Sunday, December 21, 2014

Saint Mick/Old Nick - Review - 15.12.2014

It's The Nick'n Mick Show!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A-run run Ronnie ...
A-run run Ronnie ...
Don't miss nothing.

A run-of-the-mill episode, heralding not only the build-up to the festive Carter season, but also the beginning of the build-up to the revelation as to which psychopath (or double combination thereof) killed Lucy Beale.

Will Lauren have the guts and gumption to tell Ian that she can't ever be emotionally involved with Posh Prick Peter because he's an enabler and she's an addict? Will Abi pass her driving test (judging by the humongous car crash in the Christmas trailer, it's dubious)? Will Dot collectively, rather than figuratively, smack the Mitchells in the face and tell them to feck off?

Who knows?

This was actually a good episode - good in historical continuity (even though that's a bad phrase at the moment, and good in showing just how truly bad, hypocritical and downright psychopathic certain characters are.

So we begin with Nick, and we end on a suitably childish note for Mick ...

Mommie Dearest. I am no Shirley fan. In fact, 90% of the time, these days, I think her utterly despicable, and tonight, in the aftermath of discovering Sylvie, I still thought her despicable, even though I understood why she was taking the action she was pushing.

It's called CYA - Cover Your Arse.

Even though Sylvie wasn't a part of the action tonight, her off-screen presence pervaded everything about the Carters - I'm talking about the childlike Carters, because Lee and Nancy, the adults, had other things on their mind.

Mick can't stop thinking about Sylvie. Like the brother whom he thinks is his nephew, he wants his mum and has rejection issues. And it niggles him that she can't remember him. Actually, it really shouldn't. As an Alzheimers sufferer, not recognising close relatives, much less those whom she hadn't seen since infancy, is part and parcel of the disease. In a pinch, such a person could deny every having had children or a child. Most sufferers live in a shadowy memory of their distant past. That's the sort of message Shirley should be telling him, as a means of comfort, but nope ... she's shitting herself about the prospect of any further association with Sylvie bringing about an inconvenient and unfortunate truth.

Shirley was in typical, snide, bitter mode tonight, which didn't do much for eliciting sympathy for a character for whom the EP wants his loyal subjects to feel immense sympathy. First of all, there was her overt reaction to Linda knowing about Sylvie.

Shirley: You didn't tell'ER, didja?
Mick: Course I told'er. She's my wife.
 (No, she's not, Mick; she's the woman with whom you live and the mother of your children, but that's beside the point).
Shirley: You're not natural, you two!

No, Shirley. You're not natural. What is natural is Mick confiding in Linda, his life partner. As Linda has often, ironically, remarked, she and Mick have no secrets from each other ... well, there is one, but we won't talk about that now. What is natural is what Linda points out that isn't - it isn't natural to keep a mother away from her children. 

Boy, that remark was packed with innuendo. Sylvie left her children, and now she's back; and, surprisingly, Mick wants to see her, and Linda is adamant that Tina be told. Shirley abandoned three of her children, one of whom was disabled, and now she's hovering, lovingly, over Number One Son (who thinks he's her brother).

And finally, we have the typical Shirl moment when she wants to exclude Linda from the proceedings. Half kudos to Mick for sticking up for Linda than, but only half - so worked up is he about Sylvie and what she said, that he's not worried about Linda, the pregnancy, her appointment with the midwife or what she offers him ...

I know you're worried about your mum, Mick, but I'm still here for you.

Little does Linda realise that she's been second fiddle to Mick's real mum for almost a year.

For the first time tonight, Babe seemed almost human. The Carters really are a pathetic bunch at pretending to be adults. I thought Mick was the person who did the cooking. Linda is supposedly a horrendous cook, and I don't see how that can ever be. Anyone who can read a recipe correctly can cook something. I appreciate keeping a pub kitchen going might be beyond there ken or what they can afford, but they managed even to ruin the pot stew Babe had cooked up earlier.

Of course, Babe was angry about what had happened, but her description of Sylvie's reaction to the previous events was brutally real when it comes to Alzheimers' patients. Sylvie was confused, wanting to fix breakfast for "her girls" (meaning Shirley and Tina), disoriented, rambling. I know Shirley got to Babe by text, telling her that Mick wouldn't let go of the idea of bringing Sylvie to the Vic and introducing her to everyone, and it was actually very true, if to Shirley's advantage, what Babe said about people who suffer from Alzheimers.

