Monday, September 29, 2014

Sharon & Phil Week IV: - The Joy of Sal - Review:-26.09.2014

I gave this one a nine, because I think Grant has moved on from Sharon. This is the same Grant who acted like a complete and utter arsehole when he was married to Tiffany, complete with sleeping with her mother, and capping everything off by sleeping, later, with Saint Kathy Beale to spite Phil. This is the same newly- metrosexual Grant who came back to Walford and made peace with Sharon.

He's in Portugal, living a life in the sun. If he thinks this is so much of a "sick joke," why didn't he come back and confront Phil about it? And Sam's got no real beef with Sharon. As for Sharon being what Auntie Sal deems a "tramp" or a "slut," maybe they need to look at Sam and her track record a bit more closely. By the way, wasn't it Sam jumping bail that caused Peggy to lose the pub to Archie?

So all that crap that Auntie Sal was spouting was just that - crapiola. Shall I say the word people hate so much as an adjective to qualify it?

Retconned crapiola.

I used to like Sal. She was the only person - and keep in mind that she's a non-Mitchell - who could stand up and administer applicable home truths to the Mitchells and survive the consequences.

Like this:-

But the last time we saw Sal, right before Roxy's abortive wedding, I was astounded at her telling Ronnie how proud she was that she'd return to the scene of her kidnapping crime and was literally thumbing her nose in the faces of the people she'd wronged.

It's really amusing to see the Mitchells go apeshit over Sharon potentially becoming a member of their tribe again, as if she's an ogre of the most massive proportions. Phil can be pushed into marrying a crazed child abuser (at Peggy's instigation), but mention "Sharon" and she's the worst thing to happen to either of the Mitchell brothers. How about Grant repeatedly treating the mother of his child like a piece of shit and being unfaithful to her with Lorraine Wicks and his own mother-in-law? We don't hear anything about that.

Last night, Peggy was ranting and creating in her own mind some sort of fable of Sharon selling the Vic out from under her, when tonight, we find that she's really, really angry about Phil selling the pub. And since when did Sal approve of Shirley? Since when did Sal really have anything to do with Shirley? Sal left the Vic with a bee in her bonnet about Peggy's "fairmly" speech in the summer of 2010, returned briefly that November to moan about not being invited to Ronnie's wedding and to inform Roxy that Amy was going to be a bridesmaid at her father's wedding when he married her aunt and their baby would be both Amy's cousin and half-sibling. When Sal left the first time, Phil was in a crackhouse and Shirley was nowhere to be found. When she reappeared, Phil and Shirley surfaced long enough to steal Roxy's money.

So all of a sudden, Shirley's the best thing since sliced bread for the Mitchells? Peggy would cross the street in a maelstrom of traffic to avoid someone like Shirley in the past. Bar help, but not family potential.

Sal still has some good lines, however ...

(To Ben): ~How was prison?~

Leaving Sal aside, where's Michelle's husband? She sent flowers signed from "Ian, Michelle and Mark Jnr." Michelle's husband is named Tim. He adopted Mark Fowler II, so the child would use his name. Vicki confirmed that when she was last on the Square, and surely we would have had a line in passing if Tim had died or if he and Michelle had divorced. To top that off, Tim would certainly have met Sharon in Florida.

Very bad continuity there.

But there were plenty of positives ...

Ronnie. Yep, that's right. I said "Ronnie." I'm still not a fan, and she's still a killer, who needs a comeuppance for presuming to play God and end another man's life, no matter how bad that man was; but I actually liked her tonight. Usually a barking mad psychopath and control freak and more than borderline creepy, she came across as the only sane voice in a roomful of thugs, idiots and fools tonight.

She, basically, paid lip service to Peggy's demand, which is why she got Phil out of the house and away from Sal, so they could have a reasonable approximation of Phil's feelings towards Sharon. And here's where there's another unintentional comic moment:- Phil's biggest gripe is that Sharon stole from him, and that seems to have caused great consternation, but shit! Phil stole the last bit of money his cousin had, Billy's stolen from family and there he was, bold as brass, making a fry-up for the pre-wedding breakfast. Ronnie's stolen from Phil any number of times, but because Sharon was fleecing Phil, with the aid of Marcus Christie, that's cause for getting the raving hump. The Mitchells really are the world's biggest hypocrites - watchable hypocrites, but hypocrites all the same.

At least, Ronnie took a measured and balanced view of the situation. Phil is conflicted. Sharon "betrayed" him, yet she'd bonded with Ben - as Ben told him, succinctly, that morning, in one of the best lines in the show, Sharon didn't judge him, unlike Shirley. Shirley would never ever change her opinion of Ben, and if Phil and Shirley got together, where would that leave Ben?

