Monday, May 25, 2015

The Star of Our Show: Fat Elvis - Review:- Friday 22.05.2015

I didn't watch this until Saturday. I've got a new type of contact lenses, and one eye isn't taking to them all that nicely, so I opted for an evening of long-awaited sleep, my eyes were watering so badly. Well, I've watched it now, and my eyes are still watering badly, but not because of inflammation. It was truly a nice episode - well-balanced, well-written, poignant and gently funny, and it's surprise was that we finally got to meet Fat Elvis. The downside was the presence of Sonia and Tina, who stank more than Fat Elvis's rotten fish.

The Moon Beams.

Alfie pulls it off. Alfie Moon always does. For the incipient Alfie-haters, he wasn't lying to Kat. He's simply trying to protect her. It seems as if this departure was really final, that the Moons - complete with a brand-new Tommy - are off to pastures new. Even if Shane Richie has decided to pack it in entirely or even if he hasn't, I don't think a return next year or even the year after, is on the cards. One has to remember the ubiquity of the word "break" in EastEnders' parlance. Jo Joyner, busy with other projects, is still on a "break." Alison King, who's leaving Corrie to pursue other roles, will be on a "break" for however long she, herself, determines.

Sonia, a nurse who knows nothing, but who is consulted about everything, suddenly sounds like a walking textbook of medicine, when Alfie quizzes her about the efficacy of someone flying with a "mass" in his brain. Her answer deems it not adviseable for Alfie to fly - so how do he and Kat end up in Ireland later on this year? That's a long trip by sea.

The Moons were at their best in their last episode. So they won't have a bar - and why have a mortgage? Bars in Torremolinos of the sort the Moons would have an interest start at €100,000. They'd be quids in. The fact that Kat felt moved to reiterate the No More Secrets ultimatum for their marriage moved Alfie to confess that he'd failed the medical, but the look on Kat's face of worry meant that he couldn't tell her the real nature of what was wrong. As the doctor said, this mass could be benign. From the MRI scan, it looked fairly big - big enough for Alfie to be suffering some sort of symptoms from such a thing; but as he said, he feels fine, he's lost no weight, he's functioning normally. What was amazing was how quickly, upon hearing Dr Sonia's expert verdict, he managed to organise the purchase of his old car, plus a trailer, and how everything was packed up and ready to go without Kat's knowledge, driving all the way, the length of France and Spain to their new home.

The irony of the departure is not so much Alfie leaving with his usual dark secret, but that Kat's dark secret came seeking her out (Sister Judith, obviously with news of the secret son), but left when she realised how much the nature of her secret would affect a so-called happy ending. One wonders how the couple do end up in Ireland on a mission of sorts.

In truth, they really aren't leaving with a million in their pocket, having paid the rent on Stacey's flat for a year, bought back the Capri (a classic car), and paid Stacey's pitch fees for a year. but - hey! - this is EastEnders.

The real big surprise of the night was, finally, the introduction of Fat Elvis, who is now Big Mo's legal husband (and it looks like her toy boy as well). Big Mo and Fat Elvis are now husband and wife. Does that mean Mo is finished as a character as well, or will she recur from time to time? I'd like to see more of Fat Elvis. For fifteen years, we've heard of the man, and now his presence also reeks of a finality for Mo. I hope not.

The farewell do in the pub was a nice and touching gesture, and Mick served the community well, reminding Walford that Alfie was their former landlord and continuous friend. Alfie's speech was a master of continuity - with nods to Big Mo, Billy being a loser and Ian paying his debts. The parting between Alfie and Billy and Alfie and Ian was touching too, the man hugs, and Ian's charmingly puerile plea that Alfie still be his best mate. You have to remember that Alfie was Ian's only mate, and Ian's going to be in need of mates a lot in the coming months.

The two other significant moments were Alfie, harbouring his secret, reaching out to Kush, who seemed in the depths of despair, advising him with what was essentially a Cockney version of Carpe diem (Seize the day), and then his final message before leaving Walford - how much the community meant to him and how he loved them. 

I daresay, I'll watch the episode again, just for that part.

The Moons have been on a momentous journey. They left on a high in 2005, and they returned five years later, only to be destroyed by an inept executive producer. Just now, however, at the end of their tenure, they recaptured their magic, and they're leaving on another poignant and bittersweet high. I loved that Alfie paraphrased his 2005 remark to Kat before scurrying off in the Capri this time:-

I've got two furry dice and a million quid in my pocket.

I love the Moons. Bloody love them. But having said that, I don't want them back a third time. Not either of them. No death off-screen, no death in Ireland, no new family members. Just let's remember them as they were in this episode. Happy.

