It’s a worry when Tracy Barlow claims to have your best interests at heart, but Tony can’t deny he’s fulfilling the role of doormat at the Rovers after agreeing to pay for Steve and Michelle’s wedding, and allowing Liz to take the credit on the basis that Steve must be kept happy at all costs.
ensures Tony knows she’s on his side while convincing him that he is being used and Steve will always come first. Tony paying for this wedding seems implausible to me, and more of a plot
device to push him further into Tracy ’s
Meanwhile Todd is online pretending to be Jeff from
, but he isn’t so distracted as to miss Tony and Tracy kissing in
Barlow’s Buys. He tricks her into a confession by warning her to be careful, and
while he secures a raise for his trust, he’s clever enough to know not to push her
too far. I know from reading the blog that Todd is a lost cause as far as many
are concerned, but he’s still a character that intrigues me. Dubai
Audrey engages in a lighter deception as she consults study notes on Anna Karenina. However, her borrowed remarks on the novel prove too insightful and she’s unable to back them up. Spotting her notes, Ken draws the matter down and she admits to not having read it. As he apologises for being presumptuous regarding what constitutes good literature, I was hoping she’d lend him one of her books, but alas she was so relieved to have confessed, that Ken’s encounter with Slender Hearts Run Free is a romance which must remain in my own head. I must say, I've enjoyed this little vignette; more than Norris' interminable parcel delivery anyway.
Even less enjoyable is Carla at her worst. As tensions fray between Alya and Sally, she orders the latter to “go do what you’re good at, stick the kettle on” and proves very condescending over her efforts to fix Alya’s laptop even though not days ago she had to go running to Nick when her own broke. She offers to buy Alya dinner in the Bistro purely to annoy Sally before tossing paper at her and ordering her to file it. I do like Carla, but not this side of her. She’s not impressed when Alya stands her up, but claiming she’s missed the “chance of a lifetime” might be pushing it. In any event, this allows Nick to dine with her and tell her how attractive she is. I’m still not sure about a relationship between these two, and their connection seems to have arisen out of nowhere.
As the Windass's await a visit from social worker Carol, Ellie Leach continues to excel as Faye escapes to the corner shop for a heart to heart with Sophie, revealing that the baby means nothing to her and she wishes it would all go away. Sophie encourages her to tell Anna and while she doesn’t betray her confidence, she does let Owen know that all is not well. With the meeting underway, it’s frustrating to hear Anna do all the talking and appear intent on keeping the baby without any discussion. Owen is right to encourage her to let Faye speak for herself, and together with Carol, Tim and Gary he seems more astute than Anna as Faye weakly says of her daughter, “I love her, everyone loves babies don’t they?” It takes Owen to ask her directly if she wants to bring the baby up herself and she eventually gives in and says she can’t, that she wants it to go to someone else and for everything to go back to normal. Anna is stunned and glares at Owen who appears to be to blame for everything, even though he has Faye’s best interests at heart and commends her for her bravery. The social worker tells her not to fret and assures her they’ll work out what the best decision is for her and the baby.
Gary takes Faye out and looks after her during a deplorable encounter with Tracy Barlow in which she tells both to sell their stories to magazines for cash, declaring, “I thought I’d eaten too many burgers but it turned out to be a baby; I left my disabled wife and became a thief” This reminded me of a very infuriating scene, also involving Tracy, in which she cruelly mocked Hayley on her last trip around the Street to say her goodbyes. I was furious over this entirely unwelcome and unnecessary encounter, and I feel the same about this one involving Faye. Yes,
Tracy is a nasty individual, but she is a work of fiction who writers have ultimate control over, and certain occasions and characters should be spared her bile. Faye's scenes with Gary and Alya were far more welcome. Her talk of her likes and dislikes, hopes and dreams with regard to fashion and her visit from a sympathetic Yasmeen were wonderful and further showed up the unwelcome scene for what it was.
Meanwhile an almighty row erupts between Anna and Owen in which she accuses him of undermining her, and he says she’s thinking of herself and not Faye. Insults and resentment fly as Gary, Izzy, Katie, Linda and even Phelan all make it into the fray. Anna tells Owen she can’t trust him ever again after learning he lied to his children, and he says he can’t forget that she slept with another man, regardless of the reason for it. The difference though is that he says he still loves her while she replies, “I’m not sure I still love you” in a painfully cold fashion, citing a lack of trust, worry over his unpredictability and feeling anxious around him as her reasons.
“I’m the same person I’ve always been love” he says, which is true, and she claims she may just be seeing the real him for the first time, which I find hard to believe. To my mind his desire to hear Faye out has been his greatest crime in her eyes. He does acknowledge that he makes things worse by being angry and irrational and agrees to support her, but she says it’s too late and that it’s over. He packs his bags and as he leaves, her back to him, his parting words, “I love you with all my heart and soul” are met with silence and it's so sad to see. Yes, Owen most certainly has his flaws, but I've enjoyed him on the Street and will miss Ian Puleston-Davies who will undoubtedly do well as he brings his talents elsewhere.
By Emma Hynes
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