Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Eastenders Review: "Goodbye Old Friend"

It seems almost fitting. Michelle Fowler leaving Albert Square much the same way as she made her entrance on her comeback 2 years ago; under a dark cloud. Last nights episode saw Michelle walk in on Hunter & Louise, after they'd been banned from seeing each other. In an attempt to cover for their secret relationship, Hunter used Michelle's previous relationship with Preston against her and claimed that she'd made a move on him.

So Michelle once again has to deal with the whispers, looks, but this time she knows she's not in the wrong and she's not taking it lying down. The writers tonight took us on a little journey through memory lane. We got more Steve Owen shoutouts, but most importantly references to Michelle's relationship with Sharon's father dirty Den.

Due to that whole affair, Michelle correctly deducted that as much as Sharon may want to trust her, she'll always be looking at Michelle wondering what she's hiding. Unfortunately the woman didn't help her cause with the whole Preston affair and she does accept that, and as much as Sharon wants to argue she can't. Thankfully for Michelle though, both Sharon and Mel saw through Hunters lies. They knew Michelle hadn't actually made a move on him, though both were left wondering just what exactly had happened, and what Michelle was covering for.

Loyal as ever Michelle refused to break. And so did Hunter and Louise, although to her credit Louise did at least feel bad about the situation Michelle had been put in. She wanted to set Sharon & Mel straight to clear Michelle's name and let everyone know she wasn't a pervert, but unfortunately doing so would out her & Hunter and probably have Phil's baseball bat coming out again. After talking things over with Hunter, Louise then caught up with Michelle who assured her that her name had to an extent been cleared so they had nothing to worry about.

Hunter is brought to Michelle and forced to apologize for his actions, but Sharon's rightly not letting him off the hook easy. Hunter claims he just wanted to get out of extra homework & Sharon thinks claiming Michelle to be some serial abuser as a 'white lie'? Very much extreme. Sharon's still refusing to let bygones be bygones, Michelle's standing silently and Louise having enough of all the lies orders Hunter to be truthful. With Hunter still refusing to do the right thing, it's left to Louise to reveal the whole sorry truth.

Mel and Sharon aren't happy, but they're putting that issue aside to once again focus on Michelle. She might be calm and collected, refusing to get angry, but Mel knows the whole thing is beyond a massive screw-up. Mel offers a drink at the Club as a way of apology but Michelle's reached her breaking point. After visiting Martin where the two take a minor stroll down memory lane, Michelle realizes that she needs to leave. Her life isn't in Albert Square no more. All she's doing is basically making the same mistakes over and over again, expecting different results, neither moving forward nor backwards. As she correctly states, she's just haunting the place.

Sharon and Ian have both evolved as people from who they used to be where first introduced to Eastenders. Michelle unfortunately hasn't, and obviously sticking her with an under-age pupil story didn't exactly help matters. But for a legacy character like Michelle, and the amount of family she has on the square and history, coming back 2 years ago should've been a breeze. It's unfortunately been anything but. Bad writing is of course to blame as is the change in Producers, because where new Producers come in, so do new characters & new story ideas. But I'm very much laying the blame at the door of bad writing.

Michelle should've never been brought back with an under-age love affair storyline. Those types of storylines are rightly never warmly welcomed by the public, and it did massively sour Michelle in viewers eyes. Her attitude throughout the whole Bex/Preston affair was beyond terrible, the aftermath sought to at least rectify part of that but never really succeeded and apart from a stalker storyline that ended in an anti-climax, Michelle has mostly been in the background during her time on the show. Constantly disappearing for weeks on end and you can't really say she was ever mixed.

So into the standard black cab she goes, and on with life does Eastenders. Another exit is already in the works in the shape of Vincent and his escalating money troubles. He's now become a snitch for the police which isn't working out too well for him, since they want info that he can't provide. And even worse for Vincent, Phil spots the Detective leaving the cafe and immediately realizes that Vincent's been talking so makes a quick phone call. If Vincent is lucky, he'll be able to follow Michelle's lead in leaving the square in a cab but for some reason I think his exit might be a little more permanent than that. And Ian also gets a few minutes screen time as well. He decides to apply to an Angel Investor for money to refurbish the chippy. It transpires that Masood is also seeking investment and the two are going head to head, which should be fun as always.