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EastEnders Weekender (Feb. 20 & 21, 2015): If You Can’t Take the Heat…

EastEnders Weekender (Feb. 20 & 21, 2015): Jean Slater (GILLIAN WRIGHT), Ian Beale (ADAM WOODYATT), Poppy Meadow (RACHEL BRIGHT), Whitney Dean (SHONA MCGARTY) Photo: Guy Levy (c) BBC 2013The EastEnders Weekender is our re-cap, review and maybe a little rant about the previous week’s goings on around Albert Square. 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 and catch up on episodes you’ve missed online anytime.

EPISODES: 4665 – 4670 / VISIONTV AIRDATES: FEBRUARY 20 & 21, 2015


Still reeling from Lauren’s latest dramatic and self-destructive episode, the Brannings were struggling to come up with a way to protect her from her own dangerous habits. Tanya finally realized that Lauren could only really recover if she was removed from her turbulent situation in Albert Square, and began to make arrangements for their family (minus Max) to leave the city while she was in treatment. There were some flaws in her plan, however, not least of which was Abi’s stubborn refusal to leave her home and her friends just because of her sister’s mistakes.

At the same time, Max was having his own problems with Kirsty after learning, at long last, the she wasn’t pregnant – and never had been. After months of lying, Kirsty was forced to tell the truth, and explain why she hadn’t come clean earlier, but insisted that they could still make their relationship work. Max had other plans, however, and when he went to see Tanya across the square, it was to tell her that staying with Kirsty had been a mistake. Though Tanya had no intention of getting back together with her ex, Abi did force her to reveal to Max her plans to leave Walford with their daughter, that very night.

Max was understandably upset that Tanya would make such drastic plans without telling him, but as she explained her reasoning, both of them began to recognize the toxic environment that their constant fighting had created for Lauren. After years of arguing, infidelity and anger, Tanya was dead-set against the idea of getting back together, and risking their daughter’s life in the process. Of course, Max couldn’t help but see the truth in her words, as difficult as they were to hear. As much as he wanted to start over with Tanya, she insisted that they needed to make a clean break from each other, just as Lauren needed a fresh start away from the square.

EastEnders Weekender Feb. 21: Tanya Cross (JO JOYNER), Abi Branning (LORNA FITZGERALD) Photo: Kieron McCarron © BBC 2013

Tanya found it hard to explain to Abi that she and Lauren would have to leave the square.

EastEnders Weekender Feb. 21: Max Branning (JAKE WOOD), Kirsty Branning (KIERSTON WAREING) Photo: Kieron McCarron © BBC 2013

After months of being lied to, Max broke things off with Kirsty once and for all.

Apparently learning that his family was leaving wasn’t enough to push Max back into Kirsty’s arms, though, realizing that he needed a new start just as much as Lauren. Despite her tearful protests, he refused to take her back after all of her lies. For her part, Lauren didn’t kick up as much of a fuss as we might’ve expected over her imminent departure, and when her dad explained to her that she was going to a clinic with her mum, she finally seemed resigned to the idea that it was the only way that she would ever get better.

Perhaps the biggest surprise was Lucy’s reaction to Lauren’s retreat to rehab, as she seemed to finally understand that she was partly to blame for her friend’s downward spiral. She made every indication that she was genuinely worried about her friend’s wellbeing, and felt at least the slightest twinges of guilt. And Lucy wasn’t the only one who saw her actions as somewhat responsible for Lauren’s behaviour – Joey didn’t take any pains to hide the fact that he blamed her as well. Still, that didn’t stop him from acting just as she’d hoped he would with Lauren out of the way, and the two looked like they might get back together, for the time being.

Meanwhile, the remaining Brannings in the square were left to fend off questions of prying neighbours, a task that no-nonsense Cora was more than up to. She was also happy enough to keep Sam in his place, despite the fact that Ava was starting to feel a whole lot friendlier towards her ex. With Dexter and Cora distracted by the goings on at the Branning household, Ava was able to carry on her liaisons with Sam under her family’s noses. That was, until Cora caught the newly reconciled lovebirds cavorting at her house. Disappointed, Cora confronted her daughter about the situation, and told her that she should either cut ties with Sam, or tell Dexter the truth.

Unfortunately, Ava didn’t get the chance to come clean on her own terms, and when Dexter found out about their rekindled romance on his own, he was far from impressed. The one bright side was the honest discussion that it prompted between mother and son, and though Dexter couldn’t believe his mother’s actions, he was at least mature enough to tell her so. That didn’t guarantee an entirely civil exchange, though, and it seemed that it would take more than a little time for Dexter to get used to the idea of his parents getting back together.

EastEnders Weekender Feb. 21: Dexter Hartman (KHALI BEST), Sam James (CORNELL S JOHN), Ava Hartman (CLARE PERKINS) Photo: Steven Peskett © BBC 2013

Dexter was far from pleased to learn that his parents were back together.

EastEnders Weekender Feb. 21: Jean Slater (GILLIAN WRIGHT), Ian Beale (ADAM WOODYATT), Poppy Meadow (RACHEL BRIGHT), Whitney Dean (SHONA MCGARTY) Photo: Guy Levy © BBC 2013

Jean finally snapped when Ian made a less than professional move in the kitchen.

A few doors down, Michael was growing increasingly unhinged in his attempts to get Scarlett back from Janine, and no amount of sane advice – from Alice, or anyone else – seemed to calm him. When he learned where Janine was staying, he also realized that she wanted him to come to find her, and was hesitant to play into her wishes. He went to her anyway, under the impression that to ignore his estranged wife would spell the end of his relationship with his baby daughter. Once there, however, it was clear that neither of them was looking to make up – at least not without an endgame in mind.

But even with all of that madness going on in the square, it was events at Le Square that were the most (ahem) incendiary. After running herself ragged trying to keep up with the demands of both her job at The Vic, and her new role at Ian’s restaurant, Jean was close to her breaking point. When a moment of excitement over a successful soufflé prompted an encounter with Ian that was too close for her comfort, several of Jean’s female friends – including the bullish Shirley – came to her defense. It was only during an after-hours search for Jean’s handbag in the restaurant (and a few drinks) that Shirley revealed to the overworked cook, and Bianca, why she resented Ian so much.

They had only just heard the story of his complicit role in the cover-up of Heather’s murder when things took a dangerous turn. In a moment of drunken clumsiness, the brandy they had opened during their search met with a candle and erupted in flames. Though they were able to get the fire out without too much trouble, the sprinkler system did plenty of damage of its own. And while Bianca and Shirley were more than capable of keeping quiet about what had happened, it seemed as though Jean’s guilty conscience might cause problems for all three of them – especially with the police involved

Kate Shepherd


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