Sunday, September 18, 2016

Review - Monday 12.09.2016

This show is in a state. Tonight's filler episode was, mainly, all about characters who'll be gone in the blink of an eye - Sonia, Buster, Masood and Lee, mostly. 

When there's an episode where the best character in the piece is Sonia and when the odious Carmel is the only character speaking sense, you know the writer of the piece has to be Katie Douglas.

Why is she still hanging around?

Can the Mitchells - Except Ben, Billy, Honey and Their Kids - All Fall in a Black Hole? I'm going to say something I never thought I'd ever say, but I hate Phil, and I hate Sharon. I hate the way he grunts about and how he is still closing her out of his life, and I hate the way she swans around the Square doing nothing.

Phil's obviously thinking about this liver transplant, which Ben suggested. Obviously, neither of them know much about a liver transplant from a live donor (hint, hint: If Phil Mitchell qualifies for something like this, then I need to move into the room reserved for me in Buckingham Palace), because Phil seems to be reading up on this on t'Internet. OK, so why does he close the laptop the moment Sharon walks into the kitchen?

She's his wife, for fuck's sake, and this is - as Vice-President Joe Biden would say a big fucking deal, yet he's keeping Ben's offer a secret from the only other person who should be party to every piece of information about his health status, it's dangers, and it's possibilities. She is, after all, his next of kin. If something happened to Phil, the first person the authorities would contact would be Sharon. Not Ben. Not Louise. Not Ronnie, but Sharon.

Yet all she's concerned about is the fact that the Transatlantic Tit got home OK; and Phil is still amazed that Mark didn't succumb to everything that was attractive about the Mitchells enough to stick around and get to know Grant. The boy summed it up best - he has a dad in the States, whom he wouldn't trade for anything. Besides, he has a home and a solvent family, and a university career in the US, whereas Grant and Courtney have next to nothing, and she's chucked uni. 

I sometime wonder exactly what the function of Sharon is in this programme. I know she's supposed to be the so-called Mitchell matriarch, but the best DTC, Lamb and Batten could do was make her a pale imitation of Peggy and have other characters remark on how much she sounded or acted like the dead woman. There was no need for that, and I hope SOC can get it right. Sharon can still be the female front of the Mitchells without resorting to Peggy's techniques. FFS, Sharon's been dealing with both Grant and Phil for over twenty years. This was the woman who left Walford the first time, leaving Grant crying on the pavement and having handed Phil his hairy arse. She could handle them just as astutely as Peggy did, but in her own way.

Since Peggy's death, however, she and Phil have been more or less a sick child and his mother. Apart from finding out the secret of Mark Fowler, which was basically chicken shit compared to what's transpiring in Phil's life at the moment and concerning Sharon as well, they've talked about nothing - not about his illness or his treatment or his options for the future or ... or even themselves. Maybe they're afraid to do so. 

Sharon isn't stupid. She knows how Phil has treated her; she surely knows how he's treating her now. The entire brouhaha about Mark included Sharon bringing up the fact that Phil had lied to her about Gavin and had tried to trick her into giving up the search for him; and Phil never even offered up the obvious defence that he was trying to protect her from Gavin. She didn't have to return to him, and you wonder now if she's doing all this as a favour to Peggy's memory or if she does, indeed, love Phil.

As for Phil, Grant put the Mitchell ethos into words. The wives - Sharon (for both brothers), Tiffany, Kathy, Kate, even Lisa, the mother of Phil's daughter - the all don't matter. It's the blood Mitchells who count; with that, you have to wonder and you have to accept that this was probably Eric's attitude toward Peggy, and Archie's attitude toward Glenda. Yet Peggy stayed and played the doormat, whilst Glenda fled (again, with a baby who may or may not have been Archie's son).

And now Phil's about to have yet another big secret to keep from Sharon, when he remembers what he did with Denise, or when she tells him. I would hope that's the straw that breaks the camel's back for Sharon.

I get it that Phil is sick, maybe dying; and the scene between him and Ben tonight was a good one. Ben left Phil to talk to the police with Les and Pam about Paul's case. Les and Pam have lost everything. Their lives are destroyed, and yet Ben is willing to undergo a serious operation so that his father might have several years more and a better quality of life than he's had. I suppose this is the propagated myth of "good Ben," because of the way Phil has neglected and abused the kid all his life.