The Carters and The Masoods Are Now Linked.

Well, Shirley will believe anything that comes out of Dean's mouth. She believes he isn't a rapist because he says so, so she believes what he says about Shabnam having his daughter. Smart Dean, for picking up on Shabnam's slip-up in her lie.

And so we are given the image of Shirley's party piece - stomping around to the Masoods' first thing in the morning and demanding of Shabnam where her "granddaughter" is. Even if she believes Dean, why would she even think Shabnam knows? If the child has been adopted, she won't know. This is Shirley at her worst, even though she was cautioned to leave this well enough alone by Buster, who's actually turned into a stabilising and sensible influence on her, even though she disregards everything he advises.

How incongruent are hers and Buster's presence in what is supposed to be a trendy-wendy hair salon? The salon and this adventure with Dean seems to indicate that Dean is sticking around, like a bad smell, which is an absolute slap in the face to women in general and anyone who's ever been a victim of rape.

Shabnam manages to fend off Shirley, who recognises the lie she's telling. However, Buster still cautions carefulness. Maybe she wasn't lying when she said the child had died. Maybe this was still too much, emotionally, for her to deal with. As Buster said, coming from her faith and culture, this isn't something she'd go shouting the odds about.

Shabnam, however, is in full fear mode, and -once again, in true EastEnders' fashion - she organises an escape route. But not before Kush confronts her with the fact that he now knows her secret. Of course, Shabnam knows how he's found out, and I honestly couldn't believe Stacey's justification that Kush had a right to know, being her reason for telling him. Yes, he did have the right to know, but from Shabnam, not from Stacey. Stacey betraying a trust didn't give her the right to tell Kush something that needed only to come from Shabnam.

Still, Stacey is right about one thing: Kush does still love Shabnam. She's his choice, not Stacey, so anything hampering that relationship will surely come from Stacey's dissatisfaction.

The Masood luncheon party was the one genuinely funny situation in the entire episode. It was tragic, because Shabnam thought, in her own immature fashion, that the only way to escape from Dean bothering her and from Mas potentially finding out, was to accept a marriage proposal (that had yet to be given) from a man whose name she didn't even know - she called Asim "Asher" - and to get out of Walford that very night and go to Newcastle.

I liked Asim. He's a vet - could he be the vet for whom Abi will now work? Poor guy, he was totally bemused by the fact that he'd been summoned to a celebratory lunch. He looked even more amused when Shabnam announced ... We're getting married.

Fatima saw through everything, even though Masood was placated, but it was Tamwar who saved the day, escaping, unnoticed, to find Kush in the cafe and urge him to Shabnam's side. That was as passionate as I've seen Tamwar in years, and Nancy wasn't around to see it.

You're needed at the house right away!

The second big surprise of the night was Kush heeding Alfie's cryptic advice about keeping the people you love closest to you, and barging in on the Masood proceedings to propose to Shabnam. Even bigger was the fact that she accepted.

Poor Asim - Does that mean the engagement is over?

That day must have been like a dream to Mas - first Shirley barging in, then Shabnam announcing she was marrying one man, then deciding to marry another.

The Endpieces.

Sonia finds Martin's burping at the table offensve, yet she's charmed by the fact that Tina farts in her sleep? Please. Remove these two dumbasses from my screen without further ado. Sonia isn't the Wise Woman of Walford and Tina is so up her own arse, her stupidity can't even be recognised. Axe, please.

And Mick and Shirley have reached a reconciliation of sorts. Mick is right. He's accepted that they have to be business partners, but nothing has changed on the personal front, as long as she defends Dean and badmouths Linda, to whom she owes a lifetime of apologies. That's as much as he can do, but Shirley reckons, slyly, that she can alter the situation.

Nothing can be altered until the rapist admits his guilt and goes. 

Lather, Rinse, Repeat - Review:- Thursday 21.05.2015

Secrets, secrets, secrets, secrets. Someone who wanted to disclose one is prevented; someone who's sworn to secrecy, divulges. It was a watchable episode, but DTC and the dynamic (not) writing room need to stop playing to the peanut gallery and stop writing for remedial viewers. In short, stop making everything so contrived.

Alfie and Kat. The couple for whom everyone is rooting simply isn't allowed to have a happy ending.

Alfie-haters, please note this: Unless Shane Richie has said he wants to leave, that he never wants to return to the show and that he's never coming back; unless he has specifically said that Alfie should be killed off ... he ain't gonna die. So suck it up and live with it.


