Sunday, July 5, 2015

The BabyTrap - Review:-Monday 29.06.2015

I know the big guns are out to pasture until the next big blockbuster return occurs, and I know Love Squares and baby stories aren't the most popular thing at the moment; and I know the long, lost child/parent/relative has been overdone in extremis, but the show is using some of it's strongest actors at the moment, and even though you might have to complain about the storylines, the actors make things watchable.

Besides, there was some wonderfully subtle beginnings of other storylines and one not-so-subtle storyline.

A Tale of Two (or Three) Children. Without being subtle, it's more than obvious that Shabnam is supposed to be the object of our sympathy, and it's interesting to see Shabnam's and Stacey's friendship evolve. In many ways, it's like the friendship between Sharon and Michelle. I know some people are going to disdain this observation, but it's my observation, and I'll explain the similarities. 

It wouldn't surprise me if DTC intended Stacey and Shabnam to have a friendship on the level of that between Sharon and Michelle. Yes, before anyone gets blisteringly pedantic, I do know that Sharon and Michelle had known each other since childhood, and that Stacey and Shabnam only have a friendship of a few months; but Stacey has always made friends almost instantaneously and just as instantaneously, they became close friends (Ruby Allen, Danielle).

Something Stacey said tonight to Martin echoed vestiges of Sharon's and Michelle's friendship. Stacey was feeling guilty about having told Shabnam some awful things. When Shabnam was breaking down and saying how she was afraid of being a bad mother or incapable of feeling anything for her child, Stacey lost her temper and invited Shabnam to leave this child on another doorstep. Of course, we know Stacey is conflicted about Kush, but as she explained to Martin, Shabnam, in her perception, has this perfect life. Stacey had earlier bombarded Shabnam with the rhetorical question, insinuating that Shabnam thought Stacey had life easy because she felt all the maternal feelings and love a woman is supposed to feel when their child is born. Shabnam is basing all of this on the fact that she felt nothing when she saw her six year-old daughter, never imagining that the reason she felt "nothing" was due to the fact that she was in a state of shock after her beating, amongst other things.

A lot of the friendship between Sharon and Michelle was based on jealousy and misconceptions of the other's lifestyle situation. There was also an element of betrayal there as well. Michelle was jealous of Sharon, because her parents gave her everything she wanted. She was, indeed, the spoiled princess. Sharon, on the other hand, was jealous of Michelle, because Michelle had a warm, loving family environment, where Sharon was the mediator between two warring parents - an alcoholic mother and a cheating father - both of whom loved Sharon to bits, but hated each other.

And Michelle betrayed Sharon, not once, but twice. Very few people would forgive their best friend for shagging and getting pregnant by the friend's dad; yet Michelle almost felt that she was entitled to Sharon's friendship after Vicki's birth, and later went onto shag Sharon's ex-husband and leave the Square pregnant with his child, a fact about which Sharon is ignorant to this day.

That Stacey genuinely likes Shabnam and cares about her as a friend, a good friend, is without a doubt. But her first assumption, when she saw Shabnam upset in the Minute Mart tonight was to assume that she didn't want to go through with the engagement or the wedding. That was wishful thinking and would have given Stacey a free pass to move things up a gear with Kush. Yet she was still sympathetic to her when she began to talk about everything else that was happening to her.

Chief amongst her worries was the fact that Buster had begun to lobby her about seeing Jade, not for her own benefit, but in order that he and Shirley would have a better chance of obtaining custody of the child. Then there was the matter of her pregnancy, and her dichotomous feelings and worry about that cut into the high moral code that Stacey still maintains.

Yet the fact remains that Stacey thinks Shabnam has a perfect life. She has her family around her, so she has emotional support, and she's engaged to a man who loves her. Shabnam, on the other hand, envies Stacey not only her freedom from such constraints,but also the fact that she's able to love unconditionally her daughter and is actually a good mother, which Shabnam is convinced that she will never be.

What Stacey doesn't fully realise is that Shabnam is in a dark place at the moment, and has nurtured self-hatred of herself for the past six years, ever since she abandoned her daughter. She had absolutely convinced herself that no one could ever love her, so the barrier came down and she hid behind her religion, with her hijab a mask as much as Dean's beard masks his real skewed self. Now that her secret is out, since Day One, Shabnam has had Masood shouting the odds, telling her how ashamed he he was of her, calling her any and all amount of names for doing what she did and for not doing what he wanted her to do. He's undermined her and gone behind her back. Now she has Buster using her as a lifeline in order to get Shirley something that Shirley wants - a child to redeem her desertion of Jimbo.

What Shabnam doesn't realise is that Stacey wants her fiancé. She hasn't said she loves him, she simply wants him for shagging purposes, and because she can't have him, Stacey is throwing a massive pity party. I am still holding to the premise that this is the start of a bi-polar episode. When Stacey confessed to treating Shabnam badly tonight, and she felt badly about it, Martin was comforting her as a friend and nothing else. It was Stacey who chose to make the first move there,and as Shabnam was telling Kush below on Arthur's Bench, that she was five months pregnant with their baby, Stacey was more than likely conceiving another grandchild of Pauline, Arthur and Jean.

