Norris and Mary, in the little cottage of horrors, were riveting this week. And it was nice to see Nu-Amy. But the week belonged to Blanche. May she, and her portrayer Maggie Jones, rest in peace. They are missed. There were so many scenes, and bits of scenes, in Wednesday and Thursday’s episodes in the telling of Blanche’s passing – facial expressions, a line spoken, even a word. Blanche was there.
Despite knowing for over a year of the passing of Ms. Jones, it still wasn’t real while watching Corrie St. Whenever Deirdre would say something about “Mother coming home” I’d think oh maybe she is, maybe it was a huge mistake.
But no, Blanche died in her sleep the day she was to fly home from Portugal. Poor Deirdre sits at the table under the banner Simon and Amy made for their Nana Blanche. Ken, with a kindness one doesn’t always expect from him, raises no objection to her smoking in the house.
We – and the Barlows – get the details of her time in Portugal from her friend May. Before she comes in, Liz asks “is she the one with the anorexic daughter?” “No, the gay son with the dogs,” Deirdre replies.
I don’t know how much of May we will see, but thank you, writers, for giving us a glimpse of Blanche’s friend from the One O’Clock Club. What a treat she is! “Is there a war on?” May asks as Liz hands her a glass of sherry or wine. She’s somehow already established herself as fey enough that you can’t help but wonder if she actually thinks she’s back in WWII. You can see by Liz’s face that she’s not quite sure either. So May elaborates; “is there rationing?” Deirdre twigs first, after all she’s Blanche’s daughter. May wants more in her glass.
May tells them about Blanche’s new man, Arnold, and her plans for marriage. Somehow, it’s nice thinking about her being in Portugal, happy with Arnold, “with the sun on her specs and the breeze in her slacks,” as May describes her “sweet” friend Blanche. The camera focuses on each eye roll and eyebrow lift from the others. Peter even asks “Are you sure you’ve got the same person?”
Peter steadily tops up May’s glass as she works her way to the bottom of the bottle. She shows him a picture on her phone, “Here’s my son’s Pug, Victoria.” She has trouble getting her next words out, “And here’s his Miniature Sch – Schnau – Schnauzer, David.” (The son is a soccer fan or a glitterati fan?)
May totters on her way and Deirdre washes dishes and cries. Ken makes bookings to fly to Portugal. She needs to be with her mother. I know it’s a story, and they’re all just characters in it, but I’m glad. Beautiful episodes that gave a proper farewell to the wonderful Maggie Jones.