Monday, November 11, 2013

A Tale of Two Grandsons - Review: 11.11.2013

Matriarchs... a demographic that's always been a part of EastEnders.

It's also a demographic that's sadly missing from the current EastEnders 2.0, especially with the death of Pat at the beginning of 2012.

Pat was the matriarch of the Square - related by blood, marriage and friendship to everyone living there. Phil Mitchell respected her, Jonnie Allen feared her. She was more of a matriarch than either Peggy or Pauline, whose domain extended only to those people related by blood to them. Dot, as much as they try to make her the Branning matriarch, only fulfills the role when the spirit moves her, and it will move her less now that Jack has gone.

There's not much in future matriarch material coming along either. Considering that Pat was in her mid- to late-forties when she first appeared on the Square, and considering the fact that one grows into the matriarchal role, there's slim pickings to be had.

Shirley's too rough and bitter. Sure, she ran out on her own kids - Pat was an abysmal mother to David and Simon, but proved to be reliant when it came to surrogate sons, Ricky Butcher and Ian Beale - but Shirley ultimately failed even psychopath-in-training Ben.

Speaking of psychopaths, the plastic ice queen, Ronnie Mitchell, has been touted as future matriarch material. Bullshit. She's psycho-sexually attractive and dependent on her younger sister, about whom she obsesses. She's a woman who sent an eight year-old girl out into the night rather than return her to her father and grandmother.

Sharon? Well, let's see what DTC has up his sleeve for her.

Carol? She's another one who sees a glass half-empty when things aren't going her way.

Poor pickings at the moment.

Of course, only Pat can compare to the ultimate matriarch of Albert Square, Lou Beale. Lou was born and raised there and her family had a fruit and veg stall on the market. She lived and died in the house where she'd been a young bride. Her immediate family benefitted from her wisdom and her prickly home truths, and her extended family comprised the entire populace of Albert Square.

But mostly, she was not above putting things right within her own family enclave - the Beales.

Tonight was a tale of two of Lou's grandsons.

By the way, Peggy was never the Mitchell matriarch to tell home truths. That goes to Auntie Sal, who'll be back on our screen in two weeks' time.

As a refresher of the two:-

More of the same, please ... especially Lou, but Lou's grandson is back, and he's also Pat's son.

Pete's Boys.

This was a watchable episode, and I'm pleasantly surprised that my current favourite characters are Peter Beale and his Uncle David.

The only downside to David at the moment is his revelation that he is in love with Carol and that he always has been, a retcon of the highest order - and I shudder to think of some producer bod who thinks it's mete to have David settle down with Granny Carol and play Grandad, when David could still outplay Max Branning.

Arguably, David's best scenes tonight were with his brother and his niece and nephew. From the moment he eyed an injured Peter on the stall, his suspicions were aroused, concerning Carl White. He had enough innocuous information from Carol to pursue his plan.

For the long-term viewer tonight, the contrast between David and Ian was remarkable, considering Ian was always verbally cobbled by Pete for choosing a catering career, something Pete always took to be less than manly, whilst when David returned the first time in the 1990s, he was depicted as the loser son. He'd been in prison for tax fraud, ran a dodgy car business and had sloped off from his wife and two children. When he re-connected with Joe, he didn't even realise his daughter Karen had been killed.

David was always someone who ran out on commitment and self-destructed. Ian was always the over-achiever, who depended on the visible trappings of success to lord it over people.

The best scene in a long time tonight was the two-header between David and Ian, in - of all places - Ian's home, which - as David succinctly pointed out - was originally Pauline and Arthur's house.

This was a suberbly written piece by Christopher Reason, a long-time writer, whose grip on history is better than many on the production staff. David's approach to Ian had a few soupcons of Pat, but the way he lectured Ian was all Lou Beale, starting with the analogy of Pauline's old decor (whilst everything wasn't brown, Pauline's family used the dining room as their sitting room and the furnishings were colourless), as well as his reference to "Auntie Pauline" not knowing how to operate Ian's designer coffeepot. 

As simple as that was, this was a powerful reminder to the long-term viewer that the Beales were a family who stood together, and with Lou at the helm, they always did the right thing. Another powerful reminder was David's reminding Peter of how proud Peter's grandfather, his and Ian's father, would have been of him carrying on the family tradition in maintaining the stall.

This acknowledgement of Pete Beale's legacy was meant to shame Ian, as well as David's psychological trip down Memory Lane, starting with Cindy, and expertly showing Ian that, really, for all Ian's trappings of success, he really wasn't so different from David after all.

Ian has presented himself to the world and - for a long time - looked down on Walford, as someone who achieved success against all odds. I was surprised to see a picture of Cindy so prominently displayed in his house, as she's always been a sore subject to Ian - especially since she tried to have him killed. At long last, David laid Cindy's ghost to rest, telling Ian that - had she not been Ian's wife - he wouldn't have bothered with her at all, that she was trashy (that explains his attraction to Carol then).

Everything that David did to Ian was done from jealousy, as David finally admitted to Ian, and he also admitted that he'd done things of which he was ashamed, and wondered if Ian had ever done anything as such as well (sleeping with Janine twice, getting a vasectomy behind Laura's back, stealing Archie's laptop, going bankrupt twice, cheating on Jane with Glenda Mitchell - not to mention his latest escapade).

Yes, David's doing this for Carol's concern about Max, who's liking for David is scant; and in that respect, he's acting like Pat, who refused to judge anyone whom she thought was being hard done by; but he was also calling Ian to shame for the Beale name.

