Tuesday, 28 February 2017

The Madness of Michelle

I don't like Michelle much, I never did. I always thought she dragged Steve down with her drama. Having said that, I do feel badly for what she's been through, losing a baby and then finding out her husband has a newborn by another woman, not even a woman he had a proper affair with. There was no love between Leanne and Steve, it was a pity party. It didn't matter that Steve thought he lost Michelle. She was on her way out of town, and turned around a few hours later, that's barely enough to qualify being "on a break". He didn't know that at the time but he didn't waste any of that time, either. She's allowed to feel angry and betrayed.

Yes, I felt terrible for her. For about a minute. Until she laced into Leanne and gave her a bloody nose. My sympathy slipped a little but her reaction was understandable. The instant she went shrieking it all out to everyone in the pub,  she lost a bit more of my sympathy and when she assaulted Eva, she lost it all. I can't blame her for being angry but her attack on Eva was uncalled for and I don't care that she was pissed that Eva knew about the baby.

So did Liz, so did Toyah and they came away unscathed. Locking Liz and Steve out of the pub and threatening to take half of everything was vindictive but a less violent reaction but I doubt very much she has a legal right to take half of everything. Liz owns half of the pub so I do hope the writers remember that and only award her half of Steve's share. I don't think she should have half of Steve's share of the cab firm either, because he owned it long before he married her but again, where Tim owns half, she should only get her manicured mitts on one quarter.

She's out of control and all the things she's doing and will do in the near future are not winning her any votes of sympathy from me in spite of her situation being indescribably dire. I get that she's out for vengeance. What Steve's done is much worse than her flirtation and near affair with that Will fella. Had he told her from the start what happened, he probably wouldn't be in this mess. Would he have lost Michelle if he'd told her about the one night stand? Possibly but possibly not. When Leanne then found that she was pregnant, it would have hurt Michelle, but she probably wouldn't have got pregnant herself. She'd have been too angry with Steve to want to have a baby with him, providing she was even still living under the same roof as he.

We all know Steve is a bit of an idiot. He continually lies, thinking he's doing it for the right reasons. He's not vindictive, he's not dishonest for the sake of being hurtful, he's just a weak person and doesn't want to upset the applecart. Yet his lies always, *always* make things worse when they're found out. He didn't tell Michelle about the one night stand and therefore, when Leanne found herself pregnant, he was in an impossible situation once Michelle got pregnant as well. He really did think he could keep away from the baby, and had their Ruairi lived, he probably could have managed it. But he held that child and he knew it was his and his heart melted. He did the right thing but it was far too late.

From spoilers, but without giving anything away, Michelle is going to wreak havoc on Steve's life, I think, far more than is necessary but she doens't do things by halves. I have a feeling I'm going to be doing a lot of shouting at my screen for the next while.

Tvor (Twitter @tvordlj)

State of the Street - February 2017

It had to happen. Of course Toyah and Peter's affair was going to be found out by Leanne and it wasn't going to be pretty. Leanne swears she's not jealous and I don't think she is but that affair has been going on for a year and Toyah never told her sister. On top of that, she'd found out Toyah never told her about the five IVF attempts. I can fully get that contributed to the ruination of her marriage. That's such a stressful thing to go through, even more so if what Toby said was true, that he was only going through it for her. She was vulnerable and latched on to Peter. She'd have known him, of course, and he *is* charming when he wants to be.

But you'd think knowing all the stuff he put Leanne through would make you more cautious, wouldn't you? And just running into him by chance while she was in Portsmouth, visiting from Liverpool? What are the odds. I know, only on a soap. Never mind that. Leanne and Peter had chemistry when they were together. I've yet to see it with Toyah and Peter. Now he's knocking around with this Chloe, driving her places and taking large tips and already they have more chemistry than he's got with Toyah, at least I think so. But then again, she's kind of Carla-ish isn't she, with that long dark hair and stylish manner?

Leanne mentioned that part of the reason she was upset was that she didn't want to see Peter ruin Toyah's life like he did her, and others. Probably true. She's got other things to worry about. There's Nick still fizzing with rage, anxiety and jealousy over that wee baby not being his. He's sure something is going to happen to take it all away. He wouldn't have to worry if he was convinced Leanne loved him as much as he loves her. I never thought she did. She always turns to Nick on the rebound from one or another or when she's lonely.

