Friday, April 21, 2017

We Need a Closer - Review:- Friday 21.04.2017

I am now convinced that Sean O'Connor's biggest problem is not knowing when to end a story. Treadwell-Collins had his problems closing a storyline, but his were of a different measure. He had problems in the aftermath of a storyline, when the peak, the reveal, the first of many twists, the climax had been reached. Everything afterwards either came as an abrupt end or twisted and turned until people got bored.

This man just goes on. And on. And on. And on.

Thus, just when we thought the awful bullying storyline had turned a corner, we find that it hasn't; but we can now see where it's headed - right in Louise's distinct direction. And never were Sniggle and Snaggle so apparently cartoonised until this episode. Rather than Rebecca jutting her chin, showing them her red nostrils (which can be frightening, I'll admit), and flouncing off, rather than Louise, for a change, looking unsure, whilst visibly quivering, both girls should have thrown their heads back (like most of the actresses under the age of 25 do on the show) and laughed uproariously in their faces. Maybe then Sniggle and Snaggle would have run away forever.

Some hope.

I can't believe so much of this episode was devoted to rectifying this teenaged angst dilemma. Maybe I'd care if at least one of the intended victims - Rebecca or Louise - were remotely likable,but neither of them are. Louise's cowardice in the face of Sniggle and Snaggle tormenting Rebecca was bad, but Rebecca getting off on a power kick, putting a repentant Louise in her place, was just as bad. It takes a big person to apologise for doing a wrong; it takes a bigger person to forgive, and she was thoroughly enjoying tormenting Louise in her own way - allowing herself to enjoy a moment messing about with Louise in the allotments - but was quick to deny her any acknowledgement of restored friendship, reminding her that she had been her best friend (emphasis on the past tense) and later insisting that Louise earn her trust. 

Of significant note was Rebecca dictating the terms of her offer of friendshiip, like a victorious warrior setting out surrender terms to the vanquished, or more, like a self-righteous schoolmarm punctiliously dictating behaviourial terms to which Louise had to adhere: no more hanging around with Sniggle and Snaggle, to which Louise - a Mitchell, no less!- meekly accedes, not only accedes, but wills to do Rebecca's bidding...

I won't, if you don't want me to...

Poor Ben in holding Phil's low estimation of him aside, Louise is the new runt of the Mitchell litter, the natural successor to Billy or Roxy, although Roxy had more fire and gumption in her gut than Louise can ever imagine.

Of course, Louise's test comes early, in a scene so obviously contrived, it screamed "plot-driven". As she and Rebecca walk home from McKlunkey's, who should be following them but Sniggle and Snaggle, who demand to know if Louise is now hanging out with Rebecca again, and Louise, clearly frightened within an inch of her life, denies Rebecca, saying that they were only talking.

Rebecca walks off in disgust, but when the pair, who really are awful in every way - and I'm talking about acting - try to manipulate Louise into hanging out with them during the weekend, but she refuses them, and in a truly comically bad scene of melodrama, we hear one say to the other that Louise needs to be taught a lesson.

Now we know. Rebecca is yesterday's victim; they're after Louise now, and of course, it will be Rebecca to the rescue. You could almost envisage these two twentysomethings, unconvincingly trying to be 15 year-olds, twirling their villainous moustaches, it was that bad.

The whole truth-and-reconciliation premise of this segment was also sill - the idea of therapeutic bonding over digging in the earth, with Michelle and Sharon, benignly from a bench nearby, sipping tea from a thermos and Sharon, laughing at Michelle's depiction of her as a scarecrow - once again, something truthfully revelatory of Michelle's true feelings for Sharon and Sharon taking all kinds of shit from Michelle.

It is true - TPTB are trying to mould Rebecca Red Nose and Lily-Livered Louise into the next Michelle and Sharon - Fowler and FauxWatts-Now-Mitchell - right down to Rebecca calling the shots and making the relevant demands in the friendship, as Michelle has always done, and Louise, like Sharon, always on the back foot, ready with a piteous apology every time she comes short of Rebecca's standard, as Sharon always did with Michelle. If there ever comes a time when Rebecca really sticks it to Louise, for no reason, there won't be an apology. Why should there be? Michelle has never apologised to Sharon - not for sleeping with Sharon's father, not for sleeping with Sharon's ex-husband before the ink on the divorce papers had dried, and never for smacking Sharon's son.

We thought the bullying storyline had ended? We're just about to get Chapter Two.

