Sunday, July 5, 2015

The Masterclass in Acting:- Review:- Thursday 02.07.2015

I gave the episode 8 out of 10. I thought its symbolism and linking theme of actual scar tissue impeding on a person's psychological make-up very significant and very well-done, with two characters who can only relate to scarring at the moment - Tamwar and Carol - and the fact that their down-to-earth pragmatists who make them see sense are Carter women. As well, there were the protracted, longer scenes between Linda Henry and Lindsay Coulson, arguably the show's two best and strongest actresses. It's ironic that Coulson is on the cusp of leaving the show, and it's only now she shares the semblance of a storyline and the screen with Henry.

The only shame is that the third really strong actress on the show, Diane Parish, is reduced to playing the Greek Chorus or the straight man.

There were even a couple of hints of things to come in some other romance storylines as well.

The downer of the piece was Tina stinking up the proceedings. 

Carol and Shirley. Bless EastEnders' heart, they have this way of making something seem that it's something, and then turn out to be nothing; but the audience is well familiar with such tricks. 

We knew the bra wasn't Carol's. It wasn't her type, and she's not the type to be so careless. Besides, as we now know, Carol wears prostheses.

Sadly, it was a bit of a contrived episode where Social Services were concerned - Shirley's angry with Buster, he's trying to phone or message her, and the landline rings. Kim tries to tell Shirley who's calling, but Shirley assumes and gives the caller an earful before realising that Social Services is ringing about the appointment.

Again, that was something we all saw coming.

However, this was a good vignette. It concerned two of the show's best actors playing two of the show's prickliest frmale characters, and it was well worth the watch, even if the final scene was a direct rip-off from the scene in the late 90s when Peggy is encouraged by her daughter-in-law, Tiffany, to look at her mastectomy scar.

It's very easy, if you're a woman to see the rationale behind Carol's lie, a lie that grew out of proportion. Nothing happened with Buster, but she wanted her mollycoddling, hypocritical family to know that she wasn't ready for the rocking chair by the hearth yet. At the same time, her lie is forcing her to recognise, psychologically, what the loss of her breasts mean to her as a woman.

The bluebottle in the ointment was the ever-present, over-riding presence of the whining, skulking freeloader named Tina, who instantly starts in, verbally attacking Carol about having slept with Buster. Her arguments and taunts to Carol show just how lacking in common sense and how utterly hypocritical Tina is, without even thinking about it. What a case of headuparseitis!

The best moment of the piece came when Tina self-righteously reminded Carol that Carol had actually broken up a relationship, because Shirley wouldn't have Buser back.

Oh, well, Sonia having a husband didn' stop you, did it?

No one dishes arse like Carol, but Tina's so caught up in her own self-importance that she follows that up with a taunt that Carol needs "to show more responsability. Yeah, and you'd know about that, wouldn't you, Tina? That's something you've never done before.

The cafe scene, where the Fox-Truemans enter into the accusatory spirit of things by joining Tina in baiting Carol, served two purposes:-

- We found out what we really expeced - that the bra belonged to Roxy and was the product of a bit of Afternoon Delight she shared with the rapist Dean. Their brief discussion, hunkered down in the café, about how the Fox-Truemans and putrid Tina were rounding on Carol for having wronged Shirley, was very interesting, even for its brevity. First of all, for a couple trying to keep their relationship a secret, the last thing they do is share a cuppa in a café frequented by everyone they know. Secondly, in this instance, it's Dean, the rapist, who shows a vestige of conscience in wanting Roxy to tell the truth about the ownership of he bra, because Shirley's bad reaction to events had scuppered her chances of any custody for Jade. But Roxy is adamant. She's getting a giggle about the fact that their secret deeds are getting blamed on others in the Square. The look on Dean's face when Roxy rejected his suggestion, was a subtle picure. 

Strike two, Roxy.

- Of course, the scene was necessary in order to set up the eventual confrontation between Shirley and Carol. Prior to finding out that Shirley was so upset at the thought of Buster having been unfaithful, that she made another bodge job of the meeting with the social worker.