Since nobody on soaps ever gives birth in a hospital, Leanne had to do it in an elevator (lift), bickering with Toyah in between contractions. Coincidentally, there was nobody in the builder's yard and nobody in the garage that could lend a tool to get the doors open even though it was the middle of the day. There's the debut of baby Oliver! What a cutie patootie. Never mind that he's the size of a 3 month old, they can't use real newborns on set so we have to put that one aside. I did laugh at Toyah remarking how tiny he was, though.

Realistically, Leanne was sent home the next day. That's how it happens these days. Then she was inundated by company, though of course the immediate family was going to be first up. I thought it was a bit insensitive of Michelle to go over. If the tables were turned, she'd have thought it was awfully cheeky and dead awkward if Leanne had turned up on her doorstep mere weeks after having a stillborn baby. But the biggest surprise of all was Steve blurting out that he was the baby's father in front of everyone in the Bistro! Wow! I did NOT see that coming. David put the baby in Steve's arms to go help Nick and Steve's face just shouted his emotion, holding his son for the first time. How could you not tell from that look?

Oh it's all going to kick off now! And boy, did it ever. Steve couldn't hold back and told everyone it was his son. Nobody could lie and say otherwise and Michelle, well she was metaphorically kicked in the gut over it, as you would be. I can't imagine being in her stilettos. It has to be the worst kind of betrayal to find out your husband has a baby son with a neighbour after you've lost your own child. I expect that had Ruairi lived, she wouldn't have gone so far off the deep end. Not that it would have made it better, but she wouldn't have had the weight of grief to deal with at the same time.

I don't like Michelle much, but I fell terrible for her. For about a minute. But the instant she went shrieking it all out to everyone in the pub, she began to lose my sympathy and when she assaulted Eva, she lost it all. I can't blame her for being angry but her attack on Eva was uncalled for and I don't care that she was pissed that Eva knew about the baby. So did Liz, so did Toyah and they came away unscathed. Locking Liz and Steve out of the pub and threatening to take half of everything was a better reaction. She's out of control and all the things she's doing and will do in the near future are not winning her any votes of sympathy from me in spite of her situation being indescribably dire.

Adam sets up a law firm with Todd? Well it seemed like they would, then not, and I can't remember if it's on or off at this point. Todd did seem pretty disgusted with Adam selling drugs to finance it and cheating on his exam but the sale hasn't happened yet. I have a feeling Adam is going to bite off more than he can chew with this scheme. I don't get it, either, all this scamming and scheming for money. He's a greedy, underhanded, sneaky so and so and he has the nerve to accuse his grandfather of treating him badly because he was the son of Mike Baldwin. This is the man that spent nearly a year looking after him in a foreign country. Well, he's proving that he's Mike's son and far worse. Even Mike Baldwin had some scruples. It doesn't look like Adam has any.

 Sinead and Chesney were clearly cooling down and quickly. She didn't want to hurt him but couldn't stop it. Chesney thought a new stylish hair cut would help. Poor, deluded bloke. I don't know if Sinead and Daniel will go the distance but maybe it's what they both need right now. Ken seemed to put all his hopes and dreams in Daniel, the son that might actually do something with his life, something Ken always wanted to do and never managed it. But now he's turning into just as much of a disappointment as all the others, including himself, getting attached to a woman that's not his intellectual equal, in Ken's view. Like father, like son. And before you jump up and down and say that Sinead is, too, a smart woman, I agree and she probably could go to university if she'd wanted to but her talents are more artistic.

I like Daniel. I like that he's quiet and polite and studious and smart. I like that he can also stand up for himself and not take any bull from Adam or his father. He might regret that his father is disappointed but he's going to do what he wants just the same. He's a lot stronger than Ken, I believe. I do hope we find out what happened to his mother some day, though. Daniel's occasional bouts of anger also seem quite reasonable when you think his mother had abandoned him for no apparent reason that we know yet, and of course, his father was never around either.

Rosie Webster is back on the street and heels first into a load of trouble. I truly believe she'd have been naive about a package from her boyfriend. But I don't believe that it wouldn't have been discovered at the airport. They Xray and have dogs sniff at checked luggage just as much as they do carry on bags. It wasn't disguised at all, just in her makeup bag in a package. Chances are that makeup bag was carried on the plane as well. That was something I really didn't buy.

But other than that, it's good to see Rosie and her daft, shallow self back. She makes me laugh.

