There were a lot of “should be” scenes this week. Some fell short, some have built over time, and an unlikely one happened right near the end.
The thing that signaled ‘uh oh’ the most was the appearance from behind a restaurant kitchen door of the glorious Ciaran. You knew his return was bad news for Peter and for whatever woman or women he encounters this time. He is so lovely to look at and to listen to, but he leaves a swath of destruction behind him. And all the while, he just smiles with a “what – who, me?” look. A poster on Corrie Canuck perhaps summarized him the best: “As for Ciaran, he is not use, but he IS ornament.” I would go further: he is more than not “use”; he is a one-man wrecking crew of people’s lives. But he certainly is ornament.
So you knew as soon as he appeared that Peter was going to fall off the wagon. But, of course, it wasn’t really Ciaran’s doing. Once he realized that Peter’s problem was serious, he vowed to help him keep the pledge. But, I think, just his presence made Peter think it was time to test his recovering/recovered status. “Hmm, yes, I took a drink and then didn’t take another, so I’m ok.” Then, at the new bar pre-opening party, he drank many glasses of champagne and seemingly thought of them all as “just one drink”.
In a “scene contender”, he came home after spending a long time in a bar supposedly trying to convince a journalist to not report his spectacular drunken display at the hard-hat party. Leanne had fallen asleep on the couch. He wakes her, telling her in a drunken fashion, that he’s ok, he’ll be back on the wagon tomorrow, everything will blow over. No it won’t, she says, it’s over; the bar and, I assume, their relationship and his life as he knows it.
What I expected to be the big scene was Betty’s 90th birthday bash. It was ok, but not as much history as I’d hoped for. The introduction of the other elderly barmaid drinking milk stout was a nice reference back to the days of Ena Sharples and her friends. I doubt if anyone has drank milk stout since then. But I’m not sure if it’s going anywhere, other than just a little interlude of battling pensioners.
I was astounded to learn that Betty Driver, who plays Betty, actually turned 90 just a couple months after her character did. I had thought the show’s attention to historical fiction accuracy had put them in a bit of a bind – now, forty years after the introduction of a character as being a certain age, having to have her be a barmaid of 90. I thought the actress was perhaps 80 and even that seemed like a stretch. But, according to Wikipedia and Coronation Street sites, Betty Driver was born in 1920 and has been performing since she was a child. What an amazing woman.
So with history being celebrated through Betty, the big crescendo of Peter and his sobriety crashing down, literally, and the pleasure and trepidation in seeing Ciaran again, it surprised me that a little scene with Joe touched me the most. Joe comes to Tina’s flat to tell her that he and Gayle are going away for a few days. His goodbye is very emotional, more so than Tina expects from her dad for his just going on a short vacation. He tells her how much she means to him and says goodbye. It sounded like a real goodbye, not a “see you soon”. He’s been googling topographic information on depth of water in the Lake District, causing Gayle to say she thought it was a romantic getaway, not a natural sciences expedition. She seems uneasy, reminding him she’s frightened of water (due to a previous psychopathic husband who also found himself in a financial bind). So we’ve all been thinking it’s the newly life-insured Gayle who will not be returning from this trip. But Joe’s demeanour with Tina suggests he’s the one not coming back. He also insured himself, I think. Maybe he’ll solve his debt problem permanently by removing himself. I don’t know, but his love for his daughter as he said goodbye felt real. It was a touching moment between the two of them.