Coronation Street double episode review, Friday 30 September 2016.
Friday’s Corrie managed to sum up how I feel about the programme at the moment in two episodes; we are being treated to some brilliant and compelling dialogue and performances, but some plot developments don’t match the quality on show. The Todd and Phelan story, for example, continues to be sublime, but I found the end of Bethany’s bullying saga to be a source of frustration.
The bullying storyline was tied up with an efficiency which belied its pace and seriousness. After being expelled, Lauren shuffles out the door with her furious father as if they’ve just been told they must leave the chocolate factory because she sat on the golden goose machine and it came up with ‘bad egg’. There is even an attempt at humour when he says his daughter was a ‘stunner’ before David cut her hair.
Bethany learning of this outside a toilet door in a public area of the school without a parent or family member present was in stark contrast to the sit down meeting at which she was suspended. While she is called brave by the head teacher, there is no apology for the treatment she received. What we do get is a beautiful scene in which Bethany breaks down as she tells Sarah and Gail the news. Lu Fallon has been brilliant throughout this storyline, and I think Bethany has fast become one of the most likeable characters on the street.
Caz claims to be in love with Maria, but after any hope of romance is quashed, and Maria asks her to move out while she takes a trip to London to play happy families with Pablo, Caz calls the Home Office, opens Maria’s post and eyes up her new credit card. While there was a panto villain element to this reaction, I think we can agree that Caz is unhinged, as we’ve already seen her fake an injury and stage a burglary. There has been no cause for me to warm to this character, and Maria’s behaviour of late has been such that I don’t have much sympathy for her either, so it’s hard to care about any of this. I did enjoy Kirk’s awkwardness alone in the flat with Caz, and little Liam played a star turn in both this and Thursday’s episode.
Had Roy and Cathy announced a date for their marriage a few months back, I would’ve been delighted, but I felt as uncomfortable with it as Tyrone last night considering recent developments in Cathy’s character. Something about it doesn’t feel right, and despite Roy’s certainty, his demeanour appears to contradict it. I want to see Roy continue to flourish and don’t think this can happen with his current arrangement.
From cruelly locking Max into the annex to selling flowers they stole from graves, I’ve a feeling those Alahan twins will give Amy Barlow a run for her money on the cobbles of the future. But have they met their match in Erica? Mary ‘Poppins’ Taylor has plenty of advice on discipline, but after a prank involving daubing marmite under Erica’s nose and watching her trawl the house for the mystery odour, it seems fighting fire with fire will be her tactic, and I say bring it on. I think Erica is a great character, and would enjoy seeing her at the centre of a prominent storyline.
The strongest two elements of this double were David learning that Clayton pleading guilty to manslaughter may result in a reduced sentence if he’s found guilty, and the Todd and Phelan development saga.
The flat scam story is moving at such a pace with so many twists, and it’s the highlight of the show for me at the moment.Todd’s attempt to opt out and be a better man is foiled as he’s posed with a moral dilemma on discovering Sarah has signed on the dotted line without his knowledge after coming into £15,000. Phelan threatens Todd with Vinny, should he blow the whistle, but so far, Vinny’s violence is anecdotal and I’m wondering if it’s all a ruse to keep Todd onside and it’s Phelan he needs to fear most.
Todd agrees to come back in on the scam provided Sarah gets her money back out of his and Phelan’s share and they shake on it. But the mind games don’t end there, as Phelan tells Billy they’ll be funding his trip to Kenyan orphans out of the profits. As Todd and Billy kiss and embrace on a ‘total honesty’ pact, Todd’s face tells us we can be sure his moral dilemmas are set to continue.
There is a definite change in the air on Corrie, and on the whole, I’m enjoying it. It’s currently excelling in many aspects, but I feel the convenient plot developments such as Beth’s bigamy and Sharif’s affair need to be avoided, and storylines such as Izzy’s pain and Bethany’s bullying need to be tied up appropriately in order to match the quality it’s showing itself to be capable of elsewhere.
By Emma Hynes
This review also appears on the Coronation Street Blog.