Because EastEnders has learned the hard way about killing off established characters - Pat, anyone? OK, Alfie is no Kat, but he can now be qualified as a long-standing character and one of the only two iconic characters this side of the Millennium. He's got a brain tumour, which may not even be malignant; and the irony of the Moons' whole consequence is that this is one time Alfie was going to tell Kat the truth about a dire situation, but Kat stops him in his tracks, having listened to interfering Pam - the wife of an undertaker, no less - and spontaneously bought one-way tickets to Spain.

Now consider this: Kat knew that it would be a good couple of weeks before the bank okayed their finance for the bar and villa in Spain, yet suddenly, she's all for leaving the next day. There's such a thing as impulse, and Alfie resigns himself to going with the flow. How, now, are they going to get a licence for the bar?

Having said that, a brain tumour may not be a fatal condition, and EastEnders has overdosed the audience on cancer this past year alone.

What was super contrived about this whole situation was that it was played out against a backdrop of Kat's excitement about moving to Spain with the kids and her positive outlook on life as it is now. So are we going to see the spin-off ending up in Ireland with a search for a long-lost son and a steadily declining Alfie? I'm calling it. He gets very ill in Ireland, he's referred to a young neurosurgeon who operates and saves his life. The guy turns out to be Kat's son.

You couldn't get more contrived than that, and that's the sort of DTC-ish thing that will happen, but whatever happens, Alfie will not die - only if the actor playing him says so; and then we'll have a return of Alfie and Kat to Walford, with even a protracted death scene in the Vic, because this would be the stuff of main programme main agenda. Having him die in the spin-off isn't worthy of the character - because no matter how much various haters gonna hate, Alfie was extremely popular at one time, and the only reason he isn't so now is down to the lazy-arsed, Alpha male-haters in the writing room, who have made practically every man standing on the Square weak, undisciplined, and shallow.

And whatever happens, if he dies off-screen, you know somewhere down the line he'll be resurrected. It's happened twice before. We're due a hattrick.

The Cindy Situation. Did you ever notice how Jane is at pains to hover (that's "hover", not "hoover") around the area where Lucy died? If she's not having sex on the spot, she's furiously cleaning the area. Today she had Beth stationed there, and Beth was crying and shrieking. Perhaps she saw Lucy's ghost.

It does seem as if the creepy Beales, sociopathic Jane the Queen, especially, are trying to use Cindy as the unpaid babysitter, taking advantage of her being around to care for the infant, whilst they pursue their own lives. As I see it, Cindy seems to be serious about her education. At least, she's honest about the fact that she's not cut out to be a mother yet. And of course, she's not stupid and is beginning to see the ramifications of allowing the Beales to adopt Beth. Deep down, she knows that Jane feels entitled to have a baby, and that Ian is viewing this as a second chance to redeem himself after Lucy's death - both of which are no reasons for these two to have a child of their own. Also - and this is significant - Jane thinks Bobby would benefit having Beth as a sibling. He has to learn to share.

(Bobby is eleven years older than Beth and a different gender. What could they possibly share, except that for the foreseeable future, Beth will be cooed and oohed over by Ian and Jane, and that cold-eyed, psychopathic, little twerp won't like that.) If DTC is determined to follow the path of We Have to Talk about Kevin, then Bobby will hurt, if not kill, Beth. Maybe this is what Cindy fears deep down and sub-consciously.

Mostly, however, I think she's just royally pissed off at the way Jane the Queen treats her like a cross between an unwanted stepchild and the bastard at a family reunion.

I actually liked the way she defied Jane's "request" and humped off out of the house in order to study - in the cafe, no less, where everyone seemed to be today.

Of course, she ran into Liam the Lug, whilst revising for her oral French exam, so we got a treat of very bad, and mostly incorrect, schoolgirl French - courtesy of Google Translate, no doubt.

Cindy is, however, right about one thing. In all this kerfuffle and with Ian's and Jane's passive-aggressive bullying and manipulating her into allowing them to adopt Beth, no one's ever listened to her concerns. Overnight, she will go from being the child's reluctant mother to being a sister. She will see her every day. For Jane, this child compliments a femininity robbed her by the dead Lucy in her days as a wild child. For Ian, this is a second chance in redeeming himself as a parent. Cindy wanted the child adopted so she could resume life as what she is - a kid growing up. That doesn't mean looking at your child daily and pretending that she isn't your own.

She's said that time and again, but no one - not Jane, not Ian and certainly not Liam the Lug (whose solution to the problem was for him and Cindy to raise Beth together) - has listened to the girl.

Until tonight, when she connected with Carol. What was the most surprising thing of all was Carol's advice - that maybe Cindy and Beth would benefit from Beth being adopted by another couple, not the Beales.

