Saturday, March 21, 2015

Newman Tribute Week - Review:- Friday 20.03.2015

In this episode, I realised just how much I hate Pam Coker and how much I absolutely hate, loathe, detest and despise Sonia ... and how I wish Cindy would take a long jump off Brighton Pier, taking Liam the Lug with her. 

Thank goodness, the big guns are back next week!

The Hypocrisy Merchant.

Martin might not be the brightest lightbulb in the pack, but he's certainly not stupid, and Sonia would drop the Court Jester in a New York Minute, if Martin would have Sonia back in the fold and then proceed to do her bidding on her terms. 

That's the only reason she's with Tina. As soon as Martin got Rebecca and started excluding Sonia from the equation, Sonia started giving Rebecca a second thought and demanding a place within the dynamic. As we saw last year, Sonia wasn't above using Rebecca as an instrument by which to control Martin, and she certainly isn't above doing that again, but this time, she's lost control of the situation.

She's desperate to keep her new relationship with Tina a secret, not wanting to have cocktails at The Albert because it was too close to home, preferring to party down up West. She's not thinking much about Rebecca then, is she? In fact, she doesn't think about Rebecca much at all, unless and until she sees Martin. She shits her gullet over the fact that Martin is now in Walford. Well, she'd best get used to it, because it looks as though he's losing his business, and quite possibly, his home - and that last bit is down to Sonia ditching her share of the responsibility of the mortgage, the self-serving, self-righteous bitch.

I daresay Martin's put two and two together regarding some of the phone abuse The Court Jester and prize stirrer would give him from time to time the past year. The confrontation in the pub was one of the rare highlights of a mediocre week, and it proved that Martin was well aware of just what Sonia was getting p to, spending more and more time in Walford. Granted, her mother was ill, but that didn't stop Sonia from finding the time to nick and neck booze from a bottle and snog her feckless girlfriend, who was in a relationship, herself, at the time.

In the confrontation, when Martin addressed Sonia's repeated claims that he was an inattentive husband, the self-righteous cow looked as guilty as sin, because she knew what was happening next - Martin revealed Sonia's association with Tina. Carol looked as though she could have fallen through the floor. Martin's bet to pull Donna was pathetic, and there was no excuse for that, but Martin has been treated appallingly by Sonia, not once, but twice, with her walking out of the family dynamic for another woman, but only when Sonia thought she wasn't being sufficiently worshipped at home.

It won't take long for Sonia to tire of Tina's deliberately child-like ways. She'll be longing for Martin's table burps, and all it will take is the sight of him snogging Stacey in the market which will see her shedding Tina like a caterpillar sheds its skin and banging on Martin's door, demanding entry.

The Court Jester had a brief period of maturity during Stan's illness storyline and the aftermath of Christmas, but once paired with the odious Sonia, she reverts to faux childlike mode. At least, from time to time, she's honest about herself and her predicament. When Sonia whined at her, wanting advice about what happened when Tina split from Zsa Zsa's dad, Tina's refusal to talk about that situation was twofold.

First, her most honest response was that she was never there for Zsa Zsa and didn't care. Secondly, the character simply couldn't talk about the "split" with Zsa Zsa's father, because there's been no great continuity between the backstories of Tina the unseen Carter sister and this Tina. The unseen sister was overwhelmingly heterosexual. She'd split with Zsa Zsa's father, her husband and had recently left her latest partner, a man, to live with another man in Spain. This Tina described Zsa Zsa's conception as a "blip," and spoke often and honestly of watching her daughter bring herself up, whilst Tina was off her nut on drugs and booze. So there was no answer Tina could give Sonia, because the writer, Pete Lawson, either didn't know, couldn't remember or couldn't be arsed which Tina about whom to write for fear of getting the backstory wrong.

She was at her most annoying tonight, especially when she put on the pouting-little-girl routine when Nancy, her niece, told her she couldn't have the night off to play when only Nancy and Lee were on hand to serve at the pub, but what I absolutely abhor the most about Sonia is her indefatigable sense of moral superiority and the fact that she is entitled to have her daughter with her. If Sonia got custody of Rebecca, she'd pull the age-old trick denying Martin access to the child. Sonia and Martin are only a team on Rebecca's behalf when it suits Sonia - which is when she's getting her own way.

