Sunday, July 20, 2014

That Was the Week That Was - Review: 14.07-18.07.2014

That was the week that was ... started way above par, finished - well, a little below, if one is honest.

That was the week that the murder investigation swung back into full force again. That was the week that we got a new detective, DI Keeble, assigned to the Lucy case, and she's a woman who would give Marsden a run for her money. Hmmm... the thought just occurred to me that Keeble said a new DCI had been assigned to the Lucy case. I wonder if that happens to be Marsden.

Most of this week featured a couple of new surprises around Lucy's death, Billy's new involvement, and a lot of annoying and irritating youth.

My Heart Belongs to Daddy.

That's a song as much for Lauren as for anyone on the Square, but Lauren was at her most annoying this week - from running through the Square "jogging" without breaking a sweat to laying down the law to her own father to making a scene in front of the innocent man whose marriage she destroyed and whom she landed in a jail cell, she stank the place up.

Notwithstanding, she's played by ...


Jossa sucks. Make no mistake, and the kindest thing DTC could do is cut this abysmal piece of no-talent excrement loose. Since she's not front and centre anymore, there's a desperation about her performance as soon as Jossa's given the merest soupcon of a storyline. Always one to be conscious of the camera previously, she's literally licking the lens now - the eyes get wider, the voice screechier, the arms go into windmill rotation. Even when she's expressing remorse, she looks like the naughty spoiled little girl who got caught with her hands in the cookie jar, and who's awfully sorry, but only that she got caught.

The most annoying thing about Lauren isn't her entitlement as much as her self-righteousness.She spent the majority of the week, passing judgement on Max, when - truth be known - in her own way, she's just as sleazy, grubby, dishonest and amoral as he. At least Max has never tried to kill anyone, much less his own kin.

Line of the week was from Monday's episode: Lauren to Max:-

You're the most selfish person I've ever known.

Pot, meet kettle. 

Lauren has no right to take the moral high ground with Max because she's done worse - she's broken up a marriage, slept with a cousin, caused criminal damage to two businesses, assaulted her so-called best friend, and attempted murder.

Max has slept around and committed adultery, but when he slept with Lucy, both were of age and single. It might be a very hard concept to grasp for Lauren that someone her age might be attracted to a man old enough to be her father, but shit happens. Max is still her father, and he isn't going to stop being her father until he snuffs it. Be angry with Lucy, because - as she admitted - Lucy lied to her, but what Lucy and Lauren had was nothing remotely like a friendship. They got together to talk at each other about themselves when neither one listened and in between all that, they shared men. Lucy was well into getting interested in Jake, but chose Max instead.

Gosh, I just wish Nancy Carter would nut Lauren and shove a rag in her mouth. I wish she'd go and live with Tanya.

Another thing that annoyed me this weej was Max. Second line of the week from Max, when asked by Lauren why he slept with Lucy:-

Because she was vulnerable and I was weak.

This said, ostensibly about Lucy, in the cafe whilst looking directly at flake DC Emma Summerhayes. The viewer caught the significance of those words in their entirety. Max knows the dippy policewoman is wet and vulnerable, and he's weak and needs a woman. She's not only a flake, she's neurotic and willing to throw her career away for a quick shag with a man she knows now is unscrupulous in stalking sexual favours.

Mark me, this woman is the next combination of Stella and Mad May, and Max will rue the day he shagged an officer of the law. Watch this space.

Boys and Girls Go Out to Play: Whitney Plays Lee's Dingle.

There have been heated discussions about a brief scene this week, and that scene concerned what can only be described as The Return of Whitney the Walford Mattress.

It must have been Tuesday's episode which saw the ridiculous scene of Lee Carter darting in and out of market stalls, chasing Whitney as she wiggled her way to work whilst stopping at the cafe, as you do. Once again, the writers are doing shit research for characters. Whitney shows up at her job as a teaching assistant, looking more as if she should be frequenting Rainie's streetcorner for the higher end of the market.

No one who works with six year-olds dresses in marital aid shoes and sports nails which could be classified as lethat weapons in and of themselves. Besides, Whitney still looks as though she could do with a good scrub and a hairwash, which made her scenes as a model in Dean's trendy-wendy salon even more of a joke.

A lot of people are uncomfortable with what appears to be Dean's obsession with Linda, which went as far as him surreptitiously cupping her arse in his hand during the photo-shoot. (Perhaps he mistook Linda for Roxy, as their resemblance was so striking with Linda's new hairstyle?). But equally as many took umbrage in Lee pursuing Whitney, possibly because Whitney laughingly identified him to Lauren as her "stalker."

Someone argued that when Whitney told Lee "no," his interaction should have stopped there.

Well, I'm sorry, but Whitney's "no," didn't mean "no." Instead, it meant "yes, eventually,when I'm certain you're not using me as a substitute for Dead Lucy."

