Thursday, January 12, 2017

Eleventh Night - Review:- Thursday 05.01.2017

Well, that didn't take long, did it? The immediate aftermath of the Blisters' death and from a week's distance, it didn't take long for EastEnders to sink back into comfortably entertaining mediocrity, with two essentially filler episodes.

Manky Millennial Michelle. Please God, that this woman isn't going to be a permanent fixture on the programme. With every appearance, the fact that he's made a major mistake in this re-cast should strike Sean O'Connor like a wet fish in his face. 

Never in a month of Sundays would Michelle behave in such a manner. As I've said, I get it, I really do, that TPTB want to recreate another generation of Pauline Fowler, but Michelle, with twenty years under her belt living in another country, a world away from Pauline, who always returned from any of her visits to Michelle, gasping stereotypically for a "proper cuppa tea". She's educated, and she's supposedly got common sense enough to realise what worked for her, re Pauline and what didn't.

And it's the height of ignorance for anyone to go into someone else's home the way she does and impose upon their hospitality. In the previous episode, it was the thermostat. In this episode, the towels weren't good enough. They had to be boil-washed to serve the Fowlers' sensitive skin. Funny that. This is the first I've heard of such a malaise in the Fowler clan. Such was the reality of 1980s EastEnders, that we'd surely have heard Pauline's strident tones bemoaning the fact that she had to boil-wash all her linens in order to protect her childrens' sensitive skins.

Also, the story and the scene at the allotment was another bit of wishful thinking - the story about Martin and the cauliflower with the slug. By the time Martin was compos mentis and able to drag home such a species, Michelle was long gone from the Fowler household to remember such an incident.

I also get that her presence there makes Martin nostalgic for his parents and for a closer, more thoughtful relative than his Beale cousins, but it astounds me how Michelle hasn't said one word to, hasn't sought out Kathy, with whom she was close as a young girl and adolescent - as unreal as Kathy never once having mentioned Pat's name. These are things the writers - and the producer - are not getting right.

Worst of all, this re-cast is some sort of plot device, intended to sow disharmony and discontent in the marriage of Stacey and Martin. Already, Stacey is smarting and sniping at Michelle's intrusion and the way Martin kowtows to her very word instead of spending time with Stacey. She feels excluded, like an outsider in her own home, and the cheekiness of all was Michelle buying supposedly superior towels for the Fowler household and then palming the money Martin could ill-afford without any sort of demurring. The consternation and upheaval she's caused in the house, she should have offered the towels to her brother and his wife as a gift for their hospitality. She didn't, and that was entitled and rude.

Zombie Jack and Dot's Common Sense. Okay, now even Jack's returned to wooden Indian mode. I get his grief, but mostly in this episode, he came across as a plank, or at best, some sort of zombie Jack tromping through the Square. 

Everybody's there for Jack. We know that, because people kept telling him that - from Billy, self-consciously failing, in a way only Billy could fail, by coming over at Max's suggestion, to talk about funeral arrangements for the Blisters and talking as a professiional undertaker would speak to an unfamiliar client to Mick, always Mick, because the show insures that Mick's undue influence extends the length and breadth of the Square, even with all his troubles, Mick is there for Jack. There's Glenda, who's turned up, tearful and murmuring platitudes about "her girls", wanting to do for her grandchildren what she never did for her daughters. She's there for Jack too. (Was it me or was there some sort of frisson between her and Max? What is it with the show and its overly glamourous nipped-and-tucked grannies - Glenda at sixty-three and great-granny Kathy about to turn sixty-seven?)

Maybe Glenda can stay, and she and Kathy could become mates and go out cougaring together.

There's a shift away from the Mitchell emphasis on these deaths and a shift toward the Brannings bonding with Jack's need - Jack and Max appealing to Dot for explanation and understanding only to have Jack draw into himself in grief and an enormous dollop of self-pity. Dot tells him that the children will be Ronnie's and Roxy's legacy to Jack. I contend with that.

Yes, Amy will be Roxy's legacy, and Matthew is Ronnie's son; but I was surprised at Dot not mentioning, at least to Max, that Matthew is her grandson's child. He has a living father, who was willing to fight for his son until Ronnie had Vincent scare him away. No one's mentioned the fact that Jack has no right at all to Matthew. Shit, Glenda has a claim, but Jack has nothing; and Ricky ... Ricky is certainly Sam Mitchell's legacy to Jack, but the only Blister legacy to which Jack has a claim is actually Amy. His "legacy" from Ronnie is the child of another man.

And we got to see how, even though Sean O'Connor had the balls to inflict long overdue karma on the psychopathic Ronnie, he had her go out as a loving, suburban Yummy Mummy, shyly cooing to the wedding video camera about her love for Jack. She went out being remembered as a loving young mother, whom everyone in the community adored. I must admit, I got more than just a bit tired of hearing "those poor children" tonight.

