Thursday, June 22, 2017

Crook, Crock and Psychopaths Abounding - Review:- Thursday 22.06.2017

Well, that didn't last long, did it? One genuinely good episode following another that grabbed our interest, both showing problems, and now we're back to the same old same old once again.

It's the sheer inconsistency of being able to string together an interesting storyline with a beginning, definable development and closure. Instead, we have a jumble of this and that thrown together, storylines and the development therein so very long that people lose interest. With DTC, it was Stacey's key; with O'Connor, it's the interminable wait to see what's up Max's sleeve besides self-inflicted wound scars. By the time something definite happens, people either don't remember the original concept or they're too tired of waiting or too bored to care.

At the risk of being shouted down, I see a pattern in O'Connor's overriding mediocrity. 

Guess who were front and centre of this episode tonight, with yet another chronicle in their lives about to unfold?

Yep, that's right, folks. Kick off your shoes, sit back and try to be conned by O'Connor and the writing room that these two are the stars of the show and everything in this ensemble piece revolves around them.

The Michelle and Denise Show is back in town.

The Bitch and the Dog. Yet another storyline about Denise. Such trials and tribulations! First, the sympathy pitch - she's got word that the adoption of the secret Mitchell son has been finalised, so she falls back on cosying up to Kush for sympathy.

She has a sister and she has Patrick, both of whom were closely involved with her decision about the child. Why can't she turn to either one of them for comfort?

Now we get the story about Kush playing the Knight in Shining Armour, coming to Denise's rescue when Keegan's dog was off its lead and approached - and not in an aggressive way - Denise, Pearl and Arthur.

This was after the incident where Kush showed off for Denise by rescuing Pearl's toy duck from the pond and then hopped off to buy everyone an ice cream.

As a dog-owner and a dog-breeder, I have to answer this. 

Keegan was irresponsible in not maintaining the dog on the lead; I keep my dogs on their most of the time, and I live pretty much in the country. Whenever they're off the lead, if someone approaches, they're always called to heel and put back on the lead. I can appreciate that people who don't know strange dogs or animals in general feel uneasy around dogs roaming free, and I've certainly taken people to task when their dogs have approached mine when they are on the lead. You never know what might happen.

Even though I dislike her, I can appreciate her discomfort when the dog approached her; she's obviously not familiar with dogs, there were two young children and she reacted instinctively.

But, again, as someone who knows dogs and their body language and behaviour, this seems like a friendly dog. He wasn't aggressive. He was curious and, obviously having been part of a family that included children and young children (Karen's grandchildren), he approached. Dogs are attracted to what is familiar. Had he been aggressive, he would have lurched without warning, shown his teeth and barked vociferously. The growl wasn't even an aggressive growl. And, yes, Keegan was right about the dog's behaviour with Denise's bag, although she wasn't to know or understand his behaviour. He really did want a tug of war.

Keegan was wrong to have the dog off the lead whilst he talked with his mates; Denise and Kush were wrong in taking their eye off the kids for whom they were responsible, instead of making goo-goo eyes at each other, and she was wrong to actually kick the dog into the pond. Had she and Kush both taken the kids and gone for ice cream, instead of her poncing about whilst he went for the grub, none of this would have happened.

Also, Keegan knows how to play the system. She assaulted him, a minor, and she's already on discharge for that offence. Had he reported her to the police, he would have got a ticking-off for having the dog off the lead, but he could have made a case for her kicking the animal into the pond - and don't you think his mates, all standing around (including the one with the full beard who looked more like a thirtysomething than a 15 year-old schoolboy), would have readily offered themselves up as witnesses? That's an offence - in fact, it's assault - because aggressive action against a person or a person's property is considered assault. Denise was right in saying she would go to jail.

Still, that was also a cheap shot about subtly threatening the Taylors with having their dog put down. I used to live next door to a family whose dog was always getting out of their garden. The dog was not aggressive in the least and very friendly and soft, but because another neighbour reported her approaching her two kids, and not in any aggressive way, they reported the animal and the family to the local police and the animal was put down. Don't get me wrong - the family in question were a load of deadbeats, but another neighbour, a responsible dog owner, phoned the authorities and offered to take the dog into his home, but by that time, they'd put her down.

The Taylors know how to play the system; they also have a history with Denise that involves the police; and whilst they don't know that Kush is covering for her, it won't take the police long to know that, peripherally, she'll be seen to be involved in this, and it won't look good for Kush. He won't go to jail, but it will be seen as an assault against the property of someone whom Denise has assaulted in the past.

And, yes, the authorities would have dealt with Denise accordingly. They Taylors would have built their case around her history with Keegan. He was quick to recognise and accuse her action of having to do with her hatred of him, and Karen would have been the first to report how it was Denise who approached the family in general, initially, when they arrived, to make sure they knew who she was. These people know how to use their socio-economic status as well as how to use the law. Karen is even on a first-name basis with one of the investigating police officers. 

