Saturday, 25 June 2016

The good, the not-too-bad and the ugly on Corrie

 This week was quite a good week overall on Coronation Street. We started off with an hour on a Sunday, then had to wait for another hour on Thursday with the usual double episode on Friday. Didn't it feel like a long time between Sunday and Thursday?

The main focus of the week was Sarah's breakdown and wasn't it excellent stuff? Really heart-catching performances by both Tina O'Brien and Daniel Brocklebank in particular but from several others as well. Watching Sarah descend into paranioa and madness was difficult to watch and heart breaking but the performances and the writing were superb! On top of that, Billy's clash with his brother and his own faith being shaken up were interesting to watch, too.

We've seen Sarah teetering on the edge ever since last fall when Callum attacked her and was killed by Kylie. She went through with the pregnancy and had Callum's baby, experiencing some severe post natal wobbles over the baby, and whether Callum's evil spirit could inhabit the innocent child. She finally settled down on that point when Callum's body was discovered and it all started up again only fourfold.

Down and down she went. She was barely holding it together, confiding in Todd that she was responsible for Callum's death. Todd read that as a confession of guilt. It was, but only because Sarah felt responsible. If she hadn't lured Callum to the house, he wouldn't have died. Todd in turn confided in Billy and Billy was torn between doing the right thing and protecting a woman he believed was abused by Callum. He couldn't tell Sarah he knew what she'd told Todd since it was in confidence. Add on a healthy dose of guilt with his brother Lee lurking about and pushing all his buttons to get money for drugs and you've got a vicar in crisis.

It all kicked off for Billy at the funeral and he fell apart, to be put back together by Todd and then it was Sarah's turn. Lee clocked Billy being good to her and decided she might be useful to get to Billy. He lured her to his flat to use her to get Billy to bring money but he didn't realize just how big a piece he bit off, far more than he could chew when he picked up on Sarah's fears and pretended that Callum was alive and coming for her. When he grabbed her around the waist from behind, she freaked out. I can't blame her. It was a rerun of the night Callum did the same thing. Even in a stronger state of mind, it would have been a major traumatic thing to have happen.

So there's Lee with a hysterical woman on the floor and the rescue posse beating down the door. He and Billy had a major falling out, both of them deciding the other was out of their life for good. I felt so bad for Billy, it was one of the moments that brought tears to my eyes this week. As hard as it must be, he should have used "tough love" on Lee weeks ago and not given in time and again. He also should have told Sean weeks ago about his brother. It would have saved a lot of problems there too but in soaps, people keep secrets al the time. It's one of the more frustrating aspects.

Sarah was sliding over the edge and now Kylie and David can see that she really is ill. David is still in self preservation mode, trying to keep his family safe but when Sarah barricaded herself in the house and was in a complete state of mania, he finally realized he had to get her help. I liked that it was him that called the ambulance. It took Sarah to get to this point before her mother and daughter could really see that there was a major problem. It always surprised me when Gail never detected that any of her children were off the rails. Sarah hid it a bit but it was still easy to tell she wasn't herself. Gail barely questioned it but she was too preoccupied with Nick's wedding and then the post-wedding disaster to really pay that close attention.

With the police still sniffing around and the possibility that Todd's lie about Tony confessing possibly giving them all an "out", David and Kylie might yet get away with things. If they can keep it together, Tony being dead would be the best solution to the problem. We know it was self defence and the major crime committed was interfering with the body and not reporting it. Jason has finally accepted it could be his dad's fault and brought the tool bag to the police. Thing is, if Kylie washed the wrench as well as she says, there will be no evidence to convict or condemn Tony so we're no further ahead.

And what's with that creepy male inspector, by the way? The woman does all the talking, questioning etc. while he just sits there staring out from under those Thunderbird-like eyebrows, blinking a bit. If he ever speaks, I'm expecting his jaw to drop and his arms to wave around on strings.