Where indeed? Harken back to Shirley's bitch-fueled entitlement attitude to Phil from the night before - Phil could see Ben anytime he wanted, she just didn't want Ben to be anywhere near her. Remind you a bit of Alfie's ultimatum to Roxy about Ronnie?

But Ronnie was the adult in the room. Phil had to make a choice - he had to either marry Sharon or walk away from her. And it was obvious that Ronnie didn't approve of Phil's glorious plan of humiliation.

Had she not have committed murder, I could almost like this version of Ronnie.

Linda Henry. That's the actress, not the vile character she plays. She's so good at making Shirley the lowest common denominator of amoral, entitled behaviour, it's very easy to believe that she becomes her character. I believe Letitia Dean when she says the two women get on so well together that they make mincemeat of the bitch scenes in the programme.

Shirley was at her childish worst tonight. She was the epitome of a jealous, bitter, old crone tonight, from her first scene, holding a cup of tea/coffee dangerously close to Sharon's wedding dress - you could imagine what she was going to do. From the get-go, she had every intention of sabotoging the wedding, and when that didn't work, she resorted to trashing the wedding cake and ripping decorations. All this time in the back of her mind, she was absolutely certain that the worst sort of humiliation awaited Sharon and she was enjoying the suspense.

Even Babe smelled her desperation.

It ain't happening, Babe. She stole from him. (Cue look of horror from that old trout Babe). This is from the woman who's stolen from her brother/son, her son/son and Phil on numerous occasions, not to mention the blackmailing. This is the woman who trashed Ian Beale's restaurant simply because he was Ben's brother. And people recoil in horror at the fact that Sharon stolemoney from Phil. That the horror of such an act comes from a known drug-pusher is all the more hilarious.

Shirley, Queen of Scrotes, whose self-pity at the hand she reckoned was dealt her in life, is so boundless that she rejects any expression of real love towards her, whilst begging for a crumb of the stuff from Phil's table, has a son, who is wordlessly begging for some sort of expression of love from her. He doesn't come out and say it, because he wants her to realise it from the heart, but she keeps being distracted by others in the face of her child. Tonight, Ben, who killed her best friend, employs a subtle manipulation just to dig the knife in and reveal to Shirley what her bitter, unbending nature has cost her. He apologised for killing Heather. He wanted Phil to marry Shirley. Shirley was like a mother to him, and Shirley can respond to none of this - because it would be a betrayal of Heather, but mostly because she has a son - she has two sons - to whom she really needs to be a mother.

This entire storyline is bringing Shirley to the nadir of her existence. Throughout this whole thing, she's been utterly spiteful, hateful, entitled, mean and vindictive. Rotten to the core. After this, there's only one way to go for the character, and that's up; but before she can garner any real sympathy, she has to address why she abandoned her youngest son, who harbours very real and very dangerous rejection issues.

Now she really has hit rock bottom with Phil's rejection, something on which she'd never planned, so cocksure she was of Sharon's humiliation, but now she's found the hidden gun. I think we can hazard a guess at who does the shooting here, but who gets shot?

Alfie and Stacey the Moral Arbiter. Absolutely brilliant. Stacey's another one who has a high moral code, even if she doesn't always live up to it. She recognises Alfie's desperation and why he did what he did, but she also realises, quite rightly, that he needs to tell Kat the truth. Now. But Alfie is always best, as a con artist, when he's on his back foot. The picture of Nana Moon is curiously gone, suddenly, replaced by a picture of Tommy and the twins, in the same picture frame.

No more Nana Moon means no proof that Alfie started the fire, which will probably be brought to light by Stacey to Kat someplace down the line.

Curious question: This was meant to be a Saturday. We saw Denny and Amy, who had parts to play in the wedding, but where were Tommy and the twins? Where was Lily? Where, for that matter, was Janet Mitchell?

Incidentals. Linda, taking her role as "Matron of Honour" seriously. Do I detect a bit of wishful thinking on Linda's part. Mick and Johnny gazing in wonder at the transformed Vic, just about spoke the unspoken whim of Linda.

Johnny: It's ....
Mick: It's what your mother wanted.

This is definitely a step up from a twelve year-old in a bedsheet and lemonade and Smarties at a reception. This is Linda's dream wedding, and the irony wasn't missed when Mick described Linda's role as "Chief Bridesmaid" only to have Nancy remark that it's "Matron of Honour" when the woman is married, and "chief bridesmaid" when she isn't.