I suppose Carol can say that as this child has nothing to do with her, and it's not one of Carol's own children. If you recall, she all but disowned Sonia when Sonia made the decision to have Rebecca adopted. Carol was a different person from Cindy. She relished being a mum (and relished the control she had over her brood a well), but she understands Cindy's dilemma.

At least she listened.

Dean and Shabnam and Kush and Stacey. Shabnam and Kush are another couple who go in circles endlessly, and tonight Stacey inadvertantlu put both her feet in her mouth and opened up a huge can of worms for Shabnam.

Shabnam is shit-scared now - of Dean, but also of Kush and Masood finding out her secret; and that's mostly a cultural thing, so she's not about to listen to Stacey's advice that she tell Kush, because he'd find out anyway (he did, as Stacey told him) and he loved her.

Somehow Dean's sussed that Stacey knows more about Shabnam's baby than Shabnam's telling him, and he confronts forcing her down the alleyway and roughly demanding answers. This is where Stacey has her first major slip-up.

She's not your anything!

That was her answer to his demands to know about "his daughter." She spoke in the present tense, before she thought on her feet and reverted to Shabnam's story that the child was dead. Speaking thus was all Dean needed to know to suss that he had a child, and that she was out there someplace.

The entire vignette surrounding Stacey was pointing discernably toward the summer of illicit love that the latest trailer has promised us. From the lingering handshake exchanged between Kush and Stacey, after the bet that Kush and Shabnam would be together by the end of the day, to the very end and the drink-fueled kiss between the two, which came as a result of Kush coming to Stacey's rescue after Dean had pushed her down the alleyway.

It was all there, and throughout the final scene, Stacey knew exactly what she shouldn't be doing - giving into her attraction to her best mate's boyfriend, and then she does something she knows she shouldn't do as well: she betrays Shabnam's trust and tells Kush that Shabnam has a child she abandoned. Of course, she does this with all the best intentions, to assure Kush how much Shabnam loves him and how afraid she is about what had happened in the past.

But she does that after the fact and she does it all the same.

Plus ça change, plus ça reste la même.

And Now ... the Carters. This was the father-and-son reunion, tainted with the discovery that Shirley has, yet another grandchild.

Notice how the Carters have totally taken over the Fox-Trueman house. It's as if they own the place now, with Buster camped out on the table enjoying his breakfast. However, Buster is becoming more likeable, especially as a peacemaker.I do think what Mick told him the other day about Dean resonated with him, and I do think he's suspicious of Dean.

All very well and good Buster paving the way for Shirley to reconcile with Mick (another circular storyline), but she really needs to apologise to Linda. Mick's son is also Linda's son, and she's the mother of the child who was raped by Dean. Poor Linda. She's a rape victim, who's been shunted aside now as her husband and her vile mother-in-law, who's done nothing but vilify her, bond over her newest child.

And Nancy's singing a different tune about engaging Buster in the family dynamic. However, all that's for nought with Dean's bombshell about having a daughter alive and well and seven years old.

The Moral of the Story. Every story tonight dealt with secret children or children becoming secrets - from Kat's storyline, which involves Alfie's secret medical condition and the beginning of her search for her secret child; Cindy, hoping to ferret her child away from the creepy Beales so that she can keep their dirty little secret about Bobby; and Shabnam's secret about to blow.

Of course, there's one big secret child story yet to blow big on the show. We caught a whiff of it on Tuesday. 

The (Brief) Return of the Native - Review:- Tuesday 19.05.2015

I gave this an eight out of ten - harsh, I know. The brief glimpse of Kathy made the episode worthwhile. Apologising for a rapist killed it.

The (Brief) Return of the Prodigal.

With thanks to Shamelessness for meticulously recording the dialogue between Kathy and Phil:-

Kathy: I really appreciate this.
Phil: Well, don't get too used to it.
Kathy: I ain't.
Phil: 'Cause I ain't gonna be able to do this again for a while. Does er- Does Gavin suspect anything?
Kathy: Do you think I'd still be standing if he did?
Phil: I'm doing all I can.
Kathy: And I mean it, Phil, I really appreciate it.
Phil: And I can't do any more.
Kathy: So what you saying? It's down to me now?
Phil: I can't do this anymore.

Interesting. So now we know that "K" on Phil's phone is, indeed, Kathy. Plus, we get the first mention of Gavin. (Harken back to a line of dialogue Sharon said to Abi after getting the letters from Kris Hanley:- Gavin. My real dad's name was Gavin.

This isn't rocket science, really. What is rocket science is what the hell Phil is up to. When Kathy first made her appearance in February, she was called away by someone - Gavin, obviously - after pleading with Phil to be able to come home. Now, tonight, it appears that Phil is subsidising Kathy and Gavin in some way, keeping Gavin in the dark about something whilst, at the same time, keeping Kathy away from Walford.