Whew, all that, all week. It makes the other storylines pale in comparison. The Not-so-bad storyline that was watchable was Kirk and Beth's (hopefully temporary) split after she first lied about their posh lifestyle and then admitted to the bitch that her Kirky wasn't too bright. He didn't hear her continue to praise him as a good hearted man that she loved. Now he's rooming with Norris which could be quite amusing. I love Kirk and it's been too long since he's had his own storyline. He might be a bit goofy, but Kirk is a good and honest bloke wtih a big, big heart.

Also no-so-bad in some ways, though leaning towards ugly is Roy and Cathy's upset over Alex taking Roy's car without permission and getting a speeding ticket. Cathy saw the black and white side of Roy for the first time, and we all know that Roy can be rather rigid in his "do the right thing" way. All of this upset over a 2 mile an hour over the limit, you say? But remember, Alex doesn't have a license, won't be insured and could have really hurt someone. Roy, as the owner of the car, would be liable. Yet Cathy came down hard on him, and only gave Alex a stern scolding. The near-ugly was that Roy should have known that Alex would have only received a caution and could have added that to his explanation of his intentions. That is, in fact, what happened when Alex turned himself in and then, Roy completely turned a 180 and offered Alex lessons if he got his learner's permit. Eh? I shook my poor, confused head over that one.

The ugly was the ongoing split between Steve and Michelle, both of them too stubborn to talk to the other to work things out and when one or the other tried, there would be some other obstacle thrown in the way. I did enjoy Tim pretending to be traumatized by a flashback of Kevin and Sally kissing to make Steve realize that his situation was no different. But Tim had also signed Steve up for multiple dating services and when Michelle tried to approach him, the text notifications put her off and out the door yet again. Now she's taken a job on a cruise ship and I can't wait to see the back of her. That probably means that she won't go after all but I'm well and truly sick of it. I never bought into them as a couple and I still don't. She always has dragged him down, in my opinion.

Other storylines were under the radar for me. Leanne stuck in between Nick and a bank account that's slowly draining. Simon, who's had a personality transplant back to a cheerful teen again. Phelan is continuing to manipulate, bide his time and keep all his ducks in a row. Sally parading around, bullying Tim and getting herself shown up in front of the council coworkers. Ok, that *was* quite funny when she brought the coworkers round to the house and found Tim and his mates having a beer bash in the garden. Then the council couple thought the beer was great and Sally had to wear egg on her face.

The last observation is that I've noticed that Todd is giving Billy and Sean a strange look when they're cuddling together. After he expressed anger over Billy's confession of growing feelings for him last week, is he now starting to return the sentiment? I think so. That brings us to perennial loser in love Sean. Everyone will see Todd as doing this on purpose, you know that, stealing Sean's boyfriend and we'll go through yet another round of family angst.

Tvor (Twitter @tvordlj)

Sunday, 19 June 2016

State of the Street - May 2016

Sorry that this is late. I only just realized I hadn't finished and posted it!

May is turning into a blockbuster month on Coronation Street. In order to cash in on the viewing numbers of Britain's Got Talent finals and vice versa, they have been scheduling big showstoppers over the past few years in May. Major storylines break, big disasters hit, murders, weddings, the lot. A few years ago it was Tina McIntyre's murder at the hands of Rob Donovan. Last year, Victoria Court went up in flames and took Kal Nazir and Maddie Heath with it. What have we did we get for this year? Yet another wedding disaster and the discovery of Callum Logan's body under the Grannex.

Both storylines have been simmering for a long time. Carla had a one night stand of self destruction with Robert who was having a hissy fit with Tracy. They were on a break, as the cliche goes. Tracy didn't like Carla and in the past has blamed Carla for a lot of stuff, stuff for which Tracy herself was responsible but could never accept the blame. It seemed to have chilled out a bit so the powers that be decided to push it to another limit. Tracy found out about the fling with Robert and proceeded to blackmail Carla.

Nobody that watched this show for the past 10 years would have believed that tough Carla would have crumbled and given in but that's exactly what she did. Maybe Carla's getting old, she's losing her edge. Too may times she's loved and had her heart stomped on. She's pulled herself through one too many disasters and let's face it, 2015 was a rough year for her. First there was the mini-bus crash and then there was the fire that she thought she'd started which resulted in two deaths. Tracy let her think it, too. She just found her footing again after that when she went off the rails again when she found out that Johnny Connor, a long time family friend, is her biological father. Maybe Carla just didn't have any fight left in her.