Whitney's always fancied Lee, but last time he was here, Lee copped off with Lucy before she binned him. When she saw he was then interested in Whitney, she couldn't tell him of Whitney's prostitute past quick enough, and Whitney was binned.

Whitney never liked Lucy at the best of times, and now that Lee's back - armed with Nancy's information that Lee was and always had been more of a love'em-and-leave'em type, Whitney's going to whet his appetite to a frenzy. Otherwise, she wouldn't have brazenly fronted out the Vic, where she knew he'd be nor would she have laughingly referred to him as her stalker.

Lee's got enough of the bad boy aura about him to whet Whit's whistle amongst other things ... until an even badder boy rocks up.

It's a Family Affair: Silly Billy Becomes a Suspect.

This week put a whole new meaning on the above phrase, and - notwithstanding - Walford's newest flavour of the month family was at the fore.

Lee Carter's big revelation about the night Lucy died was that he'd seen her furiously arguing with Billy Mitchell about something, which incurred a grand debate chez Carter about what Lee should do. Adults Lee and Nancy were all for Lee reporting this information immediately to the police, whilst the child-like Linda whined against it, worried that it would look fishy (pun intended, because Billy's argument with Lucy was all about stolen fish) to the police if Lee changed his statement. Adolescent Mick, as usual, sat on the fence. His balls must be blistered and splintered by now.

Wha'evah you do, son, we're be'indyer.

Well, what Lee decided to do was form a pussy posse consisting of Tosh and Tina and head for the varmint's hideout.

Bringing Billy into the fray is a plus in my opinion, even though Billy, at the best of times, can be an annoying character. At the moment, as ever, he's skint. Billy, like Bianca, has never heard of benefits, so to supplement his income, he steals. The plus factor derives from the fact that Perry Fenwick is one of the hidden jewels in EastEnders' crown.

Faced with this predicament, Billy does what any self-respecting Mitchell would do - he turns to Phil for help. The suspicion of Billy's involvement is heightened by the fact that he also had a key to Aleks's flat upstairs, which he used to siphon electricity from for his basement squat. Phil ropes in the excellent Ritchie Scott, who's subsequently joined by DI Keeble.

These two legal ladies were the highlight of the week if only to show the shallowness of some of the Millennial viewers, who caught their familiarity with each other as evidence of an earlier lesbian affair. WTF? Shut up. Scott is a lawyer with a lot of dodgy clients whom Keeble sought to investigate but whom Scott got off with a caution. Go to the naughty step for such an interpretation. Jesus, that's almost as bad as saying James Forde is a decent actor.

Here's where things get complicated. Phil, who was married once to Kathy Beale, wants Billy to daub up Kathy's grandson, Peter, with whom Lola, Billy's granddaughter, is romantically involved. Get the picture of how incestuous EastEnders is?

He doesn't, but that doesn't explain the curious find of a series of pictures of Lucy Beale, found stashed behind Billy's fridge. Billy's explanation was that he'd hidden them because Peter kept looking at them and upsetting Lola. Once Billy has the pictures back,he bins them - behind Peter's stall.

Billy is obviously a red herring, but Peter is being pushed more into the fray as a possible suspect - his rudeness to Lola and everyone, his constant crying could be interpreted as guilt as much as grief. The fact that Peter was present in the episode where DI Keeble explained to the Beales that they were still looking for Lucy's purse and phone, was significant (or significant in setting up the next red herring).

Whoever has the phone and the purse is the killer, or the person who aided the killer. In the most surprising, shocking and evocative duff-duff of the year, we saw someone bury the missing phone and purse in the ground in the allotments. Peter Beale? He is my contingency suspect, but I'm still thinking Ronnie. 

Why? Ronnie always leaves a trail, and she leaves it with someone whom she's prepared to leave as a suspect. Carl's death meant she left his bloodied phone and the hold-all with Phil Mitchell's DNA all over the place, at Phil's house. She's left the gun at Phil's (of which he's still ignorant, not knowing that Sharon has it - and I'm sure Lucy was struck on the head with that gun), so she left the purse and the phone with her accomplice ... Charlie Cotton.

Male Chauvinist Pigs

Here's a song for Max and Jay:-

Max sees nothing amiss in shagging the woman who's investigating the murder of the woman he was shagging at the time of her death. In fact, when confronted (by Jay) with this discovery, Max is almost defiant.

Summerhayes is bad news. She's Stella with a badge.

Jay, on the other hand, sees nothing wrong with emotionally blackmailing and passive-aggressively bullying Abi into giving up her ambitions to go to university in Liverpool in exchange for attending the University of East London, never bothering to understand that Liverpool offers the proper courses Abi needs to do veterinary studies.

In fact, taking his cues from that expert in women's affairs, Phil Mitchell, Jay thinks the way to put an end to Abi's obsession with "this uni thing" is to buy her some cheap chocolates.