The hairdressing scene. Sharon was spooked by Dean's original approximation to Sharon's original hairstyle which she wore when she married Grant. She remembered Shirley's snide remark about that, and although her hair is longer now then then, the front was very similar to the style she wore at her Boxing Day wedding. Plus, Roxy coming around to forgetting her sulk at being demoted to just bridesmaid by Sharon's getting her flowers, and Amy speaking more words in that scene than she'd done all her life on the Square. Another ironic moment when Linda prophesied that Roxy would be the next bride with Aleks asking the question. And the click of chemistry that should be expanded upon when Sharon suggested that Dean bring Stacey to the wedding. It's such a shame that Dean's been given a shelf-life, because this time around, he and Stacey would have worked.

Cora has a rival. Just as well Aunt Sal isn't hanging around.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Letitia Dean and Steve McFadden Have Entered the Building. This is it. This is what we've all been waiting for - well, anyone who remembers the special chemistry that these two have. During the past two years, we've seen brief flashes of it, but it all came to the fore tonight in that delicious scene upstairs in the Vic, and that brilliant line, which:-

This is where it all began, and this is where it ends.

Such a loaded and layered line, which could mean so many, many things with these two. The wonderful irony about that scene and the tragedy of it, is that even when both Sharon and Phil are brutally honest with each other, there are still secrets they aren't sharing, which we know will come out - Phil's infidelity with Shirley and Sharon's possession of Ronnie's gun. Phil thought all of this was about Dennis and got handed his arse when Sharon told him why she'd really tried to fleece him, ending with the double-edged remark, which bought Phil hook, line and sinker - the difference between Sharon and Phil was that she tried to make wrongs right, and he didn't. He never did. Dropping the information about having heard him discuss the raid on The Albert with Shirley made Phil look as if for a moment he may have messed himself.

This was the Sharon of old, and this is exactly how she dealt with the Mitchells and walked away, integrity intact. Phil dishes her shit, she throws it back to him with a garnered home truth and horror that Phil wanted to make a public exhibition the likes of which he'd planned, in front of her child, and in the next breath, he was full of praise for the way Sharon was with Ben. Not good enough for Sharon, she didn't want his acceptance because she was "good with his child". Marriage is the business for love and protection and trust - something she feels short shrift with from Phil, even if she's seen the better side of him with Ben, Jay and the Beales.

And maybe Ronnie's wise words got through to Phil - about how he lectured her re the baby and second chances. He'd hankered after the idea of Sharon all his adult life. She has feet of clay and he still loves her. Now's the time to get what he wants. In that short moment, I think Phil saw Sharon walking away.

And he made his choice. 

The chemistry was positively crackling between those two. And I can't wait until Monday.

Brilliant episode. 

Sharon & Phil Week III: The Surprise That Wasn't - Review:- 25.09.2014

Here's the niggle ... If Sharon hadn't sold the pub back to Peggy, if she hadn't decided she didn't want the pub any longer, Peggy wouldn't have had the pub. Hang on a minute ... Peggy was forced to sell the Vic in 2001 because Frank - guess what? - stole from her. Wiped her out financially. Yes, she was annoyed that Sharon, helped by Steve Owen, bought the pub; but in 2002, Sharon - guess what? - sold the pub back to Peggy and used the money made to establish Angie's Den (ex-the E20 and subsequently Scarlett's and R and R). The only reason the Vic was eventually lost to Peggy was down to Marcus, on behalf of Den, scamming silly Sam out of all the Mitchell assets.

So when, exactly, did Sharon "sell the pub out from under" Peggy? And as for her ruining Grant's life, well ... it looks as though Grant's doing ok to me, and as for the hatred Peggy bears for Sharon, here are her last scenes when she left the Square for Florida -with Phil accompanying her and with Peggy's blessing ...

That doesn't look like undying hate to me or hell freezing over.

Newman started this retcon about Peggy's undying hatred of Sharon, and now DTC is pushing the myth. Oh, and before I forget it, didn't Grant and Sharon actually reconcile their past, amicably, when he was on the Square before and Sharon was there?

As much as seeing Peggy was a nice surprise, it was soured by the retconned circumstance of this, as a vehicle for getting Ronnie back on the stage.

That's how a nice surprise can have its downside.

Tonight's episode was carried by Sharon and Ben. Ben's a genuinely nuanced and complicated character. Last night, we saw his hard edge with Jay, his dark side; tonight - and it may have been an act - we saw that he really is genuinely a scared kid who wants his father's love and acceptance. He wants Phil with Shirley because Shirley is familiar to him, but isn't he aware that Shirley's feelings toward Ben won't change if she's with Phil?

