This week for example, on the one hand we had drink, drugs and short, middle-aged men in suits threatening each other with violence.
And on the other, hot on the heels of speed dating at The Vic, a Singles Night and Tamwar and Alice being tricked into a romantic dinner-date - plots we’ve only seen a few hundred times before.
Showdown: (from right to left) Max, Phil and Joey tackle Carl about dealing cocaine in the club and what the hell he's done to the R&R's fruit bowl
Boxing club owner Jack Branning told his partner Michael Moon they had damp, although it didn’t really show.
And Tamwar was, humiliatingly, locked in the market’s Portaloo. Worse still, it was after Winston had used it. Urgh.
Tamwar comes to regret using the market's Portaloo after Winston - in more ways than one. Bianca and Kat look on, discussing whose ear-rings are bigger
‘It ain’t ‘appening,’ Phil objected. ‘Not in my club.’
The White Stuff: R&R barman Joey Branning finds the aptly named Carl White's stash of cocaine, the first sighting of the drug since the glory days of Phil becoming a crack addict and turning into a pink, sweaty troll
In their big showdown, Max, Joey and Phil demanded Carl empty his pockets, but rather than just grab him and search him for the drugs themselves, offered him a deal.
Max wanted Carl out of Walford. Phil said he didn’t care about that. He just wanted him never to set foot in his club again (Carl, not Max).
‘You should have thought about this beforehand boys,’ scoffed Carl. ‘Decided on your jurisdiction.’
‘You turn out your pockets or you walk,’ grunted Phil. ‘But if you walk and come back in here, then you’ll find out all about my jurisdiction’ – the line he last used when he talked dirty to sweet-talk Sharon with.
Max tells Kirsty it's time for her to come go home so they can have a whisky and a row. Carl meanwhile continues to win her over by complaining that everyone treats him like a criminal
‘Go on ! Go back for anuvver kicking !’
Kirsty gave him the kind of slap that Max, Joey and Phil should’ve just given Carl.
Kirsty tried to stop Max from pursuing the vendetta.
‘If you go and do something, then he’ll go and do something.’
That is what tends to happen in EastEnders, yes.
Talk to the hand: Kirsty gives Max the kind of slap that for some reason, Phil, Max and Joey failed to give Carl
Anyone who thought Carl was really going to have the drugs on him when the police swooped, or that a lying, dodgy adulterer like Max would not have a password on his mobile, is even more stupid than most of the characters.
Having been searched twice in one day, Carl was not ‘appy.
‘Five years of screws searching you,’ he complained to Kirsty. ‘No privacy, no dignity... Then you come out and everyone thinks they’ve got the right to judge you.’
Good points, well made - if only he wasn’t a violent drug-dealing criminal.
Having been grassed up by Max, Carl predictably did not have any drugs on him when the Old Bill arrived. Kirsty (left) keeps working on Lucy's technique of keeping her arms crossed in every scene
Whit was back at nursery school. No, not learning but teaching – looking after the likes of Denny the Devil Child who Sharon had dropped off at short notice. And who can blame her ?
Lauren started the week back on the square looking seriously fit - jogging that is, to a remix of Lana Del Ray’s Blue Jeans.
‘How are you doing, in yourself ?’ asked Dot. ‘Well the road from addiction is a hard one.’
Yeah cheers for that Dot.
Tamwar shares a passionate embrace with Alice, something he's been dreaming of for weeks, although you wouldn't know it. Meanwhile Winston heads back to the Portaloo
‘It’s good to see you making amends,’ Carol said, the sort of encouraging compliment Lauren needed, before Carol added: ‘because the last thing this family needs is any more grief.’
Newly sober, Lauren was so bored she might end up having to get a job or go back to college.
‘I’m scared that I might be boring,’ she confided, not a word anyone had used about Lauren before.
She asked Joey for a coffee and to the cinema - her idea of playing hard to get.
When Lucy & Whit said they were going to the R&R, she tagged along – not a brilliant plan.
Inside, Whitney helpfully told Lauren that while Lauren had been fighting her demons in rehab, she had slept with Joey.
‘I’m not bovvered,’ Lauren declared. ‘It’s fine’ – a sure fire sign it wasn’t.
Standing in a doorway, sobbing, she succumbed to a drink before spitting it out.
Lauren ditches her fitness regime and goes back to what she does best - tearfully drinking in doorways. This time though she manages to spit it out
The reasons she gave were Abi’s A-level results and finding out that Joey had slept with her best friend (also not really).
‘Let’s start with home,’ her poor therapist comforted her. ‘You’ve been back a week. How’s it been ?’
‘I thought it would be a fresh start,’ Lauren said. ‘But all the people are the same. Exactly the same.’
We know how you feel.
Empowered by her therapist’s support, Lauren gave Joey and Whitney a piece of her mind, telling them she didn’t need them.
‘I’ve got my family now. So I’m going to be fine’ – which means she really is in trouble.
‘Tell me something ! When you two were kissing, did you pull apart, like I spat out the vodka ?’
No, I’m not sure what it meant either. She wasn’t even drunk.
‘Lauren, we didn’t even know you were coming back !’ Whitney protested, although it had been in all the papers.
Lauren talks to her new therapist about nearly succumbing to drink, Joey sleeping with Whitney and being so bored, she might have to get a job
‘Must be willing to look after my 90 year old muvver and her 8 pussies,’ Bianca read, giving Kat the opportunity to cackle: ‘EIGHT PUSSIES !’
At the R&R's Singles Night, Bianca was hoping to find ‘someone who doesn’t mind that I’ve got 4 kids and no money.’
Kat meanwhile was ‘looking for a man with strong arms and a decent motor.’
So if you fit that description and you live anywhere near the East End, now’s your chance. To run. Run now.