The Bank of Phil and the Bank of Vincent. How long have the Carters had the Vic? Since 2014? I can't believe they are so skint as not to have any money to pay the brewery. Still, it's good to know that Sean O'Connor really isn't that different from DTC, not when it comes to giving us the ubiquitous beefcake scene of some fit bloke, built like a brick shithouse, striding around, clad only in a towel, into a room full of strangers.

Tonight, after only three episodes, Woody Woodward would have to show his wood There he was, striding into the Carter front room in all his tattooed glory, announcing that he'd used all the hot water, as Whitney sat and filed her expensively-manicured nails and Tina managed to pulverise Johnny's laptop with her morning orange juice. Was it Whitney who seriously suggested that Johnny immerse his sodden laptop in rice? And was it Tina who said that her orange juice didn't touch any of the laptop's "important bits?" Looked to me as though most of the liquid saturated the keyboard.

Their financial woes are getting so extreme that they're almost laughable. In extremis is the byword here. Now they're at the point where they can no longer get the brewery to supply them with lager - their direct debit bounced, and they are a bad credit risk. Once again, Woody steps into the breach, concocting his cocktail special, the dubiously unfunny named Woody's Pecker, landing Lee Ryan with the line of the night ...

Everybody loves my pecker.

I'm sure they do, Woody.

I still don't find him offensive, but I'm beginning to wish that this would be the end of the Carters in the pub. Noble Johnnie spends the rest of his student loan in paying off the brewery so they can get some lager in, but considering the fact that Johnny's about to finish his law course, how much of the loan is left? Possibly a lot, considering the fact that Johnny's never lived in student accommodation at all.

The real problem is the roof and Lady Di's treatment. Correction: It's not the roof, it's Lady Di's treatment. It looks as though the entire Carter clan is a bad credit risk - not only Mick, but Shirley, as well, it seems. 

I've often wondered who owns what used to be Arthur's shed on the allotments. In fact, who owns that actual allotment, which used to be Arthur's and subsequently became Charlie Slater's, and lately, seems to belong to Patrick. (Remember that improbably scene of Denise digging potatoes in the winter months and finding Lucy's purse? Those potatoes must have been proper rotten). This seems to be a communal shed, which everyone uses. It's even had a murder committed within its walls.

Anyway, that's where Shirley repairs with Lady Di. It seems no one has told either Mick or Linda of the situation with Lady Di, and we got it laid on thick about how the dog dying would destroy Mick. Shirley's first port of call for money is the Bank of Phil. She must have thought Sharon a mug when she asked for Phil's telephone number (which I thought she had, but maybe Phil's changed phones), ostensibly, to hit him up for £6K, but when Sharon deftly fielded her request by deferring the reference to Phil to herself, Shirley threw a hissy fit and lashed out as Scarecrow Sharon.

Her next port of call was a new patsy - Bank of Vincent, managed by his wife. Vincent stood by gormlessly, after ordering a drink, only to have Shirley showing brass by asking them outright for a loan of £6,000 for Lady Di's treatment.

Kim's response was typically Kim and typically crass - she's not a dog-lover.

I don't like anything that can't use a toilet.

It was a terribly cruel and callous reply, but it was typical of Kim, not only in her self-absorption, but also in her inability to empathise with anyone outside of hers and Denise's dynamic. This has always been their schtick, which makes it odd that Denise has suddenly become a spokesman for the community. Both these women have concerned themselves only with themselves and their immediate families, and the rest of the Square, be damned. Denise wasn't as bad as Kim or as grossly articulate in certain circumstances (although both are tactless), but Kim's assumptions in front of a family faced with the possibility of losing a treasured pet, was offensive.

That said ... Shirley had no right to expect Vincent to hand over 6 thousand quid, with no proof that any of it would ever be repaid, and she actually had no right to ban Kim and Vincent for Kim's saying what she did. Frankly, the Vic needs all the custom it can get. But then again, as has been reiterated, vets are some of the most understanding of professionals when it comes to animals as sick as Lady Di allegedly is, and they would have worked with the Carters to come up with some sort of payment plan to effect the treatment.

But then, on another level, Tina's back to being the court jester again. Dot loaned Sylvie a broach willed to Dot by the woman who sheltered her as a child in Wales during the war. Why on earth did Tina have the audacity and entitlement to pin the broach on the dress in which Sylvie was cremated? And later, Whitney was actually laughing about this mistake. This was a much treasured heirloom of Dot's, something left her as a legacy by the woman who loved her like a mother. There was more wailing over Johnny's laptop, and he deceived Dot by charming her with guileless niceness, than Dot's destroyed possession, the loan of which she received a torrent of abuse from Sylvie.