They do need routine and a calm environment. They don't cope well with sudden change or a sudden introduction to a new venue or new people. Introducing Sylvie to a family she hasn't seen in nearly forty years, complete with members about whom she knew nothing, could prove a crisis. What was really despicable - and desperate on Shirley's part - was suggesting that they put Sylvie in a care home, where she can be looked after. Masking this as concern for Babe shouldering all the responsibility of looking after Sylvie as well as concern for Sylvie's welfare was well served with a dose of crocodile tears which were tears of fear on Shirley's part that Mick would prove strong enough to insist on having Sylvie brought around, introduced to Stan again, only for her to have a moment of lucidity and reveal exactly what happened in that caravan 38 years ago.

The circumstances played right into Shirley's hands.

There was a moment of bleak, black humour in that this was played against a backdrop of a "business lunch" for the Cokers, which turned out to be a slap-up meal for elderly people on the brink of death, in hopes that they would sign up to some sort of funeral plan with Les. Shirley, rudely, called Pam out on what the set-up was - (pot, meet kettle, as if Shirley has never deceived before), but Pam readily admitted that that's exactly what their intentions were.

It takes a special kind of bitterness to sneer at Pam Coker.

Shirley, yuck.

Suicide Blonde.

Listen, I know baby showers. I come from the country which invented them, and men - not the prospective father, not any male relative and certainly not the ex-boyfriend of the sister of the prospective mother - do not attend them. It's a bonding experience for the pregnant mum, her female relatives and friends. So why Ronnie reminded Phil that he was due to attend her baby shower is beyond my ken. Or why Aleks even thought to show up - ok, he wanted to see Roxy - but this is something men simply do not do.

Still, it was beyond sad that, apart from Roxy, there wasn't a single woman Ronnie knew, who attended the shower, and no one from the Square. Neither Sharon nor Lola, who are family members, could be bothered to attend. Bottom line, precious few women, apart from Roxy, like Roswell Ronnie, and now Dot doesn't like her either.

What is totally amazing and ueber hypocritical about Ronnie is that she disdains Nick Cotton as a common criminal, but she is on the same level as he is - that is, crawling from the woodwork. She's kidnapped a child, threatened his parents and she's killed a man. Doesn't matter if the man was a bad'un (who was any worse that Jack Dalton?), she's done murder.

The conversation she had with Phil, demanding that he do something about Nick Cotton, and even using Dot as an excuse, offering up that line about Dot deserving better than Nick in her life, even almost pleading with Phil about the danger inclement on Charlie, on Dot, on her from harbouring a criminal, was ironic, and the irony was reflected in the astounded look Phil gave her. 

The writer, Rob Gittins, should have had Phil remind her of the incipient danger he, Sharon and Roxy were in from harbouring a criminal - her.

The difference between Phil and Ronnie is that Phil knows Nick from way back - from the days when Peggy and Dot were friends. He knows that Nick means as much to Dot as he and Grant do to Peggy, and that there isn't anything a mother wouldn't do for her son. Phil can only warn Nick - that's all he's prepared to do, and hope for the best. That Ronnie thinks money would rid Dot of Nick shows just how much she doesn't know either Nick or Dot.

There's one truth about Nick: He always returns. Sometime, sooner or later, he finds his way back to Dot. No matter what Nick's done, Dot loves him unconditionally. She can tell him to leave, time and again; but when he needs her for whatever reason, he returns and she's there. Just as Phil is for Ben. Just as Carol is for her brood and Max is for his. Nick has dished Dot some serious shit in her time, but she's forgiven him everything, and in his own warped way, Nick loves her, because he knows that she's the only person in the world to love and accept him, warts and all.

Phil knows and understands that. So did Peggy. And so did the high-and-mighty Beales and Fowlers, the remnants of which aren't above telling Dot what they've always told her -that she'd be better off without Nick in her life.

Ronnie's a psychopath for whom Nick's presence upsets her perfect notion of having a bog-cleaner's baby - a bog cleaner, who's another psychopath as dangerous and controlling as she is. Not only is she trying to get Phil to sort Nick out (as if she's not capable of it, herself), she's interposed herself onto the Cotton dynamic and tries to call the shots.

Prior to all of this, the scene in the cafe with Roxy, I thought callous and cold. Roxy told her Aleks was leaving Walford, as soon as he found a place for himself and for Ineta. Ronnie informed Roxy that Roxy was better off without Aleks, referring to his daughter as "baggage." Remember when Ronnie convinced Joel to leave his wife and three daughters? Ronnie didn't give a rat's arse about then, telling Joel that they could have their own child?

Demanding that Nick be locked up in his room all the time is patent evidence of her psychopathy beginning to veer out of control. It was also a brilliant tip to a past storyline and a warning that those who are ignorant of the past are condemned to repeat it. Ronnie never thought that Dot would have a key to the rooms in her house, or that she would return and hear Nick pleading for her to let him out. It was bad enough that Nick told her Phil Mitchell had broken into the house after Beale "squealed" (another tip to the past, as Ian was always known as "Squeal Beale") to Phil about Nick's presence, it was Ronnie, who'd demanded that he be locked up.