Another thing I noticed tonight is how Carol and Sonia simply don't work. Carol and Bianca did, even when Bianca was at her worst, but Carol and Sonia simply don't. Maybe it was because we only saw Carol interacting with Sonia the child and not Sonia the adolescent, who was part and parcel of Jim's and Dot's dynamic. In fact, Carol cut all relations with the fifteen year-old Sonia when she decided to give Rebecca up for adoption. The other prime piece of hypocrisy on show tonight was Carol, breezing about the cafe, deigning to offer parenting advice in the form of commenting about gossip heard about Kush and Shabnam to Masood, telling him that his kids needed their dad, whilst subtly pointing out Masood's hypocrisy - this from the woman who casually used Masood as a device to make the real object of her desire, David, work harder at respectability.

I want Sonia to leave.

It's Her Party and She'll Cry if She Wants To.

Somebody, please, kill Pam now! I should think there's nothing more horrifying than Pam bending over you, in full-force nosybody mood, gurning. Put a bloody lid on it, woman! Where the hell is Aleks when she's running the entire length of the market trying to bully people into attending Donna's 30th birthday do, when no one wants to attend the function of someone as rude and tactless as Donna.

Donna the requisite disabled character is another specialty of DTC's and a carry-over of Adam Bright - disabled characters seen, nobly, to be getting on successfully in their own professions, but taking advantage of their disability to be wantonly rude and patronising to other people. Some of her remarks to Shabnam, whom she hardly knows, were atrocious.

I thought you were over him, or are you wanting to be under him again? - That remark and also referring to Shabnam as "Headscarf" was totally beyond the pale.

There were too many close-ups of Pam's face, twisted with concern, demanding people attend Donna's party and worrying about where Les was. Too much dialogue where she was bleating on and on about Donna's party, her surprise and how Donna shouldn't worry about finding Mr Right, when the ungrateful little scrote is looking for Mr Right Now.

None of the Spring Lane marketers were attending Donna's do, and many of the people asked from Albert Square didn't know her sufficiently well, but were harassed into attending by Pam.

The fight between Fatboy and Martin was embarrassing - not as embarrassing as the time Fatboy got his nipple twisted in the appalling football storyline of that worst of summers back in 2012, but bad enough. Fatboy genuinely likes Donna :X but I would imagine Donna thinks Fatboy is Mr Right Now.

Speaking of Mr Right Now, so now we know how Les (and Pam) got to know Claudette and who she is - Donna's foster mother. She and Les are the most unconvincing of secret lovers ever in the history of the show. Line of the night, however, goes to Claudette, admiring her birthday gift from Les:-

You didn't get it off a dead person, did you?

Donna's "surprise", laid on by Pam and consisting of her reunion with Claudette, had to be probably the weakest duff-duff in the show's thirty-year history. If we were supposed to feel the irony of Claudette being Les's bit on the side, unbeknownst to Pam, it didn't work.

Have to say it for Donna, she covers herself well, when it's revealed she's being played for a fool.

The Start of Something Big (Not).

Gosh, it's birthday week all around this week. Claudette's just come off a birthday, Donna was celebrating hers in this episode, and it would have been Kush's wife's 30th birthday this week, which explains the flowers he was seen carrying earlier in the week.

So he gets drunk, as you do, and opens up to Shabnam, as you don't.

That was a good and honest scene between Shabnam and Tamwar earlier in the episode, where they shared a tub of ice cream and opened up, reasonably far, to one another. Shabnam knows she's a hypocrite; she also knows she really liked, and still really likes, Kush, and she thought he really liked her. He does. He's just not quite ready to let go of his dead wife's memory just yet and hasn't stopped the grieving process. Kush is one of DTC's singular successes - an experienced TV actor, easy on the eye, who plays a sympathetic - and probably a complicated - character.

Tamwar confesses that, although he was certain that Nancy wanted more from their relationship, he chickened out of the possibility, afraid of what Nancy might make of his scars. Tamwar needs to think again. Nancy isn't so shallow. He did, however, have a great line, assessing his romantic history:-

My wife left me for a scooter. My girlfriend left me to become a murderer. (A rare mention of the dire Alice). I like the possibility of Tamwar and Nancy; I don't like the possibility of this romance being a slow-burner, because it might just fizzle out.

The most obvious thing to come out of MasoodVille tonight is the re-emergence of Dark Masood as he takes his secret stash of gambled winnings and heads for the bookies' to gamble some more. He'll either make a fortune or bankrupt the family. Again.

