Sunday, October 19, 2014

Forget Shirley, We Want Elaine - Review:- 16.10.2014

I want Elaine in the bar. I want her name above the door and her shouting the odds at the punters. "The arsonist" can bugger off. The Vic is crying out for Elaine. I hope we see more of her.

This was a great episode, written by my favourite EastEnders writer, Daran Little. He writes so well for women characters. I only gave it 8 out of 10, however, for the obvious reasons - Dexter, Pricky Peter and Lauren's endless snogfest, mainly. Ironic that the episode featured two "overly-featured" family groups, past and present; but in the right hands, both were watchable.

There were, however, some niggles and some cryptic lines. And the big overriding theme of tonight's episode was all about adults being nothing more than overgrown children.

The Carter Conundrum.My guess is that Elaine could give Peggy a run for her money. She has the demeanor of early Pat and the feistiness of Peggy. It was also a good way of subtly introducing a backstory for Linda, having Elaine make any and all sorts of references to the past. In the true Peggy-and-Pat tradition, she's more than a bit of mutton dressed as lamb, but she's a positive character and very watchable - played by a good actress also.

It's obvious that Elaine is Mama Bear, and everyone else is her cub. Here's another reason behind Linda's childish demeanor - and Mick's air of puerility also. I've always said that Mick reinforces Linda's childishness, but it can also be said that Elaine's treated both Mick and Linda as her children for all the years they've lived with her. Getting the Vic really was their first big adult venture out into the world - ne'mind that, unbeknownst to them, they've sat themselves up with a paterfamilias (Stan) and a sister-mother in Shirley. So just like the set-up at Carol's, with Bianca being a part of the kids as a whole, Mick, Linda and their three children were all the babies to Elaine's Big Mama.

So Elaine treats Linda like a little girl, she treats Mick like a cheeky schoolboy, Mick has learned that the best way to get around Linda (besides sex), is to humour her in a child-like way, and the kids re-inforce that. Linda, in turn, encourages her adult children to reinforce their own childlike and innocent ways, which is why they act younger than they are.

Like kids, they have to entertain and be entertain - hence, the constant progression of "dos" in the pub. It's Bingo here, karaoke there, anything to entertain Linda and make her smile. "Smells Like Teen Spirit" ... Here we are now, entertain us. Even the dialogue between Elaine and Linda evoked childhood:-

Elaine: You're my little girl, and sometimes little girls need their mothers.

Yes, I know that a parent always views their child as their particular baby, but the difference here, with Linda, is that her entire family humours her as a child to the extent that her outlook on life, until the rape, has been that of a child - the frilly fancy prettiness of the wedding, her reminiscences of babies being almost like a little girl playing with dolls, her satisfaction with her own playschool wedding as a child. Her fear of actually getting married could be interpreted as being her fear of growing up and facing a bleak, adult world. It's as if she thought that a real marriage, an adult act, would put paid to her childish outlook on life and force her to grow up. It was more than a fear of Mick cheating on her, it was more a fear of leaving childhood behind - far safer to play house.

Exceot Linda has now been forcibly brought into the adult world by Dean, who raped her. Instead of Dean forsaking her for someone else, someone else forced himself upon her, and now he's playing with her mind, by covertly suggesting that their sex had been consensual.

There were a couple of things that intrigued me about Elaine. First, she said she was "coming that way" anyway (meaning, to Walford) to go to the Cash and Carry. Pardon? Elaine lives in Watford and has done for twenty-one years, meaning she moved to Watford about the time that Linda was sixteen, possibly right after Nancy was born. And she comes all the way to Walford from Watford for a Cash and Carry? 

Another thing that was mildly bizarre ... when she and Linda were talking in the kitchen, Elaine remarked that there wasn't a day that went by when she didn't think about "her little girl." I thought she was talking about Linda, but her next line was "she'd be so proud of you." What did that mean?

Even though it was another Carter do, I enjoyed seeing the older contingent having a good time, especially Les and Pam, and Les connecting through jokes with the odious Aunt Babe. And it was good to see Stan bantering with Elaine. 