Now we get the measure of Dot.

Her scene with Ronnie was easily the best scene of the episode. Heretofore, Ronnie had always got along with Dot, and Dot had always had a soft spot for her; but threaten, harm or mistreat Dot's child, and she's a virago, in a cold and mannered way. Absolutely brilliant that Dot called Ronnie out on presuming to interfere in the situation in the Cotton household and that she should demand that Dot's child be locked away. Even when Ronnie tried to emotionally blackmail her by asking if she'd rather have Nick with her or see her great-grandchild be born in prison, Dot didn't miss a beat ...

That ain't much of a choice, is it?

Dot washed her hands of Ronnie, not even rising to Ronnie's plea for help. The vicar had called her earlier, she says. He also wanted her help - with the Nativity at the church. In fact, Dot reckoned the vicar was more deserving of her help that Ronnie. But before that, she reminded Ronnie of something very prescient - Dot had tried to lock Nick in his room before, even going as far as to have Pete Beale nail him shut in the room. Nick escaped, and killed Eddie Royle.

In case you don't remember or this was before your time, have a gander ...

Who says the past doesn't reflect upon the present or even the future?

Ronnie's controlling nature, part of her psychopathy, sees her begging Phil to cough up the other half of the money they've promised Nick, which means that somehow - between Charlie, Ronnie, Dot and Yvonne, they've managed to cobble together 5 grand. Kudos to Phil for refusing, because he knows that Nick will always return, but Ronnie's always thought that money could buy anything - it bought Sam and her baby by Jack out of Ronnie's comfortable life, and it's no good Ronnie trying to manipulate Phil by insinuating that Phil would often have liked to have seen Grant or Sam out of his life, for the trouble they caused. Why not insinuate that Peggy would have been better off without an alcoholic or a crackhead for a son? The absolute richness of Ronnie is that she even thought to approach Ian Beale to provide the money that would get Nick out of Walford. More than anything, this raises my suspicions about her having killed Lucy or having had a part in her death even more. Psychopaths can neatly compartmentalise criminal behaviour as well as some people can compartmentalise sex.

I'm calling it. I'm betting Ronnie and/or Charlie try to set Nick up as Lucy's killer.

The absolute gem of this storyline is Mrs Doyle (Ah, gwan gwan) hoodwinking Ronnie and stitching her up like the proverbial kipper. Yvonne played Ronnie, and she fell for the game.

Psychopaths eventually get caught at their own game.

Roxy Music. Roxy has a heart, and when it suits her, it's filled with compassion. What happened with Aleks isn't the fault of his child, whose own secure world has been ripped apart. He's finding a place to stay for himself and her, and he has genuine feelings about Roxy, but he needs stability for his daughter. Roxy wants him to stay, so she provides a prospectus for Walford High. Roxy, at least, doesn't regard Ineta as "baggage."

DimmerHaze. I gather Summerhayes's discplinary hearing didn't go according to plan, although I can't believe the front of Max for wanting to accompany her. Wave a red flag to a bull, anyone? Keeble and Co appear to have offered her a lifeline, but what does it entail? Obviously, something to do with the Brannings, but what?

Abi's eyebrows have a life of their own. Is she even thinking about getting a job? Max subsidising his two adult daughters is beyond belief.

Cry Me a Moon River.

Well, it's not rocket science, is it? According to Donna, the rent on Terry's old flat was paid up until the end of November, so the Moons are officially squatting. Again.

Of course, Lee's goodwill telephone call to the landlord means he or she will officially find out they have unofficial tenants again - but surely Kat would be aware that they're squatting now? By the way, didn't Janine formerly own that property? Ava lived there.

I love Kat and Alfie, but he will never get a fair shake until certain people in the writing room depart. This is an endgame couple, and Kat is more intricately tied to Alfie than, say, Linda is to Mick. Linda has had a Mickless epiphany and realises that life goes on. Should Mick depart this mortal coil or split for some reason, she has the knowledge, the personality and the mother to help her make a successful go of the Vic on her own. Kat, without Alfie, becomes another struggling single mum, eking out an existence on a market stall and whining about feeding her kids, all of whom are under five. In other words, Bianca.

I hope the New Year gives the Moons some good luck.

The Elephant in the Room. Ian, Peter is not a quitter. He's an enabler and every addict's worst nightmare of good intentions. Lauren knows this, and now Peter does as well, which is why he said that there was too much history (that word again) between them.
Good episode. 

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