Barlow’s Byes

Coronation Street – Episode Review – Wednesday 5 November

After five months, one murder, twelve incorrect jurors and copious leading questions, Weatherfield Police finally get the right man. When Tracy lets Amy stay home from school, it appears to both us and Ken that she may be enjoying her last day with her daughter before escaping with Rob, and it seems appropriate in hindsight that they would watch Titanic and Tracy would cry at the conclusion considering she was about to cling to her metaphorical door and push Rob into the deep blue yonder.

The scene between Tracy and Amy is a tender one as her daughter tells her “You can cuddle me if you like, if you miss him, cos I do.” Tracy uses the film UP to let Amy know how much she loves her, indicating again that she may be leaving. As Ken delivers the news that it’s only a matter of time before Rob is caught, as the police have found the murder weapon and are out looking for him, something appears to click with Tracy. She leaves suddenly under the pretense of checking on Todd in the shop, and we’re again left guessing as she makes a call from her phone in the shed saying simply that’s she’s both sure and ready. She screeches away in Ken’s car and both he and Carla are left to debate her intentions. While Ken is sure she’s abandoning her daughter, Carla keeps an open mind and tries to ring Tracy to no avail. She pleads with Ken to wait before calling the police, and when she gets a call from them herself she ignores it.

Meanwhile Tracy meets Rob in a dark underpass, and he’s beyond elated. As he trembles with fear and excitement, and tells her he loves her, she breaks down and apologises, leading him to think she’s changed her mind because of Amy. Despite his clear devastation, he understands, telling her, “She is your flesh and blood. There’s no contest. I’m the one should be saying sorry for ruining everything.” However, as sirens are heard approaching, her failure to hide with him makes him realise she has lead the police to him. Her declarations of love are roundly rebuffed as he spits that she doesn’t know the meaning of the word and has betrayed him. “I could have gone back to prison” she cries, but his fate because of this sees him unmoved by her plight and devastated at his own.

As the police give their instructions, he is incredulous at having been caught. As he drops to his knees and is handcuffed, he is truly crushed. “I didn’t have a choice” cries Tracy, but Rob doesn’t buy it. “You had a choice, just like Carla had a choice, there is always a choice” he tells her which is somewhat ironic considering he professed himself to have had no choice when it came to sparing Tina’s life. It transpires that to the very end Rob values loyalty and his desire for freedom above all else, and both triumph over his conscience.

Despite this I found myself feeling sympathy for him as his world fell about his feet. I felt a sense of loss that this was the end for him, as I have enjoyed the character of Rob and felt he had more to bring to the programme. I am however not only mourning his character, I’m desolate for the loss of Rob and Tracy as a couple. The chemistry between them was electric to the very end, and I liked fulfilled Tracy better than the bitter, lonely, malicious incarnation we have for so long endured. I loved the interaction between them. I loved how he was admiringly appalled by her, constituted her better half, and how the humour between them was at times deliciously wicked. As Rob faces imprisonment, we can only hope that their relationship will have had a liberating effect on Tracy, and that going through this horrendous experience will have changed her for the better.

Redemption finds other guises tonight as Luke successfully apologises to Maria for what appeared to me to be nothing in particular. I liked Yasmeen’s observation, “when two people take against each other so vehemently, it’s often a sign of attraction.” As she lists off literary examples including North and South and Pride and Prejudice, and Audrey chips in with Brokeback Mountain, I couldn’t help but think that Luke and Maria’s bickering showed none of the passion that makes such vehemence so striking and alluring.

Elsewhere Roy advises Todd to build bridges with those he’s alienated, as “it’s good for the soul.” It’s a testament to Todd that he sets about this immediately but his efforts are bluntly rejected by Tyrone. However, after the café is subjected to an egging, Roy expresses his gratitude in front of Todd’s detractors by thanking him publicly in the Rovers for his help in cleaning up, declaring “everyone deserves a second chance,” and buying him a pint. After Tyrone echoes Roy’s appreciation, Sean asks “What’s all that about?” A genuinely grateful and humble Todd gently replies, “Progress I think.” Despite his misdeeds, I’ve always liked Todd, and he appears to be genuinely sorry for his behaviour. He strikes me as a character with plenty of potential who could demonstrate positive change from the hard lessons he’s learned. While we’re sadly assured Todd’s difficult times don’t end just yet, let’s hope he’ll come out the other side a fully redeemed individual so that we can see the best he has to offer.

By Emma Hynes
Twitter: @ELHynes

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