Brian is still drifting about. He wore out his welcome at Norris', and he's rapidly doing the same thing at Roy's, freeloading, using the flat as a hotel, helping himself to Roy's food. I really dislike that character but the actor, Peter Gunn, is superb. Now it looks like he's going to be scratching at Cathy's skirts. I don't think they'd make a good couple. I think he's far too pompous for her. I really find it hard to believe she'd put up with him.

Phelan has been on a quest to ruin Kevin. I'm not really sure why, though. Kevin doesn't like him and shouts at him now and then but he's no threat. That's usually what brings Phelan to these schemes to ruin someone. Ok, I do see that the CCTV catching his and Todd's conversation about the scam about the flats would make it necessary to take action and that's why he burned the garage hoping to destroy the laptop. He's not smart enough to realize that footage is probably backed up to a cloud service somewhere, is he? At least, it would be in the real world.

Now he's using a kid, Seb, who is probably very much like he was at that age. Someone that he can get to do his dirty work and Sep will match him every step of the way, or at least he'll try. I don't see the point and I wish he'd fade into the distance. Seb is a thoroughly dislikeable little (well, I can use a few words here that are probably not safe for work so I won't. Use your own favourite label!) Faye can't see that he's using her but she's not that different from a lot of teenage girls.

Jenny is making waves at the factory and she actually came up with a Really Good Idea, the mastectomy bras. Johnny went along with it but Aidan has his doubts. Then the client decided they wouldn't make enough money even if the public relations would be priceless and Jenny isn't going to take that lying down. I can't wait! The old Jenny is back, isn't she? She's always had a scheming side to her. It looks like Maria is going to come out of the prison gate in a fighting mood, as well. We've only seen a couple of scenes with her on the inside but she's simmering on a low boil and I can't blame her. Aidan hasn't treated her very well even if he says the right words. If he loves her, he would have left Eva even if Maria was going to be away in prison. Problem is, he loves Eva, too. I'll be very disappointed if he does get together with Maria in the end though I won't be surprised.

Tvor (Twitter @tvordlj)

Saturday, 4 February 2017

State of the Street - January 2017

Phelan has now taken against Kevin Webster who mouthed off at Phelan on New Year's Eve after he broke in the house to help Anna who was on the ground after falling down the stairs. I'm not quite sure I even accepted that Phelan would do that considering there is no love lost between he and Anna. Perhaps he thought it would put Anna in his debt? Did he do it because of little Jack looking up at him to help? Possibly. Even he couldn't have a heart made up of so much concrete that he would take out his hatred for his enemies on a child.

But Kevin couldn't keep his enmity out of things so now Phelan has turned his animosity in his direction, using Andy as his puppet. He stole Kevin's breakdown truck and sold it off. He had Andy burn the garage because there was CCTV evidence of him admitting to Todd that he knew about the flat building scam on the laptop that he didn't manage to break. I did wonder why the seemingly top quality CCTV system wasn't storing the footage on a cloud server rather than a laptop that would then have to remain in the garage and turned on all the time for the downloads to be saved. It sure would use up a lot of space, too.

He discovered that Andy had the laptop on the day that Andy was planning to skip town with Steph and there was a fight. Andy of course, is not a fighter and wouldn't be able to put up much defense against the stronger, tougher Pat Phelan and a hard sided laptop. Phelan has crossed the line and killed Andy, scrubbing away the evidence. Will anyone ever find out? Likely but since he's now a murderer by his own hands, his days are numbered. I reckon we'll get a "Who Killed Phelan" story with someone like Gary or even Todd as the culprit, Eileen at a stretch if she finds out about his misdeeds before his death. And if that's the case, my guess is that Vinny will have returned and killed him in a confrontation because he'd be the expendable crew member. Speculation. It's all fun and games, isn't it?

Kevin is deep in debt now, because of Phelan torching the garage. The insurance seems to be able to decide not to pay even though the police have cleared Kevin on the suspicion of arson (due to Tyrone's lies to the police, because even Tyrone suspects Kevin thanks to Phelan). I wouldn't have thought insurance companies could do that but they do seem to be a law unto themselves. Sophie's medical bills added up on top of it all. Surely he could ask Sally to help out on that side, it's her daughter too? He didn't but she did offer and it took a little heat off his financial troubles.

It's probably added to his relationship troubles, though because he never told Anna whom he had persuaded to sue David for compensation even after knowing about Sally's cash. Pound signs flashing in his beady little eyes, and all that. I suppose the 7 grand from Sally only gives him a bit of breathing room but he's still weighed under. He will have to sell the new premesis but he won't get anything for them if they're burned out and he can't afford to do them up again.

