Saturday, 1 October 2016

Coronation Street double episode review, Friday 30 September 2016

Friday’s Corrie managed to sum up how I feel about the programme at the moment in two episodes; we are being treated to some brilliant and compelling dialogue and performances, but some plot developments don't match the quality on show. The Todd and Phelan story, for example, continues to be sublime, but I found the end of Bethany’s bullying saga to be a source of frustration.

The bullying storyline was tied up with an efficiency which belied its pace and seriousness. After being expelled, Lauren shuffles out the door with her furious father as if they’ve just been told they must leave the chocolate factory because she sat on the golden goose machine and it came up with ‘bad egg’. There is even an attempt at humour when he says his daughter was a ‘stunner’ before David cut her hair.

Bethany learning of this outside a toilet door in a public area of the school without a parent or family member present was in stark contrast to the sit down meeting at which she was suspended. While she is called brave by the head teacher, there is no apology for the treatment she received. What we do get is a beautiful scene in which Bethany breaks down as she tells Sarah and Gail the news. Lu Fallon has been brilliant throughout this storyline, and I think Bethany has fast become one of the most likeable characters on the street.

Caz claims to be in love with Maria, but after any hope of romance is quashed, and Maria asks her to move out while she takes a trip to London to play happy families with Pablo, Caz calls the Home Office, opens Maria’s post and eyes up her new credit card. While there was a panto villain element to this reaction, I think we can agree that Caz is unhinged, as we’ve already seen her fake an injury and stage a burglary. There has been no cause for me to warm to this character, and Maria’s behaviour of late has been such that I don’t have much sympathy for her either, so it’s hard to care about any of this. I did enjoy Kirk’s awkwardness alone in the flat with Caz, and little Liam played a star turn in both this and Thursday’s episode.

Had Roy and Cathy announced a date for their marriage a few months back, I would’ve been delighted, but I felt as uncomfortable with it as Tyrone last night considering recent developments in Cathy’s character. Something about it doesn’t feel right, and despite Roy’s certainty, his demeanour appears to contradict it. I want to see Roy continue to flourish and don’t think this can happen with his current arrangement.

From cruelly locking Max into the annex to selling flowers they stole from graves, I’ve a feeling those Alahan twins will give Amy Barlow a run for her money on the cobbles of the future. But have they met their match in Erica? Mary ‘Poppins’ Taylor has plenty of advice on discipline, but after a prank involving daubing marmite under Erica’s nose and watching her trawl the house for the mystery odour, it seems fighting fire with fire will be her tactic, and I say bring it on. I think Erica is a great character, and would enjoy seeing her at the centre of a prominent storyline.

The strongest two elements of this double were David learning that Clayton pleading guilty to manslaughter may result in a reduced sentence if he’s found guilty, and the Todd and Phelan development saga.

The flat scam story is moving at such a pace with so many twists, and it's the highlight of the show for me at the moment.Todd’s attempt to opt out and be a better man is foiled as he’s posed with a moral dilemma on discovering Sarah has signed on the dotted line without his knowledge after coming into £15,000. Phelan threatens Todd with Vinny, should he blow the whistle, but so far, Vinny’s violence is anecdotal and I’m wondering if it’s all a ruse to keep Todd onside and it’s Phelan he needs to fear most.

Todd agrees to come back in on the scam provided Sarah gets her money back out of his and Phelan’s share and they shake on it. But the mind games don’t end there, as Phelan tells Billy they’ll be funding his trip to Kenyan orphans out of the profits. As Todd and Billy kiss and embrace on a ‘total honesty’ pact, Todd’s face tells us we can be sure his moral dilemmas are set to continue.

There is a definite change in the air on Corrie, and on the whole, I’m enjoying it. It's currently excelling in many aspects, but I feel the convenient plot developments such as Beth's bigamy and Sharif's affair need to be avoided, and storylines such as Izzy's pain and Bethany's bullying need to be tied up appropriately in order to match the quality it’s showing itself to be capable of elsewhere.