She loved Nick Tilsley and they were going to be happy ever after but that's not really allowed in a soap, especially if the actor is leaving the show. It's a given that something would happen and here we were on the day of the wedding, with Tracy still intent on ruining the day for Carla who was the glummest looking bride ever. Carla finally buckled under and admitted to Nick that she'd had that one night stand with Robert but didn't get the chance to tell him about Tracy's blackmail. Tracy took care of that but Carla's begging and pleading tearfully worked and Nick finished tying that knot, much to Tracy's chagrin, because that's just the kind of nice guy he is.

But Nick has turned Nice Guy into a science and he's been a doormat for more than one woman. This time, though, he said he'd be willing to forgive, it wasn't long before all the upset and stress brought on symptoms from that brain injury that keeps rearing it's ugly head (see what I did there?).  During his speech, he flipped out and decided he couldn't accept the infidelity, blackmail and betrayal after all. Well, you can hardly blame him.

What I'd like to know now, did the marriage of Nick and Carla last longer or shorter than the marriage of Tracy and Steve? Both were blown out of the water during the reception. I have a feeling Nick and Carla's will have been the shorter of the two since the wedding and reception were held in the same venue so there was no travel time between the two which cuts down on the duration between start and finish. Ladies and Gentlemen, I think we have a new record holder for the shortest marriage on Coronation Street.

Nick wasn't the only one that flipped out. Carla did, too, and chased Tracy with her car, intent on murder. When I saw the trailer for this the night before, I had a thought. Maybe Carla crashes into Gail's annex and the ensuing damage is what brings Callum's body to the surface. I waited out the next 24 hours to see if I was right.

Here are the day by day commentaries I wrote for the wedding episodes.
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4 which leads into the next section, the discovery of Callum's body on
Day 5

Our other breaking story has been over a year and a half in the making. A potted history for those that might want to be brought up to date:

Kylie, upset that Max had ADHD, thought she should look up her ex, Max's dad, to see if, genetically, that's where it came from. Bad idea, Kylie. Callum Logan swaggered back into her life once he found out he was a dad, curious but not all that paternal at first. Kylie got hooked on drugs, something that she'd done in the past, due to the pressure she was under with Max and Callum enjoyed watching her squirm, enjoyed watching her relationship with David develop cracks (pun intended!) until Kylie spun out of control and left her family for their own good.

Callum proceeded to make the Platts' lives miserable when he decided to get custody, or at least regular access to Max and we were subjected to months of his poking big sticks at David who didn't seem to be very good at getting his own back in spite of him being a near-pscho not all that many years ago. He tried but Callum usually got the better of him. It was very tedious to watch but once Kylie came back, clean and ready to fight back, things got interesting. Sarah Lou came back from Italy and decided that being the girlfriend of a drug lord was a great way to wind up the brother she wasn't very fond of though Callum did have her believing it was all lies. He was a good boy, really. Until he wasn't and Sarah backed of very firmly.

It was too late by then. With a drug lord  boss closing in, Callum was desperate to get his hands on some cash and get out of town and he blackmailed David and Kylie who weren't able to come up with the dosh. Sarah thought she could persuade him to leave anyway and ended up nearly getting herself killed but Kylie showed up in the nick of time and crow barred Callum upside the head. They were all too scared to call the police and David had the bright idea of putting the body in the dug up foundation in the garage, soon to be a room for Gail. He didn't plan on leaving it there, but Tony and Jason ended up cementing over the hole, unaware of its contents and the body under the floor turned into a nightmare, especially for Sarah who has spent the last few months freaking out.

Everyone who watches soaps knows such things will get discovered sooner or later and we've come to it. The body was uncovered when the heavy vehicle Tyrone was driving went through Gail's wall and broke through the manhole and fingers started pointing, alibis started forming and nobody could look anyone else in the eye.

