Thursday, January 26, 2017

Phoenix Rixing - Review:- Thursday 26.01.2017

It took a long time coming, but this was undoubtedly the best episode of the week and, so far, the year. It was absolutely pitch perfect on all fronts, and it should have been a lesson to the likes of Dominic Treadwell-Collins and Alex Lamb that sensationalism and elaborate plot twists often detract from some simple twist and mysteries that leave the viewers thinking.

The show took a turn tonight. We were lulled into a false comfort zone, and now our curiosities have been awoken. 

Watch and learn.

The Victims

This is the first time I can remember an episode which examined a viable aftermath to a catastrophe, with hints of things to come in future storylines. It was believable, watchable and immensely interesting.

1. Denise. Denise got carted off to hospital, accompanied by Libby. Left behind whining on her tod, Kim, for once in her life, was ticked off royally by Vincent, who dug deep and found his balls. He told her, on no uncertain terms, that her duty was to reconcile with Denise and sent her and Grandma Medusa off to Walford General with that in mind. His loyalty, however, lay with Donna and insuring that she was all right in the pub.

Denise had concussion, but things were made no better with Kim, who's intransigent when it comes to Denise's decision to put her son up for adoption. Kim wants Denise's forgiveness, but on her own terms. She's such a narcissist, she's unable to see anything in any manner but her own, and people kept repeating the the mantra that "Kim would come" around or "give her time." Kim's stating that Denise was dead to her cut deep with Denise. 

However, she got some surprising support from Mick, who lauded her for putting the child in question first, and doing what she thought was best for him - giving him to a couple who wanted and would love unconditionally her child. What she did took guts. Denise thanked him for not judging her, but minutes later, she, herself, was put in a position where it was exceedingly difficult not to judge Mick.

2. Martin. I kept thinking all along that something more was wrong with Martin - and in real life, a lot more would be wrong with him - especially when he kept insisting that he was only a little bruised. In many soap tropes, the next instant, that person is keeling over dead.

But how much do I love the Fowlers? They just keep getting better and better, and now that she came close to losing Martin, I think Stacey realised FINALLY just how much she loves him. I'm the biggest cynic in the world, but at the end of their segment, when Martin announced to the assembled people waiting in the hospital at the end of their segment that they were having a baby, effectively using that announcement as a means of approving Stacey's newly-stated desire to have his child, I smiled; and how big a man was Martin to affirm his love for both Arthur and Lily, even saying he'd die for them?

Pauline and Arthur, amidst everything going doolally around them, managed to stay together until Arthur's death. I hope Stacey and Martin, as well as Mick and Linda, remain one couple who stay together and grow. I'm looking forward to Baby Fowler and their Fruit'n Veg Empire.

3. Whitney (and Mick and Lee). I knew this would happen! People have been honing in on this for weeks, only now, instead of Whitney making all the moves and meaningful gestures, Mick does the same - and gets stitched up for this.

I'm sick of Whitney emerging from a vat of shit without any foul smell. Who the hell else has a bus fall on top of them and emerges with little more than a headache and healthy enough to rise from the bed and full-on snog her father-in-law? All through this episode, when Mick only made cursory attempts to find Lee, he was acting more as if it were Linda under the bus and not Whitney, especially in the hospital when he was leaning over her bed, getting very close, physically to her, stroking her hair, telling her she was such a beautiful girl and how important she was to him (with Linda added as an afterthought), then - for the clincher - swearing that he'd "make Lee" take her to Wakefield and do anything she wanted.

These weren't the words of a father-in-law, these were the words of a man, giving vent to his attraction to his son's wife and fighting that attraction, knowing it was wrong. And when the dirty bitch kissed him - a full-on, open-mouthed snog - Mick kissed her back. 

Cast your mind back to the other attempted snogs last year. Mick decidedly repelled both of those attempts, and Linda sussed early on what Whitney was about. She called her out on trying to move in on Mick. I'm actually surprised that Linda is so trusting of Whitney after that. This time, however, Mick met her full-on. Witnessed by Denise.

Seeing what she saw came hard on Denise's sense of propriety, especially since Mick had not judged her decision to put her son up for adoption; now, seeing what she did see, she's confused and conflicted. She saw Whitney kiss Mick and Mick kiss her back.

Cop this: Mick Carter has officially cheated on Linda. No amount of protest of how much he loves his wife, either to Denise (a friend of Linda's) or to Whitney stands for anything. In fact, his protest of loving Linda to Whitney and Whitney's reply that she loved Lee were simply pithy excuses that each guilty party gave to try to convince themselves that the moment of madness was a one-off which meant nothing. That was a lie, and now that a protocol has been breached, we're in for weeks of weak attempts to avoid each other only to have another moment of madness when they give into passion.

Shall I venture a guess that Lee will find out about this and that this will make him leave? Where that slut Whitney stands in all of this, with Lee gone and Linda away, is anyone's guess. But she has been subtly coming onto Mick for weeks, especially since Linda's deparure - making herself available, coyly cozying up to him to accompany him to a hospital appointment with Ollie or to go to the Cash and Carry. Mick was only too happy to cling to her, as an obvious rebuttal and rejection of Lee, her husband and his son, in the wake of finding out Lee's part in the raid on the Vic. He was reinforcing Lee's poor self-esteem, wordlessly indicating to him that he wasn't good enough for the saint known as Whitney,and Whitney didn't stint on stirring the pot against Lee - running to Mick at every excuse to diss Lee and complain about Lee's inadequate behaviour. Lee didn't want to have fun, he didn't want to do this or that, didn't want to go to Wakefield with her, Lee blamed her for his financial problems ... yadda yadda ... and Mick lapped it up as a further excuse to get the boot in on Lee.