By Emma Hynes
Twitter: @ELHynes
Facebook: @EmmaHynesWrites
Instagram: emmalouhynes

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Humpty Dumpty said...

Great write up, Emma. The bullying story might not be over. It was odd that Bethany was told that Lauren had been expelled in front of the girl and her father. The only reason being that Lauren's father could threaten Bethany and therein may lie an extension of this storyline. Let's hope not.

With Roy and Cathy setting the date, it's soap law that the wedding won't happen. Something will make Roy decide against it and Cathy and Alex will leave. Nice try, writers, but it's not working.

It was sad to see Ozzy go even though we'd hardly seen him. It was a device to get Caz temporarily back in Maria's good books and she might yet become an interesting character. I'm not sure if she'll use the credit card to go on a spree, which would make it a short-term storyline, or whether she's going to try and steal Maria's identity. There's a joke in there about Maria even having one ...

I'm disappointed that Todd's London experience was only about a romantic break-up. They could have made it more complex by saying he had found his father who, after a few meetings, also rejected Todd. That would have reinforced his determination never to trust and be hurt again.

Anonymous said...

I'm guessing the new producer is trying to get Corrie from where it's been to where she wants it in the quickest way possible. Maybe these were the crossover episodes and that's the reason for rushed story lines or abrupt plot changes? It's just a thought - I could be wrong.

Maricha said...

It was disappointing that Bethany's mother wasn't called in to hear the news. Especially after there was a suspension, but, like Humpty Dumpty I doubt this is the last of it. The school year is still young.
It really does feel like the new producer wants to tie up loose ends and get on with new stories and characters that we've been told about. There are only so many people who can live on one street.
I just hope Yasmeen gets to stay on: she's the best of Carly and Blanche: elegant and straightforward.

Anonymous said...

Also enjoying the general direction and dialogue. Signs of humour in unexpected places too, proper Corrie for me. Also, lots of different types of storylines with a variety of characters - I'm properly watching episodes again!!
I still don't see the point in Alya, I hope Yasmeen and grandson stay and she goes.
I can't stand Cathy, Roy is making a mistake. I wouldn't mind seeing Roy and Alex remain as a household in the future though.

Emma Hynes said...

Thanks Humpty!

Perhaps you're right about the bullying storyline. I did think it odd that Lauren's father said 'you haven't heard the end of this', or words to that effect, yet to everyone else, it was firmly over. While I didn't like this conclusion, I hope that's the end of it too.

I was also interested to find that this was Todd's backstory. I haven't quite made my mind up about it, but my initial reaction is that it works for me.

Emma Hynes said...

Anon @ 17.43, that thought struck me too.

Emma Hynes said...

I too am a Yasmeen fan, Maricha and Anon @ 08:52, and feel she has a lot to give on the Street.

Flo said...

Another unfinished storyline that needs wrapped up is Cathy's house--what happened? There was a fire, but she moved right in with Roy and it became another non-issue. I think a nice way to turn things around would be to have her and Roy clean it out, with the idea being the two of them would move into it and let Alex have the flat.

I know a lot of people have been pretty down on Cathy recently, but I think some of them need to put themselves in her shoes. Having found out not one, but two revelations of major proportions about the man she loved and thought loved her would be a lot to handle. And as much as I love Roy, I know firsthand what it is like to deal with someone like him, and believe me, it isn't easy. One of my favorite scenes was where she told him that it was like talking to a robot sometimes. Been there, done that!

Maricha said...

I think it would be easier to put myself in her shoes if she didn't seem to be horning in on Roy and asking a lot of him considering that if she hadn't been hoarding they'd still be living apart and just dating.
Sure he's difficult in some ways but that was obvious from the start and he certainly didn't chase her around. So she's with him because she wants to be.
As you say, Roy asked her to stay over after there was an emergency at her house. She was supposed to be cleaning her house out all this time to return to it, not serving at the cafe, dealing with her sister or her nephew who is now also at Roy's and now her husband's infidelity.
She's even more of a drag than Steve and that takes some doing.

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