In the general scheme of things, Phil grunting an spitting blood in the face of his son wanting to save him, juxtaposed with Sharon flitting her way around the Square delivering tidings from Michelle in America, proved almost a plot device to reveal to the audience yet another relationship which isn't going the way it should.

The Rotten Beales Caught in Rotten Rottenness with Each Other. I know we'd all love to see Jane in a prison hospital and Ian just in prison proper, but I suppose that there are different kinds of karma.

The Beale house is dark and miserable, and Ian's not so keen on dancing attendance to Jane now that he's seen exactly what kind of care her condition entails. Now we know why prissy, shallow Lauren made a face when Steven suggested she help with caring for Jane. 

Very telling that the first scene we saw with the Beales today took place in the makeshift bedroom that covers the place where Lucy Beale met her end, and that their subject of conversation was Bobby - Jane wanting to buy him some creature comforts for his room/cell at the YOP and Ian demurring from anything like that. Jane wants to talk and Ian wants to prop pillows, before he rushes off to some urgent business in the restaurant. It becomes even more urgent when the district nurse arrives to give Jane her daily enema. That's right. Ian's squeamish at the yuckier parts of caring for Jane. She most likely has a catheter for weeing and a bag to collect her wee-wee, but I can Ian being nasty-nice as well.

I get it that we're supposed to feel sorry for poor, pitiful Jane, who wants some quality time and human contact with Ian other than him prissing about plumping pillows and doing house-cleaning.

Like Sharon, Jane isn't stupid. She knows that Ian's getting on with whatever tasks he has at hand as a way of avoiding dealing with her on a personal level, which is typical Ian the weasel. However, I'm not sympathetic with either of these two. This is the price they paid for harbouring a murderer and for sending an innocent man to prison. They'll pay an even bigger price when Bobby turns sixteen and gets out of prison, considering the way they threw him under the bus and how Jane's concerned about buyin him creature comforts as a way of making amends.

She was pretty astute when she talked to Sonia tonight and referenced her first husband David who died from Huntingdon's Disease. When you're married to someone with an incurable condition, it's not long before the roles of husband and wife devolve into patient and carer. When that happened with Jane and David, at one point - the night he died - she was sleeping with Ian Beale. Maybe she's thinking that Ian might hike himself up to some kerb and sample the latest wares, or that he'll find comfort with someone else closer to home.

Consider the Beale house - with Jane almost begging to be treated like a human being, Ian studiously avoiding her, sneaky Steven with his hand in the till, shallow dippy Lauren up her own arse and too stupid to fathom why Max wants nothing to do with her, and Kathy, so desperate for a normal relationship with a man that she sleeps with the first man who's nice to her. Is that really a happy household?

What worries me is that Max will return, intent on revenge and then see sad, pathetic Jane in her wheelchair, and his heart will melt.

The Other Side of Paradise. There's another break-up on the horizon: Sonia doesn't love Tina anymore. Boy, it didn't take long for the apple to fall from that tree. Maybe she should have spoken with Tosh, who could have told her how much of a big, irresponsible child Tina is. She feels absolutely no guilt at all in leaving Sonia to look after Sylvie, even after Sonia's returned from an over-long night shift, and needs to get some sleep. Instead, Tina whines about Sylvie being in a bad mood before running off to work at the cafĂ©.

It's odd that Sonia should come over likable now that she's about to leave the show for awhile. She first started being likable again when she involved herself with Martin and his new family. I actually don't think of Sonia either as bi-sexual or as a lesbian. Sonia just wants someone to love her, and I honestly think she regrets leaving Martin now. She was ready enough to snog him some months ago when problems with Tina first came to light. Tina's selfish immaturity has at last begun to get to Sonia. 

Tina and her concerns have to be first with Sonia. She's jealous of both Martin and Rebecca. She cannot comprehend that Sonia and Martin will always have a bond in that they have a child, or that Martin isn't butting into their business when he speaks out in Sonia's defence. She is the mother of his child, and yet she thinks nothing about interrupting a private conversation between Rebecca and Sonia, demanding Sonia's undivided attention.