We-he-he-he-he-hell, as Peggy used to intone, we can easily figure out the secret Phil has to keep away from Gavin - starts with an S and ends with an n, she's married to Phil, and she's the daughter Gavin's been trying to find since his family entrusted her care to Den and Angie Watts.

Something's down to Kathy to complete now - like maybe keeping Gavin off Sharon's scent? What? I have a feeling that the newly reincarnated gangster Phil has known that Kathy and Gavin weren't dead for quite sometime, and he's rattled that Sharon is searching for her dad. As much as Phil has said he'd help her find him, he'll throw a spanner in the works somehow. Pun intended.

I just wish we were done and dusted with the over-exposed Carters so we could concentrate on this storyline.

Finally, just a word about Gillian Taylforth: Her acting was fine.

She's good as Kathy, just as Letitia Dean is good as Sharon and Lacey Turner is good as Stacey. Kathy is Taylforth's comfort zone, and one in which she excels. Wil she ever be Oscar material? No, and I doubt she wants to be, but she's good as Kathy, and she's damned site better than Eeyore the Donkey or the Ice Queen who languidly raises her eyebrow for a commanding fee before skipping off to another commitment elsewhere, so leave her alone.

And now ... The Rest.

The Redemption of a Rapist. It's sheer brilliance that DTC has taken a chance name uttered to an original character at the beginning of the 1990s, realised that the same chance name was uttered in connection with another original character at the beginning of the Millennium, and created another, a positive link between these two characters by making two random names the same person.

And then there's the Dean factor.

I truly don't know what DTC is trying to achieve, but I get the distinct impression that somehow he, or his ineffectual writing room, is trying for Dean's redemption.

Making him Mr Sensitive, whining about how all he ever wanted was a child of his own so he wouldn't abandon it, and showing him and Shabnam, another prickly pear of a character, who is at times capable of being immensely unlikeable, bond weirdly over a child conceived in a drunken coupling in a toilet in an East End night club.

The only thing that will ever redeem Dean is for him to make a public apology to Linda, confess that he did, indeed, force himself upon her, and then take leave of his family and community.

Dean raped a woman. He raped his brother's wife, and then spread the word about that this was a clandestine affair, and that the victim was, in his version, a liar and a whore. He put that idea into his mother's head, and so desperate was she for his approval and so much did she dislike the victim, that she believed his tale in its entirety. His sperm donor father, who has known him all of five minutes, might just be beginning to doubt Dean's innocence.

But, the inference is, ne'mind ... Dean's over Linda. After all, the baby was Mick's, and he's caught the fag-end of something that might be something but may also be nothing. 

Dean is street-suss clever, and Shabnam has book sense but little common sense. Dean realises that he was soliloquising about wanting to be a good parent, when Shabnam burst out with the cry of She told you! and cryptically ran away. Dean was savvy enough to put two and two together, and wonder if something happened the night which he and Shabnam got together and which she has previously mentioned, but he has not. Indeed, she even wondered if he remembered the incident.

Dean's pretty good at blending into the background and popping up when someone, usually a woman, least expects it. He's managed to shock such people as Shirley, Linda (whom he stalked and raped), and now he susses that the Masoods leave their back door unlocked - in London, nowadays, really? and makes a furtive entrance. (It probably wasn't his first furtive entrance either, where Shabnam was concerned).

When he's thwarted in his efforts to get Shabnam to explain the consequences of their coupling six years ago, he bides his time and waits until she's on her own. That's when we find out that our Shabs is just as adept a liar as Dean is. Oh, and notice that from the getgo in tonight's episode, Dean was stalking her - hanging outside the Minute Mart, lurking in shadows. This is something he does best. It's sinister and it's creepy.

Yes, Shabnam's an adept liar, but she's inept as well, forgetting from one moment to the next the lie she's seeking to establish - that their baby was premature and died after two days, which - within minutes - has elongated into having lived more than a week, a discrepancy that a seasoned liar like Dean picks up on immediately.

Dean knows that Shabnam is lying, but I have a distinct feeling that DTC put the sympathy feelers out for Dean tonight, and Matt di Angelo played to the galleries Dean's pain - poignantly asking Shabnam whom the baby resembled, if she looked like him, what was her name, almost melting at the thought of his child being a little girl, all of this played against the backdrop of his brother's celebrating the birth of a son, whom Dean thought was his.

