This week’s Corrie presented us with an opportunity to say a fitting farewell to the lovely Luke Britton, and to ensure he got the send off he richly deserved for being, well, rather lovely. And of course, murdered in his prime. You would think the only thing that could spoil it would be Pat, the man who killed him, turning up at his funeral to mingle among the unsuspecting mourners. Yes, this happened; ooh that Phelan has some nerve! But he had competition in the form of Luke’s girlfriend, Alya Nazir.
Grief is a very personal thing. Everyone deals with it differently, and in their own way. It’s not our place to judge, and the best we can do is to be there for those suffering. But, as this is Coronation Street, and not real life, I ask, was I alone in finding myself frustrated that Alya seemingly went out of her way to make Luke’s funeral all about her?
On the previous Friday, we heard Zeedan tell Tyrone that she was feeling “out on a limb” regarding the funeral arrangements, having never met Luke’s parents, but she made sure to rectify that by putting herself front and centre at the service and beyond. And still without ever meeting his parents.
First, though, there was Monday, and by the second episode she was watching cars going around on the television and crying into her duvet, lamenting the fact that “it always ends like this” before needlessly falling out with the caring, prodigal Kate. Just how many boyfriends of Alya’s have been run off the road and murdered before going up in flames? The only thing I could deduce was that she was talking about herself losing a loved one, and in truth, she’s had her fair share of that.
Wednesday inevitably came around, and it’s the day of the funeral. Despite the love and support of Yasmeen, Alya barely looks back at her grandmother, left hovering awkwardly in the aisle as she takes her place in the front row, albeit at Steph’s insistence. Without so much as a glance at Luke’s parents, paying any condolences, or thinking it might be more appropriate for her to at least shuffle down the row a bit, she takes the place of chief mourner.
I was already feeling more than a little irked at this stage, when the unthinkable happened. At the very last moment of farewell, Alya ran crying from the service leaving everyone watching her dramatic departure rather than taking one last look and paying those most final of respects as the curtains closed on Luke’s coffin. On a side note, Phelan was the only one focussed completely on his victim disappearing once and for all; ooh that Pat has some nerve, etc.
Back to the Alya show where, now outside, she’s being comforted by her family as she cries “it’s my fault that they killed Luke, it’s my fault that he’s dead”. Yes, she continues to labour under the misapprehension that the racist knicker dealers are responsible for his death. Fair enough I suppose, in the absence of any other obvious candidates. But then she blubs, “I’m not going to the wake. I can’t face it with everyone there” when, in fact, that’s precisely what she should have done. Sometimes the hard thing to do is the right thing. But no, she swerves it for the Bistro where she’s surrounded by about as many people as were likely to be at the real one.
When Steph, who was more than understanding in the circumstances, came in and remarked that she didn’t know there was another wake afoot, Alya said, “I’m sorry, that’s my fault. I couldn’t face it. Did your parents think I was rude?” So even Luke’s parents are meant to focus on her today, a girlfriend they’ve never met and who never bothered to introduce herself to them, express her condolences, or show up at the actual wake? A likely presumption.
Alya’s last act of the day is to disappear and text Zeedan to say she couldn’t have gotten through it without them all. Oh I was annoyed, though there was no doubting that Sair Khan did a great job.
It was also a big day for Kate. She got to do a reading at the service, revealed the whole truth behind Rana’s half confession to Zeedan, and learned that Carla needs a kidney and, pending tests, may be the one to donate it. Yet somehow, it felt like this had all happened to Alya as well. Pat Phelan must have been pleased. Nobody had cause to give him a second look!
By Emma Hynes
This post also appears on the Coronation Street Blog.