Do one.

How NOT to Handle a Woman.

Look ... up in the sky. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's SUPERSHIRLEY ...

Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound ...

Shirley was last seen bullying, taunting and tormenting Dennis Rickman Jnr when both lived in the B and B, not to mention stealing his breakfast; but this week, when a nerve-edged Sharon reacts frantically to Denny poking about too near her hidden gun, he runs directly into the arms of Auntie Shirley, who then proceeded to tell Phil a few home truths about why it's Phil's fault the way Sharon is at the moment.

So Phil encourages the attending doctor to prescribe medication to Sharon, a recovering prescription medicine addict ... as you do ... and speaking of addicts ...

The divine Rainie is back, demanding money, and now Patrick knows what Ian's been up to.

Good week of episodes.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Week about The Carters - Review:- 07.07-11.07.2014

I'm multi-tasking as I write this, watching the World Cup Final as an independent and wondering for whom I should devote my support as both teams - Germany and Argentina - are sworn enemies of England, which simply means these two teams beat England on a regular basis.

This was a very good week of episodes, as opposed to last week, which was a very bad week of episodes. Of course, as well, this week played out against a lot going on in the background. There were the leaks about embargoed items - the Carters' secret, the fact that Sharon is going to eke out revenge on Phil, and capped with the inadvertant announcement by the BBC that Marcus Christie is returning to the EastEnders fold.

For those of you who don't remember or who weren't watching at the time, Marcus Christie was the Mitchells' suitably bent solicitor, pre Ritchie Scott's suitably bent solicitor's time. However, Christie's loyalty was bought by Den Watts, and Christie was last seen scurrying away with a briefcase full of cash, the Mitchell assets, conned out of Sam and delivered unto Den.

The other event against which this week's stories played out was the Twitter war fomenting between Lord Alan Sugar and Danny Dyer. This came after Thursday's Carter-centric episode where the big Carter secret was revealed (more of that later). Lord Sugar criticised the show's characterisations and the characters for being absurd. He criticised the characters, not the actors, and in a way, Lord Sugar had a point; but up popped Danny Dyer, trying to prove a point and make it personal, instead getting handed his arse by Sugar.

Sugar's entitled to his own opinion, but Dyer isn't entitled to make it into a personal vendetta, and I say that as someone who actually likes the character of Mick Carter. Dyer was wrong in that instance, but neither should the professional Dyer haters on various fora who make it an ethos of their very existence on such fora to remind everyone how, in their eyes, Danny Dyer isn't a nice person. Who knows the man to say such things?

This was the week which proved just how many people on the Square haven't mentally or emotionally progressed beyond childhood. Maybe this explains why so many Millennials are watching the show now.

Alex and Roxy and Stan and Cora

Roxy and Aleks are happy. Well, Aleks is at any rate. He's got the best of both worlds - a wife and child miles away in another country, out of sight and out of mind and a girlfriend close at hand. He loves her, just not enough to leave the wife for her, so he uses his child as an excuse to get Roxy to shut her mouth. Is Roxy happy? Is she, bollocks! She isn't. She's the other woman, the bit on the side; but then Roxy has always been a big child and can be counted on to distract herself.

It appears to be the height of the afternoon, Amy is nowhere to be seen - she must be with Jack because Ronnie is long gone - and yet there she is, pushing Aleks into what is supposed to be a trendier wardrobe and trotting off to go clubbing with him. He has a job to do, because the market is still in full swing, but there they go, two people closer to forty than thirty, off to start the club scene early.

Roxy and Aleks are both the wrong side of thirty-five and they're going clubbing, into an atmosphere dominated by people who - were Aleks and Roxy the Carters - could conceivably (pun intended) be their children.

Not only do we have Roxy and Aleks behaving immaturely, meanwhile over at the cafe ...

There's Tina the Court Jester. I gave Carol credit for turning her back on pot peddling last week. I give her even less credit for "turning a blind eye" (her words) to Tina's pushing cannabis in Ian's business just because Tina is doing it for her "family." She's not. She's doing it to raise money to fund private fertility treatment for Tosh. This isn't Carol's decision to make, and the hypocisy level is high. She can run Stan and Cora out of the cafe and threaten to bar them for bringing alcohol into a premises that isn't licenced to serve it, but she tolerates Tina pushing cannabis?

When Tina is discovered and it will be when not if because this is EastEnders, it will be Ian who will ultimately suffer. When he sacks the pair of them, it won't matter a rat's arse to the feckless, amoral and selfish Tina, but it will mean Carol's livelihood and after Ian's been so kind to her lately as well. But then, that's the way Carol and Bianca think - biting the hand that feeds them and then playing the victim.

