Cluck, cluck, cluck goes Phil! It's all Lola's fault and as she "messed up" he's going to do it BY THE BOOK! To further increase the chances of Lola being pecked to death by Walford's broodiest Mitchell, apparently the cause of the rash was down to the coconut balm Lola put on at salon. Wasn't that yesterday? And didn't Phil JUST put her to sleep? So this rash waited a whole day and then just materialises in the two minutes she's alone... that's one precision allergic reaction or possibly the Crayon Crew are taking a shot at the Copenhagen Interpretation of quantum physics...
And apparently Peggy isn't coming to the christening. Surely not! Next you'll be saying Grant isn't going to be there either! Peggy's non-appearance is explained by her disdain for Sharon... Phil makes sure to express his contempt for Billy Idiot and Poxy... something people should really do more often.
All it took was a word from Sharon for Phil to go and apologise to Lola though and everything is all sorted... the most notable thing about the scene though is that Billy, Cora and Jay are all sitting there waiting... It felt as if the scene was missing Phil entering the room and saying "You're probably wondering why I've gathered you all here." Then it's off to the Vic for a drink!
AJ and Zainab are now pretending to get along to get Masood off their backs - Zainab requires him to get Geordie Racer and Tamwar to hook-up and also to make their New Year's Eve party the "party of the century"... despite the fact it's presumably going to be dry and the quintessential Western tradition of New Years Eve is drunken revelry... Could hilarity ensue? No. No it could not. You'd do better to buy lottery tickets.
How is AJ going to make this party better? In the least responsible way possible, of course! By spiking the punch! While it's established that AJ is clearly not a practising Muslim AND is rather mischievous - given that he's in a household that ARE practising Muslims who are avowedly teatotal (not to mention the fact he's trying to win Zainab over so he can stay there) isn't there something profoundly wrong with this situation?
Now, of course the desired reaction from the audience is going to be "HAHAHA! Look at all these people who have unwittingly become intoxicated!" but any real examination of the issue should make people feel deeply uncomfortable. Regardless of what one thinks of the Islamic prohibition of alcohol, one does not need to respect the belief to respect the person's right to adhere to it. This might seem trivial but that is likely because we have a society in which drinking is considered to be the norm if AJ were to spike the punch with MDMA or LSD, would it be viewed as quite so hilarious?
That moral quandary aside - thought you should think about it - Denise and Kim turn up in fancy dress. Oh, how we laughed... and of course, Kim and Patrick have snuck booze in... Really, it makes you wonder why the Masoods don't just let people drink openly at their party... it's not as if they have to partake. Oh and to build up the budding romance between Denise and Ian - she's dressed as Princess Leia and Squealy Bealy as Mr. Spock.
Shirley turns up to the party drunk and loading food up into a hankerchief like some kind of cartoon hobo... Oh no, SHE'S BECOMING A TRAMPOID! SHOOT HER IN THE HEAD! SHOOT HER IN THE HEAD BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE! Ahem... Geordie Racer comments that she's "never been to a party like this before" as Shirley makes off with her haul of food.
Zainab is upset by this and starts going round the room like some painfully unfunny sitcom character insisting people have MORE FUN! And people say that Eastenders is too gritty and depressing... Oh, wait - they're probably talking about the soul crushing depression and existential despair that it causes and they're right - this is like looking into the abyss and it looking back into you.
The Trumans, AJ and Ian are all drinking the punch in the back - more hints of the chemistry between Ian and Denise... Although, they missed a great opportunity to have people chanting "CHUG! CHUG! CHUG!" to make this feel like the rejected script to an American teen comedy that it so clearly trying to be.
Goodness, what's that? Geordie Racer has gotten drunk?! Who could have foreseen this unlikely turn of events?! Tamwar stands around looking no more or less gormless than usual as Geordie Racer flirts with him. Zainab then pulls AJ outside to show him Geordie Racer and Tamwar sitting next to each other on the wall, thinking that they're now all romantic... missing Geordie Racer having the obligatory drunken vomit. Which causes Tamwar to look considerably more gormless than usual. A seven... maybe a seven and a half. Just remember that like the Richter scale, the Tamwar gormless scale is exponential.
To make sure the audience also has difficulty in keeping their dinner in the digestive tracts, the prospect of Pointless Poppy and Arfuuuuuuur doing the "hokey kokey" is raised. It's almost as if the Crayon Crew are trying to deep seated psychological issues in the British public.
Masood does the announcement thing that causes the music to magically go quiet and everyone to hush... to reveal that their wedding is now booked. FOR VALENTINE'S DAY! And as they bring in the New Year for no reason at all, Patrick announces it was the best party ever. Maybe someone did spike the punch with MDMA.
To ensure Bianca's cup of misery runneth over the police arrive and she has to explain that Derek had a load of dodgy stuff in the garage that magically materialised next to their house that apparently nobody EVER LOOKS IN. Misery Guts Carol is on hand to look glum but Bianca assures her that Liam didn't move the stuff as he swore to her. Cut to Liam in an alleyway, getting wads of notes from someone stuffing a bag into his jacket. DOHOHO!
Then it's straight to Bianca and Misery Guts giving Liam the third degree. Misery Guts Carol actually talks about her brother being in prison for most of his life... perhaps you should remind Jacknocchio and Scotch Egg about the fact the Hogfather was such a ne'er do well, they seem to have completely forgotten they were both about ready to kill him themselves before fate intervened.
So, after Misery Guts Carol's emotional accounting (actually, shopping lists have been read with more emotion) of the heartbreak Derek caused, what does Liam do? Swears on his mother's life he doesn't know where the stuff is. DOHOHO!
Bianca and Misery Guts Carol are talking about Liam as he listens in on the stairs and they say he's a good boy - which is apparently sufficient inducement for him to leave his life of crime and reveal to us that Count Moonula was apparently in on this! Not just that but he has opened the box full of forged banknotes! As if that's not enough excitement for you, Half-Day Alice comes to join the fun.
Sharon and Jacknocchio reconcile - thank goodness for that! We wouldn't want the romance of the century being derailed! Apparently she has got someone on to cover for her because it's not as if being the manager of a club entails any work, especially at this time of year. Sharon also seems to have taken an immediate dislike to Secret Wife... and then flirts with Jacknocchio in a way that would cause most men to eject the contents of their stomachs.
Sharon gives Phil a peck on the cheek for his apparent reconciliation with Lola, leading to a dirty look from Jacknocchio, followed by what could be a devious smirk on Phil's face! What could that mean? No need to worry about subtext because Phil's New Year's resolution is to make sure Sharon is his by the end of next year! See, a lot of people undertaking a plan to steal away someone's partner would want to keep it to themselves but Phil knows better! The mind of a criminal genius at work!
Kat turns up looking like a basted turkey to go and see Tommy. This allows her to be JUST in time for her to overhear Alfie inviting Poxy to move in with him... and Poxy - despite having said just yesterday (or whenever it was) that they should take it slow, she immediately agrees and they kiss, leaving Kat to slink out the Vic as if she just soiled herself.