Once again, this was an episode written by Rob Gittins, and it's foreshadowing was cack-handed and laid on with a lathe. Shabnam whines to Stacey about how Masood must never find out about her child, all the while Masood is hanging about, dancing attendance on Shabnam and thinking her problem is an inability to decide between Asim, whom she's known for about an hour, and Kush. You just know that Masood is going to find out about his secret grandchild. The very fact that Shabnam was adamant she had to speak to Dean again, against Stacey's caution, tells you that the information Masood will receive will most likely be channeled by Shirley. There's a Carter in most every storyline.

The Family Disunion. There's a party at the Vic, and everyone's invited. Well, almost everyone, except Shirley, Dean and Buster. Basically everyone and anyone who believed Dean didn't rape Linda. Buster is all for going for a drink in the pub. It's a public house, after all, and Mick couldn't stop them. Well, he could bar them, I suppose. Shirley thinks just to drop a baby gift and a card by for Mick, but when she sees how disconsolate poor widdle Dean is, she can't bring herself to do it; but Buster can.

How much do I like Mick? A lot. He's one of my favourite Carters. Yes, I know they're shoved in our faces, but I like when Mick is playing mein Host as landlord of the Vic and intermingling with the public. I thought he was very good with nosy Pam, who "only said what other people were thinking" when she less than subtly asked whom the baby resembled.

Does he look like Linda?

I'm not one to gossip.

Are they priming Pam to be this generation's Dot? Sounds like it, complete with errant grandson in tow.


A Misbegotten Moon.

The moment it was hinted that Alfie was leaving with "a dark secret", viewers guessed that the obstacle barring the Moons' total happiness would be an illness of some sort. Alfie had a cursory medical examination - blood pressure, possibly a heart exam, and maybe some bloods drawn. A lot can be found out in those, but I don't think Alfie will die. Too many people are hoping for that.

However, they have to have clean enough medicals to get the insurance they need for the bar they've bought in Spain. Without that, they're shot, so what's he going to do? Fast-talk the doctor into giving him the all clear to go ahead with the insurance? I don't think this is cancer. It comes too soon on the heels of Carol's and Stan's stories. Maybe a heart ailment of some sort. Shane Richie has said he will return to the show, but I'm not so sure either of the Moons will be back next year, after their spin-off. Sometime in the future, but not for awhile. People have to understand the ubiquity of the word "break" in EastEndersLand.

Maybe Kat's secret son will turn out to be a doctor.

From the getgo in their scenes, you knew that there would be a health letdown for one of them, and as worried as Kat was and however much Alfie tried to find out her results, you knew that the victim would be Alfie. This much was so contrived, right down to the scene of extreme happiness in the Vic loo, where Kat extolled having everything she'd ever wanted and how she was moving forward in happiness. You knew there had to be some kind of pain.

Lady MacBeth Beale.

The fact that whenever we see a scene in the Beales' front room, Jane is frantically hoovering the spot where Lucy died, as if trying to eradicate her guilt that she hides so well. I find myself feeling sorry for Cindy, a character I don't even like, because however much Jane and Ian want her baby, they also want their businesses as well, and - I suspect - Cindy as a free babysitting service. It's a means of manipulation that they keep her sweet, because if any bird is going to sing about the guilt the Beales are hiding, it's Cindy.

Kathy made that episode. And Linda Henry's brief spell. The rest was pretty meh.

A Most Cack-Handed Epiosde - Review: Monday 18.05.2015

I was being generous in my seven out of ten rating tonight.

This was the effort from a man who's just won a major achievement award. The continuity was atrocious. If such stuff had passed muster under Kirkwood or Newman, the vultures would be sweeping. Even the twist in Dot's tale didn't bite.

I really don't know where to begin, the episode has left me so gobsmacked at its overall cack-handedness. Let's begin with ...

The Bleeding Obvious. That would be Mick's doubts resolved, but - and I know people are going to jump down my gullet, but I have to say it - they needed one big, fatretcon to establish the fact that the newest Carter is, indeed, Mick's son.

Of course, Mick needed to know Dean's blood group. All blood group information will tell you is who the father isn't. Mick was right. His blood group was O, the baby's was O and so was Linda's. If Dean's blood group were O, then further tests would have had to be done to establish paternity, but first, Mick needed Dean's blood group information.

Up pops Shirley, who says that Dean was tested years ago after Jimbo died.

Read that again: Dean was tested years ago after Jimbo died.

Do you need that again? Here it is: Dean was tested years ago after Jimbo died. Mick reiterated this - repetition for emphasis - to Linda later on that (his words) Shirley had them all tested "after Jimbo."

Here are several things that makes all of the above a blatant retcon. First watch this from 2006.

