Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Missing Link - Review:- 26.11.2013

So, the Lord and Saviour axed a BAFTA nominated actress with a rising independent film career and an actor who's a member of the RSC no less.

And he keeps ... Ricky Norwood and Himesh Patel. 

Why? Norwood's Fatboy character is annoying most of the time and is an offensive racial stereotype. Patel's Tamwar, when he's at his best is a monotoned automaton.

Daniel Coonan's exit interview bemoaned the fact that the show no longer has a central Alpha male, who is essentially heroic, but who is also deeply flawed. Now - and Coonan is right - it's all love, deceit and gobby, loud-mouthed women inexorably dependent on weak men.

Keirston Wareing thinks the show should be grittier and tackle social issues in a more nuanced and better researched way, reminiscent of the show's origins.

Both actors are correct, and never more so was it shown tonight and for sometime in the unimaginative, pejorative and insulting manner in which male characters are treated. 

For example, on any given day on any established given forum, you'll find people asserting with authority that Phil is a thug and Alfie a doormat. Phil has been presented as a thug for the past 13 years, ever since Grant departed. To save time and money, TPTB tacked Grant's personality onto Phil's. Alfie is depicted as a doormat because he recognises that his love for Kat is unconditional.

Funny that, because I've never heard Tanya referred to in that manner, and had the actress not left the show, she'd still be taking Max back every time he strayed and forgiving him.

One thing Wareing said in her interview was funny, but true: She asserted, rightly, that it was totally unrealistic that numerous women would be pursuing Max Branning. Why, she wondered, would any woman chase a man who had "all those kids."

I suspect that was a kind euphemism which masked the real meaning - why would any woman be attracted to a wimpish, mumbling, bald-headed ginger whinger? For that matter, why would any woman pursue Phil Mitchell? Or Ian Beale? Or Alfie Moon? Or Terry Spraggan? Or Billy Mitchell? Take it further up the M1, and why woukd anyone pursue Tyrone or Garry Windass or Curt from Corrie?

There's a problem on most soaps these days, and it's a man thing.

The Shotgun Wedding.

Yes, Alfie was wrong to marry Roxy. But then, Max was wrong to marry Kirsty. And Phil was wrong to marry Nadia. And Kathy. And Kate. (There's a coincidence - marrying two women with the same name). Ian Beale was wrong to marry Mel - and certainly Cindy.

Truth is, Roxy knew, deep-down, that Alfie was intrinsically tied to Kat. No matter how hard she tried to convince herself otherwise. Even if they'd returned to Walford and Kat had remained across the Square, Roxy would literally shit herself every time Alfie had to communicate with Kat regarding something to do with Tommy.

Here's one thing that bugged me about that episode - a Simon Ashdown swansong, no less (but one wonders what Tony Jordan would have done with that episode, because at times it reminded me of the infamous Condom Episode - but with a great deal more charm) - what bugged me was the registry listed "Roxanne Lizette Mitchell" as a spinster, and she's not.

On the marriage document, you list your status at the time of your marriage. If you've never been married before, you're a spinster if you're a woman; if you're a man, you're a bachelor. If, however, you have been married, your status is "widow" or "widower" or "divorced."

Roxy married Sean. She may even still be married to him. At best, Roxy's status is "divorced." At worst, she's a bigamist.

Arguably, the ones stinking up this episode were Phil and Ronnie. Anyone whose first words of congratulations after getting married were "Welcome to the Family" uttered by Phil Mitchell would be wise to run the other way.

Whilst Shane Richie, Rita Simons and Jessie Wallace played blinders, the noseless, plastic-faced babysnatcher, who's done far far worse to the Moons than Alfie has done to Roxy, gave us a preview of the new psychopath in town. For the record, Alfie never intended on running out on Roxy after their marriage. Kat had gone, he was willing to move forward. Did he love Roxy? Yes, in his own way; but Roxy was right - he could never love Roxy the way he loved Kat. And the Mitchells want to think about how Jack pulled the same trick on Sharon at the altar, because that skaggy-haired botoxed psychopathic bitch had insinuated herself into his mind again, only to dump him unceremoniously months later.

It was Roxy who decided that Alfie should return to Kat. Line of the night goes to her:-

I love you, and I'm letting you go.