In between all of that, we had Shirley shouting the most horrible odds at Shabnam. She wasn't willing to wait for Buster's gentle persuasion; instead, Shirley does her usual party trick of kicking the door down, figuratively - banging aggressively on the Masoods' door, and forcing her way inside.

Shirley: Can I come in?
Shabnam: No
Shirley (pushing past her): It wasn't a question.

How bloody presumptive! Who does this woman thinkshe is? She should have some modicum of compassion. The girl has just been kicked within an inch of her life. She can barely move for the pain, she's pregnant (unbeknownst to Shirley), and her hormones are all over the place. She's scared shitless that commitment-shy Kush, who was difficult in coming to terms with marrying her, would dump her in a New York minute once he finds out about the pregnancy. She's worried about her non-reaction to Jade and worried that she might feel the same way about this child, and in the middle of it all, Shirley comes barging into her house, into her space, rabbiting on about how she wants to know Jade, how she wants to know what books the child reads etc, as soon as Shabnam observes that perhaps the child is happy where she is, Shirley lets rip with the worst thing she could ever say to Shabnam:-

You'd make a terrible mum, but one day you'll wish you welcomed that girl with opened arms, and it will kill you.

Says the mother who tried to drown her oldest child and who walked out on her other three, not even bothering to come to the funeral of the disabled one. Shirley has no idea of the self-hate and recrimination Shabnam's imposed upon herself, and if she bothered, actually, to sit down and think about it, she's done the same as Shabnam, but in a different way. 

I feel so sorry for Shabnam at the moment, being second-guessed and undermined from both sides, by Masood, who decided on the erstwhile advice of Roxy, to call the police, against Shabnam's wishes, and by Buster and Shirley, who are using her for their own end.

Stacey uses Martin for comfort sex, and based on Martin's reaction when he sees her staring out the window - he turns over, literally shrugs his shoulders and goes to sleep - I think he realises this as well. He's not going to look a gift horse in the mouth, so I suppose he's decided to take whatever is on offer from Stacey.

They made a baby today, however. You can bet on it.

The Godfather and the Grandfather. So as much as Vincent reminds Patrick of Paul, now it seems that Patrick reminds Vincent of his own father. But does he, really? Was that just a line that Vincent wanted to sink in on Patrick as much as Patrick wanted the limited bonding of the dominoes game to sink in on Vincent?

The visit to Dot was simply weird, and I though it was just another way to give June Brown her limited appearance situation whilst she is off for fourteen months or seven months or four months or however long she's having off. Dot is the best-dressed prisoner in the jail,and she's happy. Not just happy, but clap-happy almost. She has a cellmate who's an arsonist (how long before this person shows up in Walford when Dot returns?)

Dot's not at all pleased about Patrick having deserted Denise and Kim to hunker down in her house - mainly, because she's afraid that she'll lose the house again, if Patrick is classed as a sublet; and she tells him, abruptly, that he's not no business sulking on his own when he could be looked after and cared for by family, the people who love him. That's said after Patrick admitted that he thought he and Dot could understand each other because of the similarities between Nick and Paul Trueman.

But Dot was just strange. Her family homily was even stranger, considering how she blew hot and cold with Jim's family as it pleased her, and then took Charlie in with all his lies and pretensions when she didn't know him from Adam. Remember that double-edged sword of a remark she made some weeks ago:-

That Charlie Cotton ... he'd lie his socks off.

Of course, the line was meant to refer to Charlie, her feckless husband, but the camera immediately panned to Charlie the ball-less dirtbore.

Between Dot and Vincent, that did the trick. Patrick's home.

Oasis. How nice a man is Buster? You get the impresssion that, even though he's gone whole hog for the custody case (to please Shirley), he'd like a respite from all the histrionics involved. Spending time with Carol offers him a kind of peace. He's attracted to her, simply because she's the anti-Shirley. She talks to him about her children, and he appreciates the fact she's always been there for her children, just as she appreciates that family members often enter into a family dynamic in unorthodox ways.

He genuinely likes Carol and compliments her naturally, which is something Carol needs to hear now. She's just had a double mastectomy, and the hospital is contacting her now for reconstructive surgery. Losing your breasts, like losing your uterus, ofttimes makes a woman feel she's lost her femininity; yet there was Buster, urging her to buy a flowery top, complimenting her on her looks, teasing her about wearing leathers and looking like Marianne Faithfull. And enjoying a cup of tea, instead of dancing to Shirley's tune.

It takes Carol's mind off her impeding decision regarding her surgery.

Something Wicked This Way Comes. Did we just see the awful future of the relationship that is Dean and Roxy? 

Roxy's ignorance at what was behind the attack on Shabnam was a perfect, but subtle, example of white privllege, unable to comprehend that Shabnam's attack was for a reason Roxy would never suffer or comprehend. She urges Masood to override Shabnam's reluctance and to contact the police and gives him a hug of support before he goes on his way, leaving her to control the Masala Masood stall.

The hug is witnessed by Dean, who immediately thought that there was a connection between Roxy and Masood and appears at her side, passive-aggressively intimidating her, trying to find out if there were anything between her and Masood. When Roxy tried to make his jealousy a joke, you could see the severe control issues almost bursting from Dean. Dean controls she whom he loves, and it's his way or the highway, and when he whispers a sexual suggestion to Roxy, she laughs and refuses him. She's working.

Big mistake, Roxy.

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