Coronation Street double episode review, Friday 16 December 2016.
‘Tis the season to be gathered around a hospital bed in Weathie General, and this time it’s the Grimshaws’ turn in the wake of Andy’s assault on Phelan. It was all nicely set up for Kevin to be prime suspect after being foiled in an earlier attempt to attack him on Anna’s behalf, and her poison pen letters add insult to injury as word spreads of what was a frankly barmy deed.
I thought it was interesting that Andy saw fit to clobber Phelan over the head without apparently considering there may be consequences to doing so; perhaps his departure into the world of horror writing lead him to blur reality with fantasy. He squirms and swallows hard throughout both episodes and engages in the cowardly act of essentially framing Kevin when Weatherfield’s finest constabulary come a-knocking. I enjoyed Kevin’s unapologetic hatred of Phelan when he was questioned, but the police seem unconvinced of his innocence, as is Eileen.
Weatherfield Police are certainly kings of convenience as they seem happy to go the most obvious route, even if it’s the wrong one. The dodgy flats were mentioned to them several times, yet they appeared uninterested in the fact that the scam has played no small part in ensuring Phelan has more enemies than friends.
As each month passes, the intricacies of Phelan’s malevolence are revealed in a quiet and measured way which is reflective of his very demeanour. It is all so subtle, so calmly devastating, and it’s brilliant. After being forced to visit him, we couldn’t be sure if it was Andy’s discomfort that saw Phelan double bluff him into revealing that he was his attacker, or if he had actually seen him in the second before impact. Having watched Thursday’s episode twice, I think there was a glimmer of recognition, but if there wasn’t, it’s perfectly plausible that Phelan as master manipulator could easily psych Andy out without anyone else noticing. His threat, that he has plans for Andy, was chilling, and I can’t wait to see what they are as the budding writer finds himself in his own horror story.
Nights out go so fast when you’re having fun, but Chesney’s face was as long as a wet week as he made a feeble attempt to enjoy himself in the midst of an excited Sinead, Billy and Todd, even whinging about the difficulty of getting a taxi home when the night had only begun. It’s great to see the younger characters partying, but Chesney looked like he’d be more at home in front of the TV with slippers and a Bovril complaining that they don’t make ’em like they used to. David wasn’t overly enthused to be there either, but at least he had an excuse, and it didn’t help when his wallet was robbed by someone attempting to chat him up.
We’ve seen Tracy enjoy some no strings attached fun with Luke while masking her disappointment that it won’t lead to anything, and it’s Adam’s turn to experience the same when Maria spends the night with him, but confirms she’s not interested in a relationship. There was a point at which her character threatened to blend in with the wallpaper a number of months back, but she’s certainly made up for it.
Robert clearly feels guilt over his encroaching feelings for pregnant Michelle, and this seems to be the contributing factor to his decision not to move into the Rovers as opposed to, say, joining three adults living above a pub with a baby on the way. I did enjoy Liz’s excitement at the prospect, however.
It was touching to see Gail grieve over Michael’s Christmas presents, and her group hug with Sarah and Bethany, the latter of whom isn’t smiling for long when she learns she’s to go to a concert with her Mam, Gary and Faye.
As Mary embarks on her search to find her son, I thought her hope, delight and anticipation in the face of the man she thought was her child, were very moving indeed. Such was her desire for it to be him, she quickly convinced herself of it, but was sadly left wanting as he revealed himself to be a twin. It was a pity, as he did seem worthy of her. While a device was needed to gain his attention and admission to his home, and it did allow us to see how desperate she was for it to be him, I’m not sure she and Norris pretending to be conducting a survey on sustainability for a cash prize was the best approach. I hope if she does decide to continue her search and call to anyone else, that she reveals her reason from the off, as I think it could actually make for powerful viewing. It will be interesting to see if Gemma can keep her secret after overhearing Norris on the phone attempting to get more information for Mary.
Nods to the past in Friday’s Corrie included reminiscing over Fred Elliott’s Christmas ham, and Adam’s recollections of ex and hairdresser to the Quo, Candice Stowe. I’m also a fan of speaking extras, as they ad a bit of variety and I thought Mary’s non-son Jude and new character, pickpocket Shona, added a nice dimension.
With just one week to go, there are certainly enough strands of strong interest at the moment to ensure us that it’s going to be a very interesting Christmas on the cobbles.
By Emma Hynes
This review also appears on the Coronation Street Blog.