Much of May centered around preparations for Carla and Nick's wedding with Tracy glaring from the sidelines under orders from Robert to keep away. She couldn't stand seeing Carla happy, though, so she had to have one last attempt. Sarah, having given birth to Callum's baby, was experiencing post natal depression of the paranoid kind, seeing and hearing Callum's ghost around every corner of her mother's house and has been sure that evil would somehow seep in through baby Harry's pores. I also think we haven't seen the last of Bethany's bullies, either, even though Luke's intervention a couple of times seemed to cool things down.

Elsewhere, Tony Stewart died off screen. Sometimes, when experiencing a loss, people get angry and Jason went into a rage, first blaming Liz and then his mother. All the while, Pat Phelan has been using everyone's vulnerabilities and especially Jason and Eileen's to get his feet under her table and his mitts on Jason's business as a way of pulling himself back up on his feet. He was a big fish in a little pond and is determined not to spend the rest of his life like a guppy. The master manipulator ends the month with the information that Jason has inherited the business outright along with the flat and a boat load of cash. We know he's going to find a way to get his hands on that, don't we? I'm enjoying his return. What a fantastic villain he is and it's all down to the actor Connor McIntyre's excellent skills.

Reverend Billy hasn't been resting on his laurels, either. After his involvement in the Polish slavery storyline, he's slipped into another storyline of his own this time. There's a scruffy young man following him around and insisting on cash handouts. Turns out he's Billy's younger brother Lee and he's a heroin addict. He's also very good at pushing Billy's guilt buttons. After all this time, I'm thrilled that they've given this actor more to do! But as much as I like Sean, I still don't think there's a lot of chemistry between them as a couple. I would have liked to see Marcus (remember him?) and Billy together. Billy has taken to confiding in Todd instead of Sean which is kind of telling about the solidity of that relationship.

I do worry that they'll end up pushing Todd and Billy together which will break Sean's heart. The problem with that is that it's already been done when Todd seduced Marcus out from under Sean's nose. They might twist it around this time and have Todd fall for Billy for real but it's too close to a repeat storyline for me, *if* that's where they're going with it.

Steve finally got back from Spain and just in time. Michelle had been tempted by the blue eyes of a boyfriend she had when she was 14. He and his fiancee hired her to do their wedding. The two of them reminisced for 5 minutes and then Will was dumping his fiancee and Michelle was terribly tempted to console herself in his arms. You see, Steve was in Spain and had been there for a good six months or more, living it large while she had the responsibility of keeping the pub, the taxi office and her own business running. Resentment grew, her nights were lonely and she was turning 40.

In spite of the fact that I didn't buy this long lost love rearing it's ugly head after 25+ years, someone who was not more than a school girl/boy crush, I could see how it happened. Will was probably having cold feet and Michelle was lonely and angry. The Conversation Street podcasters suggested that it would have been a lot more interesting if it had been Ciaran McCarthy that had returned and I agree. Michelle and Ciaran nearly got married and it wasn't all that long ago. It would have been a lot more believable. Anyway, Steve's return seems to have stemmed the rebellion but Michelle hasn't told Steve about what nearly happened with Will and secrets always fling themselves out of closets so I'm sure we haven't seen the end of this yet.

Roy Cropper was away but he's back and it seems like he and Cathy might actually go the distance. She's the one he wants to be with on a day that's difficult for him to get through, Hayley's birthday. That's always a good sign. With all the wedding events going on, it's given Cathy ideas and she ended up proposing to Roy who said yes!

Jenny Bradley is facing her ghosts in Blackpool and ended up saving Jack Webster's life. Even that didn't stop Sally  bitching at her and insulting her all the time. Sophie did sincerely apologize and so did Sally, grudgingly, but only because she couldn't have Sophie showing her up. She reverted right back to her nasty ways. But if Jenny and Johnny do get together, having Sally insult the boss's girlfriend isn't going to win her any points.  There's Jenny trying to play hard to get at first, to attract Johnny and it kind of worked but the next minute, she's throwing herself at him and, frankly, it's not working. I'm interested to see where this is going. I think I would like them as a couple.

Tvor (Twitter @tvordlj)

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