The twist in this tale was Denise playing cutesy-cute and leaving Kush a toy duck as a birthday present. Really, this so-called gob-faced idiot is one of the most man-dependent creatures on the show. I suppose she was feeling smug about the way she passive-aggressively handled the Taylors by insinuating that she could have their dog put down - even suggesting openly to Keegan that this is what should be done with the animal. But the real twist came at the end, when the Taylors actually did report Kush to the police, because they believe him to have been the culprit. 

Let's see how quickly the Patron Saint of Po-Face admits to having assaulted the dog - and by default, Keegan, again - to save Kush from being charged.

Carmel will be itching for her blood.

Most Psychopaths Seem Like Normal People. Who is the mysterious Tom Bailey? 

Before I surmise, I just want to say that I was never a fan of Ronnie Mitchell's, and god knows it was time for her to go (albeit not Roxy); but when I see O'Connor trying to force-feed the Fox sisters as viable substitutes and replacement for the Mitchell sisters, I gag a maggot.

Tonight, we had to suffer Kim making openly snide remarks about Michelle when she showed up at The Albert to meet her date. Coincidentally, it was yet another Singles' Night that Kim was hosting, so the first remark she made to Michelle, a paying punter, was about making sure she would be in the "Eighteen and Older Section" and later about checking the IDs of anyone hovering near Michelle.

I'm not a fan of Michelle's at all, in this incarnation, but she did what she did, and now she's trying to move on. There comes a time when people have to allow this. Michelle did nothing that affected Kim. She behaved badly, irresponsibly and illegally (in the country where she was living at the time), and the only people who suffered from that were her family and the family of the boy in question. Yet Kim has to be a big enough bitch to snark about this situation in not-so-subtle insults to Michelle's face. The joke about that was that Kim isn't so clean either. 

I well remember New Year's Eve 2010, the night that James Branning died and Tommy Moon was kidnapped and Kim's behaviour that night. She'd long been making suggestive remarks to Fatboy, who must have been in his late teens at that time, and that night, she got so drunk, she crawled the length of the bar to try to kiss him. The way she gets away with making rude remarks to people's faces, and the way it's played for comedy just wouldn't wash in real life. In real time, someone would have smacked the shit out of Kim by now, and maybe someone should. Michelle should have ordered up her drink, after suffering, in good grace, Kim's open insults and then flung it in her smug face.

If you want to know how much the Mitchell sisters are missed, just watch the Fox sisters and weep.

With the mysterious man on the Tube, we get another EastEnders staple - another Trevor Morgan-ish deceptively nice man, who seems to be pleasant, funny, self-deprecatingly charming - a widower making the first ventures into the social foray after the death of his wife. I say Trevor Morganish, because we know he's not a nice man. 

We suspected as much when we saw him standing outside the Mitchell house, obviously after having followed Michelle home after earlier turning around to gaze at her as he left the Tube. As he stood there, we watched him scroll through photo after photo of her he'd surreptitiously taken on the Tube. 

And tonight we know he isn't a nice man, because literally as he rounded the corner after having left her with a peck on the cheek, he bumped into a man, who apologised for not seeing him with the casual ...

Sorry, mate.

- an action, which prompted a snarling reply from Tom, that he was not his mate. It was aggressive, sudden and weird. The instant the man bumped into him, his face transformed from bland passivity into aggressive anger. Once the man had walked on, almost instantaneously, Tom's face resumed its habitual blandness.

Of course, this man isn't who he purports to be. I get weird vibes from him. He told the tale about his wife's death - which may or may not be true - and when Michelle made oblique references to the tale of her marriage, he automatically assumed that its end came as a result of her husband pursuing someone younger. But you instantly got the impression that he knew differently. He initially gave her enough pause to elaborate on his assumption, but Michelle let that lie at first - understandably so, because she was unsure of what his reaction would be to the truth; but upon parting, when she attempted to rectify his assumption, he wouldn't let her.

I don't know who he is, and I don't know his motives.I'm wondering if he's a British relative or friend of the Prestonovichs', whom they've contacted in order to wreak some sort of terror or revenge on Michelle.

And here I was, hoping he'd be a genuine romantic interest who'd marry her and take her off to live in Aberdeen.

The Most Embarrassing Part of This Episode. It was bad enough under Kirkwood/Newman that we had Sharon grovelling to the insipid, selfish, materialistic and boozy Tanya for crumbs from her table of friendship, but tonight we saw Kathy humbly submit to Jane's moral authority and literally beg to be allowed to remain in the Beale home.

