Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Irredeemably Evil Beales - Review:- Friday 05.06.2015

Jesse O'Mahoney earned his stripes with this episode. A perfect ten.


There's a new type of love triangle in the offing, and it's coincidental with another more traditional type ... and Jay's on the case in the former.

In the traditional corner, we have Pam-Les-Claudette. With Paul on the case in this one. Pam is not only hung over, she's upset about something, and Paul thinks he knows the reason. It comes from Pam's emotional outburst during her party the night before, so Paul's a man on a mission to put the mockers on Les's affair with Claudette.

Les is shitting himself - as the man says two funerals and a cremation on a hangover is no one's idea of a good day.

Les might be a hammy sort of guy. I thought gurning and white-eyed eye-rolling went to New Zealand with Lauren, but that aside, he's essentially a decent man; so he ends his affair with Claudette, another Class-A-type entitled bitch, who subtly refuses to believe that Les is actually dumping her. Who the hell is she to say he can't end their affair, that he would never sustain it?

Girlfriend, you are the other woman. Suck it up. He loves his wife, yet she has the audacity to tell him he'd be back to her. (Look, this is soap; he'll be foolish enough to get back with Claudette, and Claudette will probably be arrogant enough to allow Claudette to discover the affair).

However, the usually boring Coker vignette gave us the opportunity to get a bit of backstory on Paul's relationship with his grandparents, as well as uncross the wires that have remained crossed for years.

Something's been lost in translation between Pam and her grandson. We know that Paul took off and left because he witnessed a moment of intimacy between Les and Claudette and presumed correctly that they were having an affair. Pam presumed he left because he couldn't forgive her for aiding his father in committing suicide, and Pam has believed this and berated herself for it for years.

I like Jonny Labey. He's more than the requisite pretty face with the looks of a boy band idol or a Continental footballer with his Alice band. He's genuinely good at the role. Yes, we know he went from being a name on a piece of paper to the contingency plan after Sam Strike struck his tent and left. He's a sensitive lad, comfortable in his sexuality, who loves and is devoted to his grandmother. 

Forget Phil and Sharon, forget the over-emotional Beales and their cruelty, the most poignant scene tonight was the moment shared between Pam and Paul, when Pam related how eaten up and angry with guilt she had been since Laurie's death, blaming herself for that and for Paul leaving. She was upset the previous evening because she took Paul's moodiness to mean he couldn't stomach being around her after what she'd done.

When Paul told her that he thought she was amazingly strong in character to have assisted Laurie in ending his life. In fact, he admired her for doing that, and thanked her for helping ease his father's pain and forgave her. 

That doesn't mean he's still not giving the fish-eye to Les, whom he has in his sights. Just don't forget that Claudette is a rank bitch, and she hates Paul.

In the non-traditional corner, we have Abi, Ben and Paul.

The first scene of Abi and Ben traipsing through the market after having had a night of sex in The Arches was reminiscent of the fateful scene of Lucy Beale and Lee Carter running barefoot through the market having been discovered in flagrante delicto by Ian. Yet it was slightly skewed. Abi was clutching some sort of longish cardi around her and giggling about not being able to believe she was actually naked under the piece of clothing.

I couldn't believe it either. Abi was fully clothed in jeans, a top and a teeshirt when she seduced Ben. What happened to her clothes? Duh, you do wake up in the morning, even if you play away, and you always have the clothes you wore the previous day to hand. This was just a bit of contravention to emphasise the fact that, you know, Abi and Ben slept together.

They have to run into Jay and regale him of their adventures. (I still get the impression that Abi really wants to advertise her relationship with Ben, most especially, to Jay.)

Of course, Jay knows better, and he's got the measure of both Ben and Abi, especially Ben. Is it normal for someone to sleep with a girl and then spend hours trolling his Grindr (here known as Crusadr) app, looking at pictures of hot gay men? This is what Jay wants to know, and Ben tries to explain that this is something very normal and it's what most men do nowadays.

Really, Ben?

Jay's reaction was classic, and very astutely put.

That's not normal, that's desperate. And Abi? She's desperate too.