Roxy gave Sharon some good food for thought, and something Sharon should have remembered from her past association with the Mitchells, Phil will always, always put his children before any wife or partner, even if she happens to be a mother of one of those children. Remember how he psychologically and emotionally destroyed Lisa? Even Linda encouraged Sharon to get to know Ben, although she wouldn't give an answer to Sharon's rhetorical question about whether or not Linda would tolerate a murderer under her roof with her children. But Sharon did what we don't see a lot of characters do on this programme - she admitted she was wrong. OK, maybe she did this to ensure her relationship remained solid (or as solid as it could be) with Phil. The important thing is that she recognised and accepted that Phil's son was a part of his life, as much as Dennis is a part of hers, and that marrying Phil meant that Ben was part of the package.

And this has thrown a spanner in Phil's works - now he's genuinely conflicted. Here's the woman he wants to betray, on the word of Shirley Queen of Scrotes, and she's welcoming Ben into her family dynamic, saying he could stay as long as he wanted; whereas Shirley is so damned obsessive, deluded and entitled enough to think - and actually state - that Ben wouldn't change anything between her and Phil. She even was so arrogant as to tell Phil that she didn't want him to stop seeing Ben, she just didn't want Ben around her.

But, Jesus, is Phil so weak that he can't tell Shirley to back off? Is he really willing to ditch Ben in favour of giving Shirley what she wants? Or is he playing her now? The moment he detected a change in Sharon's attitude to Ben, his face changed imperceptively. Just whom is Phil going to humiliate?

Even that evil old toad, Aunt Babe, realised enough to tell Shirley that, as a couple, she and Phil would not make it even to the starting line, if Shirley's attitude to Ben continued. But that's Shirley - demanding 100 per cent loyalty and fidelity from the man who looked her in the eye three years ago and told her he couldn't commit. She looked so sour and bitter tonight - as Babe told her, she smelled desperate, continuously calling Phil and getting no reply.

And clock the look exchanged between Johnny and Ben, after the obviously foreshadowing remark from Mick for Johnny to give Ben a wide berth. Who didn't see that coming?

And so the gun is inadvertantly packed and ready to go to the Vic.

Once again, tonight, ever so subtly, Linda's childishness is emphasised ...

It's a wedding, L, not Narnia.

The question of Lexi here, also, is very interesting. Phil's adamant that Ben get to know his daughter. Ben is adamant that he doesn't want to know his daughter. Lola, Jay and Billy are adamant in not wanting Ben to know his daughter - not so much from fear of Ben, but from fear that Phil will now want custody of Lexi for Ben. Phil's behaviour in that situation tonight was ugly and despicable, not insisting but demanding and thuggish. Ben has rights, yes, but Ben is choosing not to exercise those rights.

Stacey's discovered the clue which tells her that the fire in the Slater/Moon house was deliberate. Alfie's discomfort and guilt was as palpable as his obvious love for Kat. This is a very harrowing storyline to watch, especially discomforting was Kat's remark about everything looking up for the Moons - her and Alfie being together, the children, and Kat beginning to feel good about herself. I hope this doesn't mean a desperate repeat of "the Dirty Girl" sydrome.

This was a good episode, but not as good as Monday's or last week's. The continuance of the Peggy-hates-Sharon retcon ruined it.

Sharon & Phil Week II:- Review 23.09.2014

Well, one thing Shirley and Phil do have in common - they both have two creepy sons. Once again, this was a brilliant episode. Purist that I am, I gave it a 9 out of 10 solely for the offensive presence and minimal dialogue of Dexter. Other than his foul presence, it was near as dammit a perfect episode with everyone, absolutely everyone firing on all cylinders.

When We Were Two Creepy Boys. 

I don't know what to make of Ben. Final judgement will be rendered after a few more episodes, but he's quirky, in the way that Ben always was quirky, except that quirkiness is more sinister now. The final twist in the tale was a corker, and now we know why, amidst all the brouhaha of various people saying Jay's reflection was seen in Lucy's Smartphone as it was being buried, the show pulled that episode and that particular scene.

Did Ben kill Lucy? Ben's killed before, and his line tonight in the pub was chilling:- It's amazing how people treat you when you've killed someone.

We know that Ben's crimes have occurred mainly through his overreaction to events - Jordan's injury and Heather's death - so it's plausible that Lucy may have seen him with Jay that night and said something about letting Ian or Phil know, which may have prompted his lashing out at her in order to stop her. If that's the case, then this (from now until the 30th) is Ben's swansong. Disabuse yourself of any notion that he'd stick around, if he did kill Lucy. He's on licence, and he's already broken that, if they find that he's robbed that off-licence. If Ben killed Lucy, he's toast - but think of the impact that would have on both the Mitchells and the Beales. Walford really would never be the same.

It's also patently obvious that Ben's a prize manipulator as well, and he recognises that Phil's a soft touch when it comes to him. Jay's told him of Phil's infidelity, and he's hoping to get on Phil's good side by bigging up Shirley. (Pardon me, but when did Shirley ever rescue Phil? She ran a mile when he broke into being a full crackhead and came back only when he was cured. She lied to Social Services in order to get him custody of Louise, only for Ben to torture her. Phil and Shirley brought out the worst in each other. They didn't help each other in the least).