Rather than resort to a Shaggy Dog tale on GoFundMe's website, which would have raised the money for Lady Di's treatment in no time, we have Max, the ears and eyes of Weyland & Co, keeping a sharp eye on the predicament, and using it to his advantage.

Basically, the end cliffhanger can be summed up this way: Shirley either sells Max the freehold of the pub, or the dog dies. But hang on ... Mick is in Bulgaria,and Linda is in Watford, with both none the wiser of the situation in hand. They own the pub. Shirley has only a 1% share. How can she sign away the freehold? It would have to be done by, I would think, the principal shareholder - in this case, Mick.

Or are we meant to ignore that little plot hole?

Max suddenly got interesting again.

You Can't Cheat a Cheater. Who didn't see that one a mile away? Photocopier Man is actually someone very important in the scheme of things at Weyland & Co, most likely Simon Williams's son. You just knew that the interview he arranged would be conducted by him, with it being a mere formality.

Lauren is going to be his play-away toy, because he didn't hire her for her qualifications (she has none) or abilities (she, herself, admitted she'd never held down a job). I'm a stickler, and were I the woman doing the interview, if she didn't kill me with I know I ain't got the qualifications, I would have kicked her to the curb with her sentence, beginning Me and Lucy ...

On the subject of "Me and Lucy's" letting agency they started from scrap, for the record, that venture lasted exactly 2 weeks, long enough to get Lucy killed. Started from scratch meant that the "Lucy" part of "Me and Lucy" prostituted herself with Lauren's father -you know, the one who's working for Weyland & Co at the moment? - to get the initail outlay of a mere thousand quid. As for Lauren doing the web design for the website, I thought that was done by Jake Stone, as a favour to Lucy? How soon everyone conveniently either forgets or simply retcons the thing.

Whatever her talents, it's clear the only reason Photocopier Man wants Lauren around is some serious sex on tap, and she's tempted.

She's clearly bored with Steven - that much was obvious from the pained scene they shared before she left for the interview. She couldn't even be bothered to kiss him, and as she left, Steven's facial expression told everyone he knew the real measure of her method. He's beginning to have his suspicions aroused, especially by the fact that she seemed very much over-dressed for this interview.

Jossa is such a bad actress, and that arty-farty scene of her ascending the escalator, followed by the camera lingering on her arse in the form-fitting skirt jiggling away from the camera was almost the equivalent of Lee Ryan's shirtless venture. At least, we didn't get gurning.

Lauren's indignant reaction to being played for a sex tool with a job as a sweetener lasted five seconds. Josh has also got the measure of her. He knows she's been teasing him as well as he has her, and it was clear from his dialogue that he knows more about her than she ever imagined about him. I daresay he knows she's in a relationship and that she has a child. She was patently too stupid and too unimaginative to think that he could be a power player. He, on the other hand, rightly read the signals she was sending out - coyly telling him where she was clubbing, actively seeking him on her first night out with Whitney.

He knows that she's bored, and also that she wants challenging work - the sort of work about which she can only dream, because she isn't qualified to do it. So her dilemma is either to go home to Steven and forget about this ruse, or take the job and the infidelity it entails to keep it and hope to move up the ladder horizontally.

This will all end badly. Steven's aggressive piercing of the condom with a kitchen knife was blatant foreshadowing. Josh is for the chop - literally -or the stab. I have a feeling he's married, himself, and she's being set up to be his chick on the side. There's the blatant possibility of yet another Who's the Daddy storyline, or perhaps another rape scenario, or jealous Steven going on the rampage and stabbing Josh.

And, of course, all this is tied up with Max's involvement in exacting revenge.

I'm enjoying Steven. I hope this is the end of Lauren.

EastEnders Does Friends. I actually liked the drinking game bit with Ben, Abi, Jay and Donna, used as a teaching exercise about Jay making unfound judgements. But I hated the way TPTB dressed up Jay's reservations about Donna being "scary" as a euphemism for his having reservations about living with a disabled person. Throughout the scene, it was shown that Donna has a sense of humour about herself, from the moment she told the boys about house rules being that she liked to walk about the house naked to Abi's tactlessness in bringing Twister as a game to play.

In the end, Donna and Jay bonded over shared experiences of being raised as outsiders in care situations - she acknowledged Jay losing his father; he acknowledged her being brought up in care and fighting to be noticed and heard.

It was a lesson learned, and it was a nice scene, just seeing young people be young people for once.

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