Big Face in the Northern Quarter

Maria and Aidan kiss Coronation Street 12 August 2016

Coronation Street double episode review, Friday 12 August 2016.

You have to feel sorry for Eva, but will she ever learn that being pushy isn’t a good look? Aidan calls around to smooth things over after the embarrassing flat debacle, and all is going well until she gets annoyed that their making up is being interrupted by a text from Kate. Little does she know it would’ve been their Mam’s birthday, but her unwillingness to hear him out sees him walk.

The birthday is on Caz’s mind too, and after she tells Luke, he spots an opportunity for her to impress Kate with flowers; so anxious is he to get her out of his flat, he’s even willing to pay for them. If only he hadn’t mixed up Caz’s instructions and bought pink carnations on her behalf, the one flower he was told Kate’s Mam hated. We know this, because we heard it twice, on two separate occasions. The message, ‘I know what these meant to your Mum. Caz xx’ is all the more upsetting for Kate when she discovers them on the doorstep.

Kate vents her fury at Caz in front of Luke, Maria and Sophie, and won’t hear an explanation, insisting that she stay away. Luke is chided by Maria, and he storms off, saying he can’t do anything right. As she takes her tirade out into the street, he sets her straight about where her priorities should lie before drowning his sorrows in the Bistro.

Meanwhile, Aidan calls up to Maria to tell her that she’s a good person and reveals his frustration at Eva’s pushiness over a couple of bottles of wine. The guffaw-inducing claim of once being a “big face in the Northern Quarter,” isn’t enough to deter Maria, and they end up sleeping together. Maria’s half giggle as she asks, “Can you believe we’ve just done that?” and Aidan’s clear regret are worlds apart.

In the meantime, Eva is embarrassed to hear that Aidan was visiting his Mam’s grave and leaves another deluge of voicemails and texts to no avail.

While this infidelity might surprise, these things do happen. There is also a newfound adventurousness in Maria, and as we recently learned, Aidan has a rather immodest tally which has now increased by one, so I’m not really shocked by either of them. I like Luke and Eva, but you’d have to wonder if they’re with the right partners.

Michael attacks Phelan in the Rovers Return 12 August 2016

Les Dennis has always been a great comic actor, and there are laughs to be found in Michael’s new found attitude.  Never mind what happened to Todd in that London, I’m intrigued as to what occurred in Brighton that has Michael strutting around the street dishing out the put-downs and taking on Phelan. It’s hilarious.

Freddie and Audrey hatch a plan to get him together with Gail in the Rovers, and after regaling them with sprinkle-based gags from the trade, an encounter with Phelan is quick to melt his 99. Phelan mocking Michael is the highlight of the episode, as is Michael’s retaliation and Phelan’s bemused reaction. Michael’s defence of Eileen in the midst of it all, however, sees Gail walk out as she’s convinced he still holds a candle for his ex. Whatever happens for the pair, Phelan and Michael are adversaries I’ll never get tired of.

Leanne isn’t the only one back at the Bistro, as, much to the bafflement of Nick, and my delight, the olives make an unwelcome return. As does Nick’s jealousy as Dev plants a seed in his mind, and he interprets laughter and closeness between Robert and Leanne to mean something. He asks Steph if she knows if anything’s going on and her garbled response doesn’t help quell his fears. He later accuses Leanne of falling for Robert and when she flatly denies it, he demands she get back with him. The answer is no, and I’m left wondering why she doesn’t just tell him about her pregnancy. If Steph knows, surely she can tell Nick.

Rita and Gemma Coronation Street 12 August 2016Rita hiding from Norris in the corner shop is a funny little scene, but he’s not the only one she ends up avoiding. Looking to win a Good Samaritan Award, Gemma sets her sights on her perplexed and cynical neighbour who she can’t do enough for all of a sudden. After a great scene in the Rovers, Gemma confesses her intentions to Rita. “I’m sick of being a no mark” she tells her unwilling benefactor, “I want a CV that’s longer than my charge sheet.” Rita reckons Gemma needs a plan, and awards her with a drink. I loved these scenes and am a big fan of Gemma, though I would like to see Kylie’s death have a greater impact on her.

Izzy’s welcome home party is a treat. Mary sparkles while Sally boasts about her prowess at soundbites and fantasises about being a political prisoner. The banter concerning former inmates present is also a good comic turn. Faye announcing Izzy and Gary are back together has Gary squirming, however, as everyone cheers.

When things quieten down, Gary plies Beth and Kirk with drink to keep them there. After everyone’s gone, he tries everything to put off going to bed. Surely he needs to do the decent thing and tell her the truth. He didn’t want to break her spirit while she was inside, but she’s out now.

The action outside of the main stories can in itself be a great source of enjoyment, and in this double, Tracy, Amy, Norris and Dev provided a lively backdrop to proceedings. It’s the day to day occurrences, such as neighbours dropping by, and incidental conversations in the street about nothing connected to the drama that, for me, gives Corrie that lovely close-knit community feel. May it never be without it.

By Emma Hynes
Twitter: @ELHynes
Facebook: @EmmaHynesWrites

This review also appears on the Coronation Street Blog.

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