At the same time, and and I know Whitney realised this - Mick was enduring his first long period away from Linda. He was missing her, and he was vulnerable emotionally. She steps into the breach and when she's hurt, he allows his behaviour to step across the moral line in the sand. He has bee, in his heart, unfaithful to Linda, and all the excuses he makes for loving Linda ring hollow.

And once again, when Lee is found and rushes to the hospital, he ends up promising Whitney the world, little knowing that she is only using him as second best.

She's a slut, with form for dumping the proverbial dependable bloke for the edgy guy, and she sees Mick as just this. It wouldn't surprise me now if she sleeps with him, because Lee finding out about this liaison and leaving. It also wouldn't surprise me if Whitney finds herself pregnant by Mick and tries to pass the baby off to Linda as Lee's.

Leopards never change their spots, and maybe that was the significance of the leopard-print dress which Whitney wore on the night she had her first real argument with Lee, the night she ran running, tattle-taling, to Mick.

New Beginnings.

The Teens. They're still unlikable, and I really don't want to see anymore of the odious Keegan, who cleaned out the Minute Mart of cigarettes and booze, and went about trying to flog them. I actually felt sorry for Shakil in this, and I was confused. Yesterday, Louise was going on and on about how Shakil had saved her life, and yet once she saw him at the table in her house with Rebecca, she flipped out and ordered him to leave. 

And where were Phil and Sharon in all of this? One of the final scenes during the musical montage showed Ben tucking up a sleeping Louise on the couch in the living room. Louise is Phil's only daughter and she and Sharon are reasonably close. They should at least have been hovering in the background, but there appeared to be no one at home, indeed, when Rebecca went there; but I suppose the premise in telling her to go to Louise's was that her Auntie Michelle was there.

So we're back to Shakil and Rebecca's puppy love boring storyline. Why are they so fucking unlikable? Is it because they are so bad as actors or so badly written? I just don't care about them. Perhaps it's because they are so much older than they are supposed to be - in fact, the scenes of the bus crash reminded me of the underaged immigrant scandal of a few months ago. The ginger-haired "student" looked well into his thirties.

Jack. I found Jack's situation - the part where he was overcome in the pub by scenes of police and ambulances outside in the Square, which brought home to him his recent loss - quite realistic. It gave us the great scene between between him and Max, where he speaks eloquently about his loss and how he finds it difficult to cope. As with Carol, once again, Max uses his loss of Bradley as an analogy, because he can truly feel Jack's anguish. At the end of that scene, Jack thanks Max for being there for him, for coming back. The irony of that remark was reflected later.

The Cheesy Bit and the Montage. The worst bit of the piece was Carmel's cheesy speech in the pub - the "heart of the market" speech. These two episodes have done Bonnie Langford no favours, and that speech was cheesy.

I'm normally not a fan of montages, musical or otherwise, but I quite liked this one, as it served as a segue into the most important climax of the piece, ending with Stacey leaving a voicemail, thanking Max for saving Martin's life, as well as linking all of the main participants in the tragedy - apart from Mick's dilemma - Jack and his three children watching the activity outside; the tired paramedic and Carmel and the market traders watching the fire brigade remove he bus driver's body from the wreckage; the woman reunited with her child; the scene of Denise, her daughter and mother returning to the Square to be greeted by Patrick and Vincent, with the camera pulling back to reveal that this is being watched by the reflection of Kim looking out her front window. Excellent direction there.

And then ...

Max. Hailed as a hero, Max's reaction is decidedly low key, even when Lauren praises him. Of significant note was Max suddenly, and surreptitiously, becoming all ears when gobby Babe discloses to him that Mick isn't all that solid financially with the pub.

The mystery phone call led him to the gherkin in the City and a mysterious stranger standing at a window overlooking East London. At first, I thought maybe this was Gavin, but he turned out to be someone I simply can't fathom. The stranger was extremely well-spoken and spoke of having lived and been born and bred in that area of London which probably incorporated Walford. It seems that Max's little "office job" has been something more than something ticking over. That would explain the expensive car and the amazing amount of time off work he appeared to be given.

Max is working for this person, it seems, and doing very well. But who is he? Obviously, we'll find he's someone from Walford long ago, but who? Clive Mitchell? Harry Beale? The guy appears to be a property developer. He knows Walford, that's certain, because the first thing he hones in on is the pub.

What about the pub?

That's the question, and one which Max is quick to answer - he's not fussed about the pub. It could burn for all he cared. And that's puzzling. Mick's beef is with the Beales and, to a great degree, the Mitchells; but he has no beef at all with the Carters. We know that the Carters are dicey financially, and it's been overshadowed that they are in real danger of losing their licence. 

Max in the pub or what? But hang on ... harken back to Carmel's "heart of the market" speech, where she pledges to fight for the market to remain. The market runs right in front of and alongside the Vic. If this guy is a property developer, and from what he said about the state of the East End now as opposed to then, he might be intent on bringing Walford as is down or altering it in some way to achieve his goals.

The final shot of the reflection of Max's pale face against the black of the London night was chilling, almost terrifying.

He's truly out for revenge.

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