 The tragedy of Steve and Michelle's loss of their baby was heart wrenching to watch. I don't normally rate either one as much of a dramatic actor. I have seen Simon Gregson do very well in the past but rarely has Kym Marsh impressed me as she did the week of Ruairi's death and in the aftermath. I think that because both of them have been through that situation in their own lives, they had something to draw on. It had to be very difficult for them, reliving all the pain they had probably managed to get through. You have to admire the bravery of both actors for agreeing to do it.

There was stoic Steve, trying to keep busy and keep himself distracted while Michelle's outer metaphorical skin was turned inside out, raw and bleeding. You never get over the death of a child and it doesn't matter if it was stillborn or if it does later on in life. Grief is subjective and everyone handles it differently, with nobody really handling it well but some manage a semblance of normality better than others. Steve is one of those and Michelle resented the hell out of him for it. She had nothing left to give him to help him in his grief so he had to reach out to his mother and his friends. Michelle didn't seem to want anyone's help, because she felt it wouldn't be of any comfort at all so she pushed everyone away including Steve. It was heartbreaking to watch and very real.

The death of a child is often the cause of the death of a marriage, even a good one, because grief is like nothing else you could experience. By the end of January, Steve and Michelle seem to be holding each other up and are off in Ireland for a break. I'm sure her mother will be just what Michelle needs.

But there is another bomb lurking in the shadows and that's Leanne's baby, also fathered by Steve. If the death of Michelle's baby has created cracks in the marriage, the revelation that Steve still has another baby will bust those plastered-over cracks, wide open, and shove Michelle right into Robert's waiting arms. You can see it coming, right? Until then, Nick is getting more and more unstable, possessive, suspicious, and all from an increasing sense of being unsure of where anything in his life stands.

He sees Steve as a threat because he's the father of Leanne's baby. He sees Peter as a threat because he's Leanne's ex-husband and his rival. He doesn't like that Leanne and Peter have found a place where they can be friends and Peter's just as bad, rising to Nick's bait. Simon got hurt as a result, so maybe the two men will back off each other for awhile. Nick didn't know that he had nothing to fear from Peter, but he does now. He now knows about Peter and Toyah as does Leanne. Nick's such a (insert insulting name of your choice here). I've never liked him much as an adult character and still don't. I do like Ben Price's depiction.

It looked like Leanne and Toyah were about to make peace over Peter. I know that Leanne is over Peter but sometimes stuff happens to drag up all the old pain and feelings of betrayal and that's what happened. And she's right, it's also about loyalty. She was settled down until she found out that both Eva and Simon both know and didn't tell her. It looks like Leanne has lost both her sisters, now, at least for the time being. 

Bethany and Nathan seems to be everywhere Bethany is, curb crawling in that car and flattering her, offering her a compliment and a sympathetic ear. He's Shona's ex, I think, and surely she's going to have some input into this situation at some point.It was also interesting that Gemma thought she recognized Shona from somewhere and Shona seemed very thoughtful looking at Kylie's photo in David's wallet. I wonder if there's a relation somewhere there, a blood one or an old friend.

Mary didn't go to South Africa after all but you know, she should have. She should have at least gone for a few weeks or a month to get to know her son and his family, meet her new grandchild, promising Norris and her friends that she'd return. She's not been seen at all since New Year's Eve when she decided not to leave so she might as well have gone! I know in this day and age of the internet, she can talk to Jude every day via a video app. I hope we do see her fly out when his baby is born (I think it was mentioned briefly that his wife was pregnant) but they'll probably drop the storyline.

Looks very much like we've seen the end of Sinead and Chesney. It's too bad, really, they were very much suited to each other at the beginning but he's grown complacent and she's just grown away from him. She's a bright spark but should she be with someone like Daniel? He might encourage her but he's a bit quiet and shy himself. Maybe she's what he needs to bring himself out of his shell, I don't know. And as shy as he is, he certainly didn't seem to find it difficult charming her in his own way. Ken's son,  for sure.

He's a good character, is Daniel. I like how he can very much hold his own against Adam and Tracy's barbs. He seemed so happy to finally have a family around him and a support network, he didn't have to do it all on his own anymore but he knows he can if he has to. I think he's going to hang on to that family with all he's worth now he's got them. I wonder if we'll ever see his mother back. There is unfinished business there.

Tvor (Twitter @tvordlj)

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