What Simon Says

20.11.152Coronation Street double episode review, Friday 20 November 2015, originally published on the Coronation Street Blog

Tonight’s Coronation Street revolved around good and bad pairings with Leanne and Simon going their separate ways; Robert continuing to be Tracy’s good side; Aidan at odds with the rest of the Connors; Craig and Caitlin bonding further over art; and Billy and Sean settling for a compromise.

Having reached the end of her tether, Leanne visits Ken to tell him she can’t cope, and asks that he take Simon for a while. However, after Simon is dropped off, he runs to the door begging her to take him back. Swearing on his Grandad’s life that he’ll never speak to her again if she leaves him there, Leanne nevertheless resolves to walk away.

This was an interesting scene, and possibly a crucial one that could make or break their relationship. Leanne clearly felt walking away was the right thing to do, but I’d be curious to know what might have happened if she had capitalised on the moment she’s been waiting for, when the child behind the venomous front broke loose. On the flip side, giving in to him could’ve seen her come off the worse for it.

Tracy is not happy, and doesn’t hide her feelings. Robert reacts far more positively, however, welcoming their guest and sticking up for Leanne in her hour of need. Tracy asks him why he always sees the best in people, and he reckons she’s lucky he does; he’s not wrong. Ken says it’s their job to rally around them, but his patience is tested when he finds Simon attempting to grab Amy’s violin from her hands after he reacts badly to her practice, and she teases him by playing in his face. Ken appeals to them for give and take and sends Amy to her room to practice which I’m sure won’t go down well.

As Simon sits up in the dark, and Ken tells him it’s time he went to bed, he receives a text from Leanne wishing him goodnight and telling him she loves him. “Three words: I’m blown away” Simon sneers, leaving Ken perplexed.

20.11.15Meanwhile, Leanne breaks down at the lack of response, and Eva tells her not to torture herself. “I’ve lost him, I’ve lost him forever” Leanne cries. While not a favourite of mine, I do feel sorry for Leanne on this occasion. Tonight was also the first time, while not excusing his deplorable behaviour, that I felt a tiny bit of sympathy for Simon, being pitched from pillar to post, never seeming to belong anywhere.

Family ties are also fraught at the factory where Aidan faces a rival in his own sister, his enthusiastic efforts to recruit staff for overtime seeing him accused of stinginess and exploitation. Her resolve is strengthened when she overhears her brother complaining to Carla that she’s hard to manage, and she eventually walks out. Powerless Aidan is then told by his father that Kate is going nowhere. I did really enjoy the arrival of Aidan, and how his character was playing out, but I feel he’s been suffocated by the arrival of Johnny and Kate, and would very much like to see him strike out on his own and really blossom. He certainly has the potential.

Meanwhile Carla interrupts Nick’s romantic apartment meal for two with an “intervention” involving herself, Kate and Michelle. She acknowledges Kate’s was a serious walk out, but asks her what she’s walking to, and how she plans to keep herself in the designer clothes she’s become accustomed to. Is packing such a lucrative profession? Asked what she wants from life, Kate tells them she’s still looking for her “light bulb moment” and so, for now, she’ll go back to the factory; both ladies agree that a written warning means Kate looks principled and Carla looks decisive. Again, this collusion makes Aidan, the only one speaking any sense, sadly even more impotent.

20.11.151Craig continues to be effortlessly charming as he and Caitlin work together on some artwork in his house. A stray blob of paint sees her wriggle out of her shirt with his help, just as Beth walks through the door. As operation birds and bees gets underway, Caitlin interrupts Beth, who is doing rather well in fact, to speak up for Craig, and impresses his Mam by having the height of praise for him. The only protection they need at the moment, according to Caitlin, are a couple of aprons and a plastic floor sheet. Craig’s delight at being called her boyfriend saw him shine like a beacon of joy as he could barely contain his excitement.

Over at Streetcars, Michael appears distracted when he receives a call from a customer at 22 Station Road. He gets worse when, having left her shopping in a cab, she calls to collect it and he meets her face to face. As she confesses to being afraid to go home alone, he accompanies her there. Eileen is furious to find out he was at her house, and is shocked by how angrily Michael reacts.

He’s not the only one struggling as Luke finds himself under pressure from Sophie who demands to know what’s going on, but unlike Michael, he tells all about Jamie’s threats. Sophie is stunned, but level headed enough to recommend he tell his sister, in the meantime attempting to appease a suspicious Steph at the Bistro. This storyline is proving a strange one for me. The racing element is clearly driven (sorry) by the desire to have a revenge porn storyline rather than having a storyline from which revenge porn arises which, I think, would appear more natural.

Meanwhile over at the Rovers, Sean and Billy swap holiday ideas in the presence of Eileen whose hilarious reaction to the jarring suggestions is the umbrella in the cocktail. Billy plumps for “glorious seclusion” where they have no Wifi, and cook, read, ride bikes and feed puffins while horrified Sean has his sights on all-nighters in Ibiza. So desperate is Sean that they go to San Antonio that he tries to use its cathedral as a selling point. Billy’s compromise is a combination of mountains and resort which seems to make Sean happy. Based on their interests, opinions, attitudes and outlook, this is a couple which shouldn’t work, but I guess the old adage, that opposites attract, goes some way toward excusing their perceived incompatibility. I find myself enjoying their scenes, which are generally a source of humour, and it certainly helps that Billy, who is such a breath of fresh air on the Street, lights up any scene he’s in.

By Emma Hynes
Twitter: @ELHynes

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