Jay and Abi were together for years, and evne though they've split, he still cares about her and doesn't want to see her hurt; nor does he want to see Ben trying to convince himself that he's anything other than gay, for whatever reason to please Phil. (Interesting, also, that when Ben found out about Phil's plight, he wasn't sympathetic at all). If Ben is serious about loving Abi, he'll prove it to Jay by deleting the Grindr/Crusadr app from his phone completely.

Ben does, but when he gets a text from Paul wanting to see him, Ben's response is a very positive definitely.

Ben looks like the cat who's caught the canary. He'll swing both ways, until Jay catches him with Paul and makes good his promise to tell Abi.

This clock is ticking.

The Notting Hill Gang.

It was well-deserved karmic comedy seeing Phil Mitchell on his back foot, forced to sleep at Roxy's and dashing off without breakfast, desperately seeking Sharon. Sharon's having a business meeting with Vincent, who - curiously - becomes a lot more bearable and low-key when you separate him from the likes of Kim or Ronnie. Vincent appreciates Sharon's business experience, but at the end of the day, she's Phil's wife. How can he trust her?

If Ben is desperate, Phil's even moreso. Desperate enough to barge into the Fox-Trueman house and interrupt the proceedings, offering Sharon a bigger and better bar in a better location, but Sharon's having none of it. Vincent simply watches, bemused. When Sharon storms out of the house, Phil confronts Vincent.

Phil: You know the deal. You got The Albert, and you were to leave my family alone.
Vincent: It seems like your family can't leave me alone, Phil. Look at you. You're a mess. You're all over the place.

He's right. As soon as Sharon's caught Phil in a humongous lie, as soon as she reacts against Phil's perceived type, he loses control. Yet he's like this as well, when Ronnie goes on a rampage. Sharon's been controlled to a point before; but lying to her about her birth father is trying to prevent Sharon from knowing herself.

Phil has his reasons.

This time, he gives her an address in Notting Hill, and she's confronted with a huge mansion in a well-appointed part of the neighbourhood. 

This is very interesting. When Sharon arrived and got out of the taxi, she walked to the gate, looking at the upstairs window. There was a single shot from above, looking down at Sharon as she stood, peering through the gate, as if from the view from the upstairs window. I got the impression that someone was looking at Sharon, and that someone knew who she was.

Was it Gavin? Or Kathy? Phil said, when he gave her the address that he had never met her birth father, and I can't remember if Phil actually met Gavin or not.

However, when Sharon returned home, the conversation she and Phil had was more than a bit skewed as well. Sharon making the pilgrimage to this address gave Phil some wriggle room. He knows Sharon well enough to know she wouldn't barge up to the door, knock and introduce herself. This is the woman, who, when she found Carol Hanley, sent Michelle Fowler ahead as a reconnaissance party to suss Hanley out as a person. She wouldn't be so presumptuous, and Phil knows it.

The yarn he spun about seeing the mansion and being overwhelmed by it, the spiel about if he lost a business, he'd graft, even doing manual labour, to re-build his assets, but realising that the Notting Hill house represented real wealth, he was afraid Sharon would leave him for that and he'd lose her.

(That's it, Phil, play the victim and make Sharon feel guilty). Sharon then admitted that she felt the same sense of insignificance upon seeing the area, and felt that she belonged there, with Phil). We even got Sharon apologising for using Ben and bringing up the K-word, when the K-word was probably eyeing her from that upstairs window. Phil's sly smile when he hugged Sharon and welcomed her back to the fold showed his deceit. 

That address was one of two things:-

- it was either a bogus address, chosen by Phil because he knew Sharon well-enough to know that if she were slightly intimidated by Carol Stretton Hanley's comfortable middle class existence, that she'd be totally intimidated by this mansion and its inference of natural wealth.

- it really was where Gavin and Kathy are holed up, and Sharon was intimidated for the above reasons. And she was being watched.

I believe the latter.

Can Someone Put the Beales Out of Their Misery, Please? All of Them. 

