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 I breathe.

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 us.

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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