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EastEnders Weekender (Mar. 31 – Apr. 4, 2014): Between a Rock and a Hard Place

EastEnders Weekender (March 31 - April 4, 2014) Derek Branning (JAMIE FOREMAN), Alfie Moon (SHANE RICHIE) Photo: (c) 2012 BBCThe EastEnders Weekender is our re-cap, review and maybe a little rant about the previous week’s goings on around Albert Square. While we certainly hope that you’re keeping up to the minute on what’s happening in Walford by watching EastEnders every weeknight at 8pm ET, we know that’s not always possible and you have to catch up on the drama and intrigue online. Therefore, please be forewarned that the EastEnders Weekender contains big spoilers if you haven’t yet enjoyed the previous week’s episodes of EastEnders. Watch for a new EastEnders Weekender online each weekend.

EPISODES: 4411 – 4415 / VISIONTV AIRDATES: MARCH 31 – APRIL 4, 2014
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With the police presence in Walford dwindling, and many of its residents ready to put the neighbourhood’s most recent calamity behind them, the past few days felt like both a reprieve and a moment of uncertainty. Many seemed to be facing a personal impasse, and even after confronting those issues, were left suspended in limbo, unsure of the best course of action. Last week, we saw the Mitchells doing their best to weather a storm that showed every sign of dividing them completely, however, it wasn’t until it began to subside that the greatest damage was actually done.

As the week began, we saw Shirley beginning to emerge from the melancholy state she’d adopted before the funeral, poring over Heather’s old belongings and spending most of her time reminiscing with her newfound ally, Andrew. Her behavior didn’t exactly help Phil’s efforts to restore a sense of normalcy around the house, for as Shirley began to wake up from her grief, she also mounted her own investigation into the murder. If things in the Mitchell house had been uncomfortable before, things only got worse when Shirley found out Phil had advised Jean not to make a statement to the police, raising her suspicions for the first time.

EastEnders Weekender Apr. 4: Shirley Carter (LINDA HENRY), Phil Mitchell (STEVE MCFADDEN) Photo: Kieron McCarron ©BBC 2012

Fearing that Shirley might unravel the secrets surrounding Heather’s murder, Phil turned her out of the house.

EastEnders Weekender Apr. 4: Mandy Salter (Nicola Stapleton), Ian Beale (ADAM WOODYATT) Photo: Jack Barnes ©BBC 2012

Mandy decided that the best way to get Ian’s trust back was to show him that she wants the cafe to be a success.

Growing more like his father every day, Ben was quick to sense that he and his co-conspirators were on thin ice, and that things would only get more dangerous for them as Shirley ramped up her sleuthing. So, in his own typical fashion, he convinced his father that his non-existent ‘sleep talking’ about the crime might tip Shirley off, and that they would all be safer if she were out of the picture. However, while Ben’s subtle manipulations are nothing new (more like par for the course, at this point), what was shocking was how easily Phil was swayed, and his willingness to unceremoniously kick his longtime girlfriend out of the house. It just goes to show how much Phil has come to trust Ben – for better or worse – and perhaps how frightened he really is of the truth coming out.

Family strife was no less pertinent across the square at the newly-anointed ‘Mandy’s’, as the café’s namesake made a genuine effort to live up to Ian’s grand gesture, and to live down Lola’s announcement at its opening. Needless to say, Ian wasn’t keen to discuss why she was seeing her ex-fiancé, and Lucy was even less willing to communicate with him following what she saw as a monumental betrayal (and for once, her indignation is, in our opinion, well deserved). It didn’t look like the sailing would be any smoother for her when she was forced to work with Bianca on the café’s opening day, but while her co-worker was hostile to begin with, Mandy was able to get her onside long enough get the dining room humming and money rolling in. It wasn’t enough to win Ian over, though, as he saw it as yet another example of his wife-to-be using her wiles to rake in a profit.

Meanwhile, in her attempts to escape the gloom of the Mitchells’ household, Roxy seemed even happier than usual to spend time working at The Vic with Alfie. On an afternoon off, Christian was quick to spot that Roxy was interested in someone, and it only took him about ten seconds to deduce that the object of her affections was married (although, as Roxy pointed out, Christian is no stranger to similar dilemmas). He wasn’t the only one to notice the sparks flying The Vic, however, as Derek’s observational skills went into overdrive following a scuffle between Roxy and Bianca that led to a rare outburst from Alfie.

EastEnders Weekender Apr. 4: Roxy Mitchell (RITA SIMONS) Photo: Colin Hutton©BBC 2012

Sure that Derek has something sinister planned, Roxy anxiously tries to contact Alfie on his cell, with no luck.

EastEnders Weekender Apr. 4: Bianca Butcher (PATSY PALMER), Jack Branning (SCOTT MASLEN), Roxy Mitchell (RITA SIMONS), Derek Branning (JAMIE FOREMAN) Photo: Colin Hutton ©BBC 2012

Convinced that Shenice has been stealing her cosmetics, Bianca angrily tries to extract a confession, launching a fight with Roxy.

Looking to stir the pot, and get a rise out of Roxy, Derek enlisted Alfie to do a job for him the next morning. Of course, Roxy couldn’t help but be curious, and the more she tried to find out the nature of the errand, the more convinced she became that Derek had something sinister in mind for Alfie. After running herself off her feet trying to get to the bottom of his ‘disappearance’, she was relieved to see Alfie arrive back at The Vic, safe and sound, after taking care of Derek’s…laundry. Realizing that she’d been played, Roxy tried to pick a fight with the conniving Branning, only to be chided by Alfie and, in her exasperation, finally told him that she loves him.

While Alfie was distracted by that perhaps not-completely-unwelcome declaration, there was other activity going on in Albert Square’s watering hole that might otherwise have raised his eyebrows. After weeks of idly chatting, Jean put her faith in Michael Moon, investing in his gym with the hopes that her lottery winnings would be able to help disadvantaged young athletes – and that once the gym is profitable, she’ll see a return. But Michael, far too stubborn to let Janine use her money as an excuse to dictate the details of their wedding, immediately turned around used the money as his contribution to the wedding funds.

And finally, in our poll last week, it sounded like most viewers felt that the afflicted Butchers were the family most in need of a lucky break, and this week only served to drive that impression home. Without Ricky around to help out, Bianca continued to struggle to make ends meet, as her financial situation continued to deteriorate. Her family’s desperation became achingly clear when Tanya invited her, along with Carol and the kids, to dinner at the Brannings’ – and Morgan attempted to sneak food home in his jumper. Their problems continued to pile up even with Bianca working multiple jobs, and the effects of their situation began to take a toll on Tiffany’s schoolwork. It seems like Bianca is nearing the end of her rope, and with no clear solution in sight, it’s unclear how much longer she’ll be able to stay afloat.

– Kate Shepherd

HAVE YOUR SAY IN THIS WEEK’S POLL:

This week wasn't one of the best for the women of Walford. Which one do you think will make the most convincing comeback?

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