I have to admit. This was extremely difficult to watch tonight. Not because it as badly enacted; it wasn't. It was just such a horrible and realistic depiction of abject cruelty, it made me wonder what Kathy is going to make of the shower going down at the Beale household.

I can't see any redemption for either Ian or Jane in this instance. They were both abominable. It's obvious that Ian's mental breakdown of a couple of years ago wasn't just a blip and that Ian has had severe mental issues for years now, probably since his youth and certainly since his sham marriage to Mel.

Ian and Jane were actually proposing to hold Cindy prisoner, locked in the house until she allowed them to proceed with Beth's adoption. I don't know if either of them, in their infinite arrogance and entitlement realised it, but what they were proposing to do was against the law, so let's add false imprisonment to the Beales' collective rap sheet, because that's against the law too.

Psycho Bobby, however, up and about in his killer pjs, knows that Cindy's been out and about for hours. You have to get up really early to fool Cindy.

I am totally glad Cindy brought Carol into the equation and insisted that she stay throughout all her conversations with Ian, even to the point of begging her. I thought Carol was particularly shaken when Ian got cruelly personal with Cindy in the Jackson-Butcher front room, trash-mouthing Cindy's mother - who, when he's in a certain frame of mind, is the love of Ian's life and whose children possessing the Cindy gene have received special treatment from Ian. He was verbally attacking Cindy in the most malicious way possible, and when she ran into the kitchen, intent on telling Carol about what happened to Lucy, when Ian got physical and started twisting her arm, Carol was appalled as was Liam. I really thought at one point in the episode that Ian and Jane were going to start beating Cindy.

Kudos to Cindy for standing up to Ian, which only enraged the weaselly coward further. Ian and Jane weren't worried about protecting Bobby, they were worried about covering their own fat arses. Cindy isn't phased at all by Ian's threats. Her cry of freedom:-

I'm not afraid of you!

But Ian was afraid of her and the havoc she'd wreak if she let rip with the truth. In fact when Ian returned home without Cindy, he and Jane were shitting themselves at the prospect and shat themselves some more when Cindy returned. They'd been wondering if Carol would have called the police. (She would have). They could barely contain themselves when Cindy drew the moment out before she told them that she didn't tell the truth. She kept it to herself. But she still won't be moved.

The most ironic line of the night came from the Beale house of horror when Jane exclaimed:-

I won't be held hostage by a teenager.

But that's exactly what the Beales were proposing to do with Cindy. Hold her hostage until she bent to their will. They cared nothing for her, she just had something they wanted, and they would be willing to "allow" her to remain under their roof out of some sort of warped gratitude for bestowing a child upon them.

Ian's whiney resignation remark We've lost her was the height of entitlement and simply pathetic. Lost her? As if the baby were a prize in a competition. It also angered me that, at the end of the episode, Ian was still referring to Beth as "our little girl." No, Ian. She never was your little girl. She was Cindy's daughter, Cindy Beale's granddaughter and also the granddaughter of Nick Hammond. Nothing to do with you and you had no right to her.

Rather than suffer seeing Cindy put the child with strangers, Jane the Bovine Queen calls Bianca and Terry, and we got a fleeting glimpse of Terry Spraggan coming to take the child. Poor kid - not even TJ was excited at the prospect, but - as Cindy, who was visibly distressed at the child going, but not giving an inch at the overt guilt trip Jane was laying on her, observed, Terry was a good man. This also gave Ian an opportunity to trash mouth his own niece as inadequate enough to bring up the child. His worst assessment was that Beth would be brought up in - his words - a house full of children.

Well, at least none of those children have committed murder. 

Speaking of which, the putrid little psycho-killer gave Cindy the look of death, immediately before Ian kicked her out, with nothing but the clothes she's stood up in.

Ian and Jane are two of the cruellest and most hateful characters on this show. Shirley at her most vile would never have reacted in such a way.

Were I Cindy, I'd go directly to Carol, tell her what happened that night in the Beale house, and call the police.

When karma bites the Beales, I hope it bites hard. They've got ample room between them for a big bite.

Ian and Jane were like a couple of sulky kids whose favourite toy had been taken away. They are supposed to be the adults. 

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