Eastenders episode 4,829 review

Review Louisa Mellor
1 Apr 2014 - 06:00

In Den Of Geek's first ever Eastenders review, Danny Dyer delves into a mysterious encounter...

This review contains spoilers.

As the last, elegiac whistle of title music faded away, the theme of this episode, reflection, was quickly established. Director John Howlett’s camera panned up an ablutions-performing Danny Dyer through a glass shower panel, his features - like his troubled soul - warped and rippling, while in the distance a police siren wailed its solitary song. Dyer confronted his bruised reflection in the bathroom mirror with questioning, narrowed eyes. “I’m in untold torment”, they seemed to say, “and no mistake”.

After an ebullient family breakfast in which Shirley asserted her position as Carter family matriarch by symbolically insulting her sister’s eggs, Dyer carried his burden first to the dart board, then to the the car lot.

Safe behind the half-closed blinds of Max Branning’s Portakabin - a place where the filing cabinets hum with masculine secrets - Mick Carter sought psychological solace. He suspected his recently cast son of having done a runner from the army but wasn’t able to bell him up because they wouldn’t let him have a blower. Dyer almost wore a hole in his waistcoat with the pathos of Mick's predicament.

Investigate further, Max advised him, but don’t tell the missus. Luckily for Mick, said missus was preoccupied by the challenge of dressing as a one-woman Grease revival to spend much time pondering her husband’s state of mind. Alternately appearing in the episode as Sandra Dee, Rizzo, Frenchy, and at one point, all three simultaneously, Linda Carter barely noticed her husband was sicklied over with the pale cast of thought. It was Shirley, with the potent line “There’s something you’re not telling me”, who appeared to have guessed there was something Mick wasn’t telling her.

The Carters, who’d begun episode 4,829 bonded by the fry-up-based glue of family unity, had been rent apart by the end of the half-hour. The agent of their fracture was Timothy West as Stan Carter, reviled father of Shirley, Mick and Teen (the latter named after the age you have to stop wearing your hair in bunches unless you want to look like a series one Big Brother auditionee). Just moments before Stan was wheeled into the Queen Vic, Mick had expressly stated his intention never to let his father anywhere near his family, and there Stan was, in fairly close proximity to them. As Alanis Morrissette might say, that’s like ten thousand spoons when all you need is a knife.

From one lascivious pig to another, over at The Albert, Sharon was working herself into a lather about new tight-jeaned mixologist, Curtis. Following the Walford tradition of everybody being ninety percent more excited about Johnny’s love life than Johnny, Sharon’s eyes bulged like a pug in a decompressed air-lock at the thought of her young employees going at it next to the £9.50 Daiquiris. The scene’s wry commentary on heteronormative appropriation of queer culture was not lost on this reviewer.

Elsewhere in the Square, Denise and Shabnam were gently fingering the multipack pitta breads and plotting at cross purposes. A dinner party was planned both to lure Jane - a vision in George at Asda - away from and towards Ian Beale. Discussing menu ideas, Teen asked Denise where she was going to get a goat in Walford, a powerful eulogy to the lost pastoralism of the East End that went poignantly unanswered.

Meanwhile, Walford’s very own line of Bratz Dolls, Whitney, Lucy, Lola and Lauren, were planning a night out in Shoreditch, while Carol Branning soldiered bravely and affectingly through her cancer treatment.

Overall the episode had emotion, intrigue, plenty of shots of characters staring contemplatively into the middle distance, and Danny Dyer. What more could anyone ask for?

Join us again tomorrow, as the Square gathers to celebrate Sharon’s big opening.

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