Soap of the week: EastEnders
There's a whole lotta love in Walford this week with old flames reigniting, new flames burning brightly, and people being spurned all over the shop - with Max at the epicentre.
Mr Branning's animal magnetism must be electric in the flesh, because women young and old are willing to give up all sorts for him.
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As ever, Stacey is one of those women. Her and Max's never-ending love affair/friendship has been simmering for over a decade.
He started off as her father-in-law/lover, then a partner in grief after Bradley's death. They've been each other's saviours, with Max in particular leaning on Stacey whenever he feels cast adrift - much to husband Martin's chagrin.
This week, Max is in one of his deeply distressed states. Yes, Rainie is back (thanks to Jack's police connections), which means baby Abi is too, but that doesn't stop the brooding Branning from hitting the bottle. Why? Because Rainie would prefer to stay with Abi's great granny Kathy at Chez Beale.
Max, in full self-destruct mode, is happy to let Stacey fuss over him, whereupon he does the usual - professing his undying love for her before switching his attention elsewhere.
This time, he sets his sights on Stacey's best mate, Ruby. Does Ruby reciprocate? Of course she does; 'Enders innit. How will the two other women in his life react? Will Stacey be jealous? And will Rainie finally start seeing her other bald love interest, Uncle Stuart Fester?!
This week in Soapland
The cluster jumble involving Christiano, Dean and Eoghan manages to nosedive further after Eoghan pulls an Eoghan. Things are exacerbated further when Will gets involved, leaving Christiano irked and Will crying on Mondo's shoulder... Darragh, all over the shop since the break in (which saw all the deposit money seized, including Hayley's savings), decides to ask Erica to marry him. Because she'd love to share a room with Lee too. Elsewhere, Charlotte is stunned when Julia Balinksi arrives on the run from a dangerous man. Charlotte agrees to let Julia stay if she hides from Decco.
Typical. Just as things are starting to look up for 'Chemma" (what with them getting cash donations for the quads after their radio interview) her mam, Bernie, comes along and hijacks the show. As Paula suffers another break-in, Sophie asks her to stay the night (bonus). What's not so great is the fact that the burglar is now targeting Kevin's home, leaving Jack traumatised. The Maria and Ali storyline trundles on; Steve's unicorn parties get busted; and Tracy finds out Robert's been hanging out with Vicky...
Nate, being a sound sort, encourages Amy to seek custody of Kyle and, after witnessing another cold exchange between Moira and Cain, Amy begins to see Nate's point of view. What she doesn't know is that Nate's more interested in getting one over on Cain. He's also chuffed he's rattling Moira (on many levels). Matty, meanwhile, gives Victoria grief when he hears she's headed for Cornwall, so - in an act of rebellion - he heads off with his new footie mates Ste and Jono. They sound like lovely lads, what could go wrong? Elsewhere, Jai and Priya are shocked when Rishi and Manpreet reveal the factory is on the brink of ruin.
Poor Ben. So many mixed emotions. Between Paul's anniversary and Phil giving with one hand (an old boxing trophy) and taking away with the other (Shirley's taking over from Ben) he really doesn't know if he's coming or going. After overhearing Jack talking about the trouble he's in, Stuart hatches a plan, while Max gets himself in a world of bother, leaving Stacey to sort out his pieces, yet again...