Saturday, 25 February 2017

Coronation Street double episode review, Friday 24 February 2017

Secrets abounded in last night’s Corrie, but developments in respect of one in particular gripped this stunned viewer. As Jenny blackmailed Richard Drake to reinstate his mastectomy bra order with a compromising photo, Maria struggled with little Liam’s prison visit request to live with Aidan and Eva, and Brian hid his affection for Cathy from Roy, there was a simmering pot of tension unfolding around baby Oliver.

Having agreed to put Nick’s name on the birth certificate, Leanne’s silent discomfort at the lie she has committed to living, together with Liz’s disquiet and Steve’s uneasiness with the entire situation, all culminated to form a growing intensity as the first episode unfolded. Nick’s enthusiasm even seemed fraught with panic at the threat of it all crashing down, and Michelle’s desire for another baby resulted in added strain for Steve.

Gail’s impromptu family party at the Bistro coincided with a visit by Michelle and Steve, and what unfolded, and how, was sheer brilliance. As they looked on, Michelle’s clear attempt to be happy for Leanne and Nick contrasted with Steve’s beleaguered demeanour, and things only got worse as his attempts to avoid his son finally failed with an encounter which could not evade him. First, he was called on to take a family photo, and next, was handed the baby by David who jumped to recover a tray of smashed glasses. I was absolutely gripped as he held the child in his arms and, as if in a trance, declared out loud for all to hear that this was his son.

Of course, this happened at 7.59pm and, once I released my other half from a serious grip, took to Twitter where people were frantic. Could this be the big reveal? Well we hadn’t read anything about it. Maybe we’d tune in at 8.30pm after a seemingly interminable interlude, and Steve’s confusion would be put down to his grief for Ruairi? This would not have been my preference, but after all, we’d seen plenty of this type of thing in the past, and been frustrated by it. Or maybe, just maybe, we were about to see the truth revealed in a timely fashion having not known to expect it. As shock registered and the possibilities were thrashed out, both online and in my sitting room, I watched Mastermind, but didn’t, and all of a sudden we were back for part two. I sat in disbelief to discover that yes, this was it, Steve had confessed and was making no effort to cover it up; Michelle had found out that Oliver was Steve’s baby, Leanne didn’t deny it, nor did Nick.

No spoilers. No dragging things out. No unrealistic recovery at 8.31pm. This was it, and it was fantastic. We were then treated to a highly charged and brilliant scene between Michelle and Leanne in the back of the Bistro which resulted in a bloody nose for the new Mum. There is naturally nothing Steve can say to Michelle to fix things as she storms over to the Rovers where she reveals all in the bar. Jane Danson, Simon Gregson, Kym Marsh and Ben Price put in some of their best performances as it all unfolded, and I can genuinely say I was glued to the screen throughout.

I do, however, have one gripe, and you’ve heard it before. Performances and dialogue of this quality are enough to draw us in, to make us feel empathy and sympathy. The portrayals were powerful, affecting and natural. It was authentic and reflective of the realism that makes Coronation Street what it is, and most definitely didn’t need Radiohead’s Street Spirit (Fade Out) concluding the second episode. For me, this actually did a disservice to a truly fantastic pair of episodes. Nor is the irony of the song title lost on me, as this development is most definitely not in keeping with the spirit of the street. I don’t know if we’ll see the end of incidental music on Corrie anytime soon, but for me, you won’t find a finer example of why it needs to go. 

Other highlights from the episode included Jenny Bradley smugly celebrating her double order, lovely signs of a developing friendship between Yasmeen and Rita, Shayne Ward who for me, continues to be compelling as Aidan, and Charlie Wrenshall who is doing a great job as Liam Jr.

We saw Corrie at its best on Friday night, and the lack of any spoilers, together with the quality delivered up, ensured it got the reaction it well deserved. Now, if we could just lose the music…

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

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Newfy Pearl said...

I never even noticed the music this time. But yes!!! I thought it would be chalked up to Steve's grief too, so I was skeptical as part two began. What an awesome episode! Really enjoyed it and the ending was something else too. I was wondering if Nick was going to be hit by a vehicle because he was so focused on his upset that he would not be paying attention to safety. Then they panned to Michelle. So very sad. This story affects so many on the street.
One moment I found a little funny though....Leanne telling David how to hold a baby...I loved his response. I loved too how he spoke up when his mother said people would laugh at Nick for raising another man's child. David has certainly matured and despite his upbringing he is a great dad.
Loving Corrie right now.

Flo said...

I agree completely with everything you said Emma, including about the music. I think it would have been just as effective to have Michelle sitting there in silence, perhaps even more effective. Their choice of music was strange too. But the rest of the episode was just wow! I noticed your tweet of "no no no" and immediately left Twitter to avoid any spoilers since I wouldn't get to watch until later and was glad I did. What an episode.

Cobblestone said...

Superb work by all concerned, (naff music aside) and the shock from the lack of spoilers was fantastic. I'm a terrible one for reading spoilers, but I couldn't be happier than when they've kept something major from me. And that was probably the most authentic punch I've ever seen on the show. It actually looked as though Leanne hit her head on the counter as she went down. I couldn't help thinking though that one lamps a Battersby at one's peril ...
I agree young Liam is coming on splendidly as a young actor, but did anyone else notice how very Middle Class his accent is? More Cheshire than Wetherfield, I think.

Pat said...

How come if Steve booked a table for 6.30 Leanne and Nick were setting off the registers office at that time. Is it open in the evening?

Martin Steer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Martin Steer said...

Does anyone know what label shirt Steve Mcdonald is wearing (maroon/red and grey checked) please ?

Tvor said...

Pat, the timing thing had me scratching my head, as well.

abbyk said...

All the above, it was a great pair of episodes. Whose the daddy and what about Liam were great interpersonal dramas over real life issues. Jenny the blackmailer, not so much, but it entertained and did not involve any explosions. Writing and acting to tell stories, yes, music, no.

One overseas nitpicky observation: since when to Weatherfield folk "go to the bathroom" as Michelle announced? It's a fairly American phrase, and Michelle isn't. Go to the Ladies/Gents/loo, use the toilets, spend a penny, okay but GTTB seemed a bit jarring and out of place. Am I missing something?

Chaise Pomme said...

Friday's episode wasn't best in my book, but tolerable because it didn't have Rosie and sister Sophie, child predator Nathan who is a boring villain, con artist Adam who is incompetent, Feelin' Phelan and Lady wrestler fishwife Eileen, boring couple comprising of the wish washy vicar and his layabout Todd, Anna and Kevin, Silly Sally and Tim duo, boring couple Daniel and Sinead. Unfortunately we had to see jailbird bird brain Maria. I haven't watched in a while and I happened to tune in Friday just out of curiosity....ohhhhhh...what luck!

Christine O'Connor said...

It drove me mad the way they kept saying "register's office". It's "register office" or "registry office", and the person who officiates is the registrar!
Otherwise a well written and brilliantly acted episode though, especially Leanne and a Michelle.

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