No only is he manipulating Phil, he's now got Jay over a barrel, and Jay realises that much too late in the day. He thought he was doing Phil a favour in reuniting him with his son, only now to find himself a prisoner to Ben's manipulations, cognizant of the fact that Ben could easily turn the tables to get Jay in real trouble.

The actor who plays Ben, plays him as suitably creepy, and as his character progresses, it's easy to see that not only do alcoholism and domestic violence run in the Mitchell family, but a strain of psychopathy does as well - Archie, Ronnie, and now Ben.

I did enjoy Shirley's reaction to his return. I have to ask myself exactly what Shirley expected in her obsession with Phil. Did she not realise that his son would be released from prison one day and that the two of them would make contact? Surely, she should realise by now that the most important thing to Phil is Ben. After all, he his Ben's crime from Shirley whilst living under the same roof for months, and even then, Shirley offered Phil an alibi. Almost one and the same, did Ben honestly think that Shirley would be all forgiveness and light with him? But then, as narcissistic as Ben is, he would think that.

If anything, Ben's presence forced Shirley to remember Heather, someone whom she hasn't referenced in months, especially not since she's been lusting after Phil again, but more than anything, I enjoyed this storyline because of Dean's reaction. 

Notice that it was Dean, and not Mick, who smacked the shit out of Ben when he pushed Shirley, and it was Dean who comforted her upstairs in the kitchen. That had to be one of the best scenes in the episode tonight, and the only fault I have was that it was too short and only began to touch on the issues Dean and Shirley have with each other. It was ironic that their connection came over the memory of Heather, because in the early days of Shirley and during Dean's first stint on the show, it was always said that Shirley abandoned her children to go party down with Heather, and Heather's constant whine was that Shirley abandoned their friendship for Kevin and marriage. Even more ironic was the fact that it was Dean's memories of Heather which touched Shirley, and there was a moment when Shirley referenced prison changing Ben. Dean's laconic remark?

It can do that.

It wasn't a coincidence that Shirley referenced Ben being just a little boy when he first went to YOP, and that other boys "did things" whilst he was in there. She should have looked at her son's face when she said that, because Dean was wordlessly listening to her expostulate over someone else's son, when he, Dean, had gone into prison an innocent and very pretty young lad, where other people "did things" to him. Shirley reached out to Dean and remarked how comforting it was to talk to him, but Dean's cutting the embrace short was evident that maybe she should have listened to what Dean couldn't say.

I was a more than a bit put off by the Carters standing en masse outside the kitchen door evesdropping, Tina with the glass propped against the door; but at least Mick recognised that this was a moment of progress, both for Shirley and for Dean. Quick note at Linda, who was about to enter the lounge where Mick was sitting with Shirley, and quickly retreated. Does Linda know her place in this dynamic?

But is Dean all he's cracked up to be? He makes a beeline for the drunken Tosh, with an offer she's going to find hard to refuse. Dean's a manipulator too, as we'll soon see.

Back to Ben, and I'm glad his reception in the Vic was muted, including Peter's reluctant hello (especially in view of the final frame in the episode and Ben's "heartfelt" condolences) and Billy's meagre warning that Lola needed nothing from Ben. Very telling that Ben riposted with the statement that he wasn't there for Lola (and by extension, Lexi).

Shirley Queen of Scrotes. 

There's no doubt that Shirley's an interesting character played by a good actress, but her sense of entitlement is appalling. It's very hard to find her sympathetic at all, especially since she's the one doing the cheating and the hating in this episode. The look on her face when she spied the framed picture of a young Phil Mitchell and a young Sharon, when she really was a part of the Mitchell family was one of pure hatred. The acidic banter at The Albert was amusing, but Shirley was out of order to invite herself and sling insults at Sharon. She's a jealous, vindictive crone of a woman who's obsessed about Phil. It's funny how she can easily recognise that Phil's son is out, only for himself, and yet not acknowledge that Phil is exactly the same. Phil cannot even tell Ben the truth about his association with Shirley, nor can he Jay.

Ben's assessment of Sharon, after only one meeting and the prejudiced opinions of the late Kathy and Peggy, was understandable, but maybe Phil needs to man up and admit to everyone, Peggy included, that he lied about Sharon's part in Sharongate, that it wasn't Sharon who came onto Phil, but the other way around, that Phil had planned on leaving with Sharon, but she abandoned him to return to Grant. Everything he told Peggy was a lie. Then, I wonder if Ben knows his sainted mother had it off with the local vicar before bedding down with Uncle Grant, not out of any sense of affection on Grant's part, but only as a tool by which he could get back at Phil for seducing Sharon.