Just When You Thought She Was Likeable. I couldn't figure out if Cora were high on happiness - this being International Happiness Day - at her engagement to Stan, or if she were drunk on a buzz. Probably a bit of both. Pam's reaction, however, completely overshadowed Cora's behaviour, It was a hurricane to Cora's gale force wind.

However, I do think she overstepped the mark in the pub, demanding a family discount and stepping behind the bar to appropriate a bottle of champagne to bring to Stan's bedside. (Bad move ... poignant, but bad. Stan's most probably on diomorphine - heroin - for the pain, and alcohol isn't recommended.) Still, the thought was there. 

The Brat Pack. How much do I detest Cindy and Liam the Lug? Everything has to be all about Cindy, with her the centre of attention. How did Liam manage to buy cider, actually, being only sixteen? We know what's going to happen next - the requisite EastEnders' wild teenagers' drinking party, resulting in Ian Beale's house being trashed. Conveniently, Ian is arriving tomorrow. Cindy and Ian should be taken out and slapped.

Now that Ian's lost the last remnants of his balls to Jane the Queen, I wonder if we'll see a reprise of this scene, substituting vile Cindy for the late Lucy:-

And this is the man who is going to dare to lecture Sharon Mitchell on her parenting of Denny?

And thus endeth Mediocrity Week. Thank GOD.

Newman Tribute Week - Review:- Thursday 19.03.2015

I love Daran Little, but even Jesus couldn't work miracles with that.

I've said it once, and I'll say it now: If Newman's name were on the masthead of that episode, it would have been branded total and utter shite. I accept that there has to be a quiet time after the sturm und drang of Anniversary week and the lead into it, but think about it ... it's been a month. A month since the 30th, and look where we are after a month.

For all it was a day when EastEnders isn't normally broadcast and at an odd hour and up against Champions' League football with English teams, at that moment, involved, EastEnders took in less than five million viewers.

After the brilliance of January and February, I never thought, a month on, we'd be back struggling for five million viewers, with figures stuck below seven million and Corrie back on top - only just, but back on top.

I could live with that, but Corrie's mired in mediocrity more than EastEnders.

Just sayin'.

Two Sneaks.

Tina and Sonia deserve each other. If this were an attempt to make Sonia more likeable and sympathetic, it didn't work. First of all, the way she treated Stan in hospital was nothing less than patronising. He's an elderly man who's dying, he's not a child who needs to be spoken to in simplistic terms, and using him as a subtle conduit to preen about his silly daughter in order to big up Sonia's self-righteousness about herself was pukeworthy.

Yes, Tina has a heart of gold, as Stan said; but why no mention of her utter distaste and mistreatment of her own daughter, Zsa Zsa? She's Stan's grandchild as well, and a Goth, like Rebecca is trying to be. What's that that Carol said? Trying to act out in order to get her parents to work together? Well, Zsa Zsa, who in another life under another producer whose storyliner was the current producer, Zsa Zsa was the product of Tina's marriage to a man, and Tina had run away, leaving her with a stepfather, in order to be with a Spaniard - and a man, to boot. Maybe Zsa Zsa's Goth period was an enactment in order to get her mother to respond in a parental way, but one thing has been constant between heterosexual Tina and lesbian Tina: she put herself before her child, and that much, she and the abysmal Sonia have in common.

I kept waiting, in that scene between Stan and Sonia, for Stan to expand upon his exhaltations about Tina's goodness by reminding Sonia how less-than-good Mick and Shirley were, as that's what he usually does. Instead, he emphasised her goodness by saying that Tina has never stopped loving him even though he has been less than a good father, which impresses silly Sonia all the more.

Meanwhile, back on the Square, Martin seeks out his mother-in-law for some subtle advice. This was interesting, in that Lindsey Coulson always makes a scene seem real, but also because the last time they shared a venue - last week in the Vic - neither Martin nor Carol acknowledged the other's presence. (This was the episode where Carol kissed Billy).

Martin was deferential, respectful and acknowledged his own shortcomings as a father, whilst emphasising the fact that he had never encouraged Rebecca to avoid or shut out her mother. He was just bemused by her sudden morphing into a Goth. Since Carol has some experience dealing with teenaged girls, Martin is interested in her input.

