Sunday, July 5, 2015

Here's Another Fine Mess - Review:- Friday 26.06.2015

Actually, I thought this was the best - and arguably the most poignant - episode of the week. In every respect. The only letdown was the protracted presence of Liam the Lug, the giant slug.

The Coward, the Sneak and the Big Twist. Spot the single biggest moral coward (and otherwise) in Walford. His name is Kush. Caught between the proverbial rock and the hard place where his brain is lodged between his legs. Credit to him for pulling back just as Stacey was trying to strip him down and have him on the kitchen floor. Methinks that Kush has been in this situation before and knows he's onto a hiding to nothing. Cheaters most generally always get caught, and you have to think he's either too afraid or that he genuinely does think too much of Shabnam to put her through such misery.

It's interesting that it's he who pulls back from going whole hog on the situation, yet Stacey's still concerned with only herself and how this affects her.

Do you think I want to do affairs? I've been there.

Yes, but, you dozy mare, this is yet another man who's committed, to whom you think you are entitled. I have to keep telling myself, convincing myself, that maybe Stacey's beginning the onset of a bi-polar episode, because this entire incident shows her in an extremely bad light. As Kush kept reminding her from the onset, she was Shabnam's friend, until at the end, he reminded her forcefully that she was, indeed, Shabnam's friend, but not his. I did sense a heavy déja vu in the final scene between Kush and Stacey at the hospital, because it strongly brought to mind the similar scene, also at Walford General, between Charlie and Roxy, when he warned her to stay away from him.

Stacey reckons she can stay away, but - as she rightly questions - can Kush? Because, make no mistake, Kush led in this warped relationship, the moment he decided to take advantage of Stacey's vulnerability immediately after Kat's and Alfie's departure, when he thought Shabnam had dumped him and he needed his ego (and something else) stroked.

Of course, we know that Kush is going to continue to buzz around Stacey, especially with the news the viewers and Shabnam got in the final duff-duff. I must say, that's a turn-up for the books. I know Shabnam slept with Kush ages ago - and by ages ago, I mean she should be showing by now, so I'm assuming that, on the QT and off-screen (where so much of the non-Carter action of the show), Shabnam's recently, within the past month or so, been sleeping with Kush. Well, she did enter into the relationship, initially, after Kush cried and gave the audience the first edition of the "dead wife speech", and thus it became a "friends-with-benefits" arrangement.

Before I comment on what became the ethos of this storyline, I'm amazed by the abrupt change in stance by Nancy. Kush and Stacey arrived, together, at the Community Centre, and Nancy was distinctly giving Stacey the fish eye, after warning her to stay away from Kush. From Stacey's visible squirming and the constrained and constipated look on her face, it's good to know she still has a soupçon of a conscience about betraying her friend, as well as being shit-scared by Nancy's moral stance.

There was then the juxtaposed dichotomy of bigotry on both sides of this situation - from the girl gang member, hissing at Shabnam to "go home," to Bushra's bigoted reaction to Stacey being included in the Iftar event. She could just about stomach Tamwar's association with Nancy, and she wanted to use the occasion to preach and educate about Islam. As Tamwar remarked, most of the people there attended what looked like a food bank, for something to eat, and Masood handed Bushra her arse, yet again, by welcoming Stacey - whom Bushra insisted on calling "Sarah" - to the event.

And, beautifully and subtly underplayed, in the midst of this scene, we have Cora, dishevelled and looking more the worse for wear, meanders silently through the gathering into the ladies' room, unseen and unrecognised by anyone.

Of course, the crux of this storyline was the purely accidental, very poignant and utterly ethereal meeting between Shabnam and her daughter. It was a very affecting scene - and it even included the ubiquitous Carter involvement. The camera pulling back slowly from a stricken and collapsed Shabnam lying by the seesaw in the playground, to show the back of a young child watching her intently.

Double-edged sword line of the night, undoubtedly went to Jade, as she watched Shabnam regain consciousness:-

I thought you were dead.

This remark being followed by the child approaching Shabnam and gently stroking her hijab in an act of comfort was not only extremely moving, you simply had the eerie feeling that the child knew who Shabnam was. Considering that, until this moment, Jade had been proving to be a mouthy, quirky and smart-arsed child - obviously her mother's daughter - with Shabnam, she seemed to show a softer side. Yes, it could have been compassion at seeing someone so injured and beaten up, but it was a mature reaction and charged with subtle recognition.

And, of course, when Mick - Jade's uncle - appeared, decided - upon seeing how seriously Shabnam was hurt - to call an ambulance, and asked the child's name, the moment she said her name was Jade, Shabnam's face was a portrait. With the risk of sounding corny, it was as if the child were her mother's guardian angel.

That's what made Shabnam's admitted reaction to Stacey so shocking, that she felt nothing when she saw the child. There was no immediate love, no maternal yearning, but there are loads of reasons for this. Shabnam gave birth to Jade under isolated and traumatic circumstances. She was conflicted about having had a child, in secret, out of wedlock and outcast. Of course, deep down, she loved the child; she loved her enough to leave her on the doorstep of people she loved and trusted, and she developed the relgious veneer, and the shield of the hijab, to mask her emotions and move on. She's not brought the child up. She's the incubator, and coming in contact with her, under an unusual and, again, a traumatic situation, heightens all her fears and insecurities.