For the first time tonight, I didn't like Stan. Or Cora. I thought their behaviour was ridiculous and unnecessarily cruel. It was the action of callous, shallow children, jealous of the achievements of someone else and seeking to belittle them.

There's no doubt about it, the crux of the week was about the Carters, and they were out in full force for Linda's birthday. Linda is really like the Queen, because she has two birthdays - one last week and one official one for the pub, which welcomed Lee, the squaddie son, home.

So many things happened in Carter week - Johnny got laid (by a boy upstairs in the Vic), Lee made a major confession, Shirley offered Dean a major maternal divorce, and Mick and Linda revealed that they weren't what everyone (including their children) thought they were and Dean overheard.

Are you with me?

You're not? OK, let's start with Linda and Mick.

Bang Bang ... My Baby Shot Me Down.

The beginning of this saga is all played out against the backdrop of wondering where Shirley is, because she's vanished and the only way we, the audience, can be aware of the fact that, for DTC (and that means "for us"), Shirley is a very important character, is by having people wonder aloud where she is, when she isn't seen for more than two minutes.

Have you seen Shirley?

Where's Shirley?

Anyone know where Shirl is?

Shirley's gone missing.

This is because when Shirley's not around, no one misses her - well, no one but Mona the Loon, know known as LindaFan and sporting three different accounts on one EastEnders forum where she never posts but harasses by PM. No one misses Shirley when she goes AWOL. In fact, more people miss Charlie Cotton, and he's not even been in the show six months.

There's one child remaining in the Carter household, and that child is Linda. 

Tina affects childhood retardation in order to get away with what would otherwise be feckless and illegal acts. Shirley is the female and toxic version of Harry Enfield's Kevin, in foisting the blame for all her bad decisions onto someone or something else, but Linda - Linda is a bona fide child.

She's still the little girl who loves secrets, frilly dresses and birthday parties. She's the kid who's afraid of clowns and who cackles with laughter when something pleases her. She's the little girl who - at twelve - grabbed a sheet in order to play Royal Wedding with Mick in a shed, having a "reception" of Smarties and lemonade.

This would have been 1989. Tell me, what 12 year-old in 1989 was still playing wedding and who was able to coerce a 13 year-old boy to play the prince?

Well, Tiffany Butcher did, when Wills married Kate two years ago, but she was nine and Fatboy was drafted in to be the prince, as a favour to a very young girl.

Graduated from that, it seems that Linda has been actually "playing house" for the past 25 years. That's right. Mick and Linda aren't married. They're simply playing house. Linda got pregnant at 14 (or 15, depending on the writer) and they took it from there.

Before I delve into the psychology of this, let me make one thing abundantly clear - the pregnancy Stan referred to a couple of weeks ago at the deserted pub was not Nancy. To think that Linda and Mick consummated a make-believe marriage at 12 and 13 is too sick and trailer-trash common to comprehend. Besides, I have the distinct impression that Linda uses sex as a means of copulating. She's only been with Mick, she's only known Mick, and the occurrence of  a pregnancy meant a family had to be established. For Linda, it meant that they really could play house. For Mick, it meant he confronted his abandonment issues and did something many of his family didn't do and stood by the girl.

But make no mistake, the pregnancy Stan mentioned was Lee, and it was her first pregnancy. I say that, because there's one particularly obstreporous forum member who insists that Nancy was the pregnancy and that Lee was conceived and born earlier, indeed that he may not even be Mick's.

Not so.

Linda has turned 37, which would make her 14 at the time Lee was born. Either she's lying about her age - shaving a year off to delay the inevitable 40 - or the writers got it wrong. Either scenario is possible, considering the dearth of research done by the EastEnders' writing room.

And the wallpaper in Linda's front room has pictures of parrots, not flamingos. These are flamingos.

Linda is a child-woman, emotionally and psychologically stunted in early adolescence, who exists vicariously through her children, and she's bitterly disappointed when they don't live up to her fantasy expectations. She and Mick lived with her mother for 22 years. Considering Linda's reminiscences of babies (and the fact that she neither cooks nor does any heavy-lifting housework) tells me that Elaine and Mick bathed the babies, burped them, changed dirty nappies, sat up during sleepless nights of colic and teething and handed the fragrant, clean, well-fed and happy baby to Linda to cuddle and gurgle over.

The fact that her children are grown and potentially leaving pushes Linda to demand - yes, demand - another child. Not two weeks ago, we've had Mick advising his youngest son not to settle down too quickly the way he did, now we have him telling Linda how much he was looking forward being just with her, to holidaying, to having quiet times. Adult times.

But this isn't what Linda wants. She wants a child who will validate her existence. More importantly, in LindaLand, where marriage is a commitment made only by adults (and ended only by adults), a child would do what it's always done in her relationship with Mick - cleave him to her. Without a child, Mick would have no reason to stay.

