The 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: 4471 – 4475 / VISIONTV AIRDATES: JUNE 23– 27, 2014
Last week in Walford, Billy Mitchell proudly welcomed the London Olympics (and a new great-granddaughter) to the community, and over the past few days, it’s become clear that the Games have officially begun. With the city overtaken by a wave of patriotic sentiment, the neighbourhood took the chance to let loose and celebrate their nation’s successes. But while Britain’s collective sense of national identity couldn’t have been stronger, there were some individuals around the square that were much less sure of themselves.
The most obvious of those of course, was the hapless Ian Beale, who disappeared once again after Lauren spotted him last week. Although he seemed to have no idea who he was anymore, Lauren couldn’t have been more convinced of his identity, and she immediately went to Whitney to tell her about the sighting at the homeless shelter. The two teens were understandably reluctant to tell Lucy, and instead opted to take their story to Max and Tanya, who had a difficult time believing their report. Their skepticism forced Lauren to tell them that Lucy had lied about Ian’s whereabouts, and that he had run off months ago on his wedding day.
It was only then that they realized just how far gone he must be and, along with Alfie, set out to find him. After passing out pictures of their friend at the shelter, one girl said she knew where they might be able to find him, and following after what seemed like the start of a wild goose chase, they finally found him sleeping under a bridge. It was a jarring sight, as Ian, barely recognizable to the three of them, seemed completely oblivious of his situation and unresponsive to his friends’ faces.
Back in Walford though, Lucy was busy coming into her own and didn’t seem at all keen to see her father again. With Joey helping her take care of Bobby and the café’s business under control, she was feeling more than capable of looking after things herself. That might be for the best, since the Ian that his friends brought back to the square was a far cry from the father she remembered. Unsurprisingly, she wasn’t at all hospitable when he appeared on the Beale family’s doorstep, and since his daughter wouldn’t let Ian through the front door, Max and Tanya were forced to take him in.
Ian’s return wasn’t necessarily good news for Ben and Phil either, who worried that he might let the identity of Heather’s murderer slip in his unusual mental state. The father and son made a trip to the Brannings’ to assess just how much damage his presence in Walford might do and whether or not he had already talked to anyone about Ben’s crimes. Fearing that he might spill the truth to a doctor, the Mitchells took Ian into their own home to keep an eye on him, but with Shirley around, the arrangement might be even more dangerous than him talking to a psychiatrist.
Although he remained mute for much of the week, it became increasingly clear that Ian remembered both his family and past events in the square. When he finally went to see Lucy at the café, she shouted him out of the building and his heartbroken response was more than enough to confirm that he still cared for his children. Meanwhile, the rest of the neighbourhood was slowly learning about Ian’s condition, but no one was nearly as concerned as Ben, as his brother continued to spend more time with Shirley.
Luckily for the Mitchell men, she was a little too preoccupied with her fundraising efforts to read too much into Ian’s odd behaviour, as she worked to make money for George’s trust. Struggling with her own sense of self since Heather’s death, it was Phil who had to bolster her confidence and convince her to face her fear of heights for the fundraiser. Invigorated by overcoming her phobia, Shirley proposed to Phil on a rooftop, leaving the boys hoping that the impending wedding might be enough to keep her from reading too much into their Ian’s strange, but telling actions. Still, even with Shirley off the case and fixated on the engagement, there were plenty of other people willing to listen to what Ian might have to say.
Meanwhile, Alice was allowed to make some of her own mistakes (at least by her older brother, if not her overprotective father). She managed to arrange a second date with Anthony – this time, without Derek watching – but even the absence of their menacing chaperone didn’t increase the romantic spark between them. That was, in large part, due to Anthony’s efforts to put Alice off of dating him, not because he didn’t like her, but out of fear of her intimidating father. Her handling of the awkward date was a master class in maturity and certainly defter than her family members’ overbearing behaviour would suggest she was capable of.
And, after weeks of worry, baby Scarlett made her first appearance in Albert Square, despite Michael’s apprehensions about facing the reality of parenting. As it turned out, it was more difficult for him to keep Janine from panicking at every one of the baby’s apparently unusual behaviours than it was to actually care for Scarlett. An impromptu visit from Jean, and her unsolicited advice, further muddied the waters and made Janine question Michael’s commitment to their family (again). Although she was growing (albeit rather uncomfortably) into the role of a mother, she wasn’t anywhere near sure that Michael was equally up to the task of parenting their daughter – or even being present.
All of that may soon seem comically inconsequential, however, as we feel ourselves growing closer to a reveal of the most important identity of all – that of Heather’s killer. Kim and Denise, as we saw, are now in possession of the picture frame used to kill Shirley’s best friend, and it’s only a matter of time before someone manages to trace it back to the Mitchells. And with Ian clearly remembering more about Heather’s demise than he’s letting on, it wouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone if he had a hand in the truth coming out – especially after the conversation he had with Jean. Maybe, if he’s lucky, he’ll be able to get back to his old self in the process.
– Kate Shepherd
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