- When Shirley settled on the Square in 2007, it was established that she had left her three children when Jimbo was six, Carly was three and Dean was a baby. In fact, as evidenced in the clips above, neither Dean not Carly even recognised Shirley nor did they know who she was.

- Jimbo died when he was 21, in 2001. Dean would have been fourteen or fifteen years old, and Shirley had been long gone. If you refer to one of those clips, Shirley didn't even attend his funeral, and no one knew where she was, as evidenced by this poignant clip from Kevin's death scene:-

As you can see from the last bit, Jimbo died calling for his mother, so how could Shirley order up all these so-called medical tests at the time of Jimbo's death or even after it, if she weren't around? And that leads me to another point:-

- Cystic fibrosis has nothing to do with blood or blood groups. It's a genetic disease of the lungs and genetic system. It's caused by a mutated gene, which is carried by the child's mother or father or even both. Yes, blood spot tests are done to determine if infants have inherited the disease, but that sort of blood testing is done when the child is a baby. Carly and Dean could, as adults be genetically tested to see if either were carriers of the gene, and that may have been done after Jimbo's death, but certainly Shirley wasn't around for that. That would have been Kevin, and the only person who could have been tested at that time would have been Carly, who would have been eighteen at Jimbo's death, and an adult. Dean would have had to have waited three more years. And custic fibrosis manifests itself in very young children. Dean and Carly wouldn't suddenly acquire the condition during adolescence.

I can't believe Dean is twenty-seven and has never had blood work done. The simplest thing to have done would have been for Mick to traipse back to the hospital with Dean, Shirley and Buster in tow and for Dean to have had the work done there and then, even paying privately for quick results. If Dean were so determined to know the baby's paternity, he would have done so, or - at least - Shirley and Buster could have tried to make him, but I get it that Dean was fantasizing again, and using the baby as a lever with which to goad Linda in the future. Even Shirley was playing along or even believing it, reminding him that Linda would get custody of the child.

Dean's modus operandi is his jealousy of Mick, but the entire Carter backstory, including the long-established non-history Shirley has had with her three children, is an ever-changing mishmash, and quite frankly, this fairy tale tonight that Shirley was around when her adult son died of a condition he'd had all his life, and at that point, she went about ordering blood tests for the lot of them, is an insult to viewers' intelligence. It was only a few weeks ago that Shirley broke down and told of how she couldn't bear watching the treatment a very young Jimbo had to endure for his cystic fibrosis. She viewed his condition as punishment for her sins and she abandoned her young family because of that.

Jesus Christ, what does that say about the writing room, when senior writers can't evn get major characters' backstories correct from week to week?

In point of fact, retconning aside, Shirley was just about the best part of an otherwise dire episode. The fish-and-chips meal scene was a classic, and it's shown just how much of a good young actor Matt di Angelo has become. Dean instantly went from wanting to play the doting father to trying to convince himself that he didn't give a rat's ass about a kid for whom he was going to start a savings account. He told some pretty dire and accurate home truths as well at that table, sat there with Shirley and Buster - calling Shirley out for pushing her children away and abandoning them, whilst all the time favouring Mick; then calling out Buster for caring only about himself, loving them and leaving them and walking in, assuming to play the role of father figure.

Dean, himself, is so destroyed by his rejection issues, that he's past the point of caring about anyone but himself. He clearly doesn't care anymore about Shirley, which was shown by the way he roughly shoved her to the floor. As for Shirley, she's on a hiding to nothing. Yes, she's lost Mick, and she'll continue to lose him as long as she fights Dean's corner and continues to view Linda as the liar in all of this. Of course, Mick is looking out for his immediate family, and that does not include the brace of Carter refugees at the B and B, horning off Patrick's hospitality, as long as they are batting for Dean. Shirley's in a no-win situation. Of course, she shouldn't have to choose between Mick and Dean, but she needs to face up to the fact that Dean is lying. She's in an atrocious dilemma. 

Karl Howson's facial expressions were one of the best thing about this piece. It's obvious that he's so not sure of whether or not Dean is telling the truth, and in the end, he ends up humouring him, in reiterating that he didn't want to get tied down with a child.

The Not So Bleeding Obvious. Wow, no wonder Imzamam has left Fatima. Not only has she thrown off the burkha and dresses more liberally than Shabham, she was dotting about the place, geeing Shabnam up about her prospective beau, she's pretty frank about him:-

In my day, he would be what we would call "hot," and I've had more than a few of those.

And she chose Imzamam? And why do all these prospective suitors and brides looking for husbands who land their arses at the Masoods' all turn out to be Geordies? I quite like Asim. Apparently, from his remarks about his "practice", he's a doctor. If Zainab had been there, she'd have been in his lap with excitement. Of course, Shabnam is in love with Kush, but Asim's remarks about children rattle her, which provokes the secret conversation with Fatima which throws up yet another red flag this evening. (Really, you'd think EastEnders would learn).