Carol simply reassures him that Rebecca is acting out as a means of forcing Martin and Sonia to work together for her benefit. That's when Martin assures her that he hasn't been prejudicing Rebecca against Sonia - and he reiterates that it isn't as though they were splitting up because one or the other of them had met someone new, and he acknowledges that he hasn't always been the best of dads in the past, but he was putting in the effort now ... Oh, and by the way, he'd seen that mate of Sonia's, the one at the pub ...

Tina, Carol assures him. Oh, she always put a smile on Sonia's face, which is everything Martin needed to hear. Martin's been there and done that before years before when Sonia walked out on him and Rebecca for that great love-of-her-life Gnomi.

After a coy encounter with Tina at the hospital, where we learn that Tina ran off after their snog the previous evening, but she isn't best pleased when she returns to the Square to find out that Martin's been talking to Carol and Carol's been talking back. In fact, Carol's quite impressed with Martin's role in Rebecca's life.

I'm her mum. She should be wiv me.

That's all Sonia can reiterate, despite the fact that she spent more time hanging out at Carol's, especially after Carol's recovery, than she did with Rebecca. It was Sonia, who - after a year of trash-talking Martin and snogging Tina on the side and whining about Martin not caring - decided to walk away from that marriage. She's even more shocked when Carol expresses support for the fact that Rebecca's spending time with Martin and that he's stepping up to the plate.

That sends Sonia right over to the Beales' house with the impulsive idea to invite Martin and Rebecca over to dinner.

You mean like a family meal or something? asks Martin, incredulously. He then makes his excuses about Rebecca going bowling with a friend and how she's really looking forward to it.

Sonia shits herself before she takes up residence on Arthur's bench, to stare at the Beale house, where the Court Jester finds her.

The Court Jester is hating herself because she's pissed off at Stan demanding money for a care home, but she pauses long enough to listen to Sonia trash-talk Martin some more. Martin's never had time for Rebecca, which is an obvious lie, and now they're together and Sonia's shut out. Well. maybe Sonia shouldn't have emotionally manipulated her daughter. Throughout the history of Sonia and Rebecca, it's always seemed that Sonia wanted Rebecca on her terms.

She gave up the baby for adoption because she didn't want to just "get by" the way Carol did. She wanted an education and qualifications. Yet she stalked the couple who adopted Rebecca, and their mother-in-law, on two occasions, once kidnapping Rebecca and once obtaining a warning from the police. Just when Margaret, the granny, was willing to let Sonia and Martin into Rebecca's life, Sonia had started romping the beds with Gnomi, missing Rebecca's birthday celebrations, which Martin attended.

Now Sonia throws herself a pity party and welcomed Tina's snog - there wasn't much of that in her marriage to Martin. Boo-bloody-hoo. Who'd want to kiss a self-righteous prig like Sonia, who'd trash-talk you behind your back? If Sonia's head wasn't stuck so firmly up her own backside, she'd realise that Martin wasn't stupid, and that he'd remembered the name-calling and taunting phonecalls Tina had made to him. Sonia chooses feckless, silly Tina, a woman who was in a relationship with another woman when she met Tina and cheated on that woman to be with her. Cheaters cheat, and the next girl who catches Tina's eye, when life with Sonia proves to be one big self-righteous lecture to a forty year-old going on five, will prove Sonia the self-important fool that she is.

I want to see the arse-end of these two bitches on the way out of Walford.

One thing Sonia and Tina have in common, and that's a propensity to abandon their daughters for their own selfish needs.

The Plot Device. 
So much for Andrew Sachs - a glorified plot device of one-liners and a depiction of an annoying little old man whose death prompts Stan and Cora to finally confess feelings for each other and unite.

Although Timothy West, Ann Mitchell and Annette Badland gave it their best shot, in segment rife with observation and backstory and top-heavy with sniping, it was shite. Seriously shite. It was a borderline farce of a go, the depiction of two elderly women fighting over the carcass of a dying man.

It's clear that Babeshite is the Carters' evil version of Auntie Sal. Remember this? (The key word is "trifle".)

Can you imagine any of the Carters saying that to Babe? She'd lace her trifle with strychnine.