The scene between David and Carl in the restaurant would have been heightened, had David only revealed that Ian was his brother. Contrasted with David's verve was Ian's lack of nerve. His weaselness has heightened in recent years; in fact, David even mentioned it. And I liked the final scene when Ian and David met in the pub, allowing Carl to see them together, with David pointing out how uneasy Carl looked, with Ian admitting how scared he was of Carl, that Carl would not only kill Ian, he would kill David as well. David doesn't care. The superficial may think that's down to his lurrrrrve for Carol, but the more discerning, long-term viewer will identify that behaviour as totally Pat and, even more important, totally Lou.

Kudos to David for shouting the odds down over his chavvy daughter and her equally chavvy acquaintances in his mother's home.

Our House In the Middle of Our Street.

We're gonna be the most AMAZING FAIRMLY.

Er, no you're not. You're going to be an epic fail.

Something's not quite right about Tel-Le-Taxi. Whenever a nicey-nice character enters the scene on EastEnders, there's something a bit whiffy lingering in the background. I think it's rude and presumptuous that he's literally made himself at home in a house which doesn't even belong to his girlfriend.

Of course, Whitney's right to be guarded about his cheeky remarks to her, and although Bianca says she's told him about Whitney's history, you'd think the bald doofus would exercise some tact in the sexually covert way in which he addresses her. 

I also think it's incredibly selfish of Bianca, the way she's expected everyone to accommodate her new additions to the household, too much concerned with bonking with baldie in the middle of the afternoon to realise her children's concerns. The kids are not happy, they're insecure and they don't like the change suddenly foisted upon them. Twice now, the Spraggan sprogs have been caught handling the Butcher kids' property, and in this instance, Liam's expensive possession was broken.

Question: If the Butcher-Beale-Jacksons are so skint, why is there wine in their wine rack?

I'm also not keen on the Spraggan sprogs, especially Heather Rose, insouciantly asking why brand names weren't part and parcel of the family's regime and being instrumental in breaking Liam's possession and then lying about it.

Tel-Le-Taxi is a liar. He's still married to  his wife, who's kicked him out, and we'll find all this out when Mrs Tel comes looking for her children; but then, Bianca's still married to Ricky. A divorce between these two would not be so simple. There would have been maintenance and access issues to conquer, and if they aren't divorced, then Ricky could countersue Bianca for adultery, himself.

As for Carol, I'd really like to see her stand on her own two feet and not be dependent on whatever relationship she has with a man at the moment or playing Mother Hubbard to Bianca's kids. Of course, her presence in Masood's house will cause problems - for Tamwar, if for no one else. This is a woman who, in the best of times, even if he were single, Masood wouldn't touch with a barge pole, much less a penis.

Poor White Trash.

Well, maybe Kirsty wasn't that fed up with Max and the Brannings treating her like a bad smell, not if she somehow knew that Carl had a packet in the drawer beside his bed, as well as the packet he had within the bed.

If she knew about this, then she basically prostituted herself to Carl in order to gain access to his stash. A bit like Tanya with Sean, really. But tarty whores seem to run in the Branning family.

Abi thinks two laptops will fetch a grand. Lauren thinks she's invincible after beating raps like attempted murder, drink driving, aggravated assault and criminal vandalism. So what's a bit of piss thrown out the window, but a form of assault.

Cora showed what a hollow old cow she was tonight. For all her braggadoccio about being able to handle "scum" like the two debt collectors, she couldn't; and whilst the equally spoiled Branning girls were thankful, and Lauren was BFF's with Kirsty again after did this ...

Cora, who sits on her wrinkly arse and does nothing but criticise Kirsty, blames her for their predicament.

Let me ask the question again ... Where the fuck is Jack?

Why isn't someone trying to find and contact him, especially since he magnanimously told Kirsty and the girls not to worry about anything, that he would see them good financially when Max got arrested, before he got besotted once again, with Ice Queen, and left when she made him cry.

It's not Kirsty's fault. 

But I suspect we now know the basis of her leaving. Max can cheat, but I doubt he tolerates cheaters.

Good episode.


  1. What I don't get is that bailiffs aren't allowed to enter without your permission so all they had to do was not answer the door and pretend to be out, they can't break in. If Cora was so well-informed in how to deal with them she would know that. Also I doubt Jack would be charging them rent at the moment not with Max in prison, so why are they behind with their bills. They could all get off their backsides and get jobs even part-time but the entitled bitches (all three of them) just see Kirsty as a meal ticket and kick her out when ever they feel like it(obviously not realising she is the reason they have food on the table to feed their skanky arses).

    1. Agreed re: the bailiffs, I said the same thing at the time.

      As for all of them getting jobs. Is Cora no longer working at the charity shop? Managers in these shops are usually paid to run the store (I know because I am one), unlike the voluntary team members. I don't remember her losing her job, but my memory is like a sieve.

    2. Cora lost her job as manager of the charity shop when it was found that she was drinking with Patrick on the premises. I've always wondered WHY TPTB didn't link Lauren's drink problem with a generic problem within the Cross family. Cora is a functioning alcoholic. She cannot do anything without a buzz on. Rainie CERTAINLY was alcoholic enough to seek help from AA, and Tanya was most definitely another one with alcohol issues.

      Cora works at the launderette now.

  2. ^^^ Agreed.

    Who is meant to be ruining the car lot ? We saw Lauren working there with Max so you'd assume that she would be running it as she knows the books. As yet they don't appear to have gone to the auction to replace any of the cars that were sold to David B.

    Cora really is a nasty old hag. Mutton trying to dress as lamb. At first I liked her but not now.

    1. David ran the car lot in Max's absence. Lauren knows jack shit about anything that doesn't involve looking in the mirror.