Monday's offering, in the wake of Thursday's revelations was a tale of two sets of brothers - one unaware of the other's existence and two who have finally come to terms with their filial relationship.
This was a genuinely good episode.
The Fortunate Son.
It's the day before Stan's court case, and he's sporting a rather spiffy cravat which happens to be hiding a rather spiffy bruise on his neck. Dean comes to call, and this provokes some bother.
Before that, however, we got a nifty little gander at the newly-painted Vic, with Nancy Carter giving a cosy vote of confidence to beloved Auntie Shirl, for waving her magic wand and giving them the Vic.
Add to that the concern of Phil Mitchell for what was revealed to him about Shirley Queen of Scrotes's drunken revelation about her sibling-son Mick. Gee, I guess that now makes Mick the Crown Prince of Cocks.
Anyway, look for a future storyline about Phil Mitchell getting lung cancer from having to breathe in Shirley's fag-stenched breath. Ugh! Can you imagine what it must have been like for him to kiss her? Like sucking in an ashtray, I should imagine.
In Carterville, there's more than a smidgeon of jealousy rising on Mick's part and suspicion about the entire family on Dean's. Dean's not as dumb as he used to be. He's had years of grafting and probably grifting on his own, and he is able easily to recognise a lie. The Carters, as a whole, came off a lot worse than Dean did tonight - from the self-righteous judgement of Nancy and Johnny, to Shirley's simple hypocrisy to Mick's growing jealousy of Dean.
Everyone in the pub is nice to Stan now for obvious reasons - trying to walk on eggshells around poor, pitiful Shirley. Isn't Mick interested, even in a lie, about how and why she attempted to drown him? Their invitation to Dean to break bread was as hollow a pie crust promise as anything, once they saw him cosying up to Stan, as if that were their sole prerogative, especially once he asked about the scarf around Stan's neck. They're also nice to Stan because now they realise that, were it not for his money, they wouldn't have the Vic, or they'd be a lot worse off - as well, they're crediting Queen Shirley for securing them their new business. The pedestal can't be built high enough.
It was actually quite sick to see Shirley respond to Dean's offer of reconciliation, when the viewer knew she was taking second best when she couldn't have the son who was actually on her mind. It dawned on me that when Shirley left Kevin, after several years, she ended up with Mick (when she burned down his pub), so she really did reject her subsequent three children in order to be a part of his life. Whenever this reveal comes about, it's going to have tremendous repercussions on Dean.
The scene in the front room of the Vic, when the moral recidivist section of the Carter family rounded on Dean for cosying up to Stan and getting an old man to "take the blame" for Dean's crime was one of the highlights of this episode, especially when Dean managed to show them their hypocrisy. No matter how long he's been away from Shirley or how long her lot have not known him, Dean has the measure of them. He knows the old man is lying, and he knows that Mick and silent Shirley are taking the cover too.
But the best part came in the kitchen scene, when Stan confessed to giving Dean an "incentive" to stick around his family, and calling in the debt Mick owed him. I couldn't believe the look of indignant entitlement on Mick's face. Did these people, two of whom (Mick and Shirley), had spent the better part of their lives trash-talking Stan and treating him like a piece of shite, really assume he'd give them the money to restore the Vic? We're not talking about children children here - Bobby or Tiff - we're talking about people in their late thirties and in their fifties. When any adult family member gives money to another adult family member, the form is to pay the money back, unless it's specifically a gift, and Stan never said that the money he gave to Mick was that. Even if he didn't, it's right and mete to want to repay money; instead, Queen Shirley changed the goalposts and claimed the money was her stake in the Vic, making her landlady as well as Linda (and this reveal is going to have as big a repercussion on Linda as on Dean).
Stan loaned the money to Mick. The pub's proving an earner. Now he wants to invest in a business for Dean, so he wants the money repaid. Mick's affronted, but how is his sister-mummy going to react? Will she want to see her "stake" in the Vic with Number One Son go to help establish Number Two Son in a business?
I like Dean. I love the way he reads these people like a book and takes no shit off any of them. I'm Team Dean here, all the way.
The Brothers from Different Mothers.
Pat and Kathy got mentions tonight ... hooray! That was a lovely scene between David and Ian, especially with Ian asking David to help him go through Lucy's things, which led to the mini discussion about Pat. That was absolutely lovely, Ian remembering that Pat had told him about Cindy's death and was on hand when he told the kids of her death, wishing Pat were on hand now because Pat "always knew what to do." That's true. She did. Ian misses Pat, David misses Pat, the whole damned show misses Pat.
Shirley is not and never will be Pat.
I'm liking how odd little details are being dropped into the episodes which - when the viewer picks them up - you know that this is going to lead to something major - David finding a prescription for Ian, most probably for something to make him sleep or to calm his nerves, was one such hint, but the other one was even more subtle: David rubbing the left side of his neck in discomfort after walking away from Nikki. That's called misplaced pain and it's one of the warning signs of a myocardial infarction. Heart attack, I'm guessing, what with the amount of starchy, fatty foods he manages to put away, along with the stress of his job, this impending wedding, his niece's death and Nikki pestering him.
The Off-White Wedding Blues.
Really, you just know that Carol being so happy, getting a trip to the Florida Keys and a wedding with all the trimmings is the biggest foreshadowing that it ain't gonna happen, if there ever was one. Apart from the rubbish rumble with Nikki, this was the Bianca I like, when she leaves off the shouting and screeching and hunkers down to find out the truth. Bianca knows David better than anyone, and she was right when she said that Nikki wasn't the threat - or even the "fret". David was. Because David, as much as he tries, doesn't do commitment. He's walked on a wife and two young children once before, he's walked out of every relationship when things began to get heavy, and whatever he might say, he was indeed, attracted to Nikki. David and Ian are similar in one thing - they like a cosy woman at home for comfort sex (Jane and Carol), but their types are more brassy, trophy blondes (Cindy, Mel and Glenda for Ian, Sam Mitchell, Cindy Beale, Naomi and Nikki for David) for excitement.
For me the biggest shock was finding out that Whitney was the phantom sympathy card troll. It was a shock, but it illustrated perfectly what I mean when I say that this murder storyline is as much a character study of the deceased as it is the people surrounding her. For me, Whitney came across as immensely sympathetic, even if her gesture was impulsive, childish and, on the surface, cruel. Throughout this storyline to date, Whitney has been the most honest depiction of someone's reaction to Lucy. Lucy was not a nice person. Like Ian, she looked down her nose at most of the community. She hated Whitney, and Whitney casually hated her back. They tolerated each other for Lauren's sake, but now we know that Lucy trolled and tormented Whitney through texts about her weight and the way she dressed.
The Beales might choose to beatify their dead, but others in Walford remember Lucy for what she was, and those are the people who accord Ian scant respect because of the way he's condescended to people in the community.