A word about that meeting: The show has shown fortitude and good continuity in showing the same social worker. This was the man who handled Jay's case, amongst others. He's really the Marsden of the social work world. Of course, the entire episode centering around the confrontation between the show's best actresses was a contrivance from the get go, especially with the all-too-familiar scene of Shirley bottling it witn a figure of authority, and running, in some way, from her defeat.

In the meeting with the social worker, Buster tried too hard - emphasising his criminal record - nothing too serious, mind - and dropping the conversaion piece that Dean, Jade's father, had been accused of serious sexual assault - again, something that "wasn't true." Shirley, on the other hand, sat back and did nothing for England. Her demeanor, her body language, everything indicated she was on the outs with Buster. In fact, the only time she came alive was when the social worker mentioned that single people were able to adopt children. Shirley can't be thinking of binning Buster, can she?

The Shirley-Carol confrontation was a masterclass, from the moment Carol threw her prosthetic breasts on the table. This was a confrontation of two women who feed off their own fears. Carol has always been defined, not only by her children, but by whatever man was in her life. For so many years, she burned a candle for David, whilst taking whatever love was on offer. Now, with the loss of her breasts, her chidlren and grandchildren are consigning her to the role of elderly grandmother - feeding her soup and buying her shawls. Even presuming to speak for her in important matters as if she were nearing, if not achieving, senility.

As she rhetorically asked Shirley, why shouldn't she have a breast reconstruction, if she wanted it? Indeed, why not? Women face deep psychological crises when they lose the physical manifestaions of their femininity - their breasts to mastectomies and their uterus to hysterectomies. Jane the Queen, before she became a sociopath, had a woeful time even visiting Tanya, newly birthed of Oscar, because she knew she'd never be able to have a child. Both she and Carol, I daresay, felt and feel less womanly.

The pivotal point of the discussion came when Shirley recalled her own brush with breast cancer, and admitted the fear she felt- so strong that she didn't go back for her result until a month after the result. 

I ran. It's what I do.

That was the single most truthful line to come from this episode and to come from Shirley's mouth. She runs from anything adverse that might affect her, because she's afraid that it will beat her. She runs from responsibility and reasons the running by blaming the person wronged. Ian Beale deserved to have his restaurant burned because he was Ben's brother. Stuff like that. She's a coward. She admitted it.

And yet, she turned counsellor for Carol, who needed reassurance of her womanhood, hitting the depths by referring to herself as a "freak," the second time that term was used in the episode. Shirley stepped up and forced Carol to face her demons, to look at herself in the mirror and acknowledge that she was still the same person she was before she had the mastectomy. Shirley's great for giving wonderful advice to others, and I mean that most sincerely, but she can't take the same advice on board.

Now, I think she's fully thinking about adopting Jade without Buster, more's the pity.

Tamwar and Nancy. I'm lost with this one. Aparf from seeing the beginning of Lee's storyling, I'm at a loss to wonder why Nancy's so cold to Tamwar. She's got a secret. She said she'd seen a doctor, and for one brief moment, I thought - OMIGOD, another pregnancy; but it's not. She and Tamwar haven't had sex, as pre-marital sex is against his religion, even though that didn't bother him with MyAlice.

However, Tamwar is another one who's bothered, emotionally and physically, by scars - specifically, the scars on his back from the fire. Nancy has epilepsy, as we saw her having an attack at the end (comforted by the adorable Lady Di). She admitted that she'd been under a lot of pressure lately, helping her mother with the baby et al, and obviously that brought on the attack; but I want to know the reason for her cooling on Tamwar, when last week, she was right there at his side, almost a member of the family. In fact, Masood referred to her as a "keeper," to Tamwar.

Is she conflicted about what she witnessed with Kush?

Speaking of Kush ...

The Beginning of the End or the End of the Beginning. I hope that was the end of Stacey and Kush looking hornily at each other, but I fear it isn't. I think it is the beginning of Stacey's bi-polar and key storylines. Ian Beale slays me. He allows his cousin to book the entire restaurant for a romantic evening with his girlfriend, and then stands around making snide comments like an old maiden aunt. 

I hope Stacey does marry Martin. I relish the thought of her handing Ian his fat arse.

No comments:

Post a Comment