TV Times - It ain’t over till it’s over

SO the EastEnders baby swap storyline is over. Except it isn’t – because the big blow-out is rarely the end of any plot arc.

I would hazard a guess that almost every regular EastEnders viewer has been praying for the day that Ronnie handed the baby back to Kat.

But now we’ve had that payoff, I bet a good number are wishing she hadn’t bothered.

Because now, we’re being treated to the mental breakdown of Jack Branning.

As a soap hardly known for its understated approach to emotion, EastEnders does not do “going off the rails” well.

It’s all done with a great amount of shouting and turning over of tables.

When the time comes for Jack to sit down and talk about his feelings, there will be a return to the high standards EastEnders sets.

But until then, it’ll be a bumpy ride.

The baby swap storyline will go down in soap history as one of the most controversial and ill-advised plots ever.

I have praised throughout the excellent acting ability that the storyline brought out from Sam Womack, Shane Ritchie and Jessie Wallace.

Against all odds, their stock has risen greatly over the past four months and there will certainly be a gulf left when Womack makes her eventual departure... even if her character is the black hole of depression itself.

But the high quality acting is the only positive that can be taken out of this who debacle.

The subject of this plot has been labelled as heartless, callous, and viewer-baiting.

But I genuinely believe the intentions of the writers were honourable.

The problem was they made a proper hash of it.

The actual logistics of how the babies came to be swapped was farcical.

Each character went completely against type and basic human nature over the course of that fateful evening.

The first few episodes after the swap had happened, were actually pretty good.

But the dreadful thought of this plot lasting for a year was ever present in the mind.

It is worth noting the decision to cut this storyline short, was made way after the first few weeks of episodes had already been filmed.

The depression involved with the plot was ladled on thick for several weeks, so how the writers would have managed to keep it going until Christmas is a mystery.

This is a storyline that will stick in the minds of viewers for decades – if for all the wrong reasons.

But we’ve got a few months left to go, before it is really put to bed for the final time.

So when watching EastEnders, let the ever-brilliant Masood family distract you from everything going on with Jack Branning.