Auf Wiedersehen, Peter

Coronation Street – Double Episode Review – Friday 14 November 2014

Friday’s Corrie saw a triple departure as Peter, Cilla and Fiz said farewell. With regard to the first pair, their regrets concerning the past are markedly different, but their decisions to leave are nevertheless informed by them. Cilla cannot bear Chesney’s rejection based on her dreadful parenting, and Peter is haunted by the ghosts of both Carla’s love and Tina’s murder. Both situations were driven by the departures of Chris Gascoyne, Wendi Peters and Jennie McAlpine, and so neither could be helped. With the possible exception of his abandonment of Simon, it’s easy to see why leaving for Portsmouth is the right decision for Peter. It would have made more sense, however, for Cilla to stay, as Fiz leaves her partner, children and job to care for her in Wolverhampton.

Admitting to leaving Chesney on a bus on purpose as evidence of not being “the maternal type” seemed a step too far, even for Cilla who acknowledges, “As ye reap, so ye shall sow.” Giving Craig money for his school trip as she departs, she says “you’re only young once” before looking ruefully back at Chesney, the irreparable damage having been done. It was enjoyable having Cilla back, and the toned down version has added a weight to the character which is most certainly welcome.

Meanwhile, having made the difficult decision to leave, Peter’s demeanour is serene. The same can’t be said for poor Ken on hearing the news, as Tracy tells us “the static on his kimono was lit up like the national grid.” While Simon initially reacts badly, he bursts through the door as Peter prepares to go, begging his Dad to stay and apologising for not believing in him; a great performance and thankfully appropriate to his age.

Carla’s reaction is interesting as she seems at once moved and resigned. There is a wonderful scene on Maxine’s bench where she joins Peter and Simon as the former tries to explain the situation. It is a poignant reminder of what was, and is a testament to both her strength, and Peter’s acceptance of what cannot be. While their relationship was fractious as a family, she plays a central role in getting Simon to understand why his Dad has to go. This is sad in itself as she finally achieves what she couldn’t with Simon while herself and Peter were together. As she walks away, Peter’s simple, “See you then,” and her reply, “not if I see you first,” is as electric as any scene the pair have shared.

As he departs with quips and advice for those saying farewell, and leaves in Steve’s cab with Simon going along to wave him off, Carla’s look of shock, longing and resignation appears to belie some hope, to me at least, that their story is not over, even if she has reverted from Barlow to Connor.

She’s far from speechless however when delivering a few home truths to Tracy who points out that anyone who has a drink with her ends up “mad, jailed or dead,” and blames her for Peter’s departure and shopping Rob to the police. “I did it because it was the right thing to do…and that will haunt me for the rest of my life…You set Rob up to save your own skin, so don’t come in all holier than thou with me, you just backed the wrong horse love, that’s all”. This results in a rather predictable, twisted logic vow from Tracy to ensure “that cow” gets what’s coming to her.

Meanwhile, Steve is burdened by guilt, and Peter’s “no hard feelings” approach makes him feel worse. “Good riddance if you ask me” sneers Michelle after being pretty nasty to the latter earlier in the day, and this sees Steve depart the Rovers minutes after returning, but not before putting her in her place with a firm “Nobody did.” After taking refuge in the Bistro with Katie and Steph, he arrives back to the Rovers drunk and late for his shift, and I can’t help thinking, who could blame him.

On a lighter note, Norris’s parcel has now been delivered to number 13 but Kevin denies all knowledge. I’m not sure you can even call this a storyline, but hopefully we’ll be delivered from it soon.

Owen and Anna’s home is repossessed and they will live in Peter’s flat. Sally grows suspicious about the latter’s relationship with Tim, and I’m suspicious about the reading lessons. Tim appears to be making great progress even though Anna rolls her eyes at his mistakes which seems highly inappropriate, and has no formal training. Indeed, the literacy storyline appears more of a vehicle to create suspicion of an affair than to accurately represent the issue itself which is disappointing.

Kal infuriates Zeedan by complaining to Tony over exploiting his son. Meanwhile Gary and Alya are caught kissing by the ever sanctimonious Leanne who demands answers. It is brilliant to see Alya stand up to her, but her victory is diluted by a later apology. Leanne tells both she’s not comfortable keeping secrets from Kal and it appears Alya may choose to end the relationship before it begins rather than tell her father, which would be a shame.

And now, a final word on the departure of my particular favourite, Peter Barlow. I certainly look forward to his return, whenever that may be. The combination of great writing and Chris Gascoyne’s brilliant performances have made him a marvellous character to watch and for me, a period of mourning will now ensue.

By Emma Hynes
Twitter: @ELHynes

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