself, which is even more cruel to Shabnam.

And, you know, I can totally understand Shabnam's annoyance at Carmel, regarding the party. Neither she nor Kush asked for a big affair like this. They wanted something quiet, if anything at all. After all, this is the man who is still mourning his wife. Instead, Carmel takes over the proceedings, bringing elaborate decorations, including a glitterball which happened to be Kush's first decoration.

It isn't a party until Kush gets out his ball.

I like a good cocktail sausage. It reminds me of my ex-husband.

Is there anything this woman says that doesn't have anything to do with either sex or bodily functions? At the time, the anecdote about her husband fixing curry and then guffing under the duvet covers was a bit shocking and out of place at the dinner table - and in the company of people she didn't know - but the fun's worn off with some of her humour. You'd have thought she'd have respected Shabnam's wishes about this being a traditional engagement party and Shabnam's cultural heritage, but she didn't. She sneaked in booze anyway, and found a willing collaborator in Stacey is spiking their drink.

Not being funny, but this is the sort of cultural arrogance that was shown by those oh-so-middle-class backpackers who stripped naked on top of a sacred mountain in the Far East recently.

The other downside of this vignette was Stacey pulling a massively sulky face when Kush praised Shabnam and proposed to her. Talk about regressing a character. 

In case Stacey hasn't realised it, were she to successfully break up Kush and Shabnam, she's be a pariah in Walford. She doesn't have the Slaters or the Moons to screech out a defence and convince her that she's entitled to Kush. Kush is the fiancé of the woman she defines as her best friend. If Kush were catting around with some other woman behind Shabnam's back, Stacey's moral fibre would be such that she would be badgering and berating Kush until she accidentally on purpose managed to tell Shabnam - just as she accidentally on purpose managed to tell Kush about Shabnam's child.

Shabnam is the innocent in all of this, succumbing to Carmel's insistence that she allow the woman to give Shabnam a make-over - she looked stunning in her green outfit, without Carmel's assistance - which was contrived to have Kush be sent to Stacey's flat for eyelash curlers, just for the contrived scene of having Kush happen upon Stacey wrapped in a towel fresh from the shower.

The whole ethos of this situation is that Kush doesn't love Stacey - he lusts after her, and she lusts for him. This isn't love, and I daresay, that whilst Carmel might think Stacey fun at the expense of someone else's engagement party, I daresay both Stacey and Carmel would quickly tire of each other's company. And one wonders how long any sort of relationship with Kush would last - based on the fact that both have lost spouses, but then also based on sex.

I think Kush is a nice guy, but he's also a selfish dick. He genuinely loves Shabnam, he loves her enough to commit to her, knowing her background and cognizant of the fact that he's marrying into a deeply religious family, but at the same time, he's too immature to appreciate that he's going to, at least, meet Shabnam half-way, and that means stop looking for a chick on the side in order to get laid.

Positives about this were threefold - Masood spontaneously dancing was a joy to watch, and Bushra was there. Bushra is a legend, and I'd like to see more of her and her four daughters, including the geeky one;but wasn't there a massive falllng-out with Bushra (again) not that long ago, yet she still shows up at the Masoods' dos.

Finally, I like their imam. They've kept the same man since they've arrived, and I really like him.

Shirley at Her Best. I don't like this storyline at all, simply because I'm not that keen on the appalling attempt at redeeming a rapist, even though eventually, I suspect this is going to be about Shabnam as well, but tonight I tolerated it because Linda Henry put in a masterclass performance.

After meeting Jade and after realising that Jade had cystic fibrosis, Shirley did what she did to Jimbo - she ran away. In fact, she disappeared for the weekend, much to the worry of Buster. When she finally appeared, she was drunk - and by that time, the gossip grapevine had got going between Masood and Buster, and Dean had found out that his child was alive.

Here's the part of the story I found hard to swallow. Dean told Shirley it wasn't too late for him to be a good dad. and he was told that he couldn't barge into whatever situation the child was in and claim her; she may even be part of a loving family. Dean's reaction was pure EastEnders' recent attitude to adoptive or foster parents.

He didn't care. He'd take her anyway. Er, sorry, Dean, but you can't. Shirley countered with the lie that the child had been adopted ages ago, and those records were closed. Then she said something really weird, and it made me cringe at the thought of how fucking bad the writing is still at the moment.

They said it doesn't matter if Dean's name is on the birth certificate, she's been adopted.

Er, sorry ... but there's only one way Dean could be legally on that birth certificate, and that's if he accompanied Shabnam to the registry office and was present when Shabnam registered the baby's birth. He had to give his permission, as a man unmarried to his babymamma, before he's listed as the father. Yet, I thought the child was abandoned at birth, shortly afterward, when she was left on Imzamam's doorstep. Did Shabnam have time to register the birth before abandoning her? Even if she did, Dean still couldn't be named.

EastEnders' writers really need to research family law.

I understand what Shirley's doing. She doesn't think Dean would be able to cope with a child with cystic fibrosis, and to drive the message home, she reinforces her message hypothetically. What if Shabnam had kept the baby? Dean was just a kid, and even so, does he think the Masoods would have allowed him any access to the kid? They'd have banged on about financial support. The best advice she gave Dean was to get on with his life. well, he did, just that ... he brought a stop to Shabnam's engagement party by barging in and demanding why she lied to him about their baby having died.

Boy, Bushra will make mincemeat of that.

(Sigh) Another Non-Victim. I feel sorry for Roxy. Of all the people in Walford, she's the loneliest. She's all but paid by Roswell Ronnie and Charlie to get out of the house and leave them alone - even poor pitiful psychopath Ronnie is so helpless, she manages to manipulate Roxy into doing her nails and shaving her legs just so she and Charlie could have a wedding night. 

Ronnie was even complete with self-pithying lines.

I'm so afraid that I won't be able to ... I mean, why would he want to? I'm such a mess.

All guaranteed to guilt-trip Roxy into an evening filled with drinking on her own. So she ends up at Sharon's Singles' Bingo night at the Albert, where we got,earlier, a soupcon of the ridiculous bar wars that seems to be the epitome of storyline they're offering Sharon, by pitting her against Kim.

Of course, Singles Bingo is winning against Kim's weird winter Apres-Ski Christmas theme,. until dynamic businessman Vincent reminds Sharon that tills ringing upstairs and downstairs is good for the bar in general.

Whitney even arranged for Carol to spend an evening at the bingo in the company of Billy Mitchell.

Not much to write home about. Really.