Cora's hungover - we know that, because on a dingy day, she's wearing her signature sunglasses, and she pops over to Patrick's for hair of the dog. Patrick guilt-trips her into visiting Stan, and when she does, she finds Babe there, force-feeding him trifle. (I wonder if the trifle is foreshadowing the fact that Babe will eventually lace it with diomorphine to knock him off in the end). Stan's still belloweathering about money.

Babe got the best of a bad lot of lines of the night:-

How's business? Oh wait, it's your daughter who's the brass ...

In the middle of their sniping, Andrew Sachs's irritating Cyril drops dead in the middle of eating the hospital food he likes so much, which prompts an evacuation, some soul-searching by Stan and a phonecall to Tina, and some back history on Babe's relationship with Stan, as related to Cora.

It seems Sylvie was a "hostess" in an up-market Soho club, paid to pull the punters in amongst other things. (Think Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be hanged in Britain - she was one of those types too). Forgetting her keys, she rang the fifteen year-old Babe, back in the early Sixties, to fetch them for her - although why she'd need them, when Babe was at home, is anyone's guess. Babe caught her heel in a grating outside the club, and Stan came to her rescue. He then escorted her into the club (even though she was fifteen and wouldn't have been allowed inside) and went, himself, into Sylvie's waiting arms, without as much as a back glace at Babe, who'd remained childless and suffering since then.

That had prompted Stan's cruel assessment of Babe as a lone figure, doling out trifle and hanging about his family like a bad smell, trying to worm her way in. If anyone came across sympathetically in this mishmash, it was, surprisingly, Babe. She's a lonely woman who's sacrificed her youth and her life to provide a constant for her sister's family, begging to be a part of that dynamic by trying to make herself indispensible, even in a manipulative way as a fixer. She's still a dark presence, but you got a bit of insight into her character tonight.

In the end, Stan proposes to Cora, Cora runs away, has a fag and returns to accept the proposal, and Babe's unhappy yet again.

Die, Stan ... just die. Spare us the dramatics, you stopped giving the moment the PR department announced Timothy West's departure. Just die and stop phoning it in.

Yet another mediocrity. Oh well, the Mitchells and Beales are back next week.

Newman Tribute Week - Review:- Wednesday 18.03.2015

Thursday was the 19th of March, or in other words: How a Show Can Go from Hero to Zero in Thirty Short Days. Seriously. Wednesday's show was less than mediocre; it was positively Newmanesque.

The show misses the Mitchells.

Much Ado About Nothing.

Gosh, how I miss Janine - a genuinely strong woman who didn't need a man to verify and confirm her existence. Why is it that every genuinely intelligent female character, one who promises empowerment and individuality, has to be morphed into a stereotypical freak simply in order to "codify" an individuality she'll shortly discard and disparage, probably in favour of some gormless male - and most males are, in the man-hating environment that is the EastEnders' writers' room, suitably gormless?

Rebecca is being disparaged by the likes of Cindy because Rebecca has suddenly become a Goth.

Are you going to eat my brain or something? Cindy sneers.

Kudos to Rebecca: I'd have to look hard to find it first.

Cindy deserved that, the ungrateful, shitty, little bitch. Rebecca may look strange, for whatever reason; but at fourteen, at least she's not out shagging shapeless, slack-jawed lugs on the floor of a house in which she's really got no right to live. At least Rebecca doesn't roll her eyes at the thought of a child she's borne and doesn't want.

The weird bit of continuity came with Rebecca contemplating changing her name back to Chloe, the name Sonia originally gave her, then taunting Martin about him and Sonia having given her up for adoption, something catty CindyBitch lapped up like cream. Actually, it wasn't Martin who gave Rebecca away; it was Sonia. Sure, Martin wasn't keen at all about being a fifteen year-old father - not everyone is a Mick Carter - but Pauline fought long and hard to get custody of Rebecca. Remember this?

(Sonia was just as vile then, wasn't she?) The point there was that Sonia gave the kid up, then kidnapped her, then stalked the mother of the adoptive mother when the adoptive parents were killed, until finally the old lady died and Sonia got Rebecca ... except she walked away from her then to be with Gnomi.

We had a great amount of this episode taken up by the story of teenaged angst, and it wasn't even proper boy-loves-girl teenaged angst, just drivel about a girl getting sent home from school for showing up looking like a cross between Morticia Addams and the girls from St Trinians, and how two clueless and essentially selfish parents briefly acted in tandem to get the child to see sense.