There are two sides to every story.

Whatever happens to Shirley in the wake of this storyline, I do hope they have something whereby they address her alcoholism. The moment something doesn't go her way, she reaches for the bottle. Oh, the irony of her reminding Mick that her name was above the door (for the umpteenth time) as she nicks a bottle of vodka and smiles to herself, sighting Phil, before noticing that Ben is there too.


 At last, someone's given the writing room some sort of direction in Sharon's character. Pete Lawson wrote so many crap Branning-centric tripe about her during the previous two years, it's hard to believe she was almost back to being recognised as the Sharon of old tonight. She was razor sharp and insistent with Phil that she didn't want Ben in the house. She has every right to be concerned about Ben and his influence on Denny, but Ben is Phil's son and Denny is Sharon's. She's still got the gun, however, in her make-up bag beside her bed.

The End of Stax. 

The other brilliant scene tonight was the scene with Max and Stacey. Stax was, effectively, put to bed and buried tonight. Stacey continues to grow in maturity and likeability this time around, and hats off to DTC for totally redeeming her character. I never [i[ever[/i] liked her previously, but this time around, she really impresses me. She's one of a small number of characters who has benefitted from having a child on the show.

She's acknowledged the fact that she can't work or live under the same roof as Max because her presence makes it difficult for Max to move on. Jake Wood rose to the occasion, when, previously, he'd only been phoning in his role. Funny how Max glossed over everything that happened to Max after Stacey had left - Tanya's brief marriage, her infidelity with Max and Vanessa's departure, his own marriage to Kirsty, Tanya's cancer and the marriage complications. Instead, he dismissed all of that as "silly things" and admitted he'd met someone in silly Summerhayes, whom Stacey encourages him to pursue.

And, thus, we now have the re-appearance of Stacey's key. What significance can this hold?

Bloody brilliant episode.

Sharon & Phil Week:- Review 22.09.2013

Well, we all know what made this episode less than perfect, don't we? Walford's most unpopular offensive racial stereotype was back tonight, and far from keeping a low profile, Motormouth was back and as in-your-face as a newly relegated third-tier character can be. He had far too many scenes and too much dialogue, and stop this "cuz-cuz-cuz" crap with Abi and Lauren. Two years ago, you never knew they existed, and with his reappearance, it makes me wonder if that's the last we'll see of Rainie. Her relationship with Cora would be far more interesting to explore than the poor man's Fresh Prince of Bel Air.

I hope his contract isn't extended.

Phil sorely needs a gobsmacking dose of whuppass (or "whupparse" as they'd say here). Phil lies so damned much, I'm not sure he knows the truth, himself. He uses Jay remorselessly and trades upon Sharon's kindness to him in order to achieve his end - which is to make contact with Ben. Phil is actually quite disgusting the way he plays Jay, preying upon his most vulnerable point - the fact that Jay's fatherless - in order to stitch him up like a kipper. Every time Phil wants Jay onside, all he has to say is ~ You're like a son to me ~ which is a rank load of bullshit, and Jay knows it. Every time he walks away from Phil, there's something to draw him back.

Jay actually has a sense of moral justice, and he, rightly, takes the moral high ground with Phil in Phil's treatment of Sharon, bonking Shirley behind her back. Jay's cynicism should really be growing apace now, because he's clued onto Max's fanagling with silly Summerhayes (another one, who seems to have vanished into thin air) and has held him to account as well - not that either man would countenance anything Jay would say or do because they are so far gone down the amoral highway, they can't get out of the fast lane.

So what does Phil do is lie blatantly to Jay - Shirley was just a one-off ... His head was all over the place because of Jay ... yaddayadda.

I have to ask, is Phil's high opinion of himself and his standing in the community so enhanced that he thinks everyone in Walford will shun Sharon when his planned humiliation goes ahead? Sorry, but Sharon's not on the downside of the morality scale in this situation. She's not the one who's cheating. Phil is, and with Shirley, Queen of Scrotes, no less.

Shirley's riding so high now in her bitter hatred of Sharon and thinking her secret dalliance with Phil will lead to Sharon's downfall. Her snide remarks to Sharon are wearing a little thin, especially her hateful remark likening Sharon to a little princess. Sharon is Walford royalty, and Shirley is a rude plebeian upstart. She's so cocksure of herself and what Phil plans to do, but I wouldn't second-guess things going much against the grain for Shirley. She deserves to fail in this enterprise, and the fact that NuNuBen is waiting right around the corner, literally, is going to take the wind out of her over-billowing sails.

