Survival Tactics

05.02.16Coronation Street double episode review, Friday 5 February 2016.

Hell hath no fury like a Sally scorned, especially if it’s on behalf of someone else, and Jenny bears the full brunt at the factory where she continues to be suspected of stealing.

Things go from bad to worse when Jack escapes she with the cape and clipboard and makes a run for Underworld where Jenny is working alone after hours. Meanwhile Kevin, Sophie and Tyrone scour the street to no avail. Despite the police usually being called at the mere sound of a glass breaking in the Rovers, they go untroubled on this occasion. As the search party reconvene at the garage, they’re shocked to see Jack emerge from Underworld with Jenny, and a verbal bun fight ensues with Sally arriving on cue.

After sniffling from Sophie, arched eyebrows from Anna, and reticence from Rita, Jack finally tells Kevin the truth, and he’s wracked with guilt for accusing Jenny of kidnap. He says sorry and begs her to stay as Rita arrives with another apology for doubting her. As Kevin removes her bags from the back of her getaway vehicle, we have one of those ‘oh how we laughed’ moments that seem to appear more frequently in Corrie of late, and herald an instance of ‘moving on’. I think we can expect all to be forgiven as far as Kevin is concerned from here-on-in.

It’s clear that Jenny won’t forget Sally’s treatment of her that easily, however, as she delivers an icy threat in the Rovers that the Councillor-in-training had better back off, or else. The question is, do we have a reformed Jenny in our midst who is simply sick and tired of Sally’s swipes, or does she harbour a dark side? The fact that an earlier conversation, in which perky Kirk lightly espoused the merits of dogs, was punctuated by Jenny coldly remarking “You know what happens to flies, don’t you? They get swatted” might indicate the latter. Whatever the reality, I’m loving Jenny’s return.

05.02.165As Sinéad drops a sugary tea into Johnny, he keeps her back to show her a picture of a leggy model, and asks what she thinks of the image before suggesting he’d essentially like to see ‘real’ women in her place. It was a rather odd turn of events to say the least, and it got stranger after Sinéad passed the idea on to Aidan, and he later confirmed, in the Rovers, that O’Driscoll loved it and would be using it as the basis for their new ad campaign. Not only that, father and son ask Sinéad if she’d like to be the underwear model, and, despite pulling her cardigan tightly around herself, she agrees. All rather bizarre.

Meanwhile, there’s a thaw on between Aidan and Johnny after Kate threatens to cancel her wedding if they don’t sort their differences out.

With accusations of corruption in the Council reducing the election lead-in time to a mere 4 weeks, it’s all systems go for Sally’s campaign; well, at least where she’s concerned.

Like two rival candidates, Sally’s lack of class and upwardly mobile aspirations ran side by side throughout both episodes, finally colliding at the polls in a conversation with Audrey in which she oscillated between attempting to inspire the some time Councillor and widow of same to pass her the baton of electoral knowledge, and bellowing at a passing Jenny Bradley. Having essentially stolen Audrey’s book of contacts out of her hand, Sally hightails it over to Ken’s with the owner in pursuit so he can separate the “somebodies from the nobodies”. As they chat slogans and manifestos, Tim is as useful as the uneaten apple he carries throughout, and Ken is deliciously irritable. In any event, it’s clear that Ken feels they have their work cut out for them, and is none too pleased about it.

Leanne might be afraid to celebrate Simon’s positive progress at counselling, but she happily quaffed something fizzy with Eva in the Bistro as they talked chat up lines with an unusually extroverted Andy. ”Our Andy’s quite the mystery man” Leanne remarked as he revealed his technique. He sure is; he once pretended to be the son of his boss’s father-in-law, and continued to do so even after he’d died.

05.02.161In any event, the sisters’ planned night of clubbing goes awry when Eva disappears. The blow is softened for Leanne when she’s chatted up at the bar, but she’s not the only one to encounter a stranger, as Eva discovers sixteen year old Marta hiding in Underworld. She’s appalled to learn the she has been working for people who have her passport and she’s afraid to tell the truth for fear her family in Poland will be harmed.

It’s wonderful to be the invisible guest at the Rovers bar in the company of Liz, Eileen, Erica and Mary. A highlight was surely their faces after Mary declared, “Amongst you all, the corpses of dead relationships must lie ten deep” before rushing to the bathroom. There has been a clear, if rather speedy, recovery for Mary over the last few episodes, perhaps inspired by Erica encouraging her to think of herself as a woman of the world. Tonight, as Sean put ‘I Will Survive’ on the jukebox for her, we had a visual of her resolve in motion as she listened and nodded profusely.

It appears almost every writer at the moment is dusting off their quill to pen her lyrical effusions of love, loss, and the merits, or otherwise, of keeping one’s hand on one’s ha’penny. Mary may not dare to admit it herself, but it is as if she has now transitioned into enjoying the drama of it all as she declares herself more fit for the Victorian age and announces “Brendan’s gone back to wifey, and I’ve been used, abused and cast aside” before popping a digestive into her mouth. As with Kevin’s attitude towards Jenny, from tonight, I feel we will see less of heartbroken Mary, and the emergence of a new dawn.

Gloria Gaynor wouldn’t have it any other way.

By Emma Hynes
Twitter: @ELHynes

This review originally appeared on the Coronation Street Blog on Friday 5 February 2016.

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