The girl who plays Rebecca should seriously stick to playing guitar. She's not a very good actress, and teenaged struggle for individuality and her parents' response to that (by dyeing their hair blue) was contrived and the worst piece of stereotypical reverse psychology ever depicted. Further, it led to that awful reflective scene between Sonia and Martin where they mused about what a "great team" they were and how Sonia was the intelligent one who always knew what to do, mingled with the requisite lines about how hard it was to raise teenagers and wondering when they would both feel like proper adults.

Yawn yawn yawn yawn yawn.

I know a lot of people are having trouble with NuMartin. Looking back over a couple of clips of Old Martin tonight, I don't think he's far off the mark. He's more like Old Martin mixed in with a hefty dose of Bradley (designed to gain the appeal of Stacey, no doubt). He's certainly naive enough to believe he may be in with a second chance with Sonia. Seriously? Martin, do you really want to go back there? Another tip to continuity tonight when Martin related to Kush the trauma he and Sonia had shared - Rebecca's birth, his stalker and what he described as Sonia's "lesbian phase."

Kush, on the other hand, seems to hit the nail on the head about Martin's situation - Martin, he says, simply doesn't love Sonia anymore. I don't even think Martin believed he loved Sonia. He just wanted a bit of familiarity about him, as well as help in bringing up his daughter. Anyway, he was soon put straight (pun intended) when he saw silly Sonia giving a tongue tonsillectomy to the Court Jester.

Sonia, however, continues to be vile. Tonight, we got to see her in action as a nurse. My only thought was that Stan must have been in the throes of delirium, for wanting to cop a view of Sonia's rear end or a rubdown given by her tender hands. She veered tonight from pithy nurse-like comments to promising the Court Jester that "she would always be there for her."

Look ... Martin can stay. Rebecca ... meh. Sonia can bugger on out of Walford.

The Non-Carter Story. 
I suppose the highlight of this non-story was the rather muted appearance of Andrew Sachs. He's not Ginger Pete or another Carter or even Sharon's father. He was just an elderly man on Stan's ward in the hospital.

I'm sorry, but if this is what Timothy West reckons is his King Lear bow-out, either he doesn't know his Shakespeare, which I doubt; or he reckons his reputation as a classical actor preceeds him and that the audience is so bowled over by his phoned-in presence for the moment, that they'll take any PR reference to Shakespeare as gospel, when it's not.

Tonight's offering was much of Stan ranting about wanting the money he gave Shirley. We got a brief glimpse of Shirley "managing" Blades, and looking as if her greasy hair might have done with a wash from Lola, refusing Tina's naive request that Shirley dig into the till and magically produce the 10 grand Phil loaned her for Blades, which still hasn't been repaid. 

Stan did, however, speak the truth, when reminiscing about how neither Mick nor Shirley had cared about him, until they came, cap in hand, to ask for money, and he'd given them everything he had. Now he wants payback for a care home. He's also pretty accurate in his assessment that they were hoping he died sooner, rather than later, in order to avoid paying back the debt they owed him. (Cast your mind back to Spring 2014, when Stan demanded repayment of the loan for Dean, and Mick took offense that what was clearly a loan, needed repaying.

Stan and Babe reconciled. (Yawn) Tina appeared even more childlike and inane than ever. She's gone back to dressing like a five year-old. Did she seriously think Babe had the sort of money Stan wanted?

Cora and Patrick got drunk in Stan's name. (Yawn again).

Insignificant Others. Well, at least we learned that, although Kush was fond of Shabnam, and foresaw a future with her more than anyone since the death of his wife, he wasn't ready for marriage after a couple of dates. He really had no choice but to end the relationship on Masood's terms or else be forced into a marriage with a woman he didn't know. I suspect the flowers he bought were for his wife's grave. It was more than a bit disheartening to see a woman of nearly thirty, giving sidelong glances of hope at a man who clearly was uneasy in her presence.

Fatboy and Donna? Well, at least he was sympathetic and understanding with her and seemed to genuinely connect with her as a person. She opened up to him about her medical history, and, attitude dropped (which, I fear, was a front), she's actually quite a nice person. 

Pam, I seriously hate now. She's nosey and controlling. I liked Donna's successful attempts to elbow her out of her life.

Not a good episode. 