Fatima knows that the baby left on her doorstep was Shabnam's. I wonder if Imzamam knows? Obviously not, because a herd of horses wouldn't have stopped him marching around to the Masoods' in person, morally triumphant and full of self-righteous indignation that only the daughter of a fallen woman could have abandoned a child born out of wedlock. However, Fatima said she was in touch with Shabnam's daughter only long enough to see her settled with her ... here it comes ... adoptiveparents.

There she goes, she said it. Adoptive.

Been there, done that, read the book, saw the movie and bought the teeshirt with Chloe-Rebecca. Adoptions, done through Social Services, are closed. There is no way Fatima would have known the identities of the child's adoptive family unless the adoption were done privately, and unless Fatima and Imzamam could have proven that the child was their familial responsibility, the couldn't have had her adopted privately within their community. Instead, what was the likely outcome, was that they offered to look after the child as foster carers until either the mother could be found or until she was adopted, but in the latter instant, they would not, could not have known the adoptive parents' identities.

So here we'll have, again, birth parents tracking down and stalking a child and the family in which she's been integrated, demanding that she be returned to them - Dean, Shabnam, Shirley playing aggressive, Masood aided and abetted by Jane. It simply doesn't bear thinking about, it's so bad. This child is seven years old. She's been given a new name, and enfolded in a loving family. Her birth relatives, even with cack-handed but good intentions, cannot get her back. 

They simply can't.

And now we hone in on Shabnam's and Fatima's conversation. Fatima asked Shabnam if the child's father were someone with whom she could settle down, and Shabnam was aghast. Fatima didn't know his identity. She then asked if Kush would have accepted the child, and again Shabnam is unsure.

So when she comes upon Dean at the allotments, and Dean's musing about how he could have been a good dad, Shabnam, who seems to lack one brain cell, immediately assumes that Fatima has told Dean, when she promised Shabnam that she wouldn't.

Simple question: Fatima doesn't know and has never heard of Dean Wicks. How could she have told him about Shabnam and the child? Is she possessing of omniscient psychic powers?

No, the simple answer is that this is just one piece of bad continuity that was glaring.

The Latest Psychopath. Ronnie wonders how Vincent got her mobile number. Well, I'm wondering how the name "Carl White" popped up on her smartphone. Smartphones are smart, but they're not that smart. Unless you have someone's name and number in your telephone book, anyone who hasn't called you will simply pop up as a number with no name, but there it was ... "Carl White" calling. Did Ronnie have Carl's old number? Did Vincent hack into her phone? Or is this simply another corner cut to fit the plot?

Vincent's a joke. He and Phil are Shrek and Donkey trying to do drama, and Donkey's failing. In football terminology, a "donkey" is a hulking, lumbering, awkward player. Well, Richard Blackwood is EastEnders' donkey. He's too fey to be dangerous, but he rattled Roswell Ronnie, and he echoed Michael Moon's pyschopath identity remark when he quipped that it took one to know one, when he told her how he'd sussed that she was the one who'd killed Carl White.

I'm no fan of this bad actor and meh character, but I was glad someone has balls enough to call Ronnie out on her entitlement. She's still snapping her fingers and expecting Phil to jump as well.

I hope she leaves in a box.

Dot and Sharon. First things first ... why did Sharon skip out on hearing Dot's sentencing? She was there for the verdict, but then mysteriously disappeared. I hate the way DTC has promoted her as a central character, yet can only show her as someone in the background. Either put up the character or shut up about how "this year is Sharon's year."

As for Dot's sentence, she got fourteen months for manslaughter. As Fatboy remarked, she'd served part of that time anyway - she's served 3 months, which means she'll only have another 4 months to serve, in reality. I suspect this will explain June Brown's reduced appearance schedule and answer the question of where Dot is in the coming months. At least Rob Gittins managed to remember that the last time Dot was away for a length of time, she almost lost her house, with her admonishing Arthur to keep the rent paid. (What about Charlie?) And she doesn't want to lose her job. What is happening with the launderette? Cora's gone and Dot's in jail. Anyone thought of that?

Their Cheesiest Worst. I like the core Carters - Mick, Linda, Lee and Nancy - but oh, my godfathers! when Lee and Nancy began singing "Oliver" in honour of the newest Carter's name, I wanted to barf. The group hug was too much.

Not the best of episodes, for the obvious reasons. Sloppy and shoddily written, shot through with bad continuity re-arranged and retconned to suit the storyline.