But what's frustrating me the most about this is how the show's writers never seem to get children right. Amy will be 9 years old this year, yet she has the dialogue and comprehension of a 5 year-old at best. I get it that Richard might not comprehend why Auntie Ronnie isn't around. He may even struggle with the concept of death, even though he attended his grandmother's funeral, and he'd certainly have been close to her, having lived with her in Portugal. But Amy's certainly old enough to understand death - her pet rabbit died, her Auntie Peggy died, she would remember Lucy Beale's passing.

Instead, Jack got as far as telling the kids that the Blisters had gone and weren't coming back. They didn't understand, Amy only knowing that her mother always came back for her. Their questions at the dinner table got too much,and eventually Dot had to intervene in a timely old-fashioned way and explain death in a way small children could understand. The Blisters, in DotLand, are now angels in heaven (well, I think we all know that Ronnie's toasting over a spit somewhere and the spit's probably being turned by Carl White, but let the children have their fairy stories). They are God's angels who are watching over Amy and Ricky all the time. They can see the children, and one day the children - probably when theyre old and gnarled like Dot - will see Ronnie and Roxy again, sitting at the right hand of God, and eternally young.

By the way, when Glenda was in the pub blubbing, did anyone clock that Danny's only concern about his sisters' deaths is their wills, if anything? And when he promised Glenda that everything would be all right, didn't he look a bit melodramatically shifty? Liam Bergin needs to do something about his obviously thinning hair on the crown of his head, much less his inability to act.

It's nice how in times of strife and grief, the Brannings do manage to come together significantly, and the continuity about Max reminding Jack about the dark place he had been after Bradley's death was where Jack was at this moment. He got the dinner right as well, as did Lauren, handing Abi her arse when she smugly bowed out of the dinner in order to hang around Babe and the Carters at the Vic. After the trick she pulled on that family, you'd think she'd want as minimal contact as possible.

Oh well, Jack says he's moving to Ongar for the kids; sake, but I have a feeling he's going to be sticking around.

Denise the Pukewad. Oh, please God, here's another character who should be consigned to the rubbish bin. But noooooo, she's the martyr who's bearing and giving up a Mitchell baby, another infant to be consigned to the Social Services care of Trish Barnes, the social worker from hell.

Of course, Denise is far too noble to keep a child fathered by a man she hates. Does she feel a modicum of fear that he and his wife might find out? Is she afraid of walking the Walk of Shame?

Let's hope her dishy instructor never gets the class to read Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities.

We'll have Denise dramatically strutting around the Square in Sidney Carton mode, intoning ...

It is a far, far better thing I do, than I have ever done ...

Who am I kidding? She'd say:- Hit's a lo'be'ah Ah'm doin' vis and not what I ain't evah done.

Mother-of-the-Year Kim has stayed behind in Martinique, and we're being heralded with the impending arrival of Denise's mother, Ada, calling herself Emerald, who sounds like a right bitch. That's right. EastEnders' ethnic quota system, as described by Angela Winter (Yolande) means that as one black character leaves, another descends to take his/her place. So as we've lost Class A psychopathic bitch Claudette, we welcome who appears to be the eminently narcissistic Emerald, who'll probably end up bonking Patrick - an older version of Kim, and I don't think I can take two of them.

I wonder if, like Kim, she looks like a man in drag. Kim always reminded me of the late Flip Wilson, whose signature character was a woman named Geraldine Jones, who was remarkably like Kim in personality ...

Mick's Bromance and Carter Roadkill. First of all, I love Linda Henry's new haircut. It's very flattering, and it shows that she's really a very attractive woman.

But the rest of the time, the Carters were all over the place. In fact, no one had a clue in this episode how they should function. There was the comedy element with the Twelfth Night that wasn't, and Johnny's indignation at having to dress up in drag, which resulted in him advertising the event over social media, billing Babe as a drag queen.

But the Carters doing a scene from a Shakespearean play? Give over. I'm only surprised that eminent scholar Denise wasn't there to critique their performance.

There was the incident about the pigeon pie, made from an authentic Elizabethan recipe, actually had the main ingredient captured by Babe on the roof of the Vic. Seriously.

We had to have the ubiquitous scene of Mick reaching out to his new BFF Jack (and being rebuffed) and the Carters thinking a knees-up was exactly what the community needed on the backs of the deaths of two women who stirred controversy and ran roughshod over most of the great unwashed. Good continuity, however, in remembering Shirley's animosity towards Glenda (because of Phil's infidelity), but not having enough nous to realise compassion at Glenda's plight. it took Johnny, who really didn't even know Glenda or who she was, to remind Shirley that Glenda had lost two children.

We also got to see Mick's handiwork result with Oz, and somehow, I don't think this is the end of Lee's problems at work. What's more, Lee knows it. And I'm uneasy at the easy closeness that's developing between Mick and Whitney, who's still whining about never wanting anything when all she did was nag at Lee to buy her more and more material goods, when she wasn't spending their money to buy them, herself. For Mick - for Mick - she sells the diamond necklace and bracelet Lee bought her at Christmas (with the money he got from selling the stolen virtual reality game. She'd never have done that for Lee.

And Mick seems to have gotten over his bromace with Jack, for another bromance with his latest squeeze, Vincent.

Not only is Mick a bully, he's a bit of a slut as well.

No comments:

Post a Comment