Further Contemplation on the Death of Barry
By Michael McCarthy
Three into two is a recipe for murder, whether it.s James M. Cain.s The
Postman Always Rings Twice or the EastEnders storyline concerning Barry,
Janine and Paul.
I can.t imagine that the EastEnders writers and producers responsible
for the plot and scripts haven.t read the Cain novel or seen the motion
picture starring John Garfield as the drifter, Lana Turner as the
restless wife and Cecil Kellaway who is old enough to be Turner.s father
and therein lies the rub.
The eternal triangle figures in both stories; just substitute Albert
Square for California, Paul Trueman for Garfield, Janine Butcher for
Turner and the man-child Barry Evans for the murder victim.
Once again, with the luxury of time to develop storylines, Charlie
Brooks and Gary Beadle chew up the scenery, creating super-heated,
erotic love encounters between two amoral hustlers, a heartbeat away
from the biggest score of their mean lives.Time is on their side, or so
they think. The first commandment of the grifter lifestyle is never give
a sucker an even break and never ever fall in love with your accomplice.
Forget honour among thieves, lying comes as naturally to them as you and
How good was Janine, sinking the hook into Paul? Was she using as Plan
B, if Barry should fail to die (because of his bad ticker), naturally
Paul.s jealousy could be the instrument of murder?
Is Janine capable of love, if not the selfless kind, then the physical
domination of an animal, ripping its male, flesh and blood binding one
to the other in an obsessive affair? They each thought they knew the
other, heads and tails of the same coin. Janine saw both Barry and Paul
as the means to an end, namely financial security and constant sexual
satisfaction. Both Paul and Janine are personally familiar with the
street. Paul did time for manslaughter while Janine turned tricks for
her rent, softening the blow with an addiction to cocaine. For Paul,
Janine was the perfect yin to his yang. Janine satisfies Paul.s
expectations and vice versa. A match made in heaven, soul mates destined
to finally have it all.
Meanwhile, Barry is an emotional mess after losing his father Roy, his
wife Natalie and son Jack. Janine manipulates Barry, first helping him
to run the car lot. He.s smitten with her flirty attention. Barry
becomes the happiest man in Walford when she consents to be his wife.
At the same time, Janine has been heating up the sheets with Paul . a
match not exactly made in heaven, it has been consummated in the B&B.
Barry.s none the wiser. Janine and Paul are hot hustlers; the irony is
that they appear to really care for one another.
Fast-forward to the honeymoon, on which Paul inexplicably acts as
chaperone. Barry is dead. It.s all coming true. Janine is the devastated
young widow, whose husband dies in a freak accident just one day after
they each swore eternal love to one another. Now Janine has Barry.s
house, the used-car business, a sum of money from Barry.s life insurance
and the memory of pushing Barry off a cliff, livid that Barry is not
dying of heart trouble. In Janine.s world, Barry brought all that on
himself for being such a mug.
For the first and only time in her life, Janine has the whip hand. Paul,
in a manner of speaking, bought and paid for. Then, like a bolt from the
blue, Paul finds himself unable to be with Janine.
Paul has drawn the line at murder. He has discovered guilt feelings over
Barry.s death. Paul Trueman, ex-convict and love-them-and-leave-them
louse, suddenly finds that he does have a conscience. Shame follows
compassion for Barry.s ex-wife Natalie and little son Jack.
Gary Beadle is such a good actor that none of us sees it coming. He
plays Paul so close to the vest that when his road to Damascus comes,
it.s even more of a shock to him, which heightens the moment for all of
Of course, none of this could happen without the passion that Charlie
Brooks pours into Janine. If there were any doubts about just how much
Janine needs Paul, Ms Brooks settles all doubts when anger and betrayal
wash over her. These two fine actors bring all the history of the
characters. troubled pasts front and centre. It boggles the mind when
you realise just how many layers both Brooks and Beadle expose. They.re
the characters you love to hate.
Charlie and Gary, take a very well-deserved bow. You.ve earned it.
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