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Saturday 12 April 2014

Coronation Street double episode review, Friday 11 April 2014

It isn’t very often I have cause to describe Coronation Street as difficult to watch, but tonight’s drama most certainly was, which is a testament to its quality. Phelan continues to treat Owen with contempt, but their latest conversation has an even more sinister tone. As he prepares to spend the afternoon with Anna, he tells Owen he has a hot date lined up. Faithful Owen makes the inevitable all the more tragic by declaring that he’d never play away, but Phelan reckons he’d have second thoughts if he saw the “bit” that is waiting for him. “You’d like her” he assures Owen, securing his place as one of the most deplorable villains ever to appear on the Street.

Alone, afraid and completely torn, Anna gets ready for the sordid appointment. Seeing her tremble as she puts lipstick on before rubbing it off is a powerful indication of her inner turmoil. Mirrors appear on her compact, in the lift, and in the hotel room, and faced with her own image, she appears to be both searching and confronting her very self about what she is about to do.

As her family prepare a surprise dinner for her, Owen remarks that Phelan’s date would “have to be someone desperate”, which is exactly what poor Anna is. It is taking full advantage of this desperation that makes Phelan truly villainous. While Anna has certainly been a target of his desire from the off,  I think he is similarly determined to destroy Owen, to ruin and dominate every aspect of his life, to own every piece of him utterly and entirely down to his very partner.

The scenes in the hotel room are slow and uncomfortable. The fact that the hotel lift, corridor and room itself are cramped adds to the claustrophobia of the situation, and conveys the perceived lack of a way out or an alternative for Anna. Shoelaces being slowly undone, the hesitant way she puts her handbag down and removes her coat make you recoil at the inevitability of it, and feel you can nearly hear her heartbeat.

“Put the contract where I can see it” she says as she moves over to the bed, knuckles visibly taut as she steels herself for what she’s about to do. Hers is an impossible decision which surely has any viewer asking if it’s something they could ever be capable of.

Once it’s over, in one final twist of the knife, Phelan grabs the contract and makes Anna beg for it before laughing as she leaves. There is nothing remotely redeeming about Pat Phelan and the fact that he is capable of anything is what makes him so frightening and dangerous. Even having gone through with it, Anna still cannot be truly certain that he will keep his word, contract or no contract.

As she returns to Weatherfield on the bus, we see the Street from her perspective, conveying the notion that it no longer appears quite the same to her. As she arrives home, things similarly appear alien, as if nothing can ever be the same again. Her family’s efforts on her behalf make her feel worse, and we completely identify with her as we encounter a close up of her panicked face while their voices can be heard telling her she deserves it. Far from being a source of consolation, the family dinner painfully reduces her to tears. As Owen praises her strength and tells her he loves her, she can’t bear it, and breaks down after he goes to bed. 

There was no indication when this storyline commenced that it would go to such a dark place. When I heard of the indecent proposal I wasn't sure how it would play out, but it provided some exceptional and well executed drama. The acting, script and direction have been outstanding, particularly as the family entered the downward spiral which has culminated in this pair of very difficult episodes. Debbie Rush's performance was fantastic tonight and together with Connor McIntyre, Ian Puleston-Davies and Mikey North, has been consistently brilliant throughout. 

Elsewhere, Tyrone receives a call from the police to say Kirsty has been released. Fiz panics at the news and is in no mood to make up with Maria. Tyrone tries to compensate for Fiz’s behaviour by assuring his ex-fiancee that she’ll have no problem finding a new man.

Maddie refuses help from her social worker and walks out of her accommodation leaving herself and Sophie sleeping rough.

When Peter confirms to Tina that he loves her, she interprets this as a sign and decides to “get him back”. After struggling to resist alcohol in the pub, Peter hits the bottle at home as he receives a text from Tina saying “I love you too”.

Steve and Andrea make up and are engaging in some intense studying in the back room of the Rovers when Steve decides to get kebabs. On his return, a dozing Andrea pulls him on to the sofa and calls him Lloyd in her sleep. This last detail goes unheard by Michelle and Lloyd who enter to find the pair in a questionable clinch. Both assure their respective partners that nothing is going on, and add that they have in fact been a victim of unreciprocated love. But as the two stories collide in Streetcars, Jenna and Lloyd send Steve and Andrea packing. As soon as Michelle and Liz get wind of this latest development, I fear “The Laugh at Steve Show”, as the legend himself aptly describes it, won’t have a shortage of plotlines for the foreseeable future.

By Emma Hynes
Twitter: @ELHynes

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Frosty the Snowman said...

The very good episodes were spoilt for me with the two duff characters - MADDAR and Sophie who are so ridiculous as to be almost laughable. Who cares whether they sleep in street, in the hostel or back at Sally's cushy billet which is where this tiresome trash is obviously leading. And how annoying is Andrea becoming? Another bunny boiler mark Frosty words!!

Dubcek said...

Why can't Maddie go and live with her mother?
We've seen her there with her brother so why are both of them not living with her?
Surely if they needed somewhere to go for a few days after the problem with the guys at the hostel they could have hidden out at her mother's

Anonymous said...

I'd have to question just how bad Maddie's mother's mental illness is, if she chooses to live in the street yet leave her wee brother there alone with her. She makes no sense, particularly for someone who's meant to be so street wise. It just comes across as directionless, contrived nonsense that's just dragging on.

Anonymous said...

Where is Sophie's money? I can't imagine Sally charges rent or board and and she's been working at Dev's for ages......Why he doesn't turf her is a mystery given that she keeps temporarily leaving with no notice. This story has also been done with Sian right down to the creepy people trying to take advantage, yet they act like she has never witnessed the seedier side. Surely she could afford a bedsit until they get themselves sorted!

Anonymous said...

Well - that's it then. Phelan will be murdered and the killer will turn out to be his wife, after a long drawn out who-dunnit.
Sophie is being written as if she was the same age and mentality as Faye. Let her grow up for Godsake.

corrierules said...

Phelan is indeed repulsive. It's almost as if he -- or the writers -- watched the Eastenders storyline where Kat Slater slept with the repulsive Andy Hunter to erase Alfie Moon's debt. Next thing you know, Phelan will have a videotape of doing the deed with Anna and he'll show it to Owen. I'll watch with an eerie sense of deja vu.

Anonymous said...

Agree, Agree, Agree!
Phelan great villian and so well acted by all concerned. Andrea - major nut job! Madder go homeless alone!

Just saying said...

The little brother does not live with Maddie's mother. Remember the social worker came to take him back to the foster home when Sally was there? And remember Sophie getting Maddie to call the foster parents to set up a visit?

Great episode...the spoilers always seem implausible, but then the acting makes it all make sense.

Anonymous said...

They need to get rid of michelle. A year ago Corrie produced a storyline featuring a female abusing a male partner, something very rarely covered on TV. It was a big hit.

1 year on and we have a woman making digs at her husband in every single scene and dragging him by the ear and throwing food at him for COMEDY.

Just saying said...

Corrie is missing the mark if they think Michelle is funny.
I like that Steve is starting to bristle under the verbal abuse of Liz and Michelle. I also liked that Liz pointed out to Tina anyway...that at least Steve is not an alcoholic or seeing another woman like Peter is. lol
When push comes to shove...Steve is Liz's baby. :-)


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