Newman Tribute Week: - Review Tuesday 17.03.2015

And so the mediocrity continues. The only reason this episode gained a 7 out of 10 for me was Ann Mitchell, and specifically, her doorstep scene with Timothy West, who, I have to admit, has been phoning it in lately.

Apart from that, the episode was a big lot of nothing, and this has been EastEnders' biggest problem, and one which DTC has failed to remedy. When the show is good, it's firing on all cylinders; when it's not, the quality drops to mundanity and poor mediocrity. Someone on Walford Web noticed recently that Coronation Street does everyday things, mediocre things, really well and watchable. 

The only thing you watch when EastEnders hits this mode is the clock.

Where shall I begin? There's just so much of nothing.

Above all, this episode was about the driving force in Walford - hypocrisy.

Hypocrisy: Secrets, Lies and Denial amongst the Masoods.

Still, the inexplicable non-romance between Kush and Shabnam continues. She's humiliated that she could even presume he'd want to marry her after a one night stand and a couple of kisses. He wanted a relationship, yes, and maybe it would have strengthened and developed over time, but Shabnam proved her naivete in her assumption. Now, rather than face the fact that his pitch is located right outside The Minute Mart's front door, she's pulling a sickie and letting her mobile ring out.

Masood, the good Muslim, is justifiably outraged that such a flippant man would treat his daughter this way, and then keep trying to maintain contact. This is stern Masood, the Masood, who would step over a bleeding man in the street, just because that man had fallen in love with his son and he disapproved of the lifestyle. Strange, how he's come to accept the same-sex domesticity of Chryed, but can't quite wrap his head around the fact that his daughter isn't a virgin anymore. (Jesus, he'd have a cow, did he know he had another granddaughter). Masood issues the dictum that Kush is to steer clear of his family.

Kush just wants to apologise. 

(Run, Kush, Run!)

Anyhoo, Masood has plans beyond seeing out the rest of his days as a postman, even though he can't be many years off retirement, being in his fifties. He's going to resurrect the Arjhee Bahjee - EastEnders being big on resurrections at the moment - and off he toddles to the bank. Is he proposing to re-mortgage the house, yet again? And does he seriously think the bank will loan him the money on a venture which was repossessed the last time? I know the business was in Tamwar's name, but the property re-mortgaged was in the name of Zainab and Masood.

Tamwar certainly had the line of the night about Masood constraining himself to wearing a waistcoat and serving drunken racists on Friday nights. This is the dry wit of the old Tamwar.

Realistically, the bank wouldn't bite, and I don't blame them. Instead, Patrick - and it's always good to see Rudolph Walker, he was the other highlight about tonight's episode - stops Masood long enough to ask him to place a five-pound bet for him, which Masood almost forgets to do, even after Patrick implores him to place one, himself. Masood demurs - that's against his religion, and he's a good Muslim.

But we know he doesn't, because he's seen taking a huge wad of money from the ATM machine, and, when depositing Patrick's winnings, as he left and insisted he'd not placed any bets owing to his faith, we knew he had done just that, and that Masood's winnings would fund the purchase of the restaurant.

Who'd have thought the Masoods were Man U fans? The rest of this storyline was concerned with either concluding or continuing the other non-story of Tamwar's and Nancy's non-romance. It's pretty half-arsed because we didn't get to see Tamwar freaking out after kissing her. Either the scene was edited out or it simply wasn't written, but he assumes it's over, even though you get the impression that she's up for a second chance.

In the great motorway of life, I'm a clapped-out Ford Fiesta, and you're a brand new Lamborghini. Up the Hammers.

Tamwar really knows how to end a potential relationship with a girl. As much as I thought, initially, how much he would bring her down, after she had already been brought low by the odious Dexter, I thought they were sweet together in their scenes last week - two lonely, misfit people reaching out to each other. 

Then Tamwar had to blow it all with his own peculiar brand of low self-esteem.

You know? Nancy deserves better.

Hypocrisy: Secrets and Lies amongst the Remaining Fowlers.

Martin's back and looking worried. From the snippets of interrupted telephone calls he was receiving, it looks as though he has money problems. His house? I'm not surprised. Didn't Sonia remark to Carol several months ago, that they were having trouble with the mortgage? And now, since she's walked out on that relationship and moved back to the house owned by Janine on which they pay a peppercorn rent, she's taken the second income which provided security on the property and Martin's had to soldier on alone with the mortgage, the outgoings and caring for their daughter.