Shabnam has spent the past six years hating herself and trying to regain respect for herself. Then there's the race hate beating and her child rescuing her, ending with the discovery that, again, she's pregnant, unmarried and - unbeknownst to her - with another creep as the child's father, and she's thrown down the well of self-doubt again.

I'm glad, in the midst of this storyline, the show is alluding to race hatred and racism coming to the fore again, especially against Asians, but I have to admit that, whilst Masood was beating on the broken drinks machine, when Tamwar gave a final smack to it, I thought, for a moment, he'd walk away and a drink would dispense.

Gee, Tamwar could have been the Fonzarelli of Walford.

A Kid Called Jade. I liked her. She's smart-arsed and intelligent, and she had Shirley and Dean played. Dean is confronted with the result of a drunken shag, a child about whom he's waxed lyrical since finding out that she existed, and he totally bottles it. He is forced to admit to himself that he doesn't want the responsibility of this child, he cannot even talk to her. He literally had to be physically prompted by Shirley to speak to his daughter and all he could come up with was ...

"Y'all right?"

Jade had his shallowness pegged from the getgo.

That my dad?
Can't he speak for himself?

She was canny enough to know that Shirley had no toys for a child in the house, wasn't interested in colouring books, and so she brought her own game. I'll have to say it for Shirley, and in her favour, she genuinely tried with the child, tried to reach out to her, but this is a child who's been in care, and parentless, all her life. She certainly has Shabnam's edginess and brittleness. She's wary of these strangers who are her blood relations, and she's holding them at arm's length, testing them.

Shirley made the mistake of assuring Jonathan, her carer, that she and Dean were well-equipped to deal with Jade's CF, admitting that Dean's brother had the disease. Yet when Jade asked where Jimbo was, neither could bring themselves to tell her he was dead, and Dean decided then and there that he wanted out of he situation.

In the meantime, Buster is bonding with Carol in the cafe, admitting to her that Shirley had kicked him out when he refused to support her insistence in bringing Dean into the equation about their grandchild. He's right. Jade's mother doesn't want to know about her, and Dean was entering into this situation for all the wrong reasons. The kid was better off in care.

In fact, they couldn't even control her movements in the home when she was visiting, because she disappeared - and was found by Mick, guarding her mother.

So far, so good in the realism. Jonathan the carer is well within his remit in not supporting this shower for custody. As he said, he's seen kids in crisis better behaved than the war going on between Dean and Shirley. Dean doesn't know what he wants. He's a rapist, with rejection and anger issues; and I think he felt or had conditioned himself to feel that Jade was going to reject him, and the kid, who's perspicacious, picked up on his creepy vibes. Shirley wants the child as atonement for Jimbo, and it was mete that Jade heard Dean accuse Shirley of not even coming to Jimbo's funeral.

What was audacious was Buster's volte face in the end, promising to back Shirley's efforts for custody of the child. Because of the blood tie. Well, as we saw tonight, sometimes blood counts for nothing. As the wife of an adoptee, who's traced his biological parents, trust me. I know.

Mr Funk's Donkey Dinner. The two most positive male characters in the programme at the moment have to be Buster and Patrick. 

Patrick is a bloody joy and an icon. He won't be bought by Vincent and sees right through his lies. Vincent can easily spin yarns that the idiotic Kim will believe, and she'll believe Vincent over Patrick now; but Patrick has been there and done that with Paul. 

The pivotal moment in their scenes came when an exasperated Patrick, not believing either the lies about Vincent's vast sums of money coming from The Albert or his malarkey about his one song cut as a rapper and the money being "royalties," referred to Vincent as "boy."

Gosh, this brought back memories of Paul Trueman!

Patrick doesn't stint in saying exactly what he thinks of Vincent, even to calling Kim a fool for getting involved with him. When Denise, who had a classic line about Vincent doing the club tours ~ What did they call you in Ibiza ... Mr Funk?~ tries to calm Kim's reactions and justify Patrick's concerns, Kim has a zinger for Denise ...

Says the woman who was married to two psychopaths.

Before he'll stay one minute in the house of which he's half-owner, he'll leave (for Dot's and Fatboy) rather than live with scum.

Until that moment, Richard Blackwood had been bearable. But once he got into gangster mode - the remark about old men being set in their ways and the hard man attitude to whomever that holdall full of money was destined, he became, not Donkey, not Mr Funk, but Mr Funkey.

Go Now.

The more I see Carol, the sadder I become that she'll soon be leaving our screens. The more I see of Liam, the more I wonder when he can go. He's so dismal and monotoned. And stupid.

It's the economy, stupid! Carol's hospitality to Cindy is borne of kindness and compassion, but the reality of the situation is that she has to provide for another mouth to feed, and that costs money; so it's right that Jane is financially supporting this. Maybe this lame-brained dolt would like to go without his meals so Cindy can eat and cost his grandmother nothing. If he's so concerned with providing for Cindy, maybe he should get his fat arse a job and contribute to the household economy.

So he's threatening to tell Cindy about Carol's arrangement, knowing that Cindy will kick off and not want this? Really, Liam? Are you that stupid? Apparently so.

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