Screenplay by Jesse O’Mahoney.
Now, this really is a bit unconventional. A continuing drama has revealed whodunnit through a flashback episode taking place much earlier in the show’s continuity. This is nice idea, and non-linearity is a good baby step for a show as it turns thirty, and even begins in an unconventional fashion. There’s single camera, and chromakey intercut with graded archive clips. It was really something, and looked like it might be a more technically-controlled episode than the usual, multi-cam “as live” format. But alas, no. Instead, the episode played-out much more like a regular episode. People out of the loop might see this as just an extra episode for its anniversary night, and that was the problem. The story takes the usual meandering about as with any EastEnders episode when what matters is Lucy Beale’s storyline, given that the episode will finally reveal who killed her. And it seems that for such an occasion, every character has a motive. It’s almost like The Simpsons‘ two-part spectacular, Who Shot Mr. Burns, and even ends with the revelation that a child did it. What they’ve done there is take the Broadchurch way out and completely subvert expectation by revealing Bobby Beale to secretly be a psychopath. That’s really pushing the boat out, and it came across as being a forced addition to the character for the sake of shock. A twist for no other reason that having a twist. It’s not even character development, it’s just something the writers have decided is a thing now.
And it’s not really that surprising, either. The “Who Killed Lucy Beale” storyline has been the subject of BBC One’s main publicity team this week, and was spearheaded by a banner showing the suspects, but not the murderer. Not that I needed to point that out. If the marketing wanted us to suspect specific people, it probably wasn’t going to be them. Given she was murdered in her own home, why did the audience only think it was some of the people living with her, as opposed to everyone – the far more logical option.
Either way, Bobby Beale was right: she did start it. She did make everyone unhappy. This episode featured such paranoia that it reminded me of the Dead Bart myth, and was almost like a dark fanfiction in-which everybody’s out of character and the disturbing thing isn’t the story or the atmosphere, but the acting. But by the sounds of it, Bobby seems to done East London a favour. And that’s got to mean something.
EastEnders: 19/02/2015 – Flashback — forced paranoia; an ineffective gimmick 4/10.