Sorry, but the phrase "moral authority" and Jane don't belong together in the same sentence, because Jane has no moral authority. She abandoned any moral authority she had the night she bunged Lucy's body into the back of her car and subsequently dumped her on the Common.

The other incongruity came when it had to be Steven - Steven, who wanted Jane out of the Beale equation so much that he morally undermined her and even sympbolically removed her from a Beale family photo - who actually argued Jane's corner for Ian, but in a way which Ian could understand, and which linked the question of Kathy's abandonment of her sons for almost a decade with - wait for it - comfort eating.

All Kathy did was make a homemade lasagna for Ian - probably using fresh ingredients and healthy foods - and pass him the occasional biscuit. Yes, he has to watch his diet, but every morsel of food going into his mouth is regulated by the Jane police, and it was obvious that Ian wasn't enjoying his new diet. Somehow, O'Connor manages to use this tosh, this endless public service announcement, all about Kathy's efforts to make Ian feel better by feeding him up as a penance for having disappeared from his life for so long.

Okay, she's fattening Ian up as penance for her insurance fraud, to make him feel good, but Ian was a grown man with children when she left. That doesn't mean he wasn't affected, but Ben,her other son, was a small child. What, exactly, is she doing to make Ben feel good after disappearing from his life for his formative years? Oh, wait ... she paid the deposit on a house for him to rent, and that was that. Ben was affected far more by her abandonment than Ian. Ben was still a child.

Somehow, O'Connor has made a mincemeat of a moral paradigm out of one single lasagna, in an effort to show how submissive and how utterly secondary Kathy has become to this family, especially Jane and her excessive control of Ian. When Kathy steps out of line and does something of which Jane doesn't approve, she issues an ultimatum to Kathy that it's her way or the highway for Kathy and then induces Ian to soften the blow with a lot of sentimental tosh about Kathy buying sweets for him as a child.

Actually, how much did Kathy actually cook for Ian? Is this her major storyline, the result of which has her tugging her forelock and humbly kowtowing to Queen Jane?

Pull the other one, please.

Psycho Steven. I was never a fan of Aaron Sidwell's Steven previously, but I am now. The problem with this story is that it's presenting Lauren as a victim, stuck between a deeply insecure man with a history of mental illness, who undermines her decision not to have another child right away and subtly seeks to control her and an equally creepy man in a position of professional authority who's essentially grooming her to become his executive sexual plaything.

The problem is that Lauren, as a victim, isn't exactly sympathetic material. In her own way,she's as flawed as both Steven and Josh. She's selfish, self-serving, sneaky, dishonest with herself and with others, and she's a coward. 

She's bored by life with Steven; in her darkest moments alone, she probably admits to herself that she's bored with her son. She is never seen to lift a finger in the Beale household, where she lives rent-free, nor does she offer any sort of financial remuneration in the way of rent. She takes for granted that Ian, Jane or, mostly, Steven will be on hand to babysit her son whenever she wants a night out or has to work late. She's afraid to dump Steven, not because she'll have no place to go - she has a grandmother, an uncle and father and a sister living on the Square as well as a mother in Devon - but because she knows that Ian Beale would fight tooth and nail to retain custody of his grandson.

And she's stupid, because, also deep down, she believes the tosh fed her by Josh about his "arranged" engagement and the fiancée who doesn't understand him.

The fact that Steven deliberately sabatoged his own relationship with Lauren by defacing his condoms so she would fall pregnant is brought home to him doubly by Abi confessing to Lauren having an abortion. He's said nothing to her as yet, but Abi's continuing presence, first niggling his conscience, then trying to apologise after the fact brings him ominously to the edge, He's as much of a control freak as Josh in his own way, and he controlled himself enough in Abi's presence not to destroy her birthday cake, instead waiting until he was alone to demolish it, before calmly getting out sacks of flour, and a mixing bowl, ostensibly to start again.

However, EastEnders is good at one thing - displaying foreshadowing props in the background. Remember the first condom Steven defaced? It was with a kitchen knife - the biggest example of foreshadowing this year in the show. And there in the background of the kitchen at Beales' tonight, was a full array of kitchen knives, prominently on display.

What could possibly go wrong on Friday?

The Runt of the Litter. Seeing Pam in dribs and drabs only makes me realise how viable a character she'd still be today. Of course, the grand beginning of Billy's life as a businessman gets off with a whimper rather than a bang, but the heart-to-heart Pam had with Billy was the best part of the episode. 

I'm not so sure about Honey, however. Since Billy's elevation, she seems to be getting off earnestly on the fact that Billy's now a name above a business, oddly reminiscent of the way Jane used to get off big on being Mrs Beale.

And how long before Jack is sleeping with the blonde Norwegian nanny?

No comments:

Post a Comment