As the blazing inferno that was Corrie’s fire week is reduced to glowing embers, all that's left is for us to pick through its charred remains, like those of Carla’s never used balcony. It certainly brought in the much sought after ratings and had everyone talking, but ‘explosive’, widely advertised event television, done well, tends to do that. It’s no coincidence that the last time Corrie viewing figures came this close was during the brilliant Who Killed Tina week last year.
I could do a perplexed post mortem on the parts of it where we were to permit presumption to fill in certain gaps for us, but I am instead going to celebrate the best of the week as well as reviewing tonight's episode. I won’t, for example, ask where on earth Tony was, why Amy went to Carla when Ken was available, how Kevin can be selectively oblivious to Jenny’s clearly unhinged behaviour and how nobody made a single solitary mention of Tina McIntyre who was pushed to her death in this self same week last year. I also sadly have to admit that Steve and Michelle’s wedding didn’t really do it for me, and the fact that they weren’t even at their own reception unfortunately made me even less enthused.
However, what this plot device and the absence of Tony did allow for was Liz McDonald taking centre stage, and she was magnificent. Wounded, strong, feisty, vulnerable, determined and fabulous, her flame rivalled that which coursed through Victoria Court, and it was glorious even though she suffered.
While Beverley Callard stood out, she wasn’t alone in putting in a tremendous performance. Sally Ann Matthews, Brooke Vincent, Amy Kelly, Jane Danson, Alison King, David Neilson and Jimi Mistry were all outstanding for me.
A very special mention goes to the Nazir family in the form of Shelley King, Qasim Akhtar, Marc Anwar and Sair Khan, all of whom I thought excelled. Their strong, understated and powerful portrayals of grief, particularly tonight, showed precisely what they can bring to the street with the right script, and as long as we see performances of this calibre coming from their direction, long may they remain.
My only fear is the possibility that Zeedan will have a vendetta against Leanne and seek revenge for his father’s death. I’d much rather the experience softened him and enabled him to reach out to others. One of his last scenes with his father, in which he gave him his blessing to propose to Leanne, showed the wealth of potential in his character. His friendship with Simon is also a lovely addition and its strength was evidenced tonight when he learned of Kal’s death from Yasmeen, and threw himself into Zeedan’s arms.
While the fire itself was brilliantly done, if the drama was a tad drawn out, it’s always the performances which excite me and, as above, the quality of these were what made the week a success as far as I was concerned. This is probably why tonight's episode, written by Susan Oudot, was my favourite of the five as, while the fire facilitated it, it was heavy on dialogue and character interaction.
Ken putting on his suit to visit the Nazirs and give his condolences was humble and dignified, and the rawness of their grief was palpable and moving, as was the scene in which Leanne broke down in Nick’s arms. Other great scenes tonight came courtesy of Liz being counselled by Eileen and Erica, and Nick offering support to Carla.
Considering what she has done,
seems to care little despite several empty
apologies to various injured parties, and she appears set on ensuring everyone lays
the blame at Carla’s door. She becomes incensed when Carla asks Amy if she can
remember what happened, and conveniently accuses her of trying to pin the blame
on an eleven year old. I don’t know why I’m disappointed not to see an inkling
of remorse in Tracy .
What can we expect at this point from a character who seems to be void of all
human emotion? And yet for some inexplicable reason I continue to hope. Tracy
Carla is tortured by what has happened. Even though she recalls blowing out the
candle, news that this probably caused the fire has her doubting herself and
provides Tracy with sufficient ammunition to heap the blame on her. Attacked in
person by Leanne, Tracy Tracy and the lovely Norris, is her only friend
and is extremely attentive as he takes care of her and offers her a place to
Maddie clings to life in hospital, even showing signs of movement, much to Sophie's joy and the wonderfully terrifying Jenny’s frustration, but they cannot operate and so must wait in hope for an improvement. If there’s one positive from this storyline, aside from great interaction between Maddie and Jenny, it’s that Brooke Vincent has gotten the opportunity to show her full potential.
Meanwhile Nick and David are shocked to hear that Bethany, who is as affected by the fire as The Kabin’s plastic paperboy, has spotted Kylie who spends the episode lurking around corners and crouching down on buses. Amidst the carnage and grief, life must go on on the cobbles as it does in reality I suppose.
By Emma Hynes
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