Born Gobby

Coronation Street Episode Review – Wednesday 28 May 2014 – 9pm

It’s day three of Who Kills Tina? week, and as 9pm approached, I promptly returned to the edge of my seat and braced myself for the massive twist we had been promised. I was not disappointed.

Breathless and clearly in shock, a stunned Rob peers over the balcony at a motionless Tina and gathers himself before trashing her apartment, even making off with some of her possessions. What he doesn’t expect is to find her alive when he exits the flat. Despite not having said a single word between Tina’s fall and this latest discovery, Marc Baylis deftly conveys the maddening range of emotions Rob experiences as he hurtles from one phase of the aftermath to the next.

Asking her if she’s okay, and offering to call her an ambulance, together with the accidental nature of her fall ensures that Rob is portrayed as a good man with a conscience as described by Marc Baylis and Stuart Blackburn last week. However, after he fails to convince Tina that the bang to her head is affecting her memory of events, things take a nastier turn. Assuring him she’s more determined than ever to see him go down, now adding attempted murder to his list of charges, and ignoring his appeals for leniency on the grounds that he’s happy and getting married, Rob decides to silence her forever with an iron bar.

As things stood last night, both Tina and Rob evoked immense sympathy in me. She would have died a vulnerable and lonely character, and he would have been a good man who committed a murder by accident. Tonight therefore provides a double twist for me; not only would Tina have made a recovery had Rob not attacked her a second time, but it is their respective character flaws which actually lead to their downfall.

Through gritted teeth Tina asserts, “I was born gobby”. These, her final words, prove that she is unable to suppress this part of her nature, and it ultimately leads to her death. Similarly, while a tearful yet menacing Rob may visibly appear to struggle with the choice that lies before him, he announces his impending murder with the chilling retort, “and you’ll die gobby too”. While I look forward to both the psychological battle that we’re promised lies ahead of him, and Marc Baylis’ undoubted ability to offer a mesmerising portrayal, it is difficult not to consider Rob a coldblooded killer after tonight. It’s a great twist, and a thrilling and fantastic episode throughout, but perhaps an accidental death would have been preferable if the aim is to ensure viewers are “with” Rob as this storyline progresses.

With everyone convinced Tracy and Rob are having their own private engagement party next door to the Rovers when in reality both are up to no good on their own terms, and lie to eachother on reuniting, it will be interesting to see how this prospective alibi plays out.

Liz likening pondlife Peter Barlow to a jellyfish may have left viewers plumbing the depths for clues as to why, but once you consider how he appeared weirdly calm and floated through the tempestuous waves of adulterous transparency while simultaneously stinging Carla with the news that Tina was not better than her, but different, it couldn’t be more accurate. At least he can rely on Steve for a kind word in the face of yet another personal disaster. “You never know,” his friend chirps, “it might all blow over.”

Carla’s fury doesn’t offer much hope for Steve’s prediction. She concludes that Peter, the only man she ever wanted to have children with, mustn’t have loved her at all despite his insistence that he never stopped doing so. Her rage sees her announce to the Rovers rabble that she’s going to kill Tina before storming off to find her. As she emerges on to the balcony of the builder’s yard she spots Tina’s body on the ground below just as a stunned Leanne and Kal arrive on the scene. She receives no support from anyone but Michelle as the police arrive and take her away, not even Rob which may prove that his fear of returning to prison outweighs his concern for his sister which could have interesting consequences for the story as it progresses.

Meanwhile, Debbie Rush’s powerful performance is a triumph of tragedy and despair as Anna breaks down and confesses all to an incredulous Owen. Despite the dreadful nature of the revelation, considering the tender and loving side of him that has emerged in recent times, I didn’t expect that his reaction would be so cold; he even appeared repulsed at one point. However, he does eventually break down, and is clearly struggling to cope with the news as he tells her “Nothing will ever be normal ever again.”

This was another gripping episode which was superbly acted, written and directed, and if the week so far is anything to go by, the fourth installment tomorrow night at 9pm can’t come quickly enough.

Emma Hynes
Twitter: @ELHynes

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