It's the old truism - when you love someone, sometimes you have to let them go. She nailed it when she said that she would be Alfie's wife and Tommy's stepmum, but she'd never hold the same place in his heart that Kat held.

That was big of Roxy and even bigger of her stopping Phil from manhandling Alfie back into a marriage. Yes, Alfie was wrong, but he refused to be cowed by Phil Mitchell, and he'll refuse in the near future as well. And Ian will pay also in the future, because the noseless Ice Queen has him also in her sights.

People criticised Sharon for her bizarre insistance that the proceedings go ahead in the wake of the aborted wedding, but no one's saying anything about Roxy's effort. She's a Mitchell, after all,and at the end of the episode, she started so brilliantly kicking back at Ronnie's interference.

Roxy can shout at Ronnie that she's an independent person and an adult all she wants. She can still be manipulated by Ronnie, and I was glad to hear Roxy reference Ronnie's interference in previous love affairs. But what did Ronostril say? That she wants to make Roxy happy? Not that she simply wants Roxy's happiness. No, she wants to make Roxy happy, to be the instrument of Roxy's happiness. I say that Ronnie is psycho-sexually obsessed with Roxy. If Archie's control mechanism was to sleep with his daughter, maybe Ronnie's control mechanism is to sleep with her sister.

Roxy is a 36 year-old woman, not a puppet or a child. She wailed about no one wanting her - Sean deserted her, because of her deception; Alfie simply loved someone more. And Roxy will never find happiness of  her own accord until she escapes from Ronnie's manipulation and domination. I don't know if many of the viewers have noticed, but the Mitchell sisters aren't winning any popularity contests amongst the inhabitants of the Square.

I tell you that the only viable outcome for this ageing dollybird and her psychopathic sister is for Roxy to be pushed one step too far by Ronnie's obsession with her and end up killing Ronnie.

Let's see who has the balls to enforce this storyline.

Lover, Come Back.

Yes, it was a typical Alfie and Kat tour de force, last seen in 2003 with the condom caper and Alfie's subsequent gatecrashing of Kat's wedding to the seriously short Andy Hunter. Hunter planned his own revenge, but ten years later, Alfie and Kat are still an endgame couple, and Andy Hunter is pushing up daisies after being pushed off an overpass by Jonnie Allen.

Once again, Ian's driven to his destination by Ian, whilst Bianca tries to keep Kat's flagging spirits up, by mouthing stock platitudes about Kat deserving happiness.

Of course, against all odds, Alfie arrives at the airport - on a purloined scooter, reminiscent of the way he arrived back in the Square in 2010, again, looking for Kat. In a symbolic way, the whole Alfie-and-Kat action in this episode was an unraveling of the monsters called Alfie and Kat whom Bryan Kirkwood foisted upon us. Newman set out to redeem Kat and re-establish the Moons as we knew them when they left the Square in 2005, and she achieved that, if nothing else.

Once again, as with the Hunter wedding, Alfie achieves the impossible. Yes, we know that there's no way he could have purchased a ticket - much less, Bianca having money - after the flight has been boarded; but Ashdown gave us this bit of dramatic licence.

I defy anyone who spent the last year, hating Kirkwood's alien Kat (and, yes, her redemption was rammed down our throats to the point of making us sick, who didn't end up rooting for the two to get back together. We knew it was going to happen. We sussed it, and the end was a reprise of their departure at Christmas 2005, with Kat begging reassurance and forgiveness from Alfie.

The couple who returned in 2010 were not Alfie and Kat. They were poorly written figments of Bryan Kirkwood's imagination who didn't fit at all into the ethos of EastEnders. Kat would never have cheated on Alfie after 2005. But now they're reunited, the cheating, on Kat's part, must end. Surely, Alfie's heart-felt and poignant confession of not being able to make sense of his life without Kat, so intrinsic a part of him that she is, would hit home to Kat. I'm sure it did, as cheesy as the inevitable man-in-the-moon line that ended the piece.

Now we're ready for a new darker Alfie, but he'll always love Kat.

Only Tony Jordan could have done this episode better, and this one's for him ...

Tony, come home ...

P S ...  Somewhere in that shower, Roxy seemed to lose Amy. Not that she or her child-snatching sister gives a rat's arse.

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