A lot of criticism has come in for EastEnders' attempts at humour, but Roxy's interaction with Dot and Charlie tonight was, indeed, humourous. DTC has Rita Simons back to her original best, zinger one-liners and winsome humour. I was almost sorry that Sharon demoted her from Maid of Honour to simple bridesmaid. Another storyline is in its incipient stages as Aleks ducks and dives and doesn't want to come to the wedding. The telephone conversation in Latvian would imply that Mrs Shirovs and daughter can just about be seen on the horizon, just about the time that Ronnie shows up and learns that Roxy's become "the other woman" in this charade.

Once again, special mention goes to Shane Richie and Danny Dyer. These two work so well together on screen. The highlight of the episode was seeing Mick lead the charge against the perfidious Tosh. Tosh obviously doesn't know the code of the East End, that you don't grass on people in your neighbourhood, even if you know they've been forced into doing something they shouldn't because of circumstances. Mick knows what Alfie did, and he understands why he did it. There but for the grace of God (or whoever), Mick may have done the same thing. He sees all to clearly that convicting Alfie would tear apart his family, deprive his children of a father and ruin everyone's life even more. 

I realised tonight that Tosh has a really slappable face, and her assumption of the moral high ground was truly ugly. If I never ever like Tina again, I liked her tonight if only for her proper reaction to Tosh's assumption that it was her right to assume Alfie had done what he did, with no proof. As soon as Stacey knew the background of the story, without knowing that Alfie had started the fire, I knew we were going to be treated to one of the scenes of the infamous Stacey temper, but I was Team Stacey all the way. Especially impressive was the quiet support given all around from various people in the pub, from Mick's intervention ( I'm on your side, luv) to Max's subtle intervention. Odd now, that Tosh's defence of her actions had everything to do with the danger firefighters are under and nothing to do with Friday's reason - the fact that the Moons were parents and she wasn't. She's just a vindictive bitch, who was low enough to bring Mick's son and his actions in the fire, into the equation in order to try to emotionally blackmail Mick.

Tosh is a nasty piece of work, but what a nuanced nasty piece of work. She's gone from being the mature member of the Tosh-Tina duo to being a self-appointed moral arbiter in matters which have nothing to do with her at all.

The exchange between Max and Stacey was interesting, and it has me a bit worried. Was Max jealous? I don't want to see a redux of Stax, but the mention of Mick and Max's suspicion that Stacey might be interested (in yet another man) is certainly worth noting. No, I don't want to see a redux of Stax, but I don't want to see Stick either.

NuNuBen looks like a young Clark Kent.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Shirley, Queen of Scrotes - Review:- 19.09.2014

How much do I hate Shirley? How much? How entitled was she tonight? Dictating to Phil, laying down the rules of behaviour as if she were the wronged party in this situation. Shirley is and always has been about entitlement. And Phil is as scummy as she is and more stupid. Is his ego so bruised and fragile that he'll believe a wizened Queen of Scrotes, a jealous old harridan over the behaviour and actions of a woman he's known for 25 years?

Shirley's never stolen from Phil? She's never blackmailed him?

The joke about all of this is Phil, himself. Phil is, as Tina the Court Jester described him earlier this week, a red-faced, bald alkie. I normally give short shrift to Tina, but I'm bang on about her puking in her mouth at the thought of either Phil and Shirley or Phil and Sharon in bed. Phil may be good in the bedroom stakes, but he totally lacks charm. And his latest bout with terminal stupefication is totally unbelieveable. Phil found out that Sharon was stealing from him, but admitted that he still loved her. All it took was Shirley Queen of Scrotes to tell him that Sharon hated him, and he believed her.

Really, Shirley? It never bothered Phil to ask the old crone how she knew that Sharon hated him. Had she heard her say so? If so, when? What proof did she have? Anyone else, and Phil Mitchell would want to know. He's not that gullible. Thing is, Sharon does have proof that Shirley knew that Phil had planned the attack on The Albert. Shirley's motives are motivated by jealousy and obsession with Phil, and Phil's been bested by a woman he's loved for two decades and whom he threw, on one occasion, under the proverbial bus.

It dawned on me tonight that Shirley was fighting for the faux Mitchell brigade - upping the ante in pushing Jay as "more of a son to Phil" than Ben. Neither is anything really to brag about, but let's remind ourselves that two weeks before Jay "became" a Mitchell, he was taunting a pathetic Phil who was coming off a binge on crack cocaine. The week before that, when Billy offered him the chance to "become" a Mitchell - and Billy's de facto son, he refused, but shortly afterward, a recovered and revived Phil offered him a pair of boxing gloves and suggested that Jay change his name by deed poll, Jay was bought and sold.