The entire Carter clan use Sonia as an unpaid carer for Sylvie, and it's Sonia who has to take the brunt of Sylvie's abuse. 

I suppose this was Katie Douglas's idea of a comic moment having Sylvie ask Dot ...

Who are you, old crone?

But Dot was right in telling Sonia not to leave it any longer in dumping Tina. At the end of the day, Sonia's offered a way out. This is the beginning of Natalie Cassidy's maternity leave.

Baby Story I: Overaged Teenagers. I'm talking about Denise and Carmel. Look at their situations - Denise gets knocked up after a drunken one-night stand. Carmel is having sex with a man who isn't remotely serious about having a relationship with her. One's the party girl who gets up the duff after getting drunk, and the other is the girl so desperate for affection she'll substitute that for sex with someone who doesn't want to get serious.

I wonder - is Denise Catholic? She purports to be an atheist, but long after people have left the church, the stigma of guilt sticks with them. She voices concerns, which are natural enough, to Carmel - how both her daughters are grown and how she's probably too long in the tooth to be dealing with a baby full-time, how she's just now seriously begun her studies again, and here she is getting pregnant; and also how she has to work as well. To all of that, Carmel offered the first piece of sensible advice she's ever offered.

Denise should seriously consider abortion. There's all of the above to consider and more. Denise hates the baby's father. She would rather put nails in her eyes than get him involved; but I think Vincent knows very well with whom Denise got drunk on the night she conceived, and it's only a matter of time until Phil Mitchell finds out. She hates the baby's father and doesn't want him involved, yet she'll stick around the Square where she'll see him - and more importantly, his wife - on a daily basis. Denise is one of the few characters left on this show with a moral caliber; how can she not look at Sharon and feel some modicum of shame? Even Kim said that her excuse of being drunk wasn't enough.

With all of that to consider, who would want to have the child of someone you hated? Who would want to have Phil Mitchell's baby, knowing what would transpire when the truth would out?

Is Denise one of these anti-abortion pro-life bigots? You wonder what she would counsel Libby, had Libby been raped and found out she was pregnant? Is she one of these people who would whine about it not being the baby's fault or parrot the deplorable Rick Santorum in advising Libby to take a lemon and make lemonade? What if she had been raped? Would her anti-abortion belief kick in there as well?

In a normal circumstance, any woman in Denise's position would be on the phone making the earliest appointment possible with the abortion clinic, especially since she only has a few weeks before the procedure can't be done. But noooooo ... this is Diane Parish's big storyline, so we have to give her centre stage for something which - considering what happened to Kathy, Michelle and Lisa or even Tiffany - will result in her running off to Spain with the sprog ... or getting killed in the effort.

If this is the only sort of big storyline the show could offer this actress, if this is really the only sort of storyline which validates her character, then maybe it's time for TPTB to re-think her future on the show.

In the meantime, she plays matchmaker to the odious Carmel and Masood. It's Carmel's first day as Market Inspector and apart from dancing about Masood with her clipboard, she did little else, except threaten Buster. Oh, wait ... Buster's leaving too, so Carmel was the meat between a departure sandwich.

Unless there's a surprise in store and Carmel swans off with Masood, there's little point in starting them on some sort of romance, other than being fuck buddies. He's going. As far as we know, she's staying (more's the pity). I liked Buster's description of her - five feet on a barrel of nothing. Except when she screeches.

Baby Story II: What Was That All About? We know Buster is leaving. We know Lee is leaving. So we get some sort of half-baked storyline about Lee obsessing on learning how to change nappies on a baby, whilst Buster re-locates his pitch and tries to sell mussels when Russell the Mussel Man is doing that up the market.

Buster was right. Rather than reading about nappies in books, Lee should practice on his baby brother. This all led to a rather sweet conversation between Lee and Whitney about the baby scan and worrying about if something is wrong with the baby - which, I guess, is foreshadowing Mick and Linda's impending appointment about Ollie.

Yet another mediocre episode.

No comments:

Post a Comment