The very fact that he keeps wanting to commit to her legally tells me he genuinely loves her, but the fact that she constantly refuses is a confusing issue. Marriage is an adult commitment. It's more than weddings and clean, sweet-smelling babies. For some convoluted reason, Linda fears Mick might cheat on her and divorce her, were they married. He could do the same and leave her with nothing right now.

I didn't like Linda this week, but that doesn't mean I don't like her in general. Sometimes, I didn't like Angie. Or Peggy. Sometimes I liked Cindy Beale. I just didn't like her because I could see what an emotionally and psychologically stunted person she is. She's got the emotional maturity of a twelve year-old, and her family enables her behaviour. She's playing house. She still dresses like a cross between a teenaged Prom Queen and little girl with an obsession about Disney princesses.

The Carter partnership, in a different way, is just as dysfunctional and co-dependent as the Brannings. My prediction is that Linda will get pregnant again ... by Dean; and that there's always "Stick" looming on the horizon.

The Mother and Child Reunion.

Are you just about getting the impression that Dean takes after his mother? That the reason the pair of them don't get along is because they are too much alike?

There are a couple of things on which I'd like to comment:- First, Dean can blame Shirley for many things - for her abandonment of him and his siblings, for her infidelity to the man who raised him and whom he considers his father, for her lies to Kevin and, by extension, her children about their parentage; but he cannot deny the fact that, when she returned to his life in late 2006-early 2007, Dean was the child who reached out to Shirley, he was the child who called her "mum" and who kept returning to her after every time she promised him something and broke that promise, either for a Polish builder or for Heather, and at the end of the day, when they led Dean from the dock to the prison van, he left that building calling for his mother.

Dean cannot blame her for his conviction or for his having to go to prison, nor can he blame Shirley for what happened to him in prison. Dean's crime was down to his own immaturity and his stupidity in following the shallow lead of Chelsea Fox.

Secondly, the obvious retconning concerning Shirley's and Dean's backstory is not only disconcerting, it's a bit insulting to the intelligence of the viewer. Kevin Wicks made it patently clear in 2007, that Shirley left him and the kids when James and Carly were small and Dean was a baby - shortly after the video they always show was made. When Shirley first rocked up in late 2006, neither Carly nor Dean even recognised her. As soon as she'd left, Kevin told her, he'd taken every picture he had of her in the house and destroyed it. Not remembering a person indicates that they were extremely young when she left. In the video shown, Carly was about three. 

Another thing: I'm not a fan of Shirley's at all. I don't like her, but - Jesus H Christ - some people commenting on fora need to cut this woman some slack. Someone is indignantly stamping their foot and proclaiming Dean would have been too young to ride the fairground ride Shirley referenced.

Does this person have small children, and if so, are they too far up their own arse to take them to a fairground? Even DisneyLand has the infamous teacup-and-saucer ride. It's designed for very young children, and - as Shirley referenced - it does go about one mile per hour. You see toddlers enjoying it on their own - it's designed for children under the age of five - and you also see mums and dads riding the saucer with infants in their arms - much the way Shirley would have ridden with Dean. 

Would Dean have remembered this? No, but it's very plausible that Shirley rode that with him as an infant.

Matt di Angelo is doing great this time around. Dean is damaged, angry and dark - a world away from what he was the last time. As I've said before, I understand why he might be angry with Shirley, but I would have understood it better seven years ago if he had reacted to her the way Carly initially did. Carly was angry and resentful and dished a lifetime of shit Shirley's way for having abandoned them as children, but Dean - Dean was a baby, and even though both he and Carly were too young to remember even what Shirley looked like, Dean still wanted to reach out to her. Dean wanted a mother, and Shirley was his mother.

He speaks now of an awful childhood, but the Wicks children were brought up well by Kevin, who loved them, and they loved him in return. He wasn't mistreated or abused. I don't understand this sudden angst. 

Then there's Shirley, castigating herself and wallowing in self-pity for being a bad mother, which she was, from what we know; and, yes, when she was on the Square before and Dean was there, she did let him down in what, in the general context of things, would be considered minor things - going off for an afternoon of bonking a Polish builder instead of meeting Dean as she'd arranged or spending time with Heather instead of Dean. I say minor, because in each instance, Dean appeared to forgive her and came back for more. 

Dean stayed with Shirley, rather than Kevin in the period between his arrest and sentencing, much to Heather's dismay, considering the large amount of time Shirley devoted to Dean preparing him for prison; and his mother was the last person Dean called for as he was led from the dock. Shirley visited him inside as well.

If all of this anger is a delayed reaction and a demand for answers as to why she abandoned him as an infant, then it is righteous anger, and Shirley needs to address this, instead of puckering up her face and playing the self-pity card by whining and giving Dean what she thinks he wants by giving him the maternal "divorce" she did. Patrick the patriarch could come in handy here because if anyone could bang their heads together and make them talk, make Shirley address her abandonment and make Dean listen, he could do so - simply by getting them around to his house, away from the Vic and all things Carter. Dean needs this, and Shirley needs this in the way and attempt of rapprochement.