Let's also remind ourselves that even at the height of their faux Mitchell existence, when both were strutting about Walford, mooching off the Mitchell name and demanding respect, that Shirley reminded Jay that they were only within the Sphere of Phil at Phil's pleasure. Once they ceased to interest Phil, they were on their own.

Now, tonight, Shirley's pushing Jay and excoriating Phil over the way he's treated Jay. Sorry, Shirley, who doesn't understand Phil here?

Phil will always always put anyone Mitchell before anyone non-Mitchell - and that includes various wives. Before anyone else, Ben and Louise come first.

Did Phil treat Jay badly? Yes, abysmally, when he found out that Jay was telling the truth about Ben killing Heather. He chucked Jay out into the elements. But Phil would have done that to anyone who'd offered up a Mitchell for sacrifice. This time around, however, it was Jay who sussed Phil's behaviour and called time on it. It was Jay who realised that Phil was throwing his toys from the pram again because Jay had sought to keep the confidence of a friend, rather than show blind loyalty to Phil.

Shirley is a more craven bully than Phil is, because Shirley knows what buttons to push to stoke Phil's worst fears - his fear of being alone. She taunts him about not seeing his son - how can he? He doesn't know where Ben is, and when he was inside, Ben refused to see Phil. She's twisted Phil's suddenly stupid mind into believing that a woman who's allegedly always come back to him for love and affection before, has double-crossed him - and this was a woman who had formerly married into the Mitchell family - and suggested that, maybe he's better off with the faux Mitchells, because his real nearest and dearest have abandoned him.

She's done this because she thinks she's entitled to Phil and the power and respect he commands. Because, you see, without Phil and even with the Vic, Shirley is still the one who's more likely to wake up stinking drunk in the gutter.

I hope Sharon finds out and kicks them both six ways until Sunday.

Full marks for Jay, who was the one who saw the squidgy scene between Phil and Shirley, and hands Phil his arse on a plate about how he's deceiving Sharon.

How much do I hate Tosh?

I didn't, really, until tonight, but who the hell is she to take a moral high ground the way she has? I wonder how much of that action is motivated by the fact that the Moons have twin sons and a small boy, whilst she's trolling internet sites finding sperm donors and refusing to listen or notice how much her partner, the eternally anal childwoman,doesn't want a child. This is the woman who broke safety protocol and turned a full hose on Shirley? Sorry, but isn't that sorta kinda gross misconduct in a professional capacity? What gives her the right turn grass? 

Once again, Mick and Alfie took centre stage. Mick didn't judge Alfie's actions, not at all. He understood his motives for doing so, and he understood Alfie's reasons for not telling Kat the truth at this time. In fact, he agreed with and encouraged this action, and you kind of were able to comprehend that if the shoe were on the other foot, Mick wouldn't have told Linda the truth, were she in Kat's position, either. Even now, he feeds her fantasies and shields the truth from her.

The scenes between Jessie Wallace and Shane Richie were heart-wrenching. These two work so well together and have such chemistry, that this storyline can only make their partnership stronger. When Alfie told Kat that he'd gladly change places with her in that bed, his message was heartfelt. He'll love her, no matter what she looks like. More than for herself, Kat's afraid of what scars would do to her children. Tommy is only three, and of course, seeing his mother in that shape, would be upsetting, but kids are like sponges and her children will love Kat, no matter what she looks like. The long journey begins here.

One thing - the fire inspector told Alfie what caused the fire, and Alfie admitted to cadging the odd cigarette, whereupon the inspector deemed it an accident. There's really no proof of intent to set that fire, except for Alfie's maudlin rescue of Nana Moon's picture. That's his downfall. But until that's revealed, it's just Tosh's suspicions, based on jealousy, against what Alfie's told the inspector.

What a bitch she is!

Namwar/Tancy is coming along - especially in view of the fact that when Nancy was moaning about babies and their bodily functions, and Linda told her she'd think differently once she'd met a special bloke, in walks Tamwar. What I'm wondering is why the scenes between Nancy and Tamwar at the Masood house, from yesterday's episode, were cut. That was obviously when Tamwar told her about his injuries. Speaking of scenes, the surprise insert of Tamwar and Jay discussing the No Vote from Scotland was great and contemporary.

Shabnam sacrifices her career to keep an eye on Denise, and soon Masood is going to be brought into that sphere as well.

One of the best scenes was the one in the Masoods' kitchen, showing Nancy and Linda rallying with the twins and Masood and Shabnam helping with breakfast for the Moons. Nice scene.

In-character Line of the Night, goes to Shirley, Queen of Scrotes:- Ah, the smell of baby poo in the morning!

Is that why you left yours, Shirley? I'm sure you've smelled worse in the gutter.

A week of solid episodes. How long has it been since we've seen that?