Oh, yes ... Sonia's suddenly remembered Rebecca. Oh, well, it wouldn't have been the first time she'd forgotten the kid. That would have been when she walked out on boring Martin for the excitement that was Gnomi. (Actually, it was Naomi, but Sonia couldn't pronounce her name). Sonia can buy Liam the Lug a packet of three, but she suddenly plays the responsible parent by insisting that he revise his maths on a day when Liam is pulling a sickie and sitting on the sofa like a couch potato, or a lug, watching trash television. When she breaks his widdle wuler, she toddles off to buy him one, but she's distracted.

First, she's distracted by seeing Martin is back on the Square. Not only is he back, he's staying at Ian's, in order to keep an eye on Cindy, after Sonia's little escapade with them. There follows the requisite back-and-forth about Rebecca.

Sonia: Where is she?

Martin: She's on her way to school. She stayed at a mate's this weekend.

Sonia: Which mate?

Martin: I don't know ... Star, or something.

Sonia: Martin, you're supposed to be responsible.

Martin: I'm not the one who walked out.

Round One for Martin. In fact, Round Everything to Martin, because he can slam shut Sonia's foul mouth with that one phrase ~I'm not the one who walked out.~

Sonia is further distracted by taking this brush-off to Tina, whom she knows will accord her a sympathetic hearing as she embellishes Martin's shortcomings in this situation. What's Martin playing at? Tina wants to know, and then she levels the arch-hypocritical comment of the night.

Nobody should use their children as ammo.

Maybe Tina remembers how Sonia want all-out using Rebecca as an emotional punchbag last year, forbidding her from attending music school because Rebecca was the only reason Martin was staying with Sonia. Now who's using a child as ammo in a relationship? Sonia's not above that, and Martin's done absolutely nothing of the sort.

Is he a lackadaisical dad? Yes, and a bit laissez-faire in parenting, as he didn't know where Rebecca was or with whom she was during the weekend, but then, Sonia's never bothered keeping in touch with the child until recently, and can't seem to accept why Rebecca wants nothing to do with her.

As soon as she's made that remark, Tina advises Sonia that she and Martin need to sit down and sort something out about Rebecca together.

Both of these people are hypocrites. Sonia's so far up Tina's arse that she forgot why she left Liam the Lug on his own for so long - she forgot to get his widdle wuler. Martin could use a bit of Pauline's elbow in geeing him up to keep a closer rein on his young daughter, and Sonia just needs to STFU and go.

What Was That? Fatboy, Donna and Pam interfering. Do you care? No, nor do I.

Stan's Swansong.

Mick and Linda have swanned off on a Mother's Day break to Dublin, and Tina's moaning about how she's never received a Mother's Day card. Well, Tina, if you'd been more of a mum to Zsa Zsa, maybe you'd have got one.

Stan's going to the dogs. Literally. Besides that, he's organised a night out for the remaining family in Romford, except no one wants to go, least of all because none of them think Stan would weather the journey. This is all in aid of Stan passing one night without pissing himself. Go figure.

He wants Shirley to go, and she refuses. Somehow, I like Shirley away from the Vic and in the B and B with the Trueman-Foxes. And working in Blades. So the spare seat, on Patrick's suggestion, goes to Cora. In a brief, but beautifully poignant scene, Ann Mitchell and Timothy West give a Masterclass in understated acting. Stan's signature promise of chicken in a basket and some ale isn't lost on Cora. He knows how to treat a girl, she remarks ruefully, but the fact is that she's not his girl. That was Sylvie. Yes, says Stan, but the difference between Cora and Sylvie was that Sylvie was never his friend.

Stan's losing sensation in his leg is actually quite accurate for a terminal cancer sufferer. Cancer moves up the body, by way of the spinal cord. The ability to walk goes, and as it moves upward, the eventual result will be Stan going into a coma as it hits his brain. It truly is a matter of weeks now.

When they were talking, Cora reminded Stan that of her reluctance to become close once more. I've lost enough, she says, but Stan is quick to remind her that he's still alive. Cora went through the wringer when her husband died of cancer, and seeing Stan lifted into the ambulance, when he asked her to go with him, her tragic face, mouthing "I can't" was heart-rending.

Lee was the only adult in the room tonight, although Shirley was in denial about how ill Stan was until it was brought home to her.

Mediocre episode. Again.