I liked her, but I wonder what her intuition's picked up with Dean. Does she reckon he's pestering Linda, or does she reckon Linda might be attracted to him? It's quite frustrating to watch Linda's worry and unease. I can understand why she's reticent to tell anyone what happened to her, especially now that Dean is toying with her mind, making subtle, subconsicous suggestions that she tacitly consented to having sex with him. Perhaps she wonders that, herself; but the longer she lets this ride, and she had the absolute perfect opportunity to tell her mother, the more difficult it will be to prove, and that's the tragedy of this storyline.

The downside of this storyline tonight was the overt presence of Dexter. I think most viewers who watch the programme are counting the hours and the days before this offensive and totally worthless character leaves. His and Fatboy's stereotypical representations tonight fell flat, and I don't blame Linda for reacting the way she did, even on the best of days, because Nancy should have better taste than to snuggle up with a doofus like that.

Just now, with BBC News 24 on the telly, reports of rape are at an all-time high at the moment, so take heart from this storyline.

Brannings Revisited. Max met his match tonight. Really, he and Summerhayes deserve each other, but I'm of the opinion that her detective boyfriend is a bit of a psychocop, himself. I found it quite funny that he got bopped on the nose tonight, and it made the measure of the man who did it - and he's the guy who's also been stalking Pricky Peter and Lauren. Why? He was stalking them before the news about Summerhayes's involvement with Max was outed, and it seemed that he learned of her involvement from the disciplinary procedure she underwent and station gossip, as evidenced by his waiting for her as she left Max's house.

Do you have something you want to tell me?

I liked Stacey's home truths to Max, outside of the Vic, which veered from encouraging him, first, to fight for Summerhayes, and eventually reckoning that he deserved the punch he got. One of the two lines of the night goes to Stacey:-

You were seeing a copper?

Peter and Lauren have got to be the most boring, self-centred and entitled couple ever in the tradition of EastEnders' young romance. I know the actor who plays Peter is well-spoken, but tonight he was using that slow, dull, pedantic delivery that always reminds me of Tim Nice-but-Dim:-

His dozy dialogue and their poor attempts at joking, in between all the snogging and the pathetic scene where they sat, silently side-by-side, in the children's swings did absolutely nothing for me. Various EPs have paired Jacqueline Jossa with the resident male hunk (David Witts), the older married man (Jamie Lomas) and now the latest floppy-haired Brit boy with a posh accent (Ben Hardy), and she's flopped with all three. No chemistry. The only chemistry exuding there is the actress and how much she loves the camera upon her. A break - a long break where she has some drama lessons - might do her good, because she, effectively, stopped acting at the end of the infamous Branning week back in November 2011, and that's now coming up to three years. Any normal person on a contract in an ordinary job would have been dropped by now.

The question is: Why is this policeman keeping an eye on this pair? Peter ranks high on my list of suspects in Lucy's death, but so do Lee, Ronnie and Charlie.

It's Complicated. Isn't it amazing how Amy's gone from inarticulate mute to a spoiled, loud, little madam, whose every whim is catered to? Just what we need - another spoiled, entitled child.

Here's the scene (and you tell me if it doesn't have ROMCOM stamped all over it. Ronnie likes Charlie, but she's afraid to say so, so her latest story is that he tried to kiss her, but she "swerved" and wouldn't let him do it. Roxy likes Aleks, who's moved in and who's told her a bigger, more bare-faced lie than Alfie ever did - he's divorcing Marta and choosing Roxy. 

My arse. As we saw, he's installed Marta and Tiffany-Ineta in a nearby flat, which appears to be above a deli-cafe, with the excuse that he has to l live on the Square closer to his work. And he told them all of this on an excuse to Roxy that he was popping out to the offy. The Mitchell sisters are at it again - texting each other's boyfriends and pretending to be the love interest. Common enough behaviour in characters like Lola and Abi who are eighteen, but Roxy and Ronnie are - what? - 36 and 40

Charming, and it's good to see the sisters as they were originally - hell, I'm even liking Ronnie - but you have to remember that Roxy's being played (again), and that Ronnie's still killed a man, and that this will all end in tears and Phil going on a rampage ... and someone in a box.

Good episode.

Absolute line of the night:-

Aleks: That's the pot calling ... the saucepan black.
Ronnie (deadpan): It's kettle.

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