Coronation Street double episode review, Friday 4 November 2016.
In the last week, both my Coronation Street Blog editor Glenda and fellow blogger David have posted their astutely penned thoughts on how they are finding Corrie at the moment. Like me, they had spotted a few things that didn’t quite make sense, and stretched the bounds of believability. Yes, there is plenty to be excited about and I’m enjoying a lot of what I’m seeing, but tonight’s double episode offered more examples of those head scratching moments that, if handled differently, would complement the otherwise compelling scenes.
Take the Nazirs. We saw Yasmeen throw a party for Zeedan and Rana to celebrate their engagement with Rana’s parents in attendance, and Zeedan reciting a lovely poem. It all went pear shaped however when Zeedan referenced the strength of his grandparents’ marriage and Sharif presented Rana with the necklace that should have been from Yasmeen, leading her to crack and reveal the affair in front of the guests. Considering Yasmeen’s personality in general and the dignity and self control shown by this strong, principled, family woman up to now, there was simply no way she would have lost this restraint and done this on such a special occasion for her grandson. Less is more, and I would rather have seen her struggle through with a brave face like the traditional Corrie matriarch, and break down after everyone had left. The impact would have been much greater than the choice to make ‘drama’ of it.
I very much enjoyed the aftermath, however, with great dialogue and performances all round, and this could still have happened had the public reveal not occurred. I was particularly delighted that Alya confessed to knowing for a month and blackmailing her grandfather rather than having him reveal it, or it being dragged it out. Sharif and Alya are promptly ordered to pack their bags, and we’re left with Zeedan consoling Yasmeen on the sofa. I’ve a lot of time for both characters and look forward to seeing them support one another in this.
Now, the Maria story. I’ve had to expend more energy than I should trying to tally this one up in my head so I’ve decided I’ll save further brain cells from certain death and just run with it. Tonight, a bloodstained rug is found in meddlesome Fiz’s bin and promptly brought to the attention of the police who question Maria about the fact that her credit card was used in London and to buy the phone the nasty texts came from.
Weatherfield Police’s whole handling of this is pantomime worthy considering the speed with which Maria has gone from victim to accused, and their refusal to consider any other perspective. The spotlight of course now falls on her relationship with Pablo, so she’s getting it from all sides. Meanwhile, Caz lurks in the shadows with a bandaged hand like a comic book villain. The most convenient thing about all this is Kate’s fear for Caz, the fiancée she dumped, called a psycho, and couldn’t wait to see the back of. It’s as if the plot is determined to head in a particular direction and the characters must follow, whether their reaction becomes them or not.
Despite all the eye rolling and apparent disdain that greets Michael by his very presence in the Platt household, Sarah enthusiastically welcomes his desire to renew his wedding vows and Gail is thrilled when he plucks up the courage to ask her. Considering we know Les Dennis is leaving, I’m intrigued as to where this is headed.
Gary shows great character when he extends the hand of friendship to David, and remarkable resilience by attending a bonfire party at the house of the man whose actions were responsible for his mother’s burns.
Meanwhile, Anna lies in a hospital bed and steels herself to see the extent of her injuries. I wasn’t sure how they planned to show her these and wondered why they felt the need to. What I wasn’t expecting was for them to take photographs, and for these to be shown to us. It all felt rather gratuitous and unnecessary. As with Yasmeen’s reveal, less is more, and it would have made for a far more poignant scene if we simply saw the curtain being pulled back and her quietly weeping or some such. In keeping with extremes, she then breaks up with Kevin, and quite harshly too, in an act of apparent self preservation. He too had to be shown the photographs, our second viewing, and it all felt too much.
Elsewhere, Alex fancies Gemma and plans to bring her to Roy and Cathy’s wedding as his plus two, his plus one being Nessa. I jumped at the mention of her name, and would love to see her back on the street, though I know there are others who don’t share my enthusiasm. Characters who divide are all part of the fun, though, aren’t they. In other wedding news, Roy doesn’t want to get married in a church out of respect for a religion he doesn’t practice which is a perfectly valid and noble standpoint which Cathy should admire him for. He changes his mind in the end though, and Cathy is delighted rather than regretting that one of them had to compromise their beliefs.
These episodes had some great performances and storylines, but the penchant for extremes and drama actually divested some scenes of their full emotional capacity. If we could just opt for subtlety where it’s needed, then I think we would have some very strong drama on our hands.