But if he's angry with her for his prison sentence and for the unfortunate things that happened to him whilst he was inside, then that's down to Dean, and projecting his anger onto Shirley for this is wrong. Be angry with her for abandonment, and demand an explanation, but everything else happened to Dean when he was a young adult. IIRC, in order to get him to give a false statement against Sean Slater, the High Priestess of Shallowdom, Chelsea, actually slept with him, after spending the better part of two years looking down her nose as if he and his sister were a collective bad smell.

Speaking of Sean, there's more than a hint about him in Dean's character now.

An Innocent Man.

I like Lee Carter. He is neither pretty boy nor diva. He has a profession. He's honest, and he's honourable, which means he won't stay long and he'll probably leave in a box.

His secret-of-the-week was, perhaps, the biggest, in relation to the on-going saga of Lucy Beale's death. He left the party to look for Lucy and found her having a heated argument with someone.

Boy, the roles really are reversed there. Once Mick, Linda and Nancy had heard Lee's story about what happened the night Lucy was killed, there was never any question about what Lee should do from Nancy's point of view - the only adult, bar Lee, in the room. Even Lee knew what he had to do; he just wanted his parents' approbation.

Linda, expressing her highest maturity level of thirteen, is all for Lee keeping what he saw a secret; Mick is piggy in the middle and doesn't know which way to turn. He knows what Lee must do, but he's afraid of incurring the Wrath of Linda for openly opposing her. They're afraid of how Lee amending his statement might look, and they, like the Brannings and the Beales to a great degree, are satisfied that someone not really of their community, an isolated Northerner, will cop the blame for a crime he didn't commit. Instead, Mick compromises and saves himself from the Wrath of Linda by telling Lee they'll back him in whatever he decides to do.

Of course, the person Lee saw was Billy, who was pretty prevalent all this week, and now he's moved into the position of being a suspect in Lucy's death.

Billy is never a murderer. Billy, however, is more of a thief. All week, we've heard nothing but how expensive Janet, his daughter is. Yes, Billy works for Ian, probably, for minimum wage. We're not sure if he rents the flat where he lives or if it's still a squat. But he is entitled to a plethora of benefits for having a disabled child, including a carer's allowance. He shouldn't have to be stealing electricity from Aleks or fish to sell to Big Mo from Ian, which is what the argument with Lucy was probably about.

Still, I do think Billy's the route by which Lucy's blood traces got inside Alek's flat. Billy isn't the murderer, but he has a close association with the murderer - and my suspicions about Ronnie are now extended to Peter Beale.

The Scum Otherwise Known as Brannings.

Bravo for telling the insipid Lauren a few home truths. And this is one of them: Yes, Max Branning slept with a much younger woman, one whom he had known since she was a child and whom he'd watched grow up. Ian Beale, father of the deceased, has done the same thing - Janine, anyone?

Yes, Max Branning has slept with a much younger woman who happened to be the best friend of his daughter. Den Watts, iconic landlord of the Queen Vic, has also done the same thing - Michelle Fowler, anyone?

Those previous examples don't make what Max did acceptable, or even right, in some people's eyes. It was sleazy, and Lucy was just as sleazy for doing what she did - moreso than Max, because she did it on a promise of money. That's prostitution in any other person's eyes - Again, Ian and Janine, anyone? Or even, Ian and Rainie?

However, consider this: Both Max and Lucy were of legal age of consent and were single. They had a relationship. Deal with it.

On the other hand, po-faced Lauren, played by one of the laziest actresses on the programme, cannot take the moral high ground and talk to her father like a piece of shit, not when she's shared two men, one of whom was her first cousin, with her two so-called best mates in the Square, and certainly not since she, like her mother and her ex-sister-in-law, has already notched up the breaking up of a marriage with a young child. When Lauren slept with Jake, he wasn't free and he had the responsibility of a parent to his child, who discovered their relationship.

She also seems to be able to shrug off the fact that Jake is going to trial, when the last time, she was having doubts about precipitously daubing an innocent man up for murder. Now, it's just get the vulnerable and isolated bloke off to jail, and we'll forget about him.

What is it about that fecking portacabin office?

Yuck and double yuck. Instead of Deals on Wheels, that company should be named Knocking Shop Motors. How many women have been had across Max' Branning's desk - now graduated to the white faux leather couch. (Eeeeeeuuuuuuw, didn't Lauren sit on it?) Let's see ... Vanessa, Lauren (herself, with Darren), crazy Becca, Tanya also and now dippy Emma Summerhayes. Take Mad May as the base, blend in a pinch of Kate and a hefty dollop of Stella. Give the bag a shake and out pops Emma Summerhayes. She's one to watch, especially when Max dumps her and she starts gnashing her teeth and chasing him through the Square with a knife. 

A staple of DTC is the Middle-Class Madwoman, usually a well-spoken, educated professional in a position of trust. Well, here she is, folks.

As for poor Jake, just watching that scene and the scenes of Jay tonight, I couldn't help thinking how well Jamie Lomas might have worked, had he been introduced as the dodgy, bad-boy-with-a-heart brother of Jase Dyer and an uncle to Jay. Jay is a peripheral member of the Mitchell clan, one who's dropped the Mitchell name, but who begs for crumbs from Phil's high table. A Jake Dyer would have given him a family at least.

Good week. Good writer, Daran Little.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Groundhog Week - Review 03.07.-04.07.2014

Yes, folks, forget about Groundhog Day, this was Groundhog Week, or Haven't We Been Here Before?

The Ballad of Roxy and Aleks

Well, Bonnie and Clyde, they're not ...

Roxy must have the worst judgement in picking men in the history of the show. Roxy is one of my favourite characters, besides possessing traits that annoy the hell out of me. She's an abysmal mother, who relies on her daughter surviving on the disciplary and care-giving skills of the relatives who surround her, even if one of those relatives is a murderer and a psychopath. Poor Amy drew the short straw in parenthood with Amy and Jack. Her mother can't quite get over the fact that she's the wrong side of thirty, and she would rather party down with the latest boyfriend than act the responsible mum with her daughter. She's selfish. That said, Roxy is warm, kind, big-hearted, and loyal, but high-maintenanced. If Nikki Spraggan were sticking around (and I'm gutted that she isn't), she and Roxy would make an excellent friendship, but then - as we know - Roxy doesn't do friendships outside of Mitchelldom.

The worst-kept secret in all of this mediocre week was the fact that Aleks was married. Not just married, but married and with a child in Latvia.

That was bad enough for Roxy, who has a penchant for being attracted to the wrong man - her sister's boyfriend, the local bully, a psychopath, someone still in love with his wife - you get my drift; but worse was the fact that the news had to come to her - by way of Tamwar - from Alfie, her husband of about five minutes.

Rita Simons and Kristian Kiehling have great chemistry, and I love the fact that Roxy's being given a storyline at last - albeit, it doesn't seem that she gets any sort of real storylines whenever her Sugly Blister is around. I like Roxy and Aleks, but I have a feeling that this is just another Roxy cock-up from which SuperSis will rescue her, waving an expensively manicured admonitory finger in her face, reminding her that only Ronnie can run her life effectively.

One of the best things about Rita Simons when she first joined the cast were her excellent one-liners and her subtly muggish facial expressions. We had some of these on show in Thursday's hour-long episode, when she invited Aleks around for her revenge specialty - curry laced with laxative. Her face, as she pulled away from Aleks's embrace was a picture of disgust and later ...

Aleks: This is good. Really, really good. I'm serious, you should cook more often.
Roxy (deadpan): Really? Is it as good as Anita's?

Friday's episode found Roxy re-discovering her idiotic Mitchell mojo - when someone annoys the Mitchells, that person simply has to leave town.

It's as if the Mitchells aren't mature enough to support anyone who's hurt or insulted their massive ego hanging around reminding them of their frailty. So what does Roxy do?

She buys Aleks a one-way ticket back to Latvia - for his daughter's sake, you understand.

That's right - ne'mind the man has a job with responsibilities, a flat with rent to pay, ne'mind he's working here to provide a better life for his child - he simply has to go. Now. Tonight.

Friday's episode was a weak one, but it provided a good balance between the older female characters in the programme and their younger counterparts. In this instance, the slightly tipsy Cora - she whose daughter was a teenage marriage-wrecker, herself - had a sound piece of advice for Roxy.

So what if he is married?

I agree with her, however; Roxy and Aleks were good together, and I suppose she meant Aleks could divorce his wife, but we learned at the end that, whilst Aleks is perfectly happy to retain what he has with Roxy, he won't divorce his wife. In fact, he absolutely refuses. He thinks his child will hate him if he does that, but I wonder how much it does have to do with religion? If he's from the Eastern part of Latvia, he's from the Catholic region. So Roxy, effectively, becomes his bit on the side.

How long before the wife and child show up?

Simply (in the) Red Again.

Guess who's taken out a loan again?

Liam, I done somefink really stupid.

That's right. Bianca's in the red again to the tune of 3 grand,and she can't even afford the first instalment, which has led to copious letters and a pony-tailed bailiff turning up at the door.

As vile as she can be sometimes, I realised that I'm going to miss Bianca, and I wish she were staying far more than the po-faced, morally self-righteous and judgemental Sonia, who irks the hell out of me. Natalie Cassidy has two stock expressions as her party pieces - the sad tragic one and the indignant one, and both look as though she's constipated and in need of Roxy's remedy for Aleks's lies.

Since Patsy Palmer's departure was announced, TPTB have gone into full Paulinisation of her character, making her as feckless and unlikeable as they could. I'm not au fait with benefits, but surely the Butcher-Jacksons, especially Carol, would have qualified for assistance, especially with payment of utility bills and the like. Bianca's not the brightest lightbulb in the pack, but she's far more likeable than the abysmal Tina. Bianca tries to do what's right, but - as she said this evening - she couldn't manage on her own in the wake of David leaving and, literally, taking Janine's blood money - which begs the question: has anyone contacted Janine? I know Carol was more than a bit of a bitch to her after and during the trial, but Janine wouldn't see her nieces and nephews suffer. 

I couldn't help noticing, again, what an abject child Bianca was, when she was crying to Terry about the bailiffs ...

They'll come and take the telly and all.

IIRC, it was a loan to get a new television that got Bianca in trouble the last time. The number of childish and child-like adults on this show increases by leaps and bounds - Bianca, Tina, Shirley, Linda.

Tina's childishness is deliberate, however. She uses it to her advantage. A more dishonest, lying, feckless and irresponsible character I've never seen. I'm sorry Carol's felt desperate enough to take the route of pushing cannibis and going in with this piece of human detritis and her equally vile Aunt Babe. Give me Big Mo's casual dodginess any day instead of Babe. Ian was desperate enough to meet her wage demands and take her back into employment, but I wonder how he'll feel when she's caught dealing behind the bar of the cafe and his business is shut down. I hate this character. I want her to go. And take Sonia with her.

Ian's dynamic with Carol has changed since David's departure. Carol would be too proud to ask for help, but he is Bianca's uncle, and she should feel that she could approach him to inform him of the family's circumstances in the wake of David's departure.

Highlights from Thursday: The Carol-Dot scene. There aren't enough scenes between these two actresses. Dot referenced having cancer before meeting Jim. I know that, about a decade ago, she lost a kidney to cancer, but she was married to Jim then. I do think that in the early 90s, prior to her first departure, she had intra-uterine pre-cancerous cells and may have had a hysterectomy. But I thought the exchange between Dot and Carol poignant and very well-enacted and written.

Low Points from Thursday: Sonia mouthing off to Bianca. Sonia comes around the Butcher-Jacksons with cakes and moral platitudes, but I recall a time when Carol subtly broached the subject of finances, and Sonia launched into a litany of her mortgage, Rebecca yadda-yadda. No one's expecting her to pay Bianca's way, but when David left them high and dry, the most Sonia could do was cover Carol's shifts at the cafe, and that came to an end pretty sharpish. The odd twenty quid here and there left with Carol might not have gone amiss, especially since Carol looked after Rebecca whilst Sonia was off getting drunk with Tina the lout.

Whitney - that's it, Whitney. You do your part by bunking off work and helping Bianca on the stall, especially with Aleks on the warpath about unregistered people working as casuals on the stall. Put your real job in jeopardy. And did I hear rightly when Whitney offered whatever money she offered to help with the debt - I live here too? Does she not pay room and board? She's working full-time, the family is on the breadline, and she doesn't contribute, at least, to housekeeping?

Just a couple of points about Friday's episode which seem to be in contention - Carol is not going to deal drugs for the retarded Court Jester and that foul piece of obese flesh known as Auntie Babe. I don't know how people read ambiguity into the fact that Carol said no to Tina's offer and her decision to have a double, rather than a single mastectomy.

The whole bone of contention between Sonia and Bianca was about whether Carol should have the lesser surgery, meaning a quicker recuperation period (meaning Carol would be at work sooner) or the full whack, meaning a longer convalescence and more thorough physiotherapy.

Carol initially wanted the lesser of the two, thinking she could help her family out financially, even though everyone from Dot to Cora to Big Mo were telling her it was better to do the double and have a better chance at being cancer-free. Finally, it was Pam Coker, who got through to her.

And that's my second point. A lot of people thought Pam's final approach to Carol, the scene on the bench, was agressive and intrusive. I thought it was anything but. Pam thought she'd offended Carol previously at the community centre,and her first remit was to apologise. Her conversation with Carol assured Carol that she knew what it was like to be afraid to do something, but to face that fear and go on living with hope.

In the end, all we have is hope.

Then she gave Carol a slight hug and a motherly kiss on the cheek. Sometimes, the kindness of strangers can help someone see something in perspective. Carol is the prickliest of people. Had she been offended by Pam's proximity, she would not have hesitated in telling her. She didn't. Instead, she listend and took on board what Pam had to say.

Others are grasping at straws, saying this is a nod to Les being the Mad Undertaker who